Capitol Hillbillies

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.

Daschle faces more questions

Tom Daschle’s former Democratic colleagues were rallying to his defense after he met behind closed doors with the Senate Finance Committee to discuss problems with back taxes and potential conflicts of interest, but lawmakers promised he will face more questions.

Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, is President Barack Obama’s nominee to oversee the Health and Human Services Department.

Bipartisanship sounds nice, but seldom works

True to his pledge on the campaign trail, President Obama, in the spirit of bipartisanship and a more civil tone in Washington politics, ventured to Capitol Hill this week for separate closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans to sell his $825 billion stimulus plan.

It was a trip he didn’t have to make. The stimulus plan will ultimately pass, although getting it through the Senate might be a bit of a chore. In any case, Obama failed in his mission. He changed no Republican minds, but the president got high marks for trying.