McConnell flips and backs ban on pork barrel spending

McConnell flips and backs ban on pork barrel spending

Congress’ most unapologetic fan of big-money politics is backing a ban on pork-barrel earmarks and avoiding an early battle with conservative senators who had threatened to force a vote on the matter. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has long defended the practice of designating money for home-state projects, said he was heeding the message […]

Rangel walks, ethics committee balks

Rangel walks, ethics committee balks

Once one of the most powerful members of Congress, veteran Rep. Charles Rangel of New York was reduced Monday to pleading with colleagues for more time to raise money for a lawyer before they took up misconduct charges against him. No, they said, and quickly began deliberations, saying the facts were so clear they didn’t […]

Murkowski leading by 1,706 votes as the count continues

Murkowski leading by 1,706 votes as the count continues

Election workers are scheduled to continue counting ballots in Alaska’s still-undecided Senate race. About 8,800 ballots were to be tallied on Tuesday, a day after election officials said Sen. Lisa Murkowski had emerged from several days of counting with a 1,706 vote lead over GOP nominee Joe Miller. Murkowski waged a write-in campaign after losing […]

Social Security judges face threats to safety

Social Security judges face threats to safety

Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims. There were at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff over the past year — an 18 percent increase over […]

Rangel’s ethics trial begins

Rangel’s ethics trial begins

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York headed the House’s tax-writing committee but acknowledged shortchanging the Internal Revenue Service on his own tax bill. Now, a House ethics panel will judge whether filing an amended tax return and belatedly paying his taxes and other financial and fundraising practices violated the congressional rule book. A rare ethics […]

Pelosi’s political purgatory

Pelosi’s political purgatory

The petite woman in regal purple edged her way behind a raucous mob of reporters awaiting the next speaker of the House, a brutal midterm election behind her and an unclear future ahead. Attuned for four years to the comings and goings of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, few in the press klatch noticed — and […]

Lame ducks return to Washington

Lame ducks return to Washington

House takeover, hobbled Democrats and invigorated Republicans return Monday to a testy tax dispute and a lengthy to-do list for a post-election session of Congress unlikely to achieve any landmark legislation. With change clearly in the air, more than 100 mainly Republican freshmen arrive on Capitol Hill to be schooled on the jobs they’ll assume […]

Newbies get a crash course in being a Congressman

Newbies get a crash course in being a Congressman

Where to live? Whom to hire? What’s a voting card — and where are the bathrooms? More than 100 members of Congress arrive in Washington this coming week for the first time since winning election, trading the loftiness of campaign speeches for mundane lessons in how to do their new jobs. It’s freshman orientation on […]

Election showcases Obama’s eroding base

Election showcases Obama’s eroding base

Near the midpoint of his presidency, Barack Obama‘s diverse voter coalition reveals giant cracks and he faces major work repairing his standing among independents in states crucial to his re-election chances. Catholics. Older people. Women. Young adults. They shifted toward Republicans in this month’s elections and failed to support Obama’s Democratic Party as they did […]

Democrats cut deal to avoid leadership battle

Democrats cut deal to avoid leadership battle

House Democrats averted a messy leadership struggle, clearing the way for Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to become second in command of their new minority without a challenge from South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn. Under an arrangement worked out in private, officials said late Friday that Clyburn would instead receive a new position, title unknown and […]