Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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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Rangel says Obama acting like Dick Cheney

Charles Rangel, the scandal-scarred Democrat who has become a symbol of an unwillingness of Democratic leaders of Congress to police their own, said over the weekend that President Barack Obama is acting more and more like Dick Cheney because of his commitment to the Iraq war and big oil. “I challenge anyone to tell me we aren’t there (Iraq) because of the oil,” Rangel told supporters as he kicked off his re-election bid for a 21st term in Congress. Rangel said Obama is not being honest with Congress or the American people about the war. “The lack of an honest
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McCain in fight for his political life

A serious re-election fight wasn’t what Republican John McCain expected when he returned to the Senate after losing the presidency. But the four-term senator is battling for his political life in a race that embodies the volatility of an unpredictable election year. He’s facing former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, a fellow Republican pushing him farther to the right as GOP voters demand conservative purity in their candidates and punish those with ties to the Washington establishment. Two longtime Senate incumbents have fallen — Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, D-Pa. A third — Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. — could see her hopes
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Mullen: Congress should have waited on gay ban vote

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday he would have preferred that Congress had waited before voting to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bans gays from serving openly in the military. Adm. Mike Mullen did not directly criticize a House vote on Friday that marked a step toward repealing the ban. But he said it would have been better for lawmakers to wait until the Pentagon completed its review of how to make the repeal work. That study, due in December, is based on a current survey of troops and their families. “Ideally, I
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Congress moves forward on removing gay military ban

Congress has taken two big steps toward ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation. The votes were a victory for President Barack Obama, who has actively supported ending the policy, and for gay rights groups who have made repealing the ban their top legislative priority this year. “Lawmakers today stood on the right side
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