Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Feds sue to stop AZ immigration law

The federal lawsuit against Arizona’s tough new immigration law focuses heavily on a question that has been in the spotlight repeatedly the past decade and dates back to the Founding Fathers: The right of the government to keep states from enacting laws that usurp federal authority. The lawsuit filed in Phoenix federal court on Tuesday sidestepped concerns about the potential for racial profiling and civil rights violations most often raised by immigration advocates. Experts said those are weaker arguments that don’t belong in a legal challenge brought by the White House to get the measure struck down. Instead, the suit
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Wall Street pulling plug on donations to Democrats

A revolt among big donors on Wall Street is hurting fundraising for the Democrats’ two congressional campaign committees, with contributions from the world’s financial capital down 65 percent from two years ago. The drop in support comes from many of the same bankers, hedge fund executives and financial services chief executives who are most upset about the financial regulatory reform bill that House Democrats passed last week with almost no Republican support. The Senate expects to take up the measure this month. This fundraising free fall from the New York area has left Democrats with diminished resources to defend their
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Tough times for Charlie Rangel

Just about everyone likes Charlie Rangel. Republicans pump his hand, Democrats put their arms around his shoulders and women of all political persuasions give him pecks on the cheek. Spend some time with the 80-year-old congressman from New York City who’s been striding the Capitol’s halls for four decades on behalf of residents of Harlem, and there’s little evidence he’s become someone to avoid because of an ethics cloud that’s more likely than not going to darken in days to come. Colleagues in both parties still gravitate to the gravelly voiced, outgoing, backslapping Rangel four months after fellow Democrats persuaded
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Possible Reid endorsement puts NRA under the gun

The National Rifle Association  is in unfamiliar terrain on the conservative firing range this election year: It’s the target. The conservative Netroots are abuzz over the possibility that the NRA may endorse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). This would be the second major slight by the NRA for political conservatives — the gun group also just negotiated a big exemption on a campaign finance bill loathed by the right. Conservatives say there’s a clear political calculation at work: If Reid loses, he’s almost certain to be succeeded as majority leader by a fierce gun-control advocate, either Illinois Sen. Dick
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Mixed bag in jobs report

A wave of census layoffs cut the nation’s payrolls in June for the first time in six months, while private employers added a modest number of jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent, its lowest level in almost a year. Employers cut 125,000 jobs last month, the most since October, the Labor Department said Friday. The loss was driven by the end of 225,000 temporary census jobs. Businesses added a net total of 83,000 workers, an improvement from May. But that’s also below March and April totals. The unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level since July 2009. But
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House passes massive war funding bill

A House measure blending money for President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan troop surge with last-ditch moves by Democrats to salvage their faltering jobs agenda faces an uphill climb in the Senate. After long delays, House Democrats muscled the approximately $80 billion measure to passage Thursday night as their final act before leaving for a weeklong Fourth of July break. But the Senate passed a significantly slimmer measure in May and it’ll take additional weeks to reconcile the differences between the rival chambers of Congress. It’s just the latest disconnect between the battling House and Senate, which also have been unable to
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Kagan sailing towards nomination

Elena Kagan is speeding toward confirmation as the 112th Supreme Court justice, with Republicans showing little appetite for a long-shot filibuster attempt after sparring with her over abortion, gays in the military and other divisive issues. “Solicitor General Kagan will be confirmed,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., confidently predicted as the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up its examination of President Barack Obama‘s high court pick. Barring an unexpected turn, Kagan will succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens and become the fourth female justice in the Supreme Court’s history. It would be the first time that three of the court’s nine justices
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No benefits extension for 1.3 million

More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won’t get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on a weeklong vacation for Independence Day. An additional 200,000 people who have been without a job for at least six months stand to lose their benefits each week, unless Congress acts. For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night to continue providing unemployment checks to people who been laid off for long stretches. The House is slated to vote on a similar measure Thursday, though the Senate’s action renders the vote a futile gesture
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Financial reform passes House but Senate delays action

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a landmark overhaul of financial regulations but the Senate put off action until mid-July, delaying a final victory for President Barack Obama. Still, the 237 to 192 vote in the House marked a win for Obama and his fellow Democrats, who have made the most sweeping rewrite of Wall Street rules since the 1930s a top priority in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. “It has been a long fight against the defenders of the status quo on Wall Street, but today’s vote is a victory for every American who has
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Republicans fail to rattle Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who has displayed a cool demeanor and a sense of humor during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, was expected to move one step closer Wednesday to succeeding Justice John Paul Stevens, barring a major gaffe. Republicans who oppose her nomination will need to resort to a filibuster to block a confirmation vote, a prospect that seems less and less likely. A few uncomfortable exchanges with Republican senators about her treatment of the military and her political views didn’t slow down Kagan during Tuesday’s hearing. She tried to assure conservatives that her work as a Clinton
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