Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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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Report says Congress makes too many vague laws

A conservative think tank and criminal defense lawyers are forming an unusual alliance to try to get Congress to quit writing criminal laws so loosely that they subject innocent people to unjust prosecution and prison. A new study by the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers finds that nearly two dozen federal laws enacted in 2005 and 2006 to combat nonviolent crime lack an adequate provision that someone accused of violating the laws must have had a “guilty mind,” or criminal intent. “It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that, before criminal punishment can be
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Internal strife shapes GOP policies

Internal GOP politics are profoundly affecting major policies such as immigration, health care and deficit spending, as elected Republicans shift right to fend off challengers in primary elections. The moves may leave a lasting imprint on society long after flashy political events, such as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to abandon the GOP in hopes of winning a Senate seat, are minor memories. They show that conservative movements such as the tea party phenomenon are influencing the nation well ahead of the November elections. Efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws were in hibernation until Arizona’s governor, a Republican facing
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Dems to Obama: Lay off the Washington bashing

President Barack Obama’s Washington-bashing could boomerang on his party in Congress if he’s not careful, House Democratic leaders have warned White House senior adviser David Axelrod. The fear — raised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, campaign chief Chris Van Hollen and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in a closed-door meeting Thursday — is that Democrats have more to lose if anti-Washington sentiment is not directed at one party or the other. “If the president is going to go out and talk about how Washington’s broken, he’s got to include a strong contrast with congressional Republicans, or else we’re going to get blamed
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Republicans gain while Democrats slip

Republicans are on offense in scores of House and Senate races as persistent economic woes and lukewarm support for President Barack Obama continue to weaken Democrats’ hold on Congress. The president and his party are determined to minimize the losses six months before the November elections. But Democrats privately acknowledge the economy and support for Obama must improve before then to avoid the defeats that could cost them control of the House and possibly the Senate. Primaries in Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina on Tuesday kick off an intense eight weeks of contested elections. There also are two special House
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Democrats unveil immigration reform plan

Senate Democrats blasted Arizona’s “wronghearted” new immigration law as they unveiled a plan to give the nation’s 11 million undocumented workers a long, winding path to citizenship. Lawmakers said the southwestern border state’s crackdown grew out of frustration that Washington has not fixed US immigration policy, causing a glut of undocumented immigrants but leaving a shortage of workers in key areas. That flawed policy “has plagued our country for too long,” said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who urged Republicans to “work with us to fix this broken system.” The blueprint, which won immediate White House backing and swift
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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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