Capitol Hillbillies

Election year politics drives Congress in 2014

Election year politics drives Congress in 2014

Congress returns to work Monday with election-year politics certain to shape an already limited agenda. Republicans intend to focus on every facet of President Barack Obama’s health care law. They see a political boost in its problem-plagued rollout as the GOP looks to maintain its House majority and seize control of the Democratic-led Senate. First […]

Democrats, Republicans repackage themselves

Democrats, Republicans repackage themselves

Both Republicans and Democrats are looking for fresh ways to pitch old arguments as they head into the final midterm election year of Barack Obama’s presidency. Eager to capitalize as the president’s job approval rating hovers in the low 40s, Republicans are looking to hammer the clumsy implementation of Obama’s health care overhaul and bemoan […]

Year’s end also brings end to 55 tax breaks

Year’s end also brings end to 55 tax breaks

  In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses. Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And […]

Snowden’s claims of ‘victory’ slammed by lawmakers

Snowden’s claims of ‘victory’ slammed by lawmakers

Members of Congress said Sunday they weren’t impressed with Edward Snowden’s recent publicity blitz calling for an end to mass surveillance and declaring that he’s already accomplished his mission. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California acknowledged that Snowden has kindled an important public debate, but he said the former National Security Agency leaker should have […]

Can water projects unify a divided Congress?

Can water projects unify a divided Congress?

Big multimillion-dollar water projects, once a favorite target of good-government reformers who made them a poster child of political pork, are back in vogue as a rare force of concord in a dysfunctional Congress. Republicans and Democrats who found little common ground in 2013 are rallying around a bill they hope to pass early next […]

Slicing up the trillion dollar budget pie

Slicing up the trillion dollar budget pie

As Washington empties out for the holidays, a final budget fight will play out in the nearly empty Capitol building as congressional staffers parcel out more than $1 trillion to fund everything from cybersecurity to student loans. Unlike the knock-down budget battles that paralyzed government for much of the year, this debate will largely take […]

Manchin: Obamacare may suffer ‘complete meltdown’

Manchin: Obamacare may suffer ‘complete meltdown’

President Barack Obama’s healthcare law could have a “meltdown” and make it difficult for his Democratic Party to keep control of the U.S. Senate next year if ongoing problems with the program are not resolved, a Democratic senator said on Sunday. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has urged delaying a penalty for people […]

Budget deal passes Senate, ready for Obama’s signature

Budget deal passes Senate, ready for Obama’s signature

Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation Wednesday scaling back across-the-board cuts on programs ranging from the Pentagon to the national park system, adding a late dusting of bipartisanship to a year more likely to be remembered for a partial government shutdown and near-perpetual gridlock. Obama’s signature was assured on the measure, which lawmakers in both […]