AP Top Political News At 2:52 p.m. EDT

Ethics panel steps up inquiry of Kentucky Rep. Whitfield
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Ethics Committee said Friday it is forming an investigative panel to determine whether Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield violated congressional rules by allowing his wife to lobby staff members on issues related to her work....

Are the early primary states a big deal anymore?
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) -- Few states have shaped presidential politics like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina....

Gov. Walker in Texas, out of sight during immigration flap
WESLACO, Texas (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker left a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border without addressing questions being raised about his stance on immigration....

White House: Chemical safety board head resigns
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is operating without a permanent leader. Its chairman has been forced to resign, following accusations of mismanagement....

Senate's Harry Reid announces he won't seek re-election
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the wily Nevadan who dominated the Senate for a decade from the minority to the majority and back again, announced Friday he will retire after five terms....

Reid backs Schumer to succeed him as leader
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is backing New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to succeed him as Democratic leader....

Senate OKs Republican balanced-budget plan, following House
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans muscled a balanced-budget plan through the Senate early Friday, positioning Congress for months of battling President Barack Obama over the GOP's goals of slicing spending and dismantling his health care law....

In Senate triumvirate's shadow, barbecue and basketball
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Great Triumvirate of the 19th century Senate, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, peer from portraits down the hall outside the 21st century Senate, silent witnesses all....

Saudis 'very pleased' with US support for Yemen air campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Saudi Arabia is praising the U.S. for helping an Arab air campaign against Yemen's rebels....

In Senate triumverate's shadow, barbecue and basketball
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Great Triumverate of the 19th century Senate, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, peer from portraits down the hall outside the 21st century Senate, silent witnesses all....

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