Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Financial reform runs into snag

President Barack Obama’s efforts to win final approval of a historic financial regulatory reform bill looked more complicated on Saturday after a Republican senator threatened to oppose it. “I was surprised and extremely disappointed to hear that $18 billion in new assessments and fees were added in the wee hours of the morning by the conference committee,” Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said. He issued the statement after negotiators from the Senate and House of Representatives emerged from a marathon session early Friday morning with a final compromise on a bill that would bring about the most sweeping financial rules revamp
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Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92

Robert Byrd, 92, the longest serving Senator in American history, died this morning in a Washington area hospital. The West Virginia lawmaker was admitted last week for heat exhaustion and dehydration but his condition was far more serious. “However, upon further examination by his doctors, other conditions have developed which has resulted in his condition being described as ‘serious,'” spokesman Jesse Jacobs said in a statement. Byrd was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1952 and served six years there before moving to the Senate. Until last year, the often-ailing senator was the top Democrat on the powerful
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Duck and cover: Barton goes into hiding

If you called the Washington office of Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton Friday, all you got was a recording saying the office was closed. The Congressman who created a national uproar and embarrassment wasn’t taking calls. Neither was anyone else on his staff although press secretary Sean Brown said in an email that aides were working that day he would not elaborate. Republicans and Democrats both consider Barton a pariah after he “apologized” to oil giant BP for what he called a “shakedown” in the company’s meeting with President Obama because BP agreed to fork over $20 billion for Gulf
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GOP leaders force Barton to retract ‘shakedown’ claims

Who’s sorry now? Rep. Joe Barton, that’s who. The Texas Republican, the House’s top recipient of oil industry campaign contributions since 1990, apologized Thursday for apologizing to the chief of the British company that befouled the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill. His double mea culpa plus a retraction, executed under pressure from fuming GOP leaders, succeeded in shifting attention from the tragedy, BP’s many missteps and the stoic British oil chief at the witness table, to his own party’s close connection to the oil industry. Barton started the ruckus at midmorning when he took aim at the
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Obama’s tax, jobs bill strikes out in Senate

A Democratic bill to extend jobless benefits and raise taxes on investment fund managers failed a key vote in the Senate on Thursday, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s push to boost the economy. The bill would have extended popular business tax breaks, stopped a 21 percent Medicare pay cut for doctors treating elderly patients and extended extra Medicaid money to cash-strapped states. Democratic leaders failed to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome solid Republican opposition to the bill, which would have added about $55 billion to the deficit over 10 years. The Senate voted 56-40 against the
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New poll offers hope for Congressional Democrats

There’s encouraging news for Democrats battling to retain control of Congress in this fall’s elections, with the party holding a slender edge in public trust for shepherding the economy and slightly more people saying their finances are healthy, according to a new poll. The reeling economy remains people’s top concern, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted earlier this month, making public attitudes about it crucial for both parties’ hopes in November. The good news for Democrats: By a margin of 47 percent to 42 percent, people trust them more than Republicans to guide the economy, and 64 percent —
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Rep. Steve King: Obama prefers blacks over whites

Democrats on Tuesday denounced an Iowa Republican congressman who says President Barack Obama favors blacks over whites, and a GOP candidate from Colorado canceled a fundraiser the Iowan was to keynote. Rep. Steve King, known for sometimes incendiary remarks about immigration, Abu Ghraib and other issues, criticized Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who also is black, in an interview Monday on G. Gordon Liddy’s nationally syndicated radio talk show. “I’m offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture,” said King, 61. “It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes
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‘None of the above’ gaining ground on Harry Reid

Harry Reid faces one wild-card factor in November’s election: None of the above. Nearly 11 percent of voters in Nevada’s Democratic primary last week chose “none” over Reid, reflecting a sense of frustration within his own party over the Senate majority leader’s performance. The 12,335 Democrats who voted for “none of these candidates” — a ballot option on statewide races since 1976 — may still be angry at Reid in November. Moderate Republicans and independents also could throw their support for the “none” vote, possibly hurting Reid in a tight race with conservative tea party-backed candidate Sharron Angle. Reid has
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Obama, GOP in pissing contest over Medicare pay for docs

President Barack Obama is asking Republican lawmakers to approve billions of dollars in new spending to avert a scheduled 21 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients. If GOP senators don’t allow the stalled proposal to pass, some doctors will stop treating Medicare recipients, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said his party wants to avoid reducing physicians’ fees, but do it without adding to the deficit — meaning spending cuts elsewhere. The president noted that since 2003, Congresses led by Democrats and by Republicans
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Lincoln uses Clinton, anti-union message to survive

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln survived a bruising Democratic runoff thanks to former President Bill Clinton’s starpower and her argument that labor unions were trying to interfere in state politics. In winning the Senate primary Tuesday, Lincoln overcame a flood of outside money from labor unions and liberal groups that had backed Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s challenge. She’ll fight for her seat against Republican Rep. John Boozman in the fall. “I think this race became bigger than me and bigger than Bill Halter,” Lincoln told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. “It became about whether or not the people of Arkansas,
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