Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Democrats: Corruption? What corruption?

Democratic leaders say they’ve emptied the swamp of congressional corruption. Never mind the ethics trials to come for two longtime party members. “Drain the swamp we did, because this was a terrible place,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week of the Republican rule in the House that ended in January 2007. Pelosi’s statement might seem odd, but it’s an emerging strategy: Separate Democratic-initiated ethics reforms from the cases of Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Pelosi needs a strategy because Republicans have been adept at jumping on the troubles of Rangel, the former House Ways and Means chairman,
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Kagan on way to confirmation

A confirmation vote is all but assured for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as the Senate begins debate on making her the fourth female justice. Supporters and opponents were to weigh in during debate starting Tuesday on President Barack Obama‘s nominee. A vote is expected before week’s end. Confirming Kagan, 50, for a lifetime seat on the court is one of the last pieces of business senators will attend to before departing for a monthlong vacation. Kagan is in line to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens and become the fourth woman to sit on the court. Nearly all Democrats
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McCain blocks spy chief vote

Senator John McCain said on Monday he would allow a Senate vote on President Barack Obama‘s nominee to be U.S. intelligence chief as soon as he receives an intelligence report he requested 18 months ago. But another senator, Kit Bond, said he might also move to block a vote on the spy chief nominee in order to pry loose a separate intelligence assessment on Guantanamo detainees. McCain, a Republican, has placed a “hold” — a procedural move blocking a Senate floor vote — on the nomination of James Clapper as director of national intelligence. But he told reporters he actually
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Pelosi ‘out of the loop’ in Rangel probe

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s “out of the loop” in the House ethics committee‘s investigation of fellow Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel. Rangel — a longtime New York congressman and a former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee — is facing 13 counts of wrongdoing. Allegations include providing official favors in return for donations, hiding income and assets, and failing to pay taxes. Pelosi is sidestepping questions about Rangel’s future and whether he might once again lead that powerful committee in the future. She tells ABC’s “This Week” that it’s “an elementary discussion because what we have
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Maxine Waters: Another ethics mess for Democrats

A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could face an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the election outlook for the party as it battles to retain its majority. People familiar with the investigation, who were not authorized to be quoted about charges before they are made public, say the allegations could be announced next week. The House ethics committee declined Friday to make any public statement on the matter. Waters, 71, has been under investigation for a possible conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank and
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Rangel’s woes: An election year gift to Republicans

Republicans wanted an election-season ethics case against Democratic powerhouse Rep. Charles Rangel of New York. And now, it looks like they have one. A House ethics panel of four Democrats and four Republicans, who will determine Rangel’s guilt or innocence on 13 ethics charges, held its organizational meeting Thursday. The message going forward, from the top Republican on the panel, was: Let the trial begin. Rangel was “given the opportunity to negotiate a settlement during the investigation phase,” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said. “We are now in the trial phase.” McCaul’s strong comment was echoed by Rep. Jo Bonner,
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Rangel faces the jury

A jury of Rep. Charles Rangel’s congressional peers is ready to publicly discuss charges of ethical misdeeds. But the political discussions outside the room will be far more significant. Eight House lawmakers who will determine guilt or innocence of the former committee chairman will hold their first meeting Thursday. A number of Democrats considering calls for the New York Democrat to resign will get their first look at the allegations. “I think everyone is looking forward to getting all the facts out in the open and people will have to react once we know what we’re dealing with,” said Rep.
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Democrats ignored Rangel’s ethics problems

House Democratic leaders who promised to “drain the swamp” of corrupt Washington are doing a delicate rhetorical dance around one of their own, 20-term Rep. Charlie Rangel, as he faces a public trial on ethical misdeeds during a high-stakes midterm election. They can’t pressure the former Ways and Means chairman to strike a deal or resign without running afoul of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus. So by Tuesday, as behind-the-scenes talks more or less continued, Democratic leaders went public with the only thing they all could agree on. “Everybody would like to have it go away,” said House Majority Leader
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Economic fears threaten Democrats

Americans by a large majority believe President Barack Obama has not focused enough on job creation, as economic fears threaten Democrats ahead of November 2 congressional elections, a Reuters-Ipsos poll found on Tuesday. In a sign of trouble ahead for the Democrats, the poll found evidence of a sizable enthusiasm gap with Republicans more energized about voting in the elections. Americans expressed deep unhappiness with the direction of the economy, which in the poll they identified overwhelmingly as the country’s top problem. The U.S. unemployment rate is at a stubbornly high 9.5 percent and Obama has spent much of the
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Harry Reid’s uncertain future

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid’s chances for six more years in Washington may be like tossing dice in a casino, even if he has made headway against Republican challenger Sharron Angle in a state with the nation’s highest rate of joblessness. The four-term Reid holds a slight lead over Angle in the latest polling, thanks in part to her unsteady performance since winning the June primary and to Democratic ads portraying her as an extremist. Video of Angle scurrying away from reporters has mixed with television commercials of older voters upset about her call to phase out Social Security and
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