Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Bank bill passes but work remains

In the end, it’s only a beginning. The far-reaching new banking and consumer protection bill awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature now shifts from the politicians to the technocrats. The legislation gives regulators latitude and time to come up with new rules, requires scores of studies and, in some instances, depends on international agreements falling into place. For Wall Street, the next phase represents continuing uncertainty. It also offers banks and other financial institutions yet another opportunity to influence and shape the rules that govern their businesses. In hailing the bill’s passage in the Senate on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
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Obama promises to help angry House Democrats

Facing criticism from House Democrats, President Barack Obama promised their leaders Wednesday night that he’ll actively support their agenda and Democratic lawmakers as they head into tough midterm elections this fall, according to a congressional leadership aide. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were among those in the Oval Office meeting. The aide, who was briefed on the meeting, spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private. The meeting came as congressional Democrats, fearing disaster in the fall elections, have expressed frustration with the Obama team and its efforts to help Democrats. They also were
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Key Senators express doubts over Afghan war

Two of the Senate’s leading foreign policy experts expressed doubts Wednesday about the course of the war in Afghanistan, further complicating the Obama administration’s effort to maintain support for the nearly 9-year-old conflict. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it’s not clear that the administration has a solid strategy for prevailing, and the panel’s ranking Republican, Richard Lugar of Indiana, decried “a lack of clarity” about U.S. war goals. Their complaints were aired at a hearing in which the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, acknowledged that the way ahead remains
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Dems plan: Trap GOP on tough votes

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have settled on an agenda for the final weeks before Congress’ summer recess that could force Republicans to take tough votes on populist issues like unemployment insurance and a small business loan program. It comes with Democrats clawing for advantage amid a nasty political climate and in the face of continued high unemployment heading into crucial November midterms. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama and Senate Democratic leaders agreed at a meeting Tuesday to try to hold votes in the next couple weeks on a financial regulation overhaul bill, extending unemployment insurance
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Brown, Snowe back financial reform bill

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown pushed sweeping financial legislation to the edge of final passage Monday, both announcing they intend to support the regulatory overhaul despite initial misgivings. Snowe of Maine and Brown of Massachusetts join Susan Collins of Maine as three crucial Republican votes for the legislation. “While not perfect, the legislation takes necessary steps to implement meaningful regulatory reforms, create strong consumer protections and restore confidence in the American financial system,” Snowe said in a statement Monday evening. In breaking with the rest of the Republican Party, the three lawmakers appeared to give Democratic leaders the 60
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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