Archives for News

Republicans boycott vote on EPA chief nominee

Republican senators on Thursday stalled the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, saying they were “completely unsatisfied” with answers provided by Gina McCarthy on several topics. Their decision to boycott the Senate Environment Committee meeting on her nomination was the latest in a series of procedural moves by Republicans that have made it difficult for Obama to get his second-term Cabinet in place. Obama has complained that Republicans have stymied his agenda at every turn. The dispute over McCarthy stems from more than 1,000 written questions Republican senators asked her after her confirmation
Read More

Sanford: A comeback kid and potential wild card

Fresh off a redemptive win in South Carolina’s special election, former Governor Mark Sanford‘s return to Congress will make him a prominent wild card in an already fractious Republican caucus. Sanford, whose political career was short-circuited in 2009 by an extramarital affair that marred his last 18 months as governor, earned a political rebirth along with a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday by defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Sanford will arrive in Washington owing little to the Republican Party’s leadership, which withheld its support as he battled Colbert Busch in their heavily Republican district. Once he
Read More

Republicans face problem turning Benghazi attack into a scandal

Politicians love few things better than a scandal to trip up their opponents, and Republicans hope last year’s fatal attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya will do exactly that to Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats. History suggests it might be a tough lift. The issue is complex, the next presidential election is more than three years away, and a number of reports and officials have disputed criticisms of Clinton’s role when she was secretary of state. Still, Republicans and conservative talk hosts are hammering away at Clinton’s and the Obama administration’s handling of the 8-month-old tragedy. A daylong House
Read More

Immigration bill starts run of political gauntlet in Senate

A bill to enact dramatic changes to the nation’s immigration system and put some 11 million immigrants here illegally on a path to citizenship is facing its first congressional test. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was to begin considering proposed changes to the 844-page legislation, with some 300 amendments pending on a wide range of issues that included border security and workplace enforcement, along with Democratic-authored measures to make the legislation more welcoming to immigrant families. A focus throughout the committee session, expected to last about two weeks, will be on whether the four committee members who are among
Read More

Bill to track prescription drugs moving through House

A House of Representatives panel advanced a bill on Wednesday on how the federal government should track prescription drugs as they move through the distribution chain, over the objections of some Democrats who said the proposal did not go far enough to ensure safety. The draft legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee was aimed at enhancing supply chain security for patients, including protection against counterfeit or stolen drugs. The bill will “ensure that overlapping red tape does not impose dramatic costs on patients in the form of higher prescription drug costs or potential drug shortages,” said
Read More

New York lawmakers caught up in political corruption probe

A former New York state senator from Queens secretly recorded seven lawmakers as part of a political corruption probe, according to a court document unsealed Wednesday. Shirley Huntley, 74, a Democrat who pleaded guilty in January to embezzling $87,700 from a nonprofit organization, recorded and photographed the officials on multiple occasions in the summer of 2012 after meeting with federal prosecutors and agents, according to the filing in Brooklyn federal court. The recorded lawmakers include New York state senators John Sampson, Eric Adams, Ruth Hassel-Thompson, Jose Peralta, Malcolm Smith and Velmanette Montgomery and New York City Councilman Rubin Wills. Huntley
Read More

Air Force finds ‘rot’ among ICBM launch officers

The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control — and, if necessary, launch — nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit’s launch skills. The group’s deputy commander said it is suffering “rot” within its ranks. “We are, in fact, in a crisis right now,” the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force. The tip-off to trouble was a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which
Read More

Mark Sanford finds redemption from South Carolina voters

In a story of political redemption, Mark Sanford is headed back to Congress after his career was derailed by scandal four years ago. “I am one imperfect man saved by God’s grace,” the Republican told about 100 cheering supporters Tuesday after defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to win back the 1st District seat he held for three terms in the 1990s. “It’s my pledge to all of you going forward I’m going to be one of the best congressmen I could have ever been.” Although the race was thought to be close going into the voting, Sanford collected 54 percent
Read More

Republicans accuse Obama of Benghazi attack coverup

House Republicans insist the Obama administration is covering up information about last year’s deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, rejecting administration assurances to the contrary and stoking a controversy with implications for the 2016 presidential race. Republicans on five House committees are pressing ahead with their own investigations despite an exhaustive independent review that blistered the State Department, more than 25,000 pages of documents sent to Congress and hours of testimony from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Three State Department witnesses, including the
Read More

Most military sexual assaults not reported

They are young, often low-ranking service members out on the weekend in the late night and early morning hours. Sometimes they’ve been drinking. Often those who sexually assault them are in the armed forces, too. But in the vast majority of military sexual assault cases — as many as 22,000 in 2012 — the victim chooses not to report the attack or unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assaults across the military are a growing epidemic. In releasing a massive report Tuesday, Pentagon leaders continued to struggle with how to combat the problem and give victims enough confidence in the system to
Read More