Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is history after historic vote

In a historic vote for gay rights, the Senate agreed on Saturday to do away with the military’s 17-year ban on openly gay troops and sent President Barack Obama legislation to overturn the Clinton-era policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Obama was expected to sign the bill into law next week, although changes to military policy probably wouldn’t take effect for at least several months. Under the bill, the president and his top military advisers must first certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt troops’ ability to fight. After that, the military would undergo a 60-day wait period. Repeal
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Republcans end year with scrooge move on immigration

Senate Republicans on Saturday doomed an effort that would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military. Sponsors of the Dream Act fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats‘ majority in the Senate next month. President Barack Obama called the vote “incredibly disappointing.” “A minority of senators prevented the Senate from doing what most Americans understand is best for the country,” Obama said. “There
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Congress pontificated against earmarks, then then packed bill with pork

More than two dozen senators — most of them Republicans — put hundreds of homestate projects in the $1.3 trillion bill to fund the federal government even though they recently voted to ban so-called earmarks. The effort to pass the 1,924-page bill collapsed Thursday night after complaints by conservatives over its complexity and size and the relatively few days to be devoted to debating its merits. Anti-spending tea party activists were angry, too, especially since they had helped propel Republicans to big gains in the midterm elections. A handful of Republican senators needed to advance the massive measure withdrew their
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Next up: ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’

The Senate was headed toward a landmark vote Saturday on legislation that would let gays serve openly in the military, testing waning opposition among Republicans and putting Democrats within striking distance of overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Passage would be a historic victory for President Barack Obama, who made repeal of the 17-year-old law a campaign promise in 2008. It also would be a political win for congressional Democrats who have struggled repeatedly in the final hours of the lame-duck session to overcome Republican objections. A procedural vote was expected by noon Saturday. If at least 60 senators vote to
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Weiner raps Obama on tax deal

A prominent Democratic opponent of the tax cut package passed by Congress says Republicans got the better of President Barack Obama in the negotiations to reach agreement on the $858 billion deal. Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner of New York says Republicans turned out to be “better poker players” than the president. He told CBS‘ Early Show on Friday that the GOP got the two things it most wanted, a lower estate tax and extension of tax cuts for the wealthy. Weiner voted against the package that the House adopted late Thursday. He says that when the latest agreement expires in
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Congress goes into urgent mode; rushes to make it come for the holidays

Rushing to finish by Christmas, congressional Democrats worked Friday to secure Senate ratification of a new arms control treaty and to end the military’s ban on openly gay service members as they neared the end of two tumultuous years of single-party government. Legislation to keep the federal government running until mid- to late February was also on the agenda, a matter for negotiations with emboldened Republicans who will take control of the House and add to their numbers in the Senate come January. President Barack Obama seized one legislative triumph in the lame-duck session as Congress voted early Friday to
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So, what does this tax bill stuff really mean for you?

The new tax law signed by President Barack Obama Friday will spare millions of Americans from a big tax increase on Jan. 1. It also includes a new cut in Social Security payroll taxes next year. A look at how typical taxpayers will fare in 2011: ___ Taxpayer: A single person with no children, making $50,000 a year in wages. The taxpayer rents an apartment and pays $3,500 in college expenses. Tax bill without the law: $9,255. Tax bill with the law: $5,975. Savings: $3,280. Why: Income taxes would be lower because of lower tax rates and a more generous
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Obama claims tax deal will help middle class

President Barack Obama says a tax cut package that’s about to become law will give a much-needed holiday-season boost to middle class Americans and spur the ailing economy. The president called the deal “real money that’s going to make a real difference in people’s lives.” Obama spoke Friday before signing the $858 billion bill that retains Bush-era tax rates for all, while extending unemployment benefits and cutting the Social Security tax. The president negotiated the deal with Republicans, infuriating many liberals. Nonetheless the House passed it easily late Thursday, a day after the Senate did the same. A rare bipartisan
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Once again, a court will decide an election

Legal wrangling over Alaska’s contested U.S. Senate race reached the state Supreme Court Friday, with justices hearing Republican Joe Miller‘s appeal of a lower court ruling that amounted to a victory for rival Lisa Murkowski. Miller is appealing a state judge’s decision to toss out his challenge to the handling of the election and counting of write-in ballots for Murkowski, who waged a write-in campaign after losing the GOP primary to Miller. The state Supreme Court did not immediately rule Friday. Miller wants the results of the election invalidated, and a recount to ensure what he has called a fair
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Obama’s tax bill means nothing to long-term jobless

The tax-cut bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign Friday renews benefits for millions of unemployed people. But it does nothing for hundreds of thousands who have been out of work so long they’ve used up all benefits available to them. In the 25 states with unemployment of at least 8.5 percent, people can receive up to 99 weeks in aid. In other states, the unemployed get less than 99 weeks — in some cases just 60 weeks, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The bill keeps 99 weeks as the maximum anyone can receive. It
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