Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Toyota’s boss gets a Congressional grilling

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda had his come-to-Jesus session with Congress Wednesday but problems for he and his embattled company are far from over. The world’s largest automaker still faces investigations by federal prosecutors in New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission plus lawsuits and backlash from angry consumers. Dealers must repair millions of cars and the company’s once-proud reputation for quality is in tatters. Toyoda apologized several times in his three-hour Congressional appearance Wednesday but continued to claim the complex electronic systems were not at fault for the unintended acceleration problems that had led to sticking gas pedals, accidents
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Lights! Camera! Inaction!

Thursday’s day-long, televised health care summit at Blair House in Washington may make good political theater but few expect anything substantial to emerge from the posturing by Democrats and Republicans. President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership of Congress need progress on health care to revive a stalled legislative agenda but they face steadfast opposition from Republicans and an American public that is far from sold on the proposed $1 trillion health care “reform” bill that provides little immediate relief from escalating costs for medical services. The summit is high-risk drama for Obama, whose sky-high popularity from a year ago
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Toyota’s boss: Gee, we sure are sorry

Akio Toyoda, the chief executive officer of Japanese auto giant Toyota, says he sure is sorry his company rushed cars into production with safety defects that kill and maim people. Turns out it was all about getting bigger and richer but not better. “We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization,” Toyoda will tell a Congressional Committee today. “I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced.” Apologies won’t
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The high cost of bi-partisanship

Memo to members of Congress: Bi-partisanship may be hazardous to your fund raising. Just ask Louisiana Republican Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao, the sole Republican supporter of Democratic-sponsored health care reform in the House. He is running out of campaign cash after his fund raising dropped 40 percent following his decision to support the health care bill. Cao, who defeated scandal-tinged Democrat William Jefferson in 2008, is in political trouble anyway and his support of Barack Obama‘s key legislative initiative isn’t helping him with the conservative campaign donors he needs to raise money for re-election. But his district in New Orleans
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Brown vote helps bust GOP filibuster

Scott Brown, the new Republican Senator from Massachusetts who was supposed to bring the Democratic legislative agenda to a halt, helped end a GOP-led filibuster on the jobs bill in the Senate Monday, joining four other members of his party in casting procedural votes that helped Democrats. Brown, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, George Voinovich of Ohio and Kit Bond of Missouri voted with Democrats to cut off a GOP-led filibuster on the bill and opened the way for passage. “It’s a small step, but it’s still a step,” Brown said. “It’s not a pefect bill. I would
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Winning campaign strategy: Bash Pelosi

Time-proven ploy of politics: Identify an enemy and then run against that enemy. Many candidates run for Congress not by opposing the record of their opponent but by running against the President. Many Democrats who won House and Senate seats in 2006 won by running against then-President George W. Bush. Republicans who hope to win elections this year have two enemies: President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And bashing Pelosi seems to be paying off. Just ask Jimmy Higdon, a Kentucky Republican who won a state Senate seat by ignoring local issues and turning his race
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Time for answers on lifting military gay ban

Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” makes sense or would be too disruptive. The testimony from each of the service chiefs on Capitol Hill will be crucial to the debate in Congress on whether to repeal the 17-year-old law, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. President Barack Obama says the policy unfairly punishes patriots who want to serve their country. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees and has begun a yearlong study on how to mitigate the impact of lifting the
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Lautenberg’s health: Problem for Dems

Concerns about New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s health pose yet another challenge for Democrats struggling to retain control of the Senate. Lautenberg’s announcement Friday that he’s suffering from stomach lymphoma and will receive treatment over the next few months could complicate matters for Democrats as they seek to muster enough votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics over jobs, health care and more. Even before his illness, Democrats had lost their 60-vote supermajority when Republican Scott Brown won the special election to replace the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. That deprived them of the numbers needed to head off any GOP
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DOJ gives torture memo writers a pass

The Justice Department¬† is closing the books on its probe of the Bush administration lawyers whose legal memorandums authorized the CIA to waterboard terrorism suspects, but the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he remains offended by the memos and will hold hearings An internal review said the department lawyers showed “poor judgment” but did not commit professional misconduct in giving CIA interrogators the go-ahead at the height of the U.S. war on terrorism to use harsh interrogation tactics. President Barack Obama campaigned on abolishing waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, and other tactics that he called torture. He left
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Toyota boss agrees to testify before Congress

Toyota‘s president Akio Toyoda, under fire for his handling of sweeping recalls, will testify before a congressional hearing next week, appealing to U.S. lawmakers and aggrieved customers for understanding while the company fixes its safety problems. Japanese officials praised the decision by Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, to accept a formal invitation to explain the recalls and outline plans by the world’s largest automaker to ensure safety and satisfy worried car buyers. “I will be happy to attend. I will speak with full sincerity,” Toyoda told reporters Friday in Nagoya, near where the company is headquartered. “I am hoping
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