Rep. Dennis Hastert became speaker of the House by a twist of fate, and ended up holding the post longer than any other Republican and throughout a tumultuous period of American history. He announced Friday that he will not seek re-election, making official what had been suspected since last year’s Democratic takeover of Congress cost him the powerful speaker’s position.
“Together, we have made a difference. We have made history, and I thank you,” he told supporters in front of the Kendall County courthouse in the northern Illinois district he was first elected to represent in 1986.
Anti-war Democrats on Thursday accused President George W. Bush of plotting to lace a potentially pivotal report on his Iraq troop surge strategy with “White House spin.”
The attack came as senior congressional aides were reported as saying the White House tried to block public testimony in Congress next month from war commander General David Petraeus and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker.
Democrats are also angry the assessment on the surge, required under US law, will be written at the White House, not personally by Crocker and Petraeus.
The FBI is investigating the National Science Foundation’s award of up to $170 million in contracts to the oil-field-services company that oversaw renovations on U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens’ home.
The firm, Veco Corp., captured a lucrative five-year NSF contract in 1999 to provide logistics and support for polar research, although it had no previous experience in that field. During the same time period, Veco’s top executive managed renovations that doubled the size of the longtime Republican senator’s Girdwood, Alaska, home — the scene of a July 30 FBI raid.
Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who served as speaker of the House longer than any other Republican in history, intends to retire next year at the end of his current term, party officials said Tuesday.
A formal announcement was planned for Friday.
Hastert’s planned retirement is likely to set off a lively scramble between the two political parties for a House seat that he has held easily since 1986.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must welcome the heat she’s getting for wobbling on the farm and energy bills. Having caved in to Detroit on fuel economy standards and compromised with Midwest agro-plutocrats on crop subsidies for millionaires, she’s shown that she’s more a pragmatic Baltimore pol like her father than a knee-jerk San Francisco liberal. That’ll serve her well.
Both the farm and the energy bills won approval in the House in the past couple of weeks. Both are monuments to waste, stupidity and policy distortions going back generations — longer in the case of the ag subsidies.
It was just two days after the FBI raid on U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens’ house, and his colleague, U.S. Rep. Don Young, was at a press conference to attack a Democratic energy bill. It was the first time reporters were able to ask Young any questions since the news emerged that he, too, was under federal investigation.
Amidst much self-congratulation, Congress after several false starts has succeeded in passing a bill tightening its ethics regulations. And if the new regs won’t terribly diminish the role of cash and lobbyists’ clout in the legislative process, they will make it a lot more transparent.
It’s occurring largely under the nation’s radar screen, but the National Guard is well on the way to pulling thousands of its troops back from the border with Mexico, even though there are not enough civilian officers to replace them.
At its height, Operation Jump Start — as the effort was named when it began in June 2006 — deployed about 6,000 citizen-soldiers from around the country to New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California to bolster the border against illegal immigrants and drug smugglers attempting to enter.
The Democrats who came to power with so much hype and fanfare after the 2006 mid-term elections limped out of Washington Sunday, battered and bruised from multiple losses to the most unpopular President in modern American history.
After seven months of failure after failure, the Democratic Congress compounded their many errors by passing a far-reaching bill that allows Bush to spy at will on Americans without court approval. All he needs is a sign off by his lackluster and flawed Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.
The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government’s abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.
The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate’s approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature.
Late Saturday, Bush said, “The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has assured me that this bill gives him what he needs to continue to protect the country, and therefore I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk.”