By
hardball
updated 3/21/2013 7:48:38 AM ET 2013-03-21T11:48:38

President Obama continues his tour in the Middle East, the House expected to pass Rep. Ryan's budget, the latest on the assault weapons ban, and more political stories that are driving our day.

President Obama continues his tour in the Middle East, saying in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the U.S. is investigating if the Syrian military is using chemical weapons (The Israeli government has concluded it has). The commander-in-chief said he was “deeply skeptical” but noted it would be a “game changer” in American involvement in the ongoing civil war there.

On Thursday, Obama will be in the West Bank, where he’ll hold meetings with Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He plans to push peace talks and insist the creation of a Palestinian state remains a priority for him.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Republican-led House is expected to vote and pass GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. It seeks to balance the budget by 2023, would rely on major spending cuts, including the elimination of expanding healthcare coverage under Obamacare. It’s unlikely it would pass in the Senate.

Although the assault weapons ban got nixed from a gun control bill, Vice President Joe Biden has not given up. He told NPR News that “attitudes are changing. The president and I are going to push.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics now says a stable relationship between parents regardless of sexual orientation contributes to a child’s health and well-being. Most Republicans, however, are not changing their tune.

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