Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

GOP infighting delays budget vote

A battle between GOP defense hawks and fiscal conservatives prompted the GOP chairman of the House Budget Committee late Wednesday to delay a vote on his party’s budget blueprint. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., called off a vote on a move by GOP leaders to loosen restrictions on using war funding to skirt tight limits on the Pentagon budget. That delays a vote on the underlying budget, which would set up a veto struggle over the fate of the health care law and promises a whopping $5 trillion in spending cuts to erase deficits by the end of the coming decade.
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The rapid rise and faster fall of Aaron Schock

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock abruptly resigned Tuesday following a monthlong cascade of revelations about his business deals and lavish spending on everything from overseas travel to office decor in the style of “Downton Abbey.” “I do this with a heavy heart,” Schock said in a statement. He said he had given the people of his Peoria-area district his all since his election in 2008, “but the constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they
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A bi-partisan push to change Medicare payments

Bipartisan House leaders are working on a $213 billion plan to permanently change how doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients, a costly problem that’s vexed Congress for years, a document circulating among lawmakers showed Tuesday. Many of the tentative plan’s details had already been disclosed by lobbyists, legislators and congressional aides. Some particulars were new, such as setting a 2020 starting point for higher out-of-pocket expenses for people buying new Medigap policies, which cover costs not insured by Medicare. Lobbyists and aides have said negotiators discussed requiring Medigap beneficiaries to pay $250 out of pocket, which proponents say would
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When lawmakers don’t read bills, chaos rules

Congress can get so busy that senators and their staffs don’t always have time to scrutinize bills they pass and letters they sign — or so it seemed this week, anyway. Two episodes left Democrats blushing, some Republicans muttering under their breath, and taxpayers perhaps wondering what those well-educated people do on Capitol Hill. First, Republicans ridiculed Democrats for claiming they somehow missed a key provision in a bill filed two months ago. The bill, unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would combat human sex trafficking. Democrats suddenly blocked it this week because it would bar the use of
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Has Boehner survived the Homeland Security debacle?

House Speaker John Boehner’s job is safe despite passing yet another big bill that most of his Republican colleagues oppose, as he did Tuesday to avert defunding the Department of Homeland Security. But Boehner and his leadership team appear destined to confront fratricidal fights for months to come. The friction exposes deep GOP ideological differences as the 2016 presidential campaign gets under way. For all the Washington chatter of a possible Republican coup against Boehner — the perpetually tanned, cigarette-smoking deal-maker from Ohio — few lawmakers gave it credence Tuesday. “It would take Democrat cooperation to do that, which is
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More rabid rhetoric about Homeland Security mess

House Republican leaders on Sunday demanded that Democrats begin negotiations on funding for the Homeland Security Department and President Barack Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration. Democrats showed no indication they were willing to talk, and some Republicans said the party should simply surrender and give the agency money without conditions. With a partial shutdown of the department possible at week’s end, Speaker John Boehner said the House wants to enter talks with the Senate on a final bill and pointed to Monday’s scheduled Senate vote. Congress late Friday cleared a one-week extension for the department after 52 House conservatives defied
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Boehner likes his job…most days

We all have bad days at work. John Boehner, too. For the House speaker, “Friday wasn’t all that fun,” he says, though “most days” he likes his job. The Ohio Republican and his leadership team in the GOP-controlled House had a stunning defeat when a three-week spending bill for the Homeland Security Department went down, thanks to a group of angry conservatives. The rejection came just hours before a threatened agency shutdown. A compromise — with support from Democrats — is keeping the department open for one more week. Boehner tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Friday “was just messy
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Dems say Homeland Security mess will hurt GOP

Democrats are losing some skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. Democrats lacked the votes Friday to force Republicans to fund the department for a year with no strings. Still, even some Republicans say party leaders are on a perilous path with a very public ideological struggle only highlighting the GOP’s inability to pass contested legislation and possibly worsening its weak relationship with Hispanic voters. Worst of all, numerous lawmakers said, Republican leaders have offered no plausible scenario for a successful ending, so
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Illinois Congressman repays Uncle Sam for redecorating office

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock repaid $40,000 from his personal checking account for redecorations to his congressional office in the style of the TV show “Downton Abbey,” according to financial records reviewed by The Associated Press. Schock paid $35,000 earlier this month to the owner of the Illinois decorating firm Euro Trash, and $5,000 more on Thursday, the records showed. His official House expense account had previously paid the group for its services. Schock, a rising star in the Republican Party, has been under scrutiny for using taxpayer money to pay for the redecorating, as well as using his official and
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Republicans moving to approve short-term DHS funding

Hours from a partial agency shutdown, Congress is moving to approve a short-term funding bill for the Homeland Security Department that leaves intact Obama administration immigration policies Republicans vowed to repeal. Some House Republicans insisted the tactic would allow them to continue their fight against President Barack Obama’s executive directives granting work permits and deportation stays to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Others predicted that in the end, they would have to bend and pass a full-year spending bill without provisions undoing Obama’s immigration policies. That’s the approach demanded by Democrats, and already agreed to by Senate Republicans.
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