Capitol Hillbillies

Lieberman: Bomb Iran now

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said Sunday the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran's involvement in Iraq.

"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."

Democrats cut deal with NRA over guns

In what Congress-watchers call a "stunning breakthrough," the powerful National Rife Association and Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill have cut a deal that will strengthen background checks on those buying firearms.

Deep divide derails immigration bill

The Senate divisions that derailed a White House-backed immigration bill — for now, at least — mirror the U.S. society's deep differences over the issue, according to polling data, lawmakers and analysts. Those gaps will challenge any effort to get the measure back on track.

While most Senate Democrats appeared to back the bill, several liberal members said it did too little to keep immigrant families together and protect jobs for U.S.-born workers.

The split in the Republican Party was more obvious. The issue pitted social conservatives, who insisted that illegal immigrants not be granted "amnesty" for entering the country unlawfully, against business groups hungry for willing workers in hotels, restaurants, construction sites and other comparatively low-wage, low-skilled workplaces.

Lawmakers want tests of body armor

The Pentagon's unwillingness to consider body armor that would better protect soldiers in Iraq has prompted action by Capitol Hill lawmakers who want independent tests to determine whether or not soldiers are getting the best protection in the field.

In a case where the military may be putting soldiers at risk in order to protect a favored defense contractor has angered lawmakers, soldiers and families of soldiers.

And it is not the first time that the Pentagon has placed protecting a fatcat deal above the lives of the men and women who serve in war.

Dems widen probe of corrupt lobbyist

House Democrats are expanding their investigation into ties between jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House and have contacted several Abramoff associates recently about testifying to Congress.

Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas dead at 74

Sen. Craig Thomas, a conservative Republican from Wyoming, has died after a fight with leukemia that was diagnosed last year just as he was elected for a third term. He was 74.

The senator's family said he died Monday evening at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The family had said earlier in the day that his cancer had been resistant to a second round of chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia.

Thomas was hospitalized with pneumonia just before the 2006 election, but won with 70 percent of the vote, monitoring the election from his hospital bed.

CSI: Washington

A Washington watchdog group is inviting you to engage in some "CSI" work, which, in this case, means "Campaign Spending Investigation."

The Center for Responsive Politics is asking the public to help them figure out which Capitol Hill lawmakers are pulling the strings behind the scenes of about 30 "mystery" fundraising political action committees.

Rep. Jefferson indicted for bribery

Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.

The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is 94 pages long and lists 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 235 years, according to a Justice Department official who has seen the document.

Kiss and tell and cash in

Hustler magazine is looking for some scandalous sex in Washington again — and willing to pay for it.

"Have you had a sexual encounter with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking government official?" read a full-page advertisement taken out by Larry Flynt's pornographic magazine in Sunday's Washington Post.

Democrats hide pork barrel from public

After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress' pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year.

Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify "earmarks" — lawmakers' requests for specific projects and contracts for their states.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them.