Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Skeptical Democrats not sold on Obama’s latest health care plan

President Barack Obama faces skepticism on his latest revised health care plan not only from Republicans but also from Democrats who have one eye on polls and the other on a tough re-election campaign in 2010. Obama Wednesday called on Congress to put aside a year of partisanship and bitter divisions over his faltering health care “reform” program and pass the measure in a simple, up-or-down vote by the Easter recess at the end of March. “At stake now if not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem and I ask Congress to
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Anti-abortion Democrats threaten health care bill

The fate of President Barack Obama‘s signature health care bill in Congress could lie in the hands of a dozen Democrats who oppose abortion and who want a provision barring it. Michigan Democratic Rep. Bob Stupak says he and his fellow anti-abortion Democrats are prepared to take the heat if they can sink the bill. “Yes, we’re prepared to take the responsibility,” Stupak says. “Let’s face it. I want to see healthcare but we’re not going to bypass the principles of belief that we feel strongly about.” Stupak has been down this road before. He held up legislation last year
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Senate says ‘nada’ to money for seniors

The Senate thumbed its collective nose at President Barack Obama‘s plea for an extra payment of $250 to seniors, veterans and those on disability, voting 50-47 to reject the stipend that would have added $13 billion to the $108 billion jobs bill languishing in the Senate. Congress gave the extra money last year as part of the stimulus package but the enthusiasm wasn’t present on the Senate floor this time around. Ten Democrats and 40 Republicans voted to reject the payment. The vote came as a bitter defeat for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the powerful senior citizens
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Rangel steps down as Ways and Means Committee chairman

Rep. Charles B. Rangel threw in the towel Wednesday, agreeing to temporarily step down from his post as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee amid escalating investigations into ethical lapses. After first refusing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi‘s urging that he give up his seat until his mounting ethical problems could be resolved, Rangel caved and announced he would relinquish his hold on the powerful tax-writing committee. “In order to avoid my colleagues having to defend me during their elections, I have this morning sent a letter (to Pelosi) asking her to grant me a leave of
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Bunning blinks, allowing passage of highway, jobs bill

Embattled, bitter Kentucky GOP Senator Jim Bunning folded his one-man blockade of federal highway programs and extension of unemployment benefits Tuesday, allowing the Senate to finally pass a $10 billion bill to finance the activities. President Barack Obama immediately signed the measure into law, allowing 2,000 Department of Transportation workers to return to work and freeing the way for federal funding of highway programs and continuation of unemployment insurance for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Bunning, under increasing pressure from Republicans and Democrats, finally relented on his stubborn, often rancorous campaign against the bill. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
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Rangel: ‘Hell no, I won’t go’

Ethics-challenged Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York Tuesday denied reports he would step down, at least temporarily, from chairmanship of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee until he deals with ethics questions over his acceptance of corporate-paid junkets, failures to disclose assets and problems with the IRS. Rangel, after a private meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said “no” when reporters asked if he would step down as chairman. When asked if he was still chairman, Rangel shot back: “You bet your life.” Some sources, however, still say Rangel will take a “leave of absence” from the job.
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Bunning fingers the press

Kentucky’s Jim Bunning, the one-man Senate roadblock, flipped the bird Tuesday to ABC’s Zach Wolf, a news producer, during a testy exchange with Jonathan Karl, a reporter for the network. Bunning, a former major league pitcher and baseball Hall of Famer, isn’t running for re-election and has a nasty temper that erupts often in front of the press. Reporters tried to question the Kentucky Senator as he headed into the elevator en route to a floor vote.  Bunning shouts, gets red-faced and yells at the reporters, telling them to “leave me alone.” The Senator last week managed to block extension
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GOP’s message to unemployed: ‘Get a job’

Republicans in the Senate aren’t winning any friends among the ever-increasing ranks of the unemployed. First Republican Jim Bunning of Kentucky pulls off a single-handed shutdown of federal transportation programs, idling 2,000 federal employees without pay, and — in the process — stalling extension of unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans whose benefits are running out. Now Arizona GOP Sen. John Kyl says — in effect — that those drawing unemployment don’t want to get a job. Kyl claims unemployment creates a new welfare class of non-workers who have no desire to look for work. Kyl claims “continuing to pay people
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Reconciliation: GOP’s new dirty word

Democrats may hold the majorities in the House and Senate but they are losing the propaganda war daily to Republicans when it comes to opinions of the hearts and minds of the American people, especially on the divisive issue of health care reform. Now, as House and Senate leaders push for passage of health care legislative through the reconciliation process, they face another public relations problem: How to do so without looking like it was just another back room deal. Deals with lobbyists watered down health care “reform.” Deals for votes brought angry reactions from both the public and members
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Politics puts thousands out of work

Political posturing in the Senate put thousands of federal transportation employees out of work Monday, stopped an extension of unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans and halted federal payments to states for highway programs — thanks to the stalling efforts of Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning. Bunning threw a political stall into extension of federal highway and transit programs last week, saying the $10 billion price tag for the program adds to much to the deficit. The programs expired at midnight Sunday. Included in the package was an extension of unemployment benefits for the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose current
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