Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Sen. Vitter backs birthers

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana says he supports conservative organizations challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship in court. Vitter, who is running for re-election, made the comments at a town hall-style event in Metairie, La., on Sunday when a constituent asked what he would do about what the questioner said was Obama’s “refusal to produce a valid birth certificate.” Such claims about Obama’s birth certificate have been discredited. But with the crowd applauding the question, Vitter responded that although he doesn’t personally have legal standing to bring litigation, he supports “conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to
Read More

How the jobless benefits ran out

Keeping unemployment benefits flowing for millions of workers whose jobs were eaten by the recession should have been a slam dunk in an election year. But until this month, Senate Democrats have been unable to bring themselves to pass a simple bill that just does it. Instead they’ve demanded a series of unrelated and often controversial tax and spending add-ons that have enabled Republicans to mount successful filibusters. Now that the legislation has been shorn of all the extras, the bill could win final passage soon. Hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed for more than six months started losing the
Read More

Can Sharron Angle beat Harry Reid?

Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Friday denounced Majority Leader Harry Reid as a “desperate man” who was distorting her conservative record while ignoring a state that leads the nation in joblessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies. A day after President Barack Obama delivered a mocking indictment of her candidacy at a rally in Las Vegas, Angle accused the president and Reid of pushing billions of dollars in stimulus spending while Nevada struggles with “an economy that is a disaster.” She called for repeal of the health care overhaul, lower taxes and disbanding federal agencies, including the Education Department, that she said had
Read More

Inglis: Demagoguery destroying GOP

Too many Republican leaders are acquiescing to a poisonous “demagoguery” that threatens the party’s long-term credibility, says a veteran GOP House member who was defeated in South Carolina’s primary last month. While not naming names, 12-year incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis suggested in interviews with The Associated Press that tea party favorites such as former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and right-wing talk show hosts like Glenn Beck are the culprits. He cited a claim made famous by Palin that the Democratic health care bill would create “death panels” to decide whether elderly or sick people should get care. “There were
Read More

Feds sue to stop AZ immigration law

The federal lawsuit against Arizona’s tough new immigration law focuses heavily on a question that has been in the spotlight repeatedly the past decade and dates back to the Founding Fathers: The right of the government to keep states from enacting laws that usurp federal authority. The lawsuit filed in Phoenix federal court on Tuesday sidestepped concerns about the potential for racial profiling and civil rights violations most often raised by immigration advocates. Experts said those are weaker arguments that don’t belong in a legal challenge brought by the White House to get the measure struck down. Instead, the suit
Read More

Wall Street pulling plug on donations to Democrats

A revolt among big donors on Wall Street is hurting fundraising for the Democrats’ two congressional campaign committees, with contributions from the world’s financial capital down 65 percent from two years ago. The drop in support comes from many of the same bankers, hedge fund executives and financial services chief executives who are most upset about the financial regulatory reform bill that House Democrats passed last week with almost no Republican support. The Senate expects to take up the measure this month. This fundraising free fall from the New York area has left Democrats with diminished resources to defend their
Read More

Tough times for Charlie Rangel

Just about everyone likes Charlie Rangel. Republicans pump his hand, Democrats put their arms around his shoulders and women of all political persuasions give him pecks on the cheek. Spend some time with the 80-year-old congressman from New York City who’s been striding the Capitol’s halls for four decades on behalf of residents of Harlem, and there’s little evidence he’s become someone to avoid because of an ethics cloud that’s more likely than not going to darken in days to come. Colleagues in both parties still gravitate to the gravelly voiced, outgoing, backslapping Rangel four months after fellow Democrats persuaded
Read More

Possible Reid endorsement puts NRA under the gun

The National Rifle Association  is in unfamiliar terrain on the conservative firing range this election year: It’s the target. The conservative Netroots are abuzz over the possibility that the NRA may endorse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). This would be the second major slight by the NRA for political conservatives — the gun group also just negotiated a big exemption on a campaign finance bill loathed by the right. Conservatives say there’s a clear political calculation at work: If Reid loses, he’s almost certain to be succeeded as majority leader by a fierce gun-control advocate, either Illinois Sen. Dick
Read More

Mixed bag in jobs report

A wave of census layoffs cut the nation’s payrolls in June for the first time in six months, while private employers added a modest number of jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent, its lowest level in almost a year. Employers cut 125,000 jobs last month, the most since October, the Labor Department said Friday. The loss was driven by the end of 225,000 temporary census jobs. Businesses added a net total of 83,000 workers, an improvement from May. But that’s also below March and April totals. The unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level since July 2009. But
Read More

House passes massive war funding bill

A House measure blending money for President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan troop surge with last-ditch moves by Democrats to salvage their faltering jobs agenda faces an uphill climb in the Senate. After long delays, House Democrats muscled the approximately $80 billion measure to passage Thursday night as their final act before leaving for a weeklong Fourth of July break. But the Senate passed a significantly slimmer measure in May and it’ll take additional weeks to reconcile the differences between the rival chambers of Congress. It’s just the latest disconnect between the battling House and Senate, which also have been unable to
Read More