Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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
Read More

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
Read More

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.
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Pelosi: Back the health care bill even if it costs you your job

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has an incredible message for her Democratic colleagues: Support health care even if it costs them their seat in Congress. Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” news talk program, Pelosi said health care is too important to play it safe politically. “We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress. We’re here to do the job for the American people,” Pelosi said. Pelosi’s ultimatum is not likely to sit well with Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns in an election year when polls show most Americans don’t care for the so-called “reform” packages currently
Read More

House ethics panel legalizes bribery

The House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct ruled Friday that bribing a member of Congress is legal as long as that member can come up with another excuse for earmarking money for a campaign contributor. The panel cleared seven lawmakers who added pork barrel earmarks to bills to spend hundred of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds on behalf of companies that poured huge campaign donations into their political warchests. The 305-page whitewash of a report said it’s OK to accept campaign cash and reward the donor with contracts and earmarks as long as the lawmaker can claim the
Read More

Pelosi backs scandal-ridden Rangel

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, once again forgetting her pledge to “drain the swamp” of scandal from Congress, won’t ask scandal-scarred Ways & Mean Chairman Charles Rangel of New York to give up his chairmanship of Congress. Instead Pelosi, as she did with ethics-challenged Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, who died earlier this month, is practicing the same double standard she always uses when it comes to protecting members of her other party — look the other way. Pelosi also refused to take action against former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana after an FBI raid of his home uncovered
Read More