Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

McConnell says banning pork ain’t that easy

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell says banning pork-barrel projects known as “earmarks” from congressional legislation is more complicated than it appears but that he is willing to consider such a ban. McConnell says that ending the common practice of slipping funding requests for home-state projects into legislation won’t cut spending. A ban on earmarks will only limit the discretion of where to spend the vast federal budget and not curb spending. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has said he wants to ban all lawmakers’ requests for specific spending. President Barack Obama has backed that idea. McConnell says Republicans
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Gates to Congress: Repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ before new members are seated

Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants a lame duck session of Congress to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military before new, more anti-gay members are sworn in. But he isn’t holding his breath waiting for that to happen. On a trip to Australia for a series of defense and diplomatic confabs, Gates said: “I would like to see the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” but I’m not sure what the prospects for that are.” He, however, did not sound optimistic that the current Congress would use a brief postelection session to get rid of the law
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Pelosi’s decision: Hell no, she won’t go

Despite widespread complaints about massive losses that will put Democrats in the minority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she will try to stay on as leader of her party in the House. The decision exposed a rift between Pelosi’s liberal allies and the dwindling number of moderate Democrats, who feel besieged and eager for substantive and symbolic changes in direction after Tuesday’s Republican rout. It also is likely to trigger leadership battles farther down the ladder. Pelosi, the nation’s first female speaker, said many colleagues urged her to seek the post of minority leader in the new Congress that convenes
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GOP to Bachmann: Don’t call us, we’ll call you

Self-proclaimed tea party leader Michele Bachmann‘s bid for a top Republican post in the House received a cool reaction Thursday from Speaker-to-be John Boehner, an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement’s winners in Tuesday’s elections. “Constitutional conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!” Bachmann, R-Minn., who founded the Tea Party Caucus, said in a one-paragraph Facebook announcement that she is running for GOP conference chairman. House Republican leaders don’t disagree. But that doesn’t mean they want the hyperbolic Bachmann being a spokeswoman for the new majority during the 2012 election cycle. Boehner, aware
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Coalitions? We don’t need no stinkin’ coalitions

President Barack Obama may have expressed humility over the “shellacking” he took in the midterm elections. But he and his fellow Democrats made it clear they still differ with Republicans on many key issues, and all the talk of a new spirit of compromise could prove tough to follow up on. Leaders of the two parties seemed to draw different lessons from the elections, in which Republicans took over the House and cut deeply into the Democrats’ Senate majority. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky practically threatened Democrats with deeper losses in two years if they don’t show more
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A bitter defeat for Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve as US speaker of the House, appeared out of a job after a short but productive four years in office as Republicans retook the chamber she ran with gusto. Pelosi, 70, won the distinction of being the highest woman ever elected to office in the United States. But while she earned the affection of Democrats for her strict and skillful running of the 435-seat House of Representatives, she swiftly became the woman the Republicans most loved to hate. Always impeccably turned out, the representative from California is an influential and powerful lawmaker and
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Congress more productive than realized

The public panned it. Republicans obstructed it. Many Democrats fled from it. Even so, the session of Congress now drawing to a close was the most productive in nearly half a century. Not since the explosive years of the civil rights movement and the hard-fought debut of government-supported health care for the elderly and poor have so many big things — love them or hate them — been done so quickly. Gridlock? It may feel that way. But that’s not the story of the 111th Congress — not the story history will remember. Democrats are dearly hoping history won’t repeat
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John Boehner: The timebomb who could be Speaker

Republican Representative John Boehner smokes, enjoys steak and red wine, has been known to lob rhetorical bombs — and could be the sharpest thorn in President Barack Obama‘s side come January. If Republicans retake the House of Representatives in November elections, as many analysts bet they will, Boehner will be the odds-on favorite to replace Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the number-three US elected official. It would be a remarkable victory for Boehner, whose office has peppered reporters over the past few weeks with media accounts of his hardscrabble early life as the second of 12 children in a
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Boehner: American dream under seige

The “American Dream” is under siege by an out-of-control federal government that doesn’t listen to its people, U.S. House of Representatives Republican Leader John Boehner said on Friday. Boehner said Americans can make themselves heard by voting in the November 2 election to replace President Barack Obama’s Democrats in Congress with a new Republican majority. “Americans have been crystal clear about what they want: more jobs, less spending and a more open Congress that respects and abides by the Constitution,” Boehner said in a speech prepared for delivery at a small manufacturing company in his congressional district in West Chester,
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Other factors, not voters, could determine control of Congress

The nation may be waiting well beyond Election Day this year to find out who won control of Congress. It’s a troubling ballot-box scenario that has hundreds of lawyers from both parties preparing for battles that could drag on days, weeks or even months past the Nov. 3 day-after. Some states don’t count substantial amounts of votes until after Election Day. Others require mail-in ballots to be postmarked — not received — by Nov. 2, leaving the tally until well afterward. And with polls showing many Republican and Democratic candidates in tight contests, there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion, challenges
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