Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Boehner faces three opponents in GOP primary

John Boehner’s primary races are often about as challenging as a tap-in putt. However, the U.S. House speaker and avid golfer faces stepped-up competition back home this time. With three GOP opponents on the ballot and some outside money aimed against him, Boehner’s campaign has run two rounds of television ads amid other voter outreach efforts. Boehner last week worked his 8th House District that stretches across six counties, making five announced stops over three days through western Ohio. “We take every race very seriously,” campaign spokesman Cory Fritz said. And, he said, without major statewide GOP primaries for governor,
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Senate nears election-year mininum wage vote

Win or lose — and they’ll probably lose — Democrats hope this week’s Senate showdown over raising the federal minimum wage reaps them benefits in November’s congressional elections. Whether they’ll get an Election Day payoff is uncertain. In a Senate vote expected Wednesday, Republicans seem likely to block the Democratic measure, which would gradually raise today’s $7.25 hourly minimum, reaching $10.10 as soon as 2016. Even if the bill, one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities, somehow survives in the Senate, it stands little chance of even getting a vote in the GOP-run House. Who would the proposal most directly
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Congress returning to do as little actual work as possible

Congress gets back to work Monday after a two-week vacation, and it’s looking like lawmakers will do what they do best: the bare minimum. Forget immigration, a tax overhaul, stiffer gun checks. They’re all DOA. Raising the minimum wage or restoring lost unemployment benefits? Nope. The only things likely to become law in a Congress bitterly divided between House Republicans and the Democratic-led Senate are those items that simply have to pass. That’s a short, short list. It gets even shorter if you leave off things that can wait until a postelection lame-duck session. Atop the list is a short-term
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Rep. Michael Grimm facing federal charges

The attorney representing Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm maintains that the congressman has done nothing wrong but says he’s not surprised his client is facing criminal charges from federal prosecutors. Grimm has been dogged by allegations of campaign violations since his first campaign for Congress in 2009 and 2010. A House Ethics Committee announced in November that Grimm was under investigation for possible campaign finance violations. “After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm,”
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U.S. not giving up on Mideast peace…yet

The suspension of peace talks between Israel and Palestinians on Thursday delivered the harshest blow yet to Secretary of State John Kerry’s ambitious, if perhaps quixotic, hope of ending the decades-long impasse at the cost of focusing on other crises around the world. But Kerry refused to accept defeat, saying “we will never give up our hope or our commitment for the possibilities” of Mideast peace. Kerry sought to portray the latest setback with as much optimism as the dismal development would allow. “There is always a way forward,” he told reporters at the State Department, just a few hours
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Social Security resuming benefit mailings

Paper Social Security benefits statements, which used to be mailed out every year and then fell victim to budget cuts, are going to make a partial comeback. Starting this September, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will resume mailings at five-year intervals to workers who have not signed up to view their statements online, an agency spokesman told Reuters. The statements will be sent to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60, he said, adding the agency would continue to promote use of the online statements. The SSA stopped mailing most paper statements in 2011 in
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Sen. Warren details a working family’s woes

At the beginning of her new book, “A Fighting Chance,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren describes the moment she grew up. She was 12, living in Oklahoma with her family, and noticed her mother putting on a dress for a job interview to answer telephones at a local Sears store. Warren’s father had had a heart attack and bills were piling up. Her mother’s stubborn insistence to hold onto the family home not only sets the young girl on the path to adulthood but also lays out the larger theme of Warren’s life work: the struggle of working families to get
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XL pipeline review delay will not delay politics

Democrats sweating this year’s elections may be hoping that the Obama administration’s latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms. Fat chance. An indefinite extension of the government’s review of the contentious oil pipeline, announced late Friday by the State Department, almost certainly pushes a final decision past the November elections, keeping the project in a politically expedient holding pattern. But it is doing little to quell posturing over the project, which has taken on a life of its own as climate change activists battle with energy advocates from
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Some Democrats returning to the Obamacare fold

With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it’s time to stop hiding from the president’s health care overhaul, even in this year’s toughest Senate elections. Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace “Obamacare,” the GOP’s favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread. President Barack Obama recently announced that first-year sign-ups for subsidized private health insurance topped 7 million, exceeding expectations. And the Congressional Budget Office — the government’s fiscal scorekeeper — said it expects only a minimal increase in
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On healthcare, Americans prefer Democrats over GOP

Americans increasingly think Democrats have a better plan for healthcare than Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after the White House announced that more people than expected had signed up for the “Obamacare” health plan. Nearly one-third of respondents in the online survey released on Tuesday said they prefer Democrats’ plan, policy or approach to healthcare, compared to just 18 percent for Republicans. This marks both an uptick in support for Democrats and a slide for Republicans since a similar poll in February. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stepped down last week after overseeing the law’s
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