Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Vaccine foes find support from GOP’s right-wing

As vaccine skeptics fight laws that would force more parents to inoculate their kids, they are finding unexpected allies in conservative Republicans. Though the stereotype of a vaccine skeptic is a coastal, back-to-the-land type, it’s generally been Democratic-controlled states that have tightened vaccination laws. This week, Democrats in two of those states — California, where a measles outbreak was traced to Disneyland, and Washington state — proposed eliminating laws that allow parents to opt out of vaccination for personal reasons. Meanwhile, in Maine, Republicans are objecting to a similar effort. In Minnesota, only Democrats have signed onto sponsor a bill
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More GOP stunts against Obamacare

Three Republican lawmakers eager to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul are touting tax credits and greater leeway for states and health insurers as the GOP unveiled its first plan this year for replacing the law that the party reviles. Republicans released the outline Wednesday as Democrats continue pounding away at them for pledging to repeal and replace Obama’s law, practically since its 2010 enactment, without advancing a substitute. That’s a growing political liability for Republicans because the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year, 19 million Americans will receive coverage as a result of the law, including
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Legislative lobbying on No Child Left Behind law

Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law. With votes anticipated in the House and Senate, House Democrats plan their own Capitol Hill forum on Thursday for changing the law — a protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue. In the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, came out against a provision in a draft bill circulated by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that would allow federal
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New Pentagon chief pick urges accountability

President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Pentagon says he will seek better use of taxpayer dollars but that Congress must bring stability back to the military’s budget. Ashton Carter, in prepared remarks for his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, acknowledges that the Defense Department must end wasteful practices that undermine public confidence even as he criticizes the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. “I cannot suggest support and stability for the defense budget without at the same time frankly noting that not every defense dollar is spent as well as it should be,” Carter says in remarks prepared for his
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Spending delays, endangered butterflies in Obama budget

When you have a quarter of the nation’s $17 trillion economy to play with, it’s inevitable that you and your political opponents will clash over what to do with the money. President Barack Obama’s nearly $4 trillion budget for 2016, with the thumbs-down it got from Republican leaders, is no different. But while such partisan clashes are important, smaller tidbits can be just as interesting. Here are five things great and small about the president’s spending plan and the GOP reaction to it. GAMES BUDGETS PLAY To be precise, Obama’s budget claims 2016 spending of $3.999 trillion. Is it a
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Obama’s budget offers contrasts against GOP extremes

With a blend of tax hikes and spending increases, President Barack Obama’s budget spells out a policy agenda that will distinguish him from Republicans who now control Congress. It also will contain what amount to opening bids for some long-shot compromises. Republicans have already dismissed much of Obama’s initiatives, spelled out in his State of the Union address. They’ve labeled as nonstarters his plans for more taxes on the rich to pay for free community college and to expand child care. But Obama is releasing his $4 trillion budget Monday after a year of relative peace in Washington’s budget battles
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Things to remember on Budget Day

A quick quiz: Monday is — a) Groundhog Day b) Budget Day c) A day for repeating the same old arguments over spending and taxes, only louder. d) All of the above. If you picked “d,” you’re in the proper spirit for federal Budget Day, which appropriately falls on Groundhog Day this year. It’s safe to predict we’re in for way more than six more weeks of Republicans and Democrats fighting over how to spend our money. Here are five things to know before President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget fully emerges Monday: ___ IT’S JUST AN OPENING BID Despite all
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More consternation for Loretta Lynch’s confirmation?

Senators weigh Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general for a second day at a hearing certain to pile criticism on President Barack Obama and Eric Holder, the current occupant of the job. Thursday’s hearing brings a roster of outside witnesses to the Senate Judiciary Committee, including several invited by Republicans to showcase opposition to Obama’s use of executive powers. It follows a cordial daylong appearance by Lynch that moved her closer to expected confirmation as she pledged independence from President Barack Obama and promised to work with the Republican-led Congress. Lynch offered support Wednesday for some controversial Obama administration policies,
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Bill to grant war powers to fight Islamic State militants

The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel is introducing a bill Wednesday to authorize President Barack Obama’s war against Islamic State militants, saying Congress should not wait to see if the White House sends over its blueprint of what the legislation should say. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he wants to spark the debate in the Republican-controlled Congress over a new authorization to fight IS, which has been fighting for territory in Iraq and Syria. “We’re in what it seems is a never-ending game of who goes first in terms of putting a draft out there — the White
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AG nominee Loretta Lynch faces Senate hearings

President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, faces Senate questioners Wednesday as she seeks to become the first black woman to hold the nation’s top law enforcement job. In the first Republican-led confirmation session of the Obama administration, Lynch was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it opens two days of hearings on her nomination. She’s widely expected to win confirmation but will face tough questions nevertheless. Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, would replace Eric Holder, who announced his resignation last fall after leading the Justice Department for six years.
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