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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in a 78-17 vote.

Burwell, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, replaces former Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, who resigned in April.

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President Obama on Thursday stood by his decision to negotiate for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"We have a basic principle. We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind. We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that," Obama said when asked about the controversy surrounding the prisoner swap at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels.

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Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Wednesday said it was too soon to "judge" Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Obama administration's decision to negotiate for his release from the Taliban.

"I think we're going to have to wait and talk to Sgt. Bergdahl now and get his side of the story," McChrystal told Yahoo News about the soldier, who has been characterized as a deserter by some of his platoon members. “One of the great things about America is we should not judge until we know the facts. And after we know the facts, then we should make a mature judgment on how we should handle it.”

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This post has been updated.

Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) office is is pushing back on accusations that the senator and his staff were slow to respond to information on the VA scandal.

In a story published Tuesday, the Arizona Republic accused McCain and of failing to respond quickly to concerns of Dr. Sam Foote, the whistleblower who first raised concerns about wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital. The newspaper reviewed correspondence between McCain's office and Foote, and concluded that McCain's office was "slow to take action."

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Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday defended President Obama's legal authority to negotiate for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl following cries from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that the President should have consulted them about the exchange.

Krauthammer explained on Fox News that the law cited by lawmakers was meant to keep Obama from "emptying Guantanamo unilaterally," but that this prisoner swap was different.

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The White House reached out to the top senators on the Intelligence Committee on Monday night to apologize for not letting them know about the prisoner swap before the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that National Deputy Security Adviser Tony Blinken called her on Monday night.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday said he had concerns about the Obama administration's decision to release five Guantanamo Bay prisoners in exchange for the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and called for congressional hearings.

“And while we all rejoice for Sergeant Bergdahl and his family, it is important that we get clarity in the days and weeks ahead about not only how this exchange came about but what steps the President has taken to guarantee this exchange is not a signal that it is open season on our fellow citizens, both military and civilian personnel, serving our country abroad so faithfully," Boehner said in a statement. "One of their greatest protections – knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists – has been compromised."

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Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday night joined the chorus of conservatives criticizing the father of released captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for his actions and appearance during the five years his son was in captivity.

"But it is Robert Bergdahl, the father, who is also engendering some controversy. He has learned to speak Pashto, the language of the Taliban, and looks like a Muslim," O'Reilly said on his show. "He is also somewhat sympathetic to Islam, actually thanking Allah right in front of the president."

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