Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Opposition to spending bill grows

Growing opposition among Democrats and persistent opposition from the tea party Republicans has left a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill teetering as many lawmakers find more in the measure to dislike than like. Two items are particularly toxic to Democrats whose votes will be needed to pass the measure, neither of which was disclosed until late in this week’s negotiations on the bill. One would weaken the regulation of risky financial instruments and another would allow rich people to flood political parties with more cash. A provision aimed at shoring up financially weak multiemployer pension fund was drawing fire from
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Report says torture did not help find bin Laden

After Navy SEALs killed Osama bin laden in Pakistan in May 2011, top CIA officials secretly told lawmakers that information gleaned from brutal interrogations played a key role in what was one of the spy agency’s greatest successes. Then-CIA Director Leon Panetta repeated that assertion in public, and it found its way into a critically acclaimed movie about the operation, “Zero Dark Thirty,” which depicts a detainee offering up the identity of bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, after being tortured at a secret CIA interrogation site. As it turned out, bin Laden was living in al-Kuwaiti’s walled family compound,
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Massive $1.1 trillion spending bill angers right-wing

A huge, $1.1 trillion spending bill funding every corner of government faces its first test in the House, where conservatives are unhappy because it fails to challenge President Barack Obama’s immigration policy and many Democrats are displeased because it weakens the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulation of risky financial instruments. Another provision drawing fire would allow pensions to be cut for current retirees covered by some economically-distressed multiemployer plans, part of a package agreed to unexpectedly Tuesday after secretive talks. The 1,603-page measure was unveiled late Tuesday and will be scrutinized in advance of a House vote Thursday. But support from the
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Issa ready for another assault on Obamacare

One of the Obama administration’s harshest congressional critics will get a final high-profile shot when the House Oversight Committee grills witnesses about the president’s health care overhaul and a former adviser’s remark about voters’ “stupidity.” For four years, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has used the committee chairmanship to probe and attack the administration on issues such as the IRS scandal, misplaced guns and U.S. deaths in Benghazi, Libya. Talk radio conservatives love him. But even some GOP colleagues say he overdoes the combative partisanship at times. Issa, who surrenders the chairmanship next year due to term limits, will lead the
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Policy differences threaten spending bill

Ahead of Congress’ midnight Thursday deadline, snags caused by policy differences are holding up a $1.1 trillion, government-wide spending bill, including a provision that could lead to pension cuts for more than 1 million retirees and a plan to relax new regulations on some risky financial products. The massive measure is the main piece of unfinished business before the lame-duck Congress packs up for the holidays and Republicans take full control of Capitol Hill next month. GOP leaders want a clean slate to start next year and are eager for a deal. Democrats want a deal as well — while
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Republicans in House match Truman years

Republicans will hold at least 246 House seats come January, according to election results Saturday, giving the GOP a commanding majority that matches the party’s post-World War II high during Democratic President Harry S. Truman’s administration. The GOP retained control of two seats in runoffs in Louisiana, expanding the advantage for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who can afford defections from his increasingly conservative caucus and still get legislation passed. Combined with the Republican takeover of the Senate, Congress will be all-GOP for the final two years of President Barack Obama’s second term. The latest count gives the GOP a 246-188
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Bye bye to last Deep South Democrat in Senate

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy has denied Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana a fourth term, calling his Senate victory “the exclamation point” on midterm elections that put Republicans in charge on Capitol Hill for President Barack Obama’s last two years in office. With nearly all votes counted, unofficial returns showed Cassidy with a commanding victory in Saturday’s runoff as he ousted the last of the Senate’s Deep South Democrats. In the South, Democrats will be left without a single U.S. senator or governor across nine states stretching from the Carolinas to Texas. Cassidy, after a campaign spent largely linking Landrieu
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House ready to rebuke Obama on immigration

House Republicans are prepared to rebuke President Barack Obama over immigration, with a vote on legislation that declares his recent executive actions “null and void and without legal effect.” But even supporters acknowledge that the bill by Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., is mostly meant to send a message, since it stands little chance in the Senate — which remains under Democratic control until January — and would face certain veto by Obama. Instead, its passage Thursday would set the stage for the real showdown over legislation to keep the government running past Dec. 11, when a current funding measure expires.
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House wants to extend tax breaks until end of year

The House is moving to extend a $45 billion package of expired tax breaks through the end of the year, which would enable millions of businesses and individuals to claim them on their 2014 returns. Beyond Dec. 31, their fate would be uncertain. The House is expected to pass the package of more than 50 tax breaks Wednesday and send it to the Senate. Senate Democratic leaders were noncommittal about whether they would accept the bill or try to change it. Time is short because the House plans to adjourn for the year next week, and the Senate could as
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Homeland Secretary under fire from GOP lawmakers

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is defending President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration even as GOP lawmakers work to find the best way to stop them. Johnson was to appear Tuesday before the House Homeland Security Committee in the administration’s first testimony on the issue since Obama announced plans two weeks ago to shield some 4 million immigrants here illegally from deportation and offer them work permits. The action applies to people who’ve been in the country more than five years and have kids who are citizens or green card holders. “The reality is that, given our limited resources,
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