Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Renewing unemployment benefits stalls in Senate

Efforts to renew emergency federal jobless benefits for 1.5 million Americans stalled in the Senate on Tuesday when Democrats and Republicans rejected each other’s proposals. Both sides vowed to keep looking for a compromise, but it appeared unlikely they would find one before next week’s Senate recess. “It is extremely important that we act, and today we failed to act,” said Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. “It is not over,” said Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. “We are not going to give up.” If and when the Democratic-led Senate passes a bill to extend benefits, the measure
Read More

The $1.1 trillion budget deal: Too many trade-offs?

The sales job is on for a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that would pay for the operations of government through October and finally put to rest the bitter budget battles of last year. The massive measure contains a dozens of trade-offs between Democrats and Republicans as it fleshes out the details of the budget deal that Congress passed last month. That pact gave relatively modest but much-sought relief to the Pentagon and domestic agencies after deep budget cuts last year. The GOP-led House is slated to pass the 1,582-page bill Wednesday, though many tea party conservatives are sure to
Read More

Reid retreats on obstruction of votes on jobless bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid retreated Friday from his refusal to allow votes on Republican-backed changes in legislation resurrecting benefits for the long-term unemployed. A spokesman said Reid is “absolutely willing for the Senate to consider a reasonable number of relevant amendments from Republicans.” The spokesman, Adam Jentleson, did not specify a number or describe what he meant by relevant. That left it unclear, for example, whether Reid would allow a vote on a GOP proposal to pay for the bill by delaying a requirement for Americans to purchase coverage under Obamacare. The standoff over amendments has been among the
Read More

Dems join GOP to pass bill aimed at Obamacare security

The Republican-led House voted overwhelmingly Friday to bolt new security requirements onto President Barack Obama’s health care law, with 67 Democrats breaking ranks to join with the GOP. It was the first skirmish of what is certain to be a long and contentious election-year fight. The vote was 291-122 with Republicans relentlessly focusing on “Obamacare,” convinced that Americans’ unease with the troubled law will translate into significant election gains in November. Dozens of Democrats, nervous about their re-election chances or their campaigns for other offices, voted for the GOP bill. “Americans have the right to know if the president’s health
Read More

Congressmen claim Snowden’s leaks endangered U.S. troops

Two congressmen say a classified Pentagon report on former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden asserts that most of the documents he took concerned current military operations. “The vast majority of the material was related to the Defense Department, and our military services,” not NSA operations, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers said in an interview Thursday. “Clearly, given the scope and the types of information, I have concerns about operations that would be ongoing in Afghanistan,” Rogers said, as well other ongoing military operations. The Michigan Republican and ranking committee member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said Snowden tipped off
Read More

Congressional retreat on pension cuts for disabled vets

A massive spending bill taking shape on Capitol Hill is likely to repeal a recently enacted pension cut for disabled veterans. Capitol Hill aides said Wednesday that the $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending bill measure will reverse a 1 percentage point cut to annual cost-of-living increases that was inadvertently applied to more than 63,000 veterans who have left the military due to injury or disability. But the controversial pension cut included in last month’s budget agreement would continue to apply to other military retirees. It would save about $6 billion over the coming decade, money that’s being used to ease cuts
Read More

Delay in agreement on extending jobless benefits

One day after clearing a key Senate hurdle, legislation to renew long-term jobless benefits stood at a crossroads on Wednesday with gridlock beckoning from one direction and the prospect of compromise from the other. After a day of mixed signals, Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed any action on the measure until Thursday, saying he wanted to allow time for unspecified compromise efforts. Reid, D-Nev., also appeared to suggest that the focus shift away from a three-month resurrection of the expired program. Instead, he suggested efforts turn to a full-year renewal that could be paid for, a key demand from deficit-conscious
Read More

Two Democrats quitting in the House

Two House Democrats, Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, plan to retire at the end of their terms, their offices announced Wednesday. McCarthy, 70, has served nine terms in the House. Originally a Republican, she is among the most ardent advocates of gun control in the House and was inspired to run for Congress after the GOP congressman representing the suburban Long Island seat voted to repeal a 1994 law banning so-called assault weapons ban. Her husband Dennis was killed and her son Kevin seriously injured in a 1993 mass shooting on the Long Island
Read More

Obama’s jobless benefits bill clears GOP roadblock in Senate

A White House-backed bill to extend jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans narrowly cleared a Republican procedural roadblock in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, the first volley in a new battle to combat poverty. In a largely party-line vote of 60-37 – 60 were needed to prevail – the Democratic-led Senate agreed to begin consideration of the measure, which, at a cost of $6 billion, would extend recently ended jobless benefits for three months. The Senate may vote later this week on whether to pass the bill and send it to the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it would likely
Read More

Unemployment fight first battle of an election year

The struggle in Washington over whether to renew expired jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed is as much about providing aid to 1.3 million out-of-work Americans as it is about drawing the first political line of an election year. Tuesday’s unexpected vote in the Senate removing one obstacle to a three-month extension of aid attracted the support of six Republicans, illustrating the real-life and political pressures on some GOP lawmakers, including those from states with unemployment above the national average. Still, the legislation’s outcome is uncertain as Democrats, backed by the White House, and Republicans remain sharply divided over whether
Read More