Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Rangel becomes major headache for Democrats

Friends and political allies of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel are noticeably quiet after the disclosure that the 40-year House veteran and dean of the New York congressional delegation may face serious charges from a House ethics panel. Rangel, 80, told reporters Friday that he looked forward to a public airing of the charges next week and fully intended to fight to clear his name. But national Democrats, already nervous about the party’s prospects in the November election, had little to say publicly about Rangel’s plight. It’s a particularly vexing situation for New York Democrats, who know Rangel well and have
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Rangel faces more ethics problems

Rep. Charles Rangel, who has spent half of his 80 years as a member of Congress, says he looks forward to fighting ethics charges. Other Democrats won’t be so pleased. The ethics trial sought by the New York congressman and former Ways and Means Committee chairman will coincide with campaign season. Democrats will have to defend their party’s conduct. If enough of them lose, the party could cede control of the House. Republicans are already going negative, reminding voters that Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to “drain the swamp” of ethical misdeeds in Congress. Rangel had a choice. His lawyer had
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Democrats can’t win without independent voters

Democrat Joe Sestak — a son of the Philadelphia suburbs — needs the independent voters in his backyard as he campaigns for a Senate seat in a swing state that may tilt Republican this year. Independents have been turning away from President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, frustrated with the economic downturn and administration initiatives, even in Pennsylvania where Obama won by double-digits two years ago. Sestak, a two-term congressman, has his work cut out for him. “To vote for any of them right now, I’m not really sure I could. It’s too early to say,” says Tori Fisher,
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Anti-abortion forces win one in health care fight

Abortion foes have scored a victory and traditional allies of the Obama administration are grumbling about a decision to ban most abortion coverage in insurance pools for those unable to purchase health care on their own. The Catholic bishops “welcome this new policy,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, although he added the organization remains concerned that other provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will promote abortion. The issue flared after at least one state — New Mexico — initially decided to allow coverage of elective abortion in a newly launched, federally funded program to provide coverage for high-risk
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Sessions predicts GOP takeover of House

A top Republican lawmaker on Sunday predicted his party would win back the House of Representatives from Democrats in the November mid-term elections, as both parties previewed the arguments they will deploy in the battle for control of Congress. Republican Representative Pete Sessions said his party would win “slightly over” 40 House seats, which would give them a slim majority in the chamber and, with it, the ability to derail President Barack Obama’s agenda. “I think our candidates are going to take us from good to great to victory,” said Sessions, who oversees his party’s electoral efforts in the House.
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Reid leads Angle in new poll

A new poll shows Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid with a slight edge over Republican opponent and tea party favorite Sharron Angle in the campaign leading to the November election. The statewide telephone survey gives Reid a 44 percent to 37 percent lead over Angle, with a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Ten percent of 625 likely voters surveyed statewide Monday through Wednesday were undecided. Five percent said they would choose Nevada’s none-of-the-above option, and 4 percent wanted someone else. The poll was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Las
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Bank bill passes but work remains

In the end, it’s only a beginning. The far-reaching new banking and consumer protection bill awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature now shifts from the politicians to the technocrats. The legislation gives regulators latitude and time to come up with new rules, requires scores of studies and, in some instances, depends on international agreements falling into place. For Wall Street, the next phase represents continuing uncertainty. It also offers banks and other financial institutions yet another opportunity to influence and shape the rules that govern their businesses. In hailing the bill’s passage in the Senate on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
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Obama promises to help angry House Democrats

Facing criticism from House Democrats, President Barack Obama promised their leaders Wednesday night that he’ll actively support their agenda and Democratic lawmakers as they head into tough midterm elections this fall, according to a congressional leadership aide. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were among those in the Oval Office meeting. The aide, who was briefed on the meeting, spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private. The meeting came as congressional Democrats, fearing disaster in the fall elections, have expressed frustration with the Obama team and its efforts to help Democrats. They also were
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Key Senators express doubts over Afghan war

Two of the Senate’s leading foreign policy experts expressed doubts Wednesday about the course of the war in Afghanistan, further complicating the Obama administration’s effort to maintain support for the nearly 9-year-old conflict. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it’s not clear that the administration has a solid strategy for prevailing, and the panel’s ranking Republican, Richard Lugar of Indiana, decried “a lack of clarity” about U.S. war goals. Their complaints were aired at a hearing in which the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, acknowledged that the way ahead remains
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Dems plan: Trap GOP on tough votes

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have settled on an agenda for the final weeks before Congress’ summer recess that could force Republicans to take tough votes on populist issues like unemployment insurance and a small business loan program. It comes with Democrats clawing for advantage amid a nasty political climate and in the face of continued high unemployment heading into crucial November midterms. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama and Senate Democratic leaders agreed at a meeting Tuesday to try to hold votes in the next couple weeks on a financial regulation overhaul bill, extending unemployment insurance
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