Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

GOP ‘Pledge’ driven by polls, not philosophy

Billed as a Pledge to America, the House Republican campaign manifesto is as much political straddle as conservative call to action, long on poll-tested goals, short on controversial specifics and designed to reassure independent voters who abandoned the party in the last two elections. “It’s not intended to be a party platform. It’s not intended to cover everything under the sun,” said House Republican leader John Boehner as he and others presented the 21-page document at a prototypical small business (hardware store) just outside the Washington Beltway (15.7 miles). The strategy of appealing to independents while trying to hold the
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On-again, off-again tax cut off again until after election

The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress said Sunday they would find a way to extend middle-class tax cuts after the November elections, unable to secure GOP backing before lawmakers break to campaign. “One way or the other, we’re going to get it done. And I believe the pressure is going to build among the American people” said David Axelrod, President Barack Obama‘s top political aide. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had suggested that a vote could be held this coming week before lawmakers leave town for the elections. But her deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said
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Republicans block repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Ever-present Republican homophobia triumphed in the United States Senate Tuesday as the party of the elephant successfully blocked an Obama-sponsored effort to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military. In a mostly partisan vote, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance a major defense policy bill that included repeal of the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows gays to serve in the military as long as they don’t reveal their sexual orientation. Gay advocates blame the measure’s failure on both President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying neither
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GOP leader defends McDonnell

The No. 3 man in the House Republican leadership is brushing aside a negative report on tea party upstart Christine O’Donnell as part of pre-election “silly season.” Rep. Mike Pence tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” any verdict on O’Donnell’s fitness to serve in the Senate is “up to the voters of Delaware.” The Indiana Republican says there’s a welling up of anger and a demand for political leaders who will “put our fiscal house in order.” He spoke about a decade-old television clip of O’Donnell, who said she once “dabbled into witchcraft.” Pence says the election is more about the
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Republicans unsure on how they will change Obamacare

Republicans are promising to repeal and replace President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul if they win control of Congress. But with what? Not even they know. Some have proposed major changes to workplace coverage, even turning Medicare into a voucher plan. Many prefer small steps that tiptoe around political land mines. Others want a clean start. “During the health care debate there was just as much division within Republicans as there was between the parties,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a leading adviser to 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain. One of the first acts of a Republican majority would be a
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Democrats: Yeah, we’re bad but Republicans are worse

With just six weeks to avoid a possible election catastrophe, Democrats are trying to limit the damage with a closing argument that’s more plea than platform: We know you voters are furious with us, but just let us explain why the Republicans would be worse. The strategy requires an autumn influx of voters willing to view the election as a choice between two imperfect parties — and imperfect candidates on each ballot line — rather than as a chance to slap the Washington establishment that the public seems to dislike so deeply. But the Democrats admit the Republicans have a
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DeMint to Republicans: Accept Tea Party, get over it

Sen. Jim DeMint proudly recalls the moment he became a thorn in the side of the Republican establishment. In the gloomy weeks following the party’s throttling in the 2008 elections, the first-term South Carolina senator urged GOP leaders to shake up the seniority rules that he felt were perpetuating a broken culture of parochial spending within the party. “I was told eye-to-eye … ‘DeMint, you can’t change the Senate,'” he said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office this week. “I said, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ And that’s been my challenge ever since.” Two years later, DeMint has done as
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Senate finally passes small business aid bill

The Senate passed a long-stalled measure on Thursday that would boost lending to small businesses, giving President Barack Obama’s Democrats one of their last chances before November elections they are working to revive the sluggish economy. The 61 to 38 vote sends the measure back to the House of Representatives, which has passed a similar bill and is expected to approve the Senate’s version as soon as next week. With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.6 percent, voters cite jobs and the economy as their top concern and say Obama has not done enough on these issues. Republicans are poised
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Democrats jump on tax cut bandwagon

More Democrats joined Republicans on Wednesday in calling for the preservation of tax breaks for Americans of every income level, bolting this election season from President Barack Obama’s plan to preserve cuts for families who earn less than $250,000 and let taxes rise for the wealthiest Americans. But Obama placed the blame for the stalled proposal squarely on Republicans. “They want to hold these middle class tax cuts hostage until they get an additional tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans,” the president said in afternoon remarks. “Doesn’t it make sense for us to move forward with the
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Ethics-challenged Rangel survives primary challenge

Embattled Rep. Charles Rangel prevailed in a crowded Democratic primary Tuesday, with voters in his New York City district signaling they are willing to stand by the 40-year House veteran despite more than a dozen ethics charges pending against him. Rangel beat back five challengers including Adam Clayton Powell IV, a state assemblyman and son of the legendary Harlem figure Rangel defeated in 1970. Rangel is all but guaranteed re-election in November in this heavily Democratic district. With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Rangel had 52 percent to 24 percent for Powell, his nearest competitor. “I’m going back to Washington
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