Capitol Hillbillies

Love of pets will drive new federal action

By LISA HOFFMAN

Look for America’s devotion to its 130 million dogs and cats to push the federal government to create the first official national network to collect information from veterinarians and disseminate crucial data on pet food and health.

The ongoing pet-food emergency has demonstrated how anemic the Food and Drug Administration’s monitoring of the animal food supply has been. No one can say how many pets have died or been sickened by the suspect food, with estimates ranging from 16 to as many as 3,000 deaths.

Bush, Dems rachet up war rhetoric

By ANDREW TAYLOR

It’s a given that President Bush will veto the big Iraq money bill that sets a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops. The question is whether he’ll veto the next version if it contains what he calls "excessive and extraneous" non-war spending.

Bush is talking tough, as are Democrats on Capitol Hill. But there are signs that both sides want to avoid a second veto.

Dems want review of Bush’s recess appointment

By ANNE FLAHERTY

Democrats called for an investigation Thursday into whether President Bush acted illegally in appointing Sam Fox ambassador to Belgium.

A day earlier, Bush named Republican fundraiser Fox to the post as a recess appointment — a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress, where Democrats had derailed his nomination.

Democrats reject military budget cuts

By ANDREW TAYLOR

Just hours after floating the idea of cutting $20 billion from President Bush’s $142 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad was overruled by fellow Democrats Thursday.

“It’s nothing that any of us are considering,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.

Skepticism over Bush’s fuel saving plan

By JOHN CRAWLEY

Influential members of Congress expressed doubt on Wednesday about the White House goal of raising auto fuel efficiency by 4 percent next decade, convinced the target would harm U.S. manufacturers.

Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, suggested change is inevitable but he is not sold on the White House approach for saving 8.5 billions of gasoline by 2017.

Hastert, Reid back Patriot Act compromise

By JIM ABRAMS

Legislation to renew the anti-terror Patriot Act was cleared for final congressional passage Friday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert blessed a day-old compromise between the White House and Senate Republicans.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid also indicated he will vote for the bill when it comes to a vote, possibly next week.

Legislation to renew the anti-terror Patriot Act was cleared for final congressional passage Friday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert blessed a day-old compromise between the White House and Senate Republicans.

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