Capitol Hillbillies

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 […]

McConnell attacks Democrats over defense bill

McConnell attacks Democrats over defense bill

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that his Democratic counterpart is barring any GOP changes to pending defense legislation because he “can’t stomach a vote on Iran sanctions.” In a blistering speech on the Senate floor, McConnell railed against Democratic leader Harry Reid for changing Senate rules to limit the GOP’s ability to filibuster […]

Three House veterans leaving Congress

Three House veterans leaving Congress

Three veteran members of the House of Representatives, two Republicans and one Democrat, announced their retirements just as the 2014 congressional campaign season starts to heat up. Republican Representatives Frank Wolf of Virginia and Tom Latham of Iowa, along with Democratic Representative Jim Matheson of Utah, made their separate announcements on Tuesday as Congress was […]

Budget deal creates split among Republican leaders

Budget deal creates split among Republican leaders

Senate Republican leaders are criticizing a bipartisan budget deal, parting ways with their House counterparts who shepherded the measure through that chamber last week. The split makes it harder for the Republican Party to present a united front as it approaches the midterm election year. And it shows that even modest tweaks in tax and […]

House ethics panel investigating Rep. Radel

House ethics panel investigating Rep. Radel

The House Ethics Committee announced Monday it was launching a formal investigation of a Florida congressman who pleaded guilty last month to cocaine possession. Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and ranking Democrat Linda Sanchez said in a joint statement the committee had voted unanimously to open an investigation into Rep. Henry “Trey” Radel, a freshman […]