Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Pelosi’s mission: Sabotage Obama deals with GOP

Hers was the face on the grainy negative TV ads that helped defeat scores of Democrats. His agenda, re-election chances and legacy are on the line. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, chosen after a messy family feud among Democrats to remain as their leader in the new Congress, and President Barack Obama share a keen interest in repairing their injured party after this month’s staggering losses. But Pelosi’s mandate is diverging from the president’s at a critical time, with potentially damaging consequences for Obama’s ability to cut deals with Republicans in the new Congress. Their partnership is strained after an
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Obama plays Annie: ‘The sun will come out tomorrow’

Saying America has a history of doing what it takes to make a better tomorrow, President Barack Obama is calling on a country climbing out of its worst economic slump in decades to summon that spirit again this holiday season. “This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, released for Thanksgiving. “As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got
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Jon Kyl, others ignored Senate ban on earmarks

Senate Republicans’ ban on earmarks — money included in a bill by a lawmaker to benefit a home-state project or interest — was short-lived. Only three days after GOP senators and senators-elect renounced earmarks, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, got himself a whopping $200 million to settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government. Kyl slipped the measure into a larger bill sought by President Barack Obama and passed by the Senate on Friday to settle claims by black farmers and American Indians against the federal government. Kyl’s office insists the measure is
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GOP wins another House seat as Democrat concedes

A sixth Democratic House seat in New York fell to Republicans on Tuesday when freshman incumbent Dan Maffei conceded he could not overcome his opponent’s narrow lead. The Republican, Ann Marie Buerkle, will be the first woman to represent central New York‘s 25th Congressional District. Maffei, who defeated Dale Sweetland to win the seat in 2008, called Buerkle to concede Tuesday, ending three weeks of ballot inspections, recounting and court wrangling. “I want to thank him for doing what is in the best interests of the district,” she told the Syracuse Post Standard. They agreed to work together for a
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Alaska official discounts Miller’s claims

Alaska’s lieutenant governor on Tuesday discounted allegations by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller that elections officials unlawfully interpreted voter intent on write-in ballots. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who oversees the state Division of Elections, issued a statement in defense of elections officials, claiming Miller’s lawsuit threatens to cloud the vote. “Mr. Miller continues to level allegations against the state of Alaska which are baseless, but if left unanswered, I believe could make members of the public lose trust in a lawful, reliable and consistent process,” Campbell said. Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said in an e-mail response that Campbell
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Ensign off the hook on payoffs to mistress

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint against Sen. John Ensign over a $96,000 payment his parents made to his former mistress and her family. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a campaign finance watchdog group, announced Friday that the commission had dismissed its complaint against Ensign, his parents, his campaign and his political action committee over the money paid to Cynthia Hampton, with whom the Nevada Republican has admitted having an affair. CREW contended it amounted to an illegal political donation to Ensign. The FEC said in a written statement explaining its reasons that Ensign’s parents considered
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Smokescreen: Ban on pork is anything but

Despite their claims, the Republicans’ ban on earmarks won’t stop lawmakers from steering taxpayers’ dollars to pet projects. And it will have little if any effect on Washington’s far graver problem — the gigantic budget deficit. Saying Election Day victories gave them a mandate to curb spending, Republicans formally agreed last week to a two-year prohibition of earmarks, legislative provisions that funnel money to lawmakers’ favorite projects. President Barack Obama has said he, too, wants to restrict earmarks, though he defended some as helping communities. “I am proud that House and Senate Republicans have united to end the earmark favor
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Newbies play the Capitol Hill office lottery

Rep.-elect Bob Gibbs was trying to get this straight: There’s a public women’s bathroom in the middle of a congressman’s office suite? And in the building next door, not one but two House aides have made their workspace in an unused elevator shaft? A glittering week being wined, dined and oriented by the most powerful people in Washington gave way Friday to the exercise in humility that is the freshman office lottery. The most senior lawmakers get the best real estate on Capitol Hill. The freshmen get what’s left: the worst office space in Congress. At the outset, most professed
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Ethics Committee recommends censure for Rangel

The House ethics committee on Thursday recommended censure for longtime Rep. Charles Rangel, suggesting that the New York Democrat suffer the embarrassment of standing before his colleagues while receiving an oral rebuke by the speaker for financial and fundraising misconduct. Censure is the most serious congressional discipline short of expulsion. The House, which could change the recommended discipline by making it more serious or less serious, probably will consider Rangel’s case after Thanksgiving. The ethics committee voted 9-1 to recommend censure and that Rangel pay any taxes he owes on income from a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic. The
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Democrats: New boss, same as the old boss

House Democrats gambled Wednesday they can return to power under the same leaders who just oversaw a 61-seat election loss, choosing Nancy Pelosi to remain their party chief when they become the minority in January. Moderate Democrats pleaded for a change to show voters they understand the anger and unrest registered two weeks earlier on Election Day. And Pelosi didn’t retain her leadership without a fight, defeating Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, 150-43, in secret balloting in a lengthy closed-door gathering on Capitol Hill. In a contrast befitting the Nov. 2 election results, House Republicans kept Rep. John Boehner
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