Capitol Hillbillies

Republicans eager to jump on spending abuses

Republicans are preparing to pounce on any wasteful spending in the $787 billion stimulus package as they refocus their criticisms of a measure whose success could hurt their 2010 election prospects.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats also promise rigorous oversight, including a new Web site to help people track various projects funded by the massive bill. But the two parties will reap different political rewards if they find waste or abuse, which is virtually inevitable when the government tries to spend so much money so fast, authorities say.

Dems ‘Truth Commission’: Just more partisanship?

A Democratic-proposed "truth commission" to investigate the Bush administration is generating more partisanship in a Congress already filled with it.

Republicans are almost universally opposed, and President Barack Obama doesn’t appear to be enthralled with the idea either, saying at his first prime-time news conference he would consider the proposal but wants to look forward.

Burris says he welcomes probe of his actions

An increasingly embattled U.S. Sen. Roland Burris said he "welcomes" the chance for authorities and elected officials to look into how he landed a coveted Senate appointment from ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Burris’ admission that he had more contact with Blagojevich advisers about the Senate seat than he described under oath to a state House impeachment panel has furious lawmakers asking for an investigation into whether the Democrat committed perjury.

And the revelation that Burris tried to raise money for the governor after Blagojevich’s brother asked him for fundraising help has triggered calls for Burris’ resignation.

Republicans seek return to image of fiscal restraint

Seeking political traction, Republicans are using the economic stimulus package to try to restore an image of fiscal discipline tarnished by a free-spending GOP Congress under former President George W. Bush.

The return to what many Republicans consider their small-government, tax-cut roots is driving unity in a party that now lacks power in the White House and in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

McCain: Obama didn’t practice bipartisanship

Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama failed to include Republicans in writing the big economic stimulus bill.

The Arizona Republican says the $787 billion measure will create what he calls "generational theft" — huge federal deficits for years to come.

Did Burris lie about Blago donation request?

Raising fresh questions about his appointment to Congress, Sen. Roland Burris admitted in a document released Saturday that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother asked him for campaign fundraising help before the governor named Burris as Illinois’ junior senator.

The disclosure reflects a major omission from Burris’ testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

House passes stimulus compromise

Handing the new administration a big win, the House Friday passed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy.

The bill was passed 246-183 with no Republican help. It now goes to the Senate where a vote was possible late Friday to meet a deadline of passing the plan before a recess begins next week.

Agreement in place on stimulus

Economic stimulus legislation at the heart of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan is on track for final votes in the House and Senate after a dizzying final round of bargaining that yielded agreement on tax cuts and spending totaling $789 billion.

Obama, who has campaigned energetically for the legislation, welcomed the agreement, saying it would "save or create more than 3.5 million jobs and get our economy back on track."

Negotiations heat up on stimulus

Negotiators hoped to seal agreement on President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package Wednesday after making good progress in the first rounds of closed-door talks.

Obama’s negotiating team insisted on restoring some lost funding for school construction projects as talks began Tuesday in hopes of striking a quick agreement, but by late in the day it appeared resigned to losing up to $40 billion in aid to state governments.

More spending proposed for stimulus bill

Top Democrats plan to add a big increase in highway and mass transit funding to President Barack Obama’s economic recovery program Tuesday, even as others in the president’s party hope to rein in the plan’s almost $1 trillion cost to taxpayers.

A move by Patty Murray, D-Wash., to add $25 billion in infrastructure projects is first in line as the Senate begins thrashing through dozens of proposed changes to the sprawling $885 billion measure.