Archives for News

Allowing knives onboard planes angers many

Flight attendants, pilots, federal air marshals and even insurance companies are part of a growing backlash to the Transportation Security Administration‘s new policy allowing passengers to carry small knives and sports equipment like souvenir baseball bats and golf clubs onto planes. The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, which representing nearly 90,000 flight attendants, said it is coordinating a nationwide legislative and public education campaign to reverse the policy announced by TSA Administrator John Pistole this week. A petition posted by the flight attendants on the White House’s “We the People” website had more than 9,300 signatures early Friday urging the administration
Read More

Gun control laws on shaky ground in Congress

President Barack Obama’s prospects for winning near-universal background checks for gun purchases seemed shaky as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepared for Congress’ first votes on curbing firearms since December’s horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school. The Democratic-led panel had four bills on its agenda Thursday as lawmakers began shaping their response to the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six staffers in Newtown, Conn. The shootings elevated guns to a top-tier national issue, though many of Obama’s proposals have encountered opposition from the National Rifle Association and many Republicans. Besides expanding background checks, the other measures would ban assault weapons
Read More

Rand Paul ends filibuster against CIA director nominee

A tea party senator from Kentucky used an old-style filibuster lasting nearly 13 hours to block Senate confirmation of John Brennan‘s nomination to be CIA director. Sen. Rand Paul ended his filibuster shortly after midnight, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Kentucky Republican, said he would continue to oppose Brennan’s confirmation and try to keep the debate going. After Paul yielded the floor, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., filed a motion to cut off debate on Brennan’s nomination and bring it up for a vote. Paul ended his lengthy speech with a joke. He said that he was tempted
Read More

Obama tries eating out as new way to reach Republicans

Shifting course in the face of political gridlock, President Barack Obama is making rare overtures to rank-and-file Republicans, inviting GOP senators to dinner Wednesday, planning visits to Capitol Hill and working the phones with lawmakers. Obama’s efforts are aimed at jumpstarting budget talks and rallying support for his proposals on immigration and gun control. The president’s new charm offensive underscores the limitations of his earlier attempts to use public pressure, rather than direct engagement, to win Republican cooperation. That strategy proved futile in recent weeks, as the White House and Congress failed to prevent $85 billion in automatic budget cuts
Read More

White House tours cancelled but Capitol visits continue on

If your public tour of the White House has now been canceled, House Speaker John Boehner says come visit the Capitol instead. Boehner says tours of that building will continue, despite mandatory spending cuts that led the U.S. Secret Service and the National Park Service on Tuesday to announce that public tours of the White House will end, starting Saturday, until further notice. The Republican speaker made the tit-for-tat announcement in a letter to his Ohio constituents on Tuesday, following news about the suspension of White House tours. His office released the letter on Wednesday. “While I’m disappointed the White
Read More

Obama’s public approval rating drops as Americans blame him for fiscal mess

Less than two months into his second term, President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped and Americans blame him and his fellow Democrats almost as much as his Republican opponents for a fiscal mess. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Wednesday showed 43 percent of people approve of Obama’s handling of his job, down 7 percentage points from February 19. Most of that steep drop came in the week to February 26 when it was becoming clear that Washington was going to be unable to put aside partisan differences and agree to halt automatic budget cuts which started last Friday.
Read More

Some signs of cooperation between sides on budget debacle

The Obama administration and congressional Republicans are quietly working in tandem to blunt the impact of short-term spending cuts that kicked in with dire White House warnings a few days ago, with both sides eager to pocket the full savings for deficit reduction as they pivot to a new clash over Medicare. The overall size of the cuts remains in place: $85 billion in reductions through the end of the budget year on Sept. 30, half from defense and half from domestic programs as diverse as education, parks and payments to doctors and hospitals treating Medicare patients. But legislation drafted
Read More

Obama faces widespread GOP skepticism on budget dealings

President Barack Obama must work with a deeply skeptical partner as he tries to undo painful spending cuts and set U.S. finances on a more sustainable course: the liberal wing of his own party. While Republicans have dug in their heels against further tax increases, many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have refused to consider cuts to popular health and retirement programs that are projected to eat up a growing slice of the nation’s resources. As a result, the lion’s share of deficit-reduction efforts so far – apart from tax increases – have come from cuts to military and domestic programs,
Read More

For first time, federal budget cuts affect Washington, DC

To get a sense of just how much federal government spending influences the Washington metropolitan area, all you have to do is listen to the ads on an all-news radio station there. Instead of promoting happy hours and nightclubs, WTOP’s commercials are replete with buzzwords about cloud computing and fulfilling mission statements — pitches by IT consultants and contractors trying to land business with federal agencies. And the storm that was heading for the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday? It’s been dubbed “snowquester,” a play on the D.C. wonk jargon that is used to describe the $85 billion that must be cut
Read More

Ashley Judd’s potential run against McConnell scares the hell out of Republicans

Actress and Democratic activist Ashley Judd says she is considering a run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and that thought alone is sending reactionary Republicans into convulsions. The GOP attack machine is in full gear, denouncing Judd as a flake with outlandish views and doing anything they can to defend McConnell, a lackluster Senate leader with a history of racism and his own off-the-wall comments. The campaign, spearheaded by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and funded by right-wing fatcats, showcases the length the party will go to tar and feather anyone who thinks of taking on one
Read More