Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ don’t pass

The US Senate dealt a potentially deadly blow Thursday to efforts to end a nearly two-decade ban on gays serving openly in the US military, voting against taking up a bill to repeal the restriction. Lawmakers voted 57-40 — three votes short of the 60 needed — to move forward with annual military spending legislation that included a measure ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The motion was a defeat for President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, who had made repealing the 1993 law a priority in the “lame duck” session of Congress between November elections and the end
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Pissed Democrats say tax bill will likely pass but they’re not happy about it

Slowly, painfully and reluctantly, congressional Democrats are slogging their way toward acceptance of President Barack Obama‘s tax cut compromise, which would let rich and poor Americans keep Bush-era tax cuts that were scheduled to expire this month. After Obama publicly defended the plan for a third day Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden met with Democratic lawmakers in the Capitol for a second day, several Democrats predicted the measure will pass, mainly because of extensive Republican support. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., predicted the tax cut compromise “will be passed by virtually all the Republicans and a minority of Democrats.” He
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Republicans thumb noses at senior citizens again

House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday thwarted Democratic efforts to award $250 checks to Social Security recipients facing a second consecutive year without a cost-of-living increase. President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors barely getting by on their Social Security checks face undue hardships without the COLA increase. But most Republicans contended that the nation couldn’t afford the estimated $14 billion cost of the payment, and that the COLA freezes in 2010 and 2011 come after seniors received a significant boost in 2009. The measure was brought up under a fast-track procedure in
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Obama turns up the heat on allies for tax cut support

The White House courted and squeezed wary Democratic allies on Wednesday in a bid to rescue a compromise with Republicans to avert a massive New Year’s tax hike while extending jobless benefits. Swift passage of the embattled deal could clear a path for some of President Barack Obama‘s other embattled priorities for a year-end legislative session, including a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with Russia. During a brief joint public appearance with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, Obama said economists predicted the job-hungry US economy would get more people to work in 2011 and 2012 if the tax agreement were made
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Obama’s new scare tactic: No tax cut, new recession

Raising the direst alarm yet, the Obama administration warned fellow Democrats on Wednesday that if they defeat the big tax-cut compromise detested by many liberals they could jolt the entire nation back into recession. President Barack Obama appealed anew for Congress to “get this done” and insisted that more congressional Democrats would climb aboard as they studied details of the $900 billion year-end measure. Several did announce support on Wednesday, but at least one said there still was “a mood to resist.” One Democratic opponent, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, forecast a result that would abruptly reverse Congress’ voting pattern
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Senate Dems think they can pull off a vote on military’s gay ban

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had a plan to overcome Republican objections and finally repeal the military’s 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. The White House also expressed optimism that Congress would overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, despite key GOP senators giving no indication that they would agree. A test vote was scheduled for late Wednesday on a defense policy bill that includes the repeal provision. “The president is hopeful, and encouraging Democrats and Republicans to get behind that repeal,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. Advocates for overturning the law say they are confident that at least
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Axelrod: Obama ‘had’ to make tax deal

A senior adviser to President Barack Obama says he believes Democrats angry about the deal with Republicans on tax cuts will support it when they weigh the consequences of people’s taxes going up. David Axelrod tells CBS‘s “The Early Show” that Obama would not have been able to spare middle-class taxpayers a significant increase in the new year if he hadn’t agreed to GOP demands that existing rates be continued for the wealthy as well. Axelrod said he hopes lawmakers will “focus on the consequences of inaction,” saying that if the legislation fails, taxes on the typical family will soar
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Expect at least three more years of housing problems

The housing market will remain depressed, with record high foreclosure levels, rising mortgage rates and a glut of distressed properties dampening the market for years to come, industry experts predicted on Tuesday. “We don’t see a full market recovery until 2014,” said Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac, a foreclosure marketplace and tracking service. He said that he expected more than 3 million homeowners to receive foreclosure notices in 2010, with more than 1 million homes being seized by banks before the end of the year. Both of those numbers are records and expected to go even higher, as $300 billion in
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Immigration landmines threaten Democrats

The chance for hundreds of thousands of foreign-born youngsters brought to the country illegally to gain legal status is dwindling as time runs out on the Democratic-controlled Congress. Senate Democratic leaders will try Wednesday to advance legislation that would pave the way for legalizing the young immigrants, over opposition by most Republicans and several in their own party. The so-called Dream Act is a top priority of Democrats and politically active Hispanic groups, who call it a crucial down payment on a broader immigration overhaul. Critics regard the measure as backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. With the GOP taking control of
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Is a deal near on taxes? That depends…

An outline of a bipartisan economic package is emerging that would temporarily extend the Bush-era tax rates for all taxpayers, while extending jobless benefits for millions of Americans. Differences remained over details, including White House demands for middle- and low-income tax credits. But Republicans and Democrats appeared to come together Sunday, raising the possibility of a deal in Congress by the end of the week. Some Democrats continued to object to extending current tax rates for high earners. But without action, lawmakers face the prospect of delivering a tax hike to all taxpayers at the end of the year, when
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