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DC councilman calls for taxi chief's resignation after WUSA9 Investigation

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A DC City Council member is calling for the resignation of the DC Taxicab Commission Chair, after he "defended racism," according to the Councilman.

During a Russ Ptacek investigation, Commission Chair Ron Linton told Ptacek that it's not racism when cab drivers choose not to pick up black passengers, "it's economics," Linton said. 

Council Member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) said Linton's comments are unacceptable.

"There is a bright line here - calling it 'economic' is a defense of racism," said Wells. "It is disgusting and it has no place in our government. Ron Linton needs to go. Everybody should have equal access to taxis and transportation in our city regardless of their skin color or where they live," Wells said in a news release. 

Wells, who announced he is running for Mayor last month, is challenging current Mayor Vincent Gray to do something about Linton.

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Sen. Harry Reid in hospital for observation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in the hospital for observation after not feeling well over night.

Aides to the Nevada Democrat have released a statement. It says Reid felt unwell early Friday and went to the hospital.

Aides say tests revealed nothing wrong, but he'll stay in the hospital for observation.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois opened session Friday saying he talked to Reid and the majority leader feels good.

The 74-year-old Reid suffered a mild stroke in 2005.

Congress sends sweeping defense bill to President Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) - The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing the passage of a comprehensive defense bill that includes some of those changes.

The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention are provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.

Estimates from the Pentagon that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year. "Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America's armed forces," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes.

Rodents, no hot water close DC food warehouses

Washington, DC (WUSA9) -- Three food warehouses, two pizza shops and nope, not a partridge in a pear tree but birds, rodents and food stored in the alley in this week's Restaurant Alert.

Updated: To see a photo gallery with hundreds of Washington area restaurant closures since 2012 click here

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New claims in JC Hayward/Options School suit

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The District Attorney General's office Wednesday made a new allegation against WUSA9 anchor JC Hayward in in the claim DC charter school managers misdirected funds.

In a court hearing, counsel for the District of Columbia claimed Hayward had a ten percent stake in EES, one of the companies they say benefited from insider deals with Options Public Charter School.

Hayward supporters prayed and sang outside the courthouse in freezing temperatures while, inside, attorneys for the five individual defendants took turns attacking the District's complaint.

Hayward's lawyer argued the new claim that she partially owned EES is speculative and without substantiation.

He has claimed that she had no knowledge of financial wrongdoing as school board chair.

Budget deal clears key Senate hurdle

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Tuesday cleared a key procedural hurdle for final passage of a two-year, bipartisan budget deal before the end of the week.

By a vote of 67-33, Senate Democrats easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold required to end debate and move towards approving the legislation, which is expected by Thursday.

"It is a step in the right direction and a dramatic improvement over the status quo," said Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who crafted the agreement with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

"I'm hopeful this deal can be just the first of many bipartisan deals, that it can rebuild some of the trust and bring Democrats and Republicans together and demonstrate that government can work for the people we all represent."

Senate voting today on bipartisan budget bill

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Last week the House passed a bipartisan compromise on the federal budget.

We'll see whether the Senate will follow suit.

The measure lessens the sequester cuts but leaves some people in both parties unhappy.