Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Debt limit already a hot-button issue for GOP

In power scarcely a day, House Republicans bluntly told the White House on Thursday its request to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit will require federal spending cuts to win their approval, laying down an early marker in a new era of divided government. Speaker John Boehner made the challenge as the new GOP majority voted to cut funding for House members’ own offices and committee operations by $35 million. Rank and file Republicans described that vote as a mere down payment on a much more ambitious assault on record federal deficits. “It’s not massive,” first-term Rep. Cory Gardner,
Read More

Two Republicans voted before they took office

It only took two days for majority Republicans in the House to suffer their first embarrassment. Two of their members, including the House Republican campaign chairman, voted a half-dozen times in Wednesday’s opening session before they were sworn in. Reps. Pete Sessions, the campaign chief, and Mike Fitzpatrick were at a reception in the Capitol Visitor Center when other members took the oath. The two men saw House Speaker John Boehner swearing in members on television and raised their hands before the screen believing they were taking the oath, said Jo Maney, spokeswoman for House Rules Committee chairman David Dreier
Read More

Reading the Constitution: Education or futility?

Republicans and Democrats took turns politely in a historic recitation of the Constitution from the House floor Thursday, but the decorum hardly meant they were in agreement. In a nod to the tea partiers who put the Republicans in power, GOP lawmakers took time out from their campaign to change the way government works to read the document upon which the government was founded. Democrats went along but pointedly questioned the Republicans’ insistence on omitting sections that show how the Constitution has changed over time — such as one that classified a slave as three-fifths of a person. Approved in
Read More

Republicans already breaking their promises

Republicans have already violated some of the vows they made in taking stewardship of the House. Their pledge to cut $100 billion from the budget in one year won’t be kept. And for a coming vote seeking to repeal the health care overhaul, the first major initiative of the new Congress, lawmakers won’t be allowed to propose changes to the legislation despite Republican promises to end such heavy-handed tactics from the days of Democratic control. Is business as usual really back so fast? That’s not clear one day after Democrat Nancy Pelosi yielded the gavel to the new Republican House
Read More

Obama’s New Year’s resolution? Fix the economy, stupid

President Barack Obama has set his New Year‘s resolution high for 2011: repair the struggling economy. In his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, the vacationing president said recent data showed the economic recovery was gaining traction even as millions of Americans are still out of work. “Our most important task now is to keep that recovery going,” Obama said. “As president, that’s my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening our middle class. That’s my resolution for the coming year.” Unemployment of nearly 10 percent and
Read More

A humble soldier adjusts to fame

It was years in the making, so Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta had time to talk with his wife about the “what if” question. He’d been recommended for the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. If chosen, his name would be in headlines. His face in the spotlight. He’d be a celebrity. And again and again, he’d have to tell strangers the harrowing story of a deadly ambush in Afghanistan. “He was worried,” says Giunta’s wife, Jenny. “He didn’t know how he was going able to talk to people about it. He couldn’t even talk to me. He didn’t
Read More

The GOP agenda: Lots of turmoil, little hope for progress

The Republican agenda for the new Congress that convenes Wednesday may have a greater impact on the 2012 elections than on the lives of Americans in the next two years. Republicans promise to cut spending, roll back President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul and prevent unelected bureaucrats from expanding the government’s role in society through regulations that tell people what they must or can’t do. Getting this agenda through the House may be easier than in the Senate, given the GOP‘s 241-194 majority in the House. Getting the Senate to act will be a challenge. Democrats still hold an edge
Read More

The upcoming spending fight at the not-so-OK corral

Two early showdowns on spending and debt will signal whether the new Congress can find common ground despite its partisan divisions or whether it’s destined for gridlock and brinkmanship that could threaten the nation’s economic health. Not all of the bickering in the 112th Congress that convenes Wednesday will be between Republicans and Democrats. House Republicans, back in power after four years in the minority, will include numerous freshmen whose unyielding stands on the deficit, in particular, could severely test soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner‘s ability to bridge differences and pass major bills. His first big challenge will come in February,
Read More

Murkowski finally certified winner in Alaska

The state of Alaska certified Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s victory over Tea Party favorite Joe Miller on Thursday, nearly three months after the incumbent won the race with an unconventional write-in campaign. The certification document was signed in the state capitol in Juneau by Governor Sean Parnell and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, a spokeswoman for Parnell said. “It’s been certified. The governor signed the certificate and the lieutenant governor notarized it,” Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said. “From there it gets on a plane tonight with Gail.” Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai will carry it personally to the Secretary of
Read More

Judge clears way for Murkowski win in Alaska

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by conservative Tea Party favorite Joe Miller that challenged his loss in Alaska’s election for a Senate seat, clearing the way for state officials to certify Lisa Murkowski’s historic write-in victory. District Judge Ralph Beistline lifted an injunction he imposed last month that delayed certification. “The injunction is lifted and the Division of Elections may certify the election results immediately,” Beistline said in his order. The election will be officially certified on Thursday by Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, the lieutenant governor’s office said late on Tuesday after
Read More