Despite predictions the Great Recession is running out of steam, the House is taking up emergency legislation this week to help the millions of Americans who see no immediate end to their economic miseries.
A bill offered by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and expected to pass easily would provide 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for more than 300,000 jobless people who live in states with unemployment rates of at least 8.5 percent and who are scheduled to run out of benefits by the end of September.
The 13-week extension would supplement the 26 weeks of benefits most states offer and the federally funded extensions of up to 53 weeks that Congress approved in legislation last year and in the stimulus bill enacted last February.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says hate-filled rhetoric over President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals could fuel a dangerous increase in violence.
Pelosi told reporters that the tone of the debate over health care is "frightening" and reminds her of the angry, hate-filed rhetoric over gay rights that emerged in San Francisco in the 1970s and led to the the murders of city Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
Pelosi said those spewing the hate rhetoric will be responsible for any "incitement" they results from the tone of the debate.
A group of US Senators unveiled legislation Thursday aiming to strip telecommunications firms that took part in a hugely controversial Bush-era spying program of immunity from lawsuits.
The bill aims to "fix problems with surveillance laws that threaten the rights and liberties of American citizens" without crippling the government's ability to track suspected terrorists, the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
The legislation would affect the way the US government can search Americans' personal records, conduct wiretapping, and otherwise collect and use information on US citizens.
Unhappy Senate Democrats on Thursday found plenty to complain about in the fine print of the latest health overhaul bill, particularly a tax provision they fear would hit hard at middle-class Americans, from coal miners in West Virginia to firefighters in New York.
The opposition sprang up a day after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., unveiled long-delayed legislation that would transform the nation's health care system, requiring almost everyone to buy insurance, making insurance companies cover people with pre-existing medical conditions and reining in spiraling health care costs.
The bill has given fresh momentum to President Barack Obama's top domestic priority of extending health coverage and controlling costs.
President Barack Obama's call for an overhaul of the nation's health care system gained fresh momentum with the introduction of long-delayed Senate legislation to rein in spiraling medical costs and require nearly everyone to be carry health insurance.
The proposal by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus "will move this historic debate forward," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, although she quickly added that Baucus' plan was less desirable than a bill taking shape in the House.
Other Democrats were less enthusiastic, and not a single Republican announced support when Baucus introduced the measure Wednesday after months of closed-door talks and numerous missed deadlines.
The latest health overhaul plan circulating on Capitol Hill gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives.
Industry players that have already struck bargains with President Barack Obama's administration and leading Democrats to help pay for revamping the health system saw most of those deals left intact — and in some cases sweetened — in the $856 billion proposal unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee chairman.
There used to be a water-cooler line the gist of which was that women had to work twice as hard as men to get half as far in the workplace. Peggy Lee sang the song, "I'm a Woman" including the lyrics, "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan."
Even though both have become ossified cliches because women have proven themselves over and over, a new study seems to prove women are still overachieving, this time in Congress. A study released this week by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago says that, on average, women in Congress whip up more bills than their male counterparts, arm-twist more members of their own party and the opposition to co-sponsor these bills and (here comes the song allusion) bring back more federal pork to their constituents than their male counterparts.
Sen. Max Baucus, a leader in the troubled effort in Congress to write a health care overhaul bill, has received more campaign donations from the health industry than any elected federal official except President Barack Obama and three other senators.
Baucus, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has collected $3.9 million in donations from the health industry since 1989. Yet, when it comes to generous campaign contributions from doctors, drug makers, hospitals and other medical interests, the Montana Democrat has company from a group of colleagues he's seen a lot of lately.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's oldest son defended his father against a claim by former President Jimmy Carter that the congressman's outburst during a speech by President Barack Obama was "based on racism."
Responding to an audience question at a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter said Tuesday that Wilson's outburst was also rooted in fears of a black president.
"I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."
But Wilson's son disputed that.
Sen. Max Baucus' decision to release his long-awaited health care overhaul bill with no Republicans on board dims the chances for a bipartisan compromise on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.
The Senate Finance Committee chairman insisted Tuesday that he'll keep negotiating with the three Republicans and two fellow Democrats who've been in closed-door talks with him for months on the bill he was to reveal Wednesday. Baucus, D-Mont., said he hopes that by the time the committee votes on the bill, as early as next week, Republicans will be there.