Blooming magnolia trees are seen along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House on Saturday. This week, President Obama is speaking out on gun control, and will release his proposal for the nation's budget.
Congress returns from a two-week recess amid reports that a gun deal in the Senate may have gained late momentum; a focus on immigration to include a rally on Capitol Hill; and a budget proposal from President Obama that already has some in his own party fuming.
As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.
Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.
If this is President Obama's "make-or-break week on guns," as Politico declares, then it starts with considerable confusion about where things stand regarding the likelihood of passing new gun control laws.
As the Senate returns from a two-week spring recess Monday, topping its agenda is legislation to try to curb the kind of gun violence that took the lives of 20 first-graders in Connecticut last December.
Recent polls show broad popular support for enhanced background checks and bans on military-style guns and ammunition. But many members of Congress side with gun-rights advocates who oppose such measures.
And those advocates are increasingly making the case that Americans need guns to fight government tyranny.
President Obama signs a series of executive orders on gun control Jan. 16 surrounded by children who wrote letters to the White House about gun violence. They are, from left, Hinna Zeejah, Taejah Goode, Julia Stokes and Grant Fritz.
Alabama lawmakers have passed bills that would make it easier to criminally charge people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit the elderly.
The sponsors say they expect the governor to sign one of the bills into law once the two slightly different versions are reconciled.
The Senate sponsor, Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, says only one word in the measure that passed the Senate is different from the House-passed version sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood.
The U.S. Senate was scheduled to begin voting on gun control measures this week when Congress returns from recess, but Senate staffers say a bipartisan agreement has yet to be reached on universal background checks. That snarl may end up delaying a vote on gun legislation for another week, as lobbyists on both sides of the debate use the extra time to keep the pressure on.
A federal agency has struck down an Alabama law aimed at preventing heavy metal coils from falling off trucks and causing wrecks.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found the Alabama law placed "an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce." Passed by state lawmakers in 2009, the law required trucker drivers hauling metal coils on routes that either began or ended in Alabama to be certified in load securement techniques.
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican, watches the chamber's electronic tally board as it approves a sweeping anti-abortion bill Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. At left is Majority Leader Jene Vickrey.
Lawmakers in Kansas passed an extensive anti-abortion measure Friday night, which Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign into law. The bill declares that life begins "at fertilization," prohibits abortions related to the baby's sex and blocks tax breaks for health care providers that perform abortions.
The House passed the bill 90-30, hours after the Senate approved it 28-10.
Alabama's governor has promoted his homeland security director, Spencer Collier, to secretary of law enforcement.
Collier will lead the creation of the new Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is the result of a new state law combining many of Alabama's law enforcement programs, including the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Homeland Security.
Many long-term unemployed Alabamians will see their benefits drop 12.8 percent on April 28.
State Labor Department spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said the reductions are the result of mandatory federal spending cuts that all states must make. The cuts will affect people who have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months. Currently, about 16,500 Alabamians receive the extended benefits.