Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Republicans block Wall Street reform…again

Undaunted by the political risks, Senate Republicans hung together and again thwarted Democratic efforts to start formal debate on sweeping legislation to rein in Wall Street excesses. For the second time in two days, lawmakers voted 57-41 to take up the popular bill, falling short of the 60 needed to move ahead with the toughest regulatory overhaul of its kind since the Great Depression of the 1930s. President Barack Obama led Democrats in slamming Republicans for blocking legislation backed by nearly two in three Americans, amid smoldering anger at fat-cat financiers blamed for the 2008 global economic meltdown. “It’s one
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Dems ramp up pressure on Wall Street

Democrats planned to keep up the pressure on Republicans after an expected setback put the brakes on Senate consideration of financial regulations. But their task got slightly more complicated by the defection — at least for now — of one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Nelson voted with Republicans on Monday to deny Democrats the 60 votes they needed to advance the legislation to a floor debate. Democrats were expected to try again Tuesday, and yet again the day after if necessary. In a statement, Nelson, a conservative Nebraska Democrat, said his vote reflected concerns about the bill raised
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Dems to GOP: ‘Go ahead, make our day’

With a showdown vote looming, Democrats are resisting Republican appeals for a broad compromise on financial overhaul legislation and are eager to test whether GOP unity will crack in an anti-Wall Street political climate. The top negotiators on the regulatory bill — Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd and Republican Sen. Richard Shelby — professed to be close to a deal during a joint appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” But Shelby conceded that “inches sometimes are miles,” and the two did not hold a negotiating session Sunday. The legislation is the most sweeping effort to rein in financial institutions since the
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Congressman urges feds to fight Arizona’s Gestapo immigration law

An Arizona congressman urged the Obama administration not to cooperate when illegal immigrants are picked up by local police if a tough new state immigration law survives legal challenges. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, and civil rights activists spoke on Sunday to thousands of people gathered at the state Capitol and called on President Barack Obama to fight the law, promising to march in the streets and invite arrest by refusing to comply. “We’re going to overturn this unjust and racist law, and then we’re going to overturn the power structure that created this unjust, racist law,” Grijalva said.
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Pelosi, Hoyer questioned in Massa coverup

House Ethics Committee investigators and FBI agents are looking into increasing evidence that Democratic leaders covered for problem Congressman Eric Massa and stalled an investigation into the former New York representatives pattern of sexual harassment of male employees of his office. Investigators grilled House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer along with top staff members for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional insiders say evidence points to a coverup by both leaders. The controversial Massa resigned from Congress in March amid growing charges of improper conduct. Investigators have established that Massa’s chief of staff brought the Congressman’s behavior to Pelosi’s attention five months
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Obama: Sen. Boxer could lose

President Barack Obama delivered Democrat-friendly California a stark message Monday: Liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer might lose her re-election race if her supporters don’t work hard. The president’s stern words in a state where he remains popular and Boxer won her last re-election race in a rout underscored the perilous political environment confronting all Democrats in this midterm election year — and showed Obama is all too aware of the dangers. “I don’t want anyone here taking this for granted,” he said at a reception at the California Science Center, the first of a trio of fundraisers Monday night for Boxer
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Return of the Republican has-beens?

Republicans once saddled with the burden of President George W. Bush‘s unpopularity are now experiencing a boon from another struggling president: Barack Obama. The GOP senses rising fortunes from coast to coast, as one-time lawmakers such as Richard Pombo in California and Charlie Bass in New Hampshire look to capitalize on voter frustration that booted some of them from office in 2006. Others, long retired, see the Democrats’ luster fading and with it a chance for them to return to Washington. The time seems ripe for Republicans, who largely remain unified against Obama’s domestic agenda, including health care overhaul. Both
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Americans just don’t trust government

America’s “Great Compromiser” Henry Clay called government “the great trust,” but most Americans today have little faith in Washington’s ability to deal with the nation’s problems. Public confidence in government is at one of the lowest points in a half century, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they don’t trust the federal government and have little faith it can solve America’s ills, the survey found. The survey illustrates the ominous situation President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party face as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall’s
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Massa claims payoff to aide was forgery

Former congressman Eric Massa said Saturday that someone forged a $40,000 salary increase for his chief of staff, who has accused the ex-lawmaker of sexual harassment. The New York Democrat also denied authorizing a check from a campaign account in the same amount to the same official, Joe Racalto, according to a statement released by Massa’s attorney. Racalto’s attorney denied the allegations and said both transactions were done at Massa’s direction. The exchange came one day after Racalto reavealed he had filed a sexual harassment complaint against the former congressman, who announced March 5 that he would resign. “The amount
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Massa gave $40,000 to aide

Former New York Rep. Eric Massa wrote a $40,000 check to his chief of staff shortly before resigning his seat last month amid sexual harassment allegations. The aide is among those pursuing complaints against the Democrat. Federal campaign finance records describe the March 4 check to Joe Racalto from Massa’s campaign account as a “campaign management fee.” Massa had announced a day earlier, on March 3, that he would resign his seat. Racalto’s lawyer, Camilla McKinney, said Friday the check was a “deferred payment” for Racalto’s work this year and last year on Massa’s 2010 re-election campaign and for his
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