Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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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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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