AP Top Political News At 3:16 p.m. EST

Obama to seek to bust spending limits by $74 billion
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will ask Congress to boost government spending by roughly 7 percent above current limits, the White House said Thursday, setting up a certain clash with Republicans who insist that federal spending must be held in check....

Attorney General nominee picks up GOP support
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch picked up her first Republican endorsement Thursday en route to likely confirmation as the first black woman in the nation's top law enforcement job....

As Romney weighs '16 bid, his past donors commit to Jeb Bush
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Closing in on a decision about whether to again run for president, Mitt Romney is finding that several past major fundraisers and donors in key states have defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush....

Senate heads toward approval of Keystone XL pipeline bill
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Senate moved Thursday toward passage of a bipartisan bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, defying a presidential veto threat and setting up the first of many expected battles with the White House over energy and the environment....

New chief of CIA Clandestine Service is spying veteran
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CIA officer credited with saving Hamid Karzai's life during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 has been named director of the National Clandestine Service, the agency's spying arm....

Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chances of a driver dying in a crash in a late-model car or light truck fell by more than a third over three years, and nine car models had zero deaths per million registered vehicles, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety....

SC Sen. Lindsey Graham explores 2016 GOP presidential run
WASHINGTON (AP) -- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday said he has set up a committee to explore running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, portraying himself as a proven winner and a conservative willing to work with Democrats....

House Dems seek better messaging, not new policies, for 2016
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Better messaging, not changes in policy, is the key to winning elections again, House Democrats said as they huddled in Philadelphia to talk strategy. The message, they said, must focus relentlessly on middle class paychecks....

Oil producers push to export US crude even as prices drop
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dropping oil prices aren't slowing a push from U.S. producers to ship their crude oil overseas and change a decades-long ban on exports....

Panel recommending changes to military health care, benefits
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers reacted cautiously on Thursday to the recommendations of an independent panel to change the military's retirement and health care systems....

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