The magic number: 217

The magic number: 217

The terms “billions” and “trillions” are tossed around in the nation’s debt ceiling debate. Probably no number, however, is more important than 217. That’s how many votes are needed in the 435-member House, with two vacancies, to pass any measure to raise the nation’s debt limit and avert economic convulsions in about two weeks. Interviews […]

Rick Perry: Another right-winger for Prez?

Rick Perry: Another right-winger for Prez?

Should Rick Perry conclude that voter discontent has left him an opening to enter the presidential race, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field’s most conservative candidates. Primary voters would get a skilled politician with TV anchorman looks, a Southern preacher’s oratory and a cowboy’s swagger, matched by a disarming candor and […]

Tea party floats its debt plan

Tea party floats its debt plan

The next step in the weeks-long saga over how to increase the government’s borrowing cap is to let House tea party forces try it their way. A Republican “cut, cap and balance” plan set for a House vote Tuesday would condition a $2.4 trillion increase in the so-called debt limit on an immediate $100 billion-plus […]

Republicans divided on debt debate

Republicans divided on debt debate

It’s no wonder that Republican presidential candidates are divided over whether to increase the federal borrowing limit. Their voters are, too. Fiscal hard-liners in early-voting states say they won’t back someone who supports raising the debt ceiling under any condition. They say the debate in Washington gives the 2012 candidates a chance to show stark […]

Newt’s run for President: A campaign on life support

Newt’s run for President: A campaign on life support

His presidential campaign on life support, Newt Gingrich ran into the county coroner at a recent tea party event in South Carolina. “I’m not here because you’re looking ill or anything,” Rae Wooten assured the former U.S. House speaker at Tuesday’s event in North Charleston. A chuckling Gingrich feigned relief. For the embattled White House […]

Deadlock of inflexible rhetoric

Deadlock of inflexible rhetoric

President Barack Obama and GOP lawmakers, hundreds of billions of dollars short of their goal and seemingly trapped in inflexible bargaining positions, are struggling for agreement on $2 trillion-plus in budget cuts as the price for maintaining the government’s ability to borrow. Lawmakers were asked to return to the White House for talks Tuesday afternoon […]

Anatomy of GOP hardliners

Anatomy of GOP hardliners

On the surface, it would seem like an opportune time for Congress to include targeted tax hikes as part of a cost-cutting package to reduce the huge federal deficit. Federal taxes, as a share of the overall economy, are at their lowest levels since 1950. A return to the higher income tax rates of the […]

Debt limit: Tick, tick, tick…

Debt limit: Tick, tick, tick…

With pressuring continuing to build but no breakthroughs in sight, budget bargaining between President Barack Obama and top lawmakers resumes Monday at the White House, with both sides hoping to slash the deficit as the price for permitting the government to borrow more than $2 trillion to pay its bills. In a rare Sunday meeting […]

Baghdad shelled during Panetta visit

Baghdad shelled during Panetta visit

Three rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone on Monday during a visit to the capital by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Iraqi police said. No casualties were reported. The rockets were fired from a Shiite-dominated neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, said police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to […]