Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Senator suggests criminal actions against General Motors

General Motors should make restitution to victims’ families and face criminal action if merited for the way it handled defective ignition switches that caused fatal auto accidents, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said on Sunday. McCaskill, as chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection and product safety, led a blistering round of questioning of GM chief executive officer Mary Barra last week. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” show, McCaskill said GM now faced “a real moment of truth” as it pursues an internal investigation of the ignition switches and the automaker’s response to the problem. At least 13
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Republican budget: Massive cuts in aid to poor

A budget plan stuffed with familiar proposals to cut across a wide swath of the federal budget breezed through the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, but its sharp cuts to health care coverage for the middle class and the poor, food stamps and popular domestic programs are a nonstarter with President Barack Obama. The GOP-controlled committee approved the plan by a party-line vote after swatting away numerous Democratic attempts to ease its cuts. The plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the committee chairman and the party’s former vice presidential nominee, promises $5.1 trillion in cuts over the coming decade to
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Another House GOP assault on Obamacare

House Republicans renewed their election-year assault on President Barack Obama’s health care law Thursday, their opposition undimmed just days after Obama celebrated news that more than 7 million Americans had signed up for coverage under the law. The GOP-led chamber voted 248-179 to change the law’s definition of full-time work from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week. The result would be that fewer workers would get employer-sponsored health coverage and hundreds of thousands more people would be uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans, backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, said the
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Vote to release terror report summary due in Senate

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s expected vote to approve declassifying part of a secret report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects puts the onus on the CIA and a reluctant White House to speed the release of one of the most definitive accounts about the government’s actions after the 9/11 attacks. Even as Thursday’s vote neared, members of the intelligence community raised concerns that the committee failed to interview top spy agency officials who had authorized or supervised the brutal interrogations. They questioned how the review could be fair or complete. Once the 15-member panel votes as expected to declassify a
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Paul Ryan claims new GOP budget is balanced

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled an updated Republican budget plan Tuesday that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over coming decade and promises to balance the government’s books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class. Ryan’s plan would also cut Pell Grants for low-income students and pensions for federal workers. The proposal would reprise a voucher-like Medicare program for future retirees that would be the basis for GOP claims that the measure would drive down government debt over the long term. It also relies on scorekeeping
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Congress helps doctors avoid Medicare reductions

Congress once again has given doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees. A 64-35 Senate vote Monday cleared the measure for President Barack Obama’s signature, which was expected as early as Tuesday. The $21 billion bill would stave off a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors for a year and extend dozens of other expiring health care provisions, such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health care providers, but fully half of the cuts won’t kick
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In Congress, mostly Democrats represent the rich

Republicans are the party of the rich, right? It’s a label that has stuck for decades, and you’re hearing it again as Democrats complain about GOP opposition to raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits. But in Congress, the wealthiest among us are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican. Of the 10 richest House districts, only two have Republican congressmen. Democrats claim the top six, sprinkled along the East and West coasts. Most are in overwhelmingly Democratic states like New York and California. The richest: New York’s 12th Congressional District, which includes Manhattan’s Upper
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Mike Rogers moving his mouth from Congress to radio

Rep. Mike Rogers, the brash-talking Republican security hawk who has criticized the Obama administration yet commanded uncommon bipartisan support as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday he was retiring from Congress next year. The 50-year-old from Michigan made the surprising announcement in a radio interview, saying he’d leave Washington when his seventh term expires to begin a career in broadcasting. Rogers’ departure comes despite a sharp climb in his national profile, as he considered a Senate run and his name was floated as a possible candidate for FBI director. He has been among the GOP’s best fundraisers. Rogers
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Democrats try long-shot tactic to force immigration vote

House Democrats deployed a little-used legislative move Wednesday to force a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S illegally and tighten border security. The effort seemed doomed to fail but was designed to increase the election-year pressure on Republicans to act. “It is time for us to have a vote,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, who joined with more than a dozen Democrats, advocates and actress America Ferrera to mark 273 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan bill. They insisted that House Republican leaders
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Senate once rejected what Obama now proposes for NSA

The Senate Intelligence Committee three years ago secretly considered — but ultimately rejected — alternate ways for the National Security Agency to collect and store massive amounts of Americans’ phone records, The Associated Press has learned. One of those options, outlined in a classified 2011 NSA analysis and reviewed in detail during closed committee meetings, was similar to what President Barack Obama is now advocating: that the government stop the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and instead ask phone companies to search their own business records for terrorism connections. After reviewing the 2011 NSA analysis, the Senate overseers decided
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