By Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker John Boehner tried to ease tensions with fellow Republican lawmakers on Tuesday after chiding them last week for their reluctance to pass an immigration reform bill. "You tease the ones you love, but some people misunderstood what I had to say and some members misunderstood," Boehner said after a closed-door meeting with Republican House members. He was referring to comments he made at a Rotary Club luncheon in his Ohio district last Thursday, in which he described the attitude of other House Republicans on immigration reform as: "Don't make me do this." Some congressional aides and immigration reform advocates viewed those remarks as a possible signal of a renewed drive to pass an immigration bill in the House. But Republican House members emerging from Tuesday's meeting said the speaker played down that prospect during the closed-door Republican meeting.
By Timothy Gardner and Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in an abrupt election-year shift in strategy, opened the possibility on Tuesday of allowing a vote on congressional approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline. "I'm open to anything that will move energy efficiency," Reid, a long-time foe of the project, told reporters. He was referring to a bill that would save energy through tougher building codes sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, that the Senate is expected to consider as early as next week. Details were unclear, but in exchange for Republicans supporting the efficiency bill, Reid could permit a vote on a measure that would allow Congress to approve the bill of the pipeline.
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation on Tuesday requiring some applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits to undergo a drug test. Under the bill, testing could be required if authorities have a "reasonable suspicion" of drug use. Drug use is a barrier to finding and keeping a job, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said. Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, called the legislation "shameful" and said it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.