Capitol Hillbillies

Another GOP Senator breaks with Bush

Another veteran Republican senator Thursday broke with President George W. Bush over Iraq, days before a new war powers tussle was due to start in Congress.

New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici, a senator for more than three decades, up for reelection in 2008, was the third Republican elder statesman to publicly turn against the president’s troop ‘surge’ policy within 10 days.

“I am unwilling to continue our current strategy,” Domenici said at a news conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, blaming the Iraqi government for not making sufficient progress to merit the sacrifices of US troops.

Bush, Democrats share in hypocrisy

The hypocrisy is unpardonable. President Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of a convicted liar brought out the worst in both parties and politics.

In keeping I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby out of jail, Bush defied his promise to hold wrongdoers accountable and undercut his 2000 campaign pledge to “restore honor and dignity” to the White House. And it might be a cynical first step toward issuing a full pardon at the conclusion of his term.

Democrats responded as if they don’t live in glass houses, decrying corruption, favoritism and a lack of justice.

Lugar: Time to pull troops out

Pressure on the US administration to start pulling out of Iraq deepened Sunday with one of the Senate’s most respected Republicans calling for an “orderly” withdrawal of troops in the months ahead.

Richard Lugar, the most senior Republican yet to break ranks with President George W. Bush over the war, said Bush should embrace moderates from both sides in Congress to chart a new strategy focused on diplomacy.

NRA under fire over gun-control bill

The July Fourth fireworks over the Washington Monument are nothing compared with the sounds of battle accompanying an uncommon war raging on Capitol Hill, gun-rights Web sites and radio talk shows.

Under fire is the National Rifle Association’s embrace in June of what some are calling the most important gun-control measure passed in the House in years.

Defiant Dems challenge Bush, Cheney

Democrats took the first steps Friday in what could be a long march to court in a tug-of-war between the White House and Congress over subpoenas and executive and legislative branch powers.

In a letter to White House counsel Fred Fielding, the heads of the Senate and House Judiciary committees demanded an explanation in 10 days of why the White House claimed executive privilege on subpoenaed documents and vowed to invoke “the full force of law.”

Senate’s failure on immigration reform

Senate opponents did more than just vote against immigration reform. They voted in favor of letting a serious situation get even worse.

An attempt to stop debate on the controversial measure and bring it to a final vote, where passage was by no means certain, fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed. Without the Senate going first, the House won’t even try.

That means another attempt at immigration reform probably won’t come until sometime after the 2008 election.

Senate kills Bush’s immigration bill

The Senate meted out a severe blow to President George W. Bush Thursday, blocking a landmark immigration reform seen as one of his last, best hopes for a legacy-boosting second term victory.

In a stunning defeat for the bid to grant a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants, Senators voted 53 to 46 against keeping the bill alive, likely ending congressional action on the divisive issue before 2009.

Move to cut off Cheney’s funds falls short

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly defeated a Democratic amendment to deny funds to operate Vice President Dick Cheney’s office next year in a feud over his handling of classified documents.

By a vote of 217-209, the House defeated legislation designed to rebuke Cheney for refusing, over objections by the National Archives, to comply with an executive order that set government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information.

Senate subpoenas Bush, Cheney records

The Senate subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office Wednesday, demanding documents and elevating the confrontation with President Bush over the administration’s warrant-free eavesdropping on Americans.

Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee also is summoning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss the program and an array of other matters that have cost a half-dozen top Justice Department officials their jobs, committee chairman Patrick Leahy announced.

Leahy, D-Vt., raised questions about previous testimony by one of Bush’s appeals court nominees and said he wouldn’t let such matters pass.

NRA outsmarts opponents once again

For the first time since taking control of Congress, gun-control Democrats are taking on the National Rifle Association. The NRA seems to be nipping the effort in the bud.

At issue is whether Congress should loosen restrictions on local law enforcement agencies’ ability to gain access to gun-purchasing data to trace the movement of illegal guns around the nation.