Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Montana Lt. Gov. will replace Max Baucus in Senate

Montana’s governor picked Lt. Gov. John Walsh on Friday to be interim U.S. senator, an appointment that could kick-start Walsh’s election campaign as Democrats seek to keep the seat — and control of the U.S. Senate — in their hands. Lt. Gov. John Walsh, 53, is to be sworn in Tuesday to serve the remainder of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ term. That will give Walsh nine months to build a record as an incumbent as he looks to a potential general-election campaign against a formidable opponent, Republican U.S. Rep Steve Daines. Walsh said in a news conference that he would
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Boehner: Immigration reform? Don’t bet on it

Speaker John Boehner on Thursday all but ruled out passage of immigration legislation before this fall’s elections, saying it would be difficult for the Republican-led House to act on the issue that President Barack Obama has made a top domestic priority. In his most pessimistic comments, Boehner blamed the stalemate on widespread skepticism that Obama would properly enforce any immigration reforms that Congress approved. The GOP leader didn’t mention that his own members have balked at acting on the contentious issue, which could enrage core conservative voters in the midterm election year. “The American people, including many of our members,
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Farm bill clears Senate, heads for Obama’s signature

The sweeping farm bill that Congress sent to President Obama Tuesday has something for almost everyone, from the nation’s 47 million food stamp recipients to Southern peanut growers, Midwest corn farmers and the maple syrup industry in the Northeast. After years of setbacks, the Senate on Tuesday sent the nearly $100 billion-a-year measure to President Barack Obama. The White House said the president will sign the bill on Friday in Michigan, the home state of Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. The Senate passed the bill 68-32 after House passage last week. The bill provides a financial cushion for farmers who
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As budget numbers improve, zeal for more cuts wane

New U.S. budget deficit estimates due on Tuesday will likely show a rapidly improving fiscal picture over the next few years, contributing to a waning appetite in Washington for further budget cutting. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to revise downward its deficit forecasts over the next 10 years. Many analysts believe that major deficit reduction is highly unlikely before President Barack Obama leaves office in 2017, and lower deficit forecasts could reinforce that view. The CBO in May last year forecast a $560 billion deficit for fiscal 2014, which ends September 30. That matches the median estimate from 29
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Republicans on immigration: It’s all Obama’s fault

Republicans are starting to lay the blame on President Barack Obama if an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system fails to become law. The GOP’s emerging plan on immigration is to criticize Obama as an untrustworthy leader and his administration as an unreliable enforcer of any laws that might be passed. Perhaps realizing the odds of finding a consensus on immigration are long, the Republicans have started telling voters that if the GOP-led House doesn’t take action this election year, it is Obama’s fault. “If the president had been serious about this the last five years, we’d be further
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Keystone pipeline clears State Department review

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to the controversial pipeline from Canada through the heart of the U.S. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states cheered, but the report further rankled environmentalists already at odds with President Barack Obama. The department report stops short of recommending approval of the $7 billion pipeline, which has become a major symbol of the political debate over climate change. But the review gives Obama new cover if he chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from many Democrats
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Senate passes delay in flood insurance premium hikes

The Senate has passed a bill to delay premium hikes for years on hundreds of thousands of homeowners who buy flood insurance from the federal government. The 67-32 vote reflects widespread concern about changes enacted two years ago to shore up the program’s finances. The changes are producing sky-high insurance rates that are unaffordable for many homeowners in flood-prone areas whose insurance has historically been subsidized by the government and other policyholders. The bill was muscled through the Senate after angry constituents, the real estate and home builder lobbies inundated lawmakers with complaints. Opponents of the bill say it unravels
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Republicans attempt to justify their immigration ‘principles’

House Republican leaders plan to outline broad immigration principles, including legalization for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally, to the GOP rank and file as they look to revive long-stalled efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House GOP leaders will measure the willingness of party members to tackle immigration in a midterm election year when they unveil the principles Thursday at the GOP caucus’ annual retreat in Cambridge, Md. “We’re going to outline our standards, principles of immigration reform and have a conversation with our members, and once that conversation’s over we’ll
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Republicans, of course, unimpressed with Obama’s speech

At the dawn of an election year, congressional Republicans responded quickly and forcefully to President Barack Obama’s nationally televised vow to act on his own if lawmakers won’t cooperate on “creating new jobs, not creating new crises” in a nation with a yawning income gap. “The president must understand his power is limited by our Constitution, and the authority he has doesn’t add up to much for those without opportunity in this economy,” House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday night after Obama’s State of the Union address before a packed House chamber and a prime-time television audience. “The real answer
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House rushing for approval of new farm bill

The House is rushing to complete work on a nearly $100 billion-a-year farm bill that would make small cuts to food stamps and continue generous subsidies for the nation’s farmers. Conservative Republicans in the House helped defeat an earlier version of the bill last summer, and some of those lawmakers hoped to do so again Wednesday, saying the $800 million in annual cuts to food stamps isn’t enough. But the final version of the five-year bill has solid backing from the House GOP leadership, even though it makes smaller cuts to food stamps than they would have liked. Leaders scheduled
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