Capitol Hillbillies

Memo to Congress: Do more for national parks

Memo to Congress: Do more for national parks

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says Congress needs to do more than talk when it comes to national parks, forests and other public lands. In her first major address since taking office this spring, Jewell called on Congress to push for full funding for parks and other public lands in the federal budget. “The real test […]

Paul Ryan talks collaboration, not confrontation

Paul Ryan talks collaboration, not confrontation

To hear Rep. Paul Ryan tell it, a bipartisan group of congressional negotiators has the chance to take the first steps toward fixing a serious problem: a debt-ridden federal government facing an onslaught of retiring baby boomers draining entitlement programs. If successful, “we’ll restore confidence in Washington,” Ryan said this week at the start of […]

Republicans back to their old political tricks in Senate

Republicans back to their old political tricks in Senate

Senate Republicans have blocked confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee to one of the most influential federal courts. Obama had nominated Patricia Millett to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Millett has worked as a lawyer for both Democratic and Republican administrations. The court rules on federal agency actions […]

Unity within the fractured Democratic Party is short-lived

Unity within the fractured Democratic Party is short-lived

Just two weeks after President Barack Obama saw his Democratic Party put up an unyielding front against Republicans, his coalition is showing signs of stress. From health care to spying to pending budget deals, many congressional Democrats are challenging the administration and pushing for measures that the White House has not embraced. Some Democrats are […]

Federal deficit falls below $1 trillion for first time in five years

Federal deficit falls below $1 trillion for first time in five years

For the first time in five years, the U.S. government has run a budget deficit below $1 trillion. The government said Wednesday that the deficit for the 2013 budget year totaled $680.3 billion, down from $1.09 trillion in 2012. That’s the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a $458.6 billion deficit. It’s still […]

Spying on allies can be a two-way street

Spying on allies can be a two-way street

Nations spying on each other’s leaders is a two-way street and a longtime practice in the intelligence world, according to the U.S. intelligence chief. But a surveillance sweep on phone records overseas that has prompted an anti-American backlash was carried out by European governments, not the U.S., another intelligence official said. National Intelligence Director James […]

Can Kathleen Sebelius save her job and/or Obamacare?

Can Kathleen Sebelius save her job and/or Obamacare?

Eager to cast blame, lawmakers are preparing to grill President Barack Obama’s top health official over problems with the rollout of the government’s health care website. A growing number of Republicans in Congress are calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to step down or be fired because of problems consumers are having […]

Senators pontificate on ‘stand your ground’ laws

Senators pontificate on ‘stand your ground’ laws

Trayvon Martin’s mother told a panel of senators Tuesday that state stand your ground self-defense laws do not work and must be amended, reviving the politically charged gun control issue. Democrats who hold majority power in the Senate and are trying to keep it supported Sybrina Fulton’s call. Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of […]

NSA spying scandal leads to turnaround by Congressman

NSA spying scandal leads to turnaround by Congressman

He gave more surveillance power to U.S. government spies, railed against civil liberties advocates who warned about privacy abuses, and famously shut down a 2005 hearing to silence critics. Now Rep. James Sensenbrenner wants to scale back some of the counterterror laws he once championed, citing an overreach by the National Security Agency that has […]

GOP Senator set to block all nominations over Benghazi

GOP Senator set to block all nominations over Benghazi

Sen. Lindsey Graham is threatening to hold up all nominations for federal government positions until survivors of last year’s deadly attack on the diplomatic post in Libya appear before Congress. The South Carolina Republican made the threat Monday on his official Twitter account. The tweet said: “Where are the #Benghazi survivors? I’m going to block […]