Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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
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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
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More ethics problems for Rangel

The House Ethics Committee says 20-term Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel repeatedly violated ethics rules by accepting corporate money for lavish trips to the Caribbean. Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, also faces investigations into his use of office resources to raise money for a college center bearing his name and his failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and income. Rangel’s mounting problems add to problems haunting Democrats as they head into the 2010 mid-term elections with the increasing prospect of losing seats and, possibly, control of Congress. The Rangel affair also raises
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Congress endorses, extends Patriot Act abuses

Congress, under a Democratic leadership that once promised to roll back the excesses of the USA Patriot Act, gave overwhelming approval to an extension of the act without any new protections or restrictions to curb widespread government spying and other widespread intrusions into the lives of American citizens. By a 315-97 vote Thursday, the House approved the bill and sent it to President Barack Obama, who not only will sign it but insisted on the extension without any new safeguards. The approval overrides campaign promises to curb abuses of civil rights which flourished under the Bush administration and helped Democrats
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Democrats scuttle vote on jobs bill

The jobs bill may be headed for the unemployment line after an unlikely coalition raised enough hell about the legislation to force House leaders to scrap a planned Friday vote. The Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus and the moderate Blue Dog Coalition banded together to raise enough objections about the bill to jeopardize passage of the bill. More objections have come out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to put the bill’s future in doubt, even though the same legislation sailed through the Senate in a 70-28 vote. Opponents say the bill concentrates more on tax breaks for
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Health care summit craps out

They came, they talked, they pontificated, they postured. In the end, they accomplished nothing. After seven-and-a-half hours of positioning, President Barack Obama, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach any agreement on health care reform and Obama now will do what he planned to do all along — push for a “my way or the highway vote” in the Democratic-controlled Congress. “We cannot have another yearlong public debate on this,” Obama said after the day-long, televised show-and-tell-nothing. “I’m not sure we can bridge the gap.” No one is sure he and the Democrats can get a health care bill passed either.
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Democrats retreat again, scrap privacy protections

Democrats continued their political agenda of retreating under fire Wednesday by agreeing to back down on proposals to implement new privacy protections in the controversial USA Patriot Act, choosing instead to extend the current law for another year without change. Senate Democratic Leaders scrapped new curbs on privacy abuse and caved in to Republican pressure to keep the law as it is even though privacy experts say the Patriot Act allows the government to snoop at will into the lives of Americans. “The Democratic retreat is an important political victory for Republicans, who gained new ammunition for their election theme
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Toyota’s boss gets a Congressional grilling

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda had his come-to-Jesus session with Congress Wednesday but problems for he and his embattled company are far from over. The world’s largest automaker still faces investigations by federal prosecutors in New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission plus lawsuits and backlash from angry consumers. Dealers must repair millions of cars and the company’s once-proud reputation for quality is in tatters. Toyoda apologized several times in his three-hour Congressional appearance Wednesday but continued to claim the complex electronic systems were not at fault for the unintended acceleration problems that had led to sticking gas pedals, accidents
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Lights! Camera! Inaction!

Thursday’s day-long, televised health care summit at Blair House in Washington may make good political theater but few expect anything substantial to emerge from the posturing by Democrats and Republicans. President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership of Congress need progress on health care to revive a stalled legislative agenda but they face steadfast opposition from Republicans and an American public that is far from sold on the proposed $1 trillion health care “reform” bill that provides little immediate relief from escalating costs for medical services. The summit is high-risk drama for Obama, whose sky-high popularity from a year ago
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Toyota’s boss: Gee, we sure are sorry

Akio Toyoda, the chief executive officer of Japanese auto giant Toyota, says he sure is sorry his company rushed cars into production with safety defects that kill and maim people. Turns out it was all about getting bigger and richer but not better. “We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization,” Toyoda will tell a Congressional Committee today. “I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced.” Apologies won’t
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