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WASHINGTON: GOP questions AARP role

House Republicans, continuing their efforts to chip away at the administration's health-care law, have now set their sights on a powerful group that strongly supported the legislation: the AARP seniors lobby. Two members of the House Ways and Means Committee released a report Wednesday alleging that AARP stands to gain financially because the law could result in greater demand for supplemental Medicare policies that carry the AARP stamp of approval. Also, the Ways and Means health and oversight subcommittees scheduled a joint hearing Friday to grill AARP officials about the organization's financial ventures.

Cable bares a Gitmo policy

The Bush administration was so intent on keeping Guantánamo detainees off U.S. soil and away from U.S. courts that it secretly tried to negotiate deals with Latin American countries to provide "life-saving" medical procedures rather than fly ill terrorist suspects to the United States for treatment, a recently released State Department cable shows. The United States offered to transport, guard and pay for medical procedures for any captive the Pentagon couldn't treat at the Navy base in Cuba, according to the cable, made public by the WikiLeaks website. One by one, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico declined. At the time, the Defense Department was holding about 330 captives at Guantánamo, not quite twice the number that are there today.

OHIO: Strict abortion bill OKd

A state House committee narrowly approved Wednesday a bill that would impose the strictest abortion limit in the nation, outlawing the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat. The so-called Heartbeat Bill would need approval in the House, where passage is uncertain. In Arizona, meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer signed probably the first legislation in the nation to ban abortions over ethnicity. The law makes it a Class 3 felony to knowingly perform or provide financing for an abortion sought because of the race or sex of the fetus or a parent's race.

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