Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Now Democrats feel the heat

Four years ago, in the last mid-term elections, Republicans had to face the music with the sexual hijinks of Florida Congressman Mark Foley and his fondness for young male interns. Now the Democrats have a predator of their own and lingering questions over how party leaders handled the bizzare case of New York Congressman Eric Massa and his sexual harassment of male staff members could mean trouble in the voting booth in November. Foley and Massa both left Congress in disgrace. In both cases, leaders of their party tried to look the other way for too long with failed hopes
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The oil spill blame game goes into overdrive

The blame game is in full throttle as Congress begins hearings on the massive oil spill threatening sensitive marshes and marine life along the Gulf Coast. Executives of the three companies involved in the drilling activities that unleashed the environmental crisis are trying to shift responsibility to each other in testimony to be given at separate hearings Tuesday before two Senate committees, even as the cause of the rig explosion and spill has yet to be determined. Lawmakers are expected to ask oil industry giant BP, which operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, why
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Jim DeMint: Tea Party hero, GOP problem

Jim DeMint is becoming something of a tea party hero, even a potential conservative kingmaker, a status that is not making the freshman senator many friends among fellow Republicans in Congress. A backbencher known for his eagerness to challenge the Republican establishment, DeMint is becoming one of the most influential voices of the conservative rebellion that’s shaking up GOP primaries. Tapping an anti-incumbent fervor, the South Carolina lawmaker is a coveted — and feared — endorsement, funneling money and grass-roots energy to long-shot candidates who threaten Washington’s GOP favorites. His efforts, highly unusual for a freshman, have upset senators on
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Anti-incumbent mood threatens veteran Democratic congressman

Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan has delivered for his West Virginia district for nearly three decades — steering millions of dollars in projects that have helped an anemic economy. But such earmarking by a powerful member of the House Appropriations Committee has drawn scrutiny and stirred the anti-Washington fervor coursing through this year’s elections. Suddenly, Mollohan is facing his toughest challenge, his first contested primary since 1998. His rival in Tuesday’s primary is state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who has criticized the agenda of President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. In a state where Republican presidential nominee John McCain
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GOP Right-wingers dump Utah Sen. Bob Bennett

Once-popular Sen. Bob Bennett fell victim to a growing national conservative movement with his stunning defeat at Utah’s GOP convention. Delegates voted Saturday to bar the 76-year-old senator from seeking a fourth term, making him the first congressional incumbent to be ousted this year and demonstrates the challenges candidates face from the right in 2010. Bennett was under fire for voting to bail out Wall Street, co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill mandating health insurance coverage and for aggressively pursuing earmarks. “The political atmosphere obviously has been toxic, and it’s very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have
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Proposed law: Strip citizenship, then kill them

Lawmakers unveiled legislation Thursday to strip Americans thought to have joined extremist groups like Al-Qaeda of their citizenship, saying it would make it easier to try or assassinate them. “Those who join such groups join our enemy and should no longer be entitled to the rights and privileges of American citizens. That’s the bottom line,” said Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, the measure’s lead author. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to welcome the proposal as regards to naturalized Americans, saying those who sided with terrorists were in violation of their oath of citizenship and vowing to “take a hard look”
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Democrats block GOP effort to kill consumer protections

The Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican attempt to defang consumer protections in a sweeping Wall Street reform bill, while voting to give small banks a break on deposit insurance. Despite procedural delays, lawmakers covered some ground on a top priority of the Obama administration that would be the biggest overhaul of the financial rulebook since the 1930s. A proposal to challenge the Federal Reserve‘s secrecy about its role in the 2008 financial meltdown gained support in the Senate, but a vote on it was put off until next week. As lawmakers debated, a stock market stampede wiped out nearly
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Bennett begs Republicans: ‘Save my job’

Sen. Bob Bennett abandoned Washington this week, spending his days in Utah pleading with Republicans until he was hoarse to let him keep his job — in Washington. The three-term conservative is in serious danger of losing at a GOP state convention Saturday, tripped up by anti-incumbent sentiment and Utah’s quirky nomination system. His only hope is to win over enough delegates to force the party to hold a primary in June. He has until Saturday morning to pitch some 3,500 die-hard GOP convention delegates, who tend to be more conservative than Utah Republicans overall. Polls show Bennett trailing in
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David Obey calling it quits

In a major blow to President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies in the US Congress, one of their top leaders in the House announced Wednesday he will not seek reelection in November. Representative David Obey of Wisconsin, powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had faced a battle for a new term amid deep voter anger at lawmakers in Washington, especially Democrats. “Frankly, I hate to do it; there is so much that needs to be done. But even more frankly, I am bone-tired,” the 71-year-old Obey, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1969, told reporters. Obey, whose
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Some agreement on Wall Street reform

Key senators reached a partial agreement on Wall Street reform on Tuesday, but disputes over some issues continued, and the Senate adjourned without casting votes on amendments as planned. The chief Democratic and Republican negotiators agreed on a new government protocol for dismantling financial giants in distress. Their pact briefly stirred hopes among lawmakers that final approval of the sweeping reform bill was drawing near. But when votes on bill amendments did not occur as scheduled late on Tuesday evening, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid complained anew of obstructionism by Republicans. “Republicans are stopping us from moving to anything,” he
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