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20 Dec 2011 14:18


Politics: House turns down Senate’s payroll tax cut extension

  • 229-193 payroll tax cut voted down source
  • » Shot down, softly: The House voted today on the Senate’s bill to extend (temporarily, by two months) the payroll tax cut President Obama has been calling for; the bill also would have extended unemployment insurance. The bill failed, though not on an up-or-down vote — the House instead voted affirmatively (with 229 “yeas”) to disapprove of the bill, calling for the two houses of Congress to hold conference to hammer out changes. Problem is, the Senate is out of session for the year, and Majority Leader Harry Reid has no intention of reconvening: “My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today… in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.” Seven Republicans joined Democrats in opposition.

06 Oct 2011 16:50


Politics: Obama pressures Congress to take more action

  • If Congress does something, then I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. [If they do nothing] then I think the American people will run them out of town.
  • President Barack Obama • Answering a reporter’s question whether he was pursuing a similar reelection strategy to that of Harry Truman’s 1948 campaign against a “do-nothing Congress.” Obama has used a tougher, more confrontational rhetorical style against Congress lately, and while this does have much to do with his push on his proposed jobs bill, you needn’t be a cynic to see this as a desirable campaign strategy. source

15 Sep 2011 23:03


Politics: Kucinich will run for re-election in newly-drawn district

  • Why’s Dennis Kucinich so happy? Because he’s found a new congressional district! His old Ohio seat was recently redistricted out of existence, but he’s found a potential new home in a redrawn district that includes his home city of Cleveland. There’s just one catch: Rep. Mary Kaptur, who also got the short end of the redistricting stick, wants to run in the same district (that’s the last time we’ll use the word “district” in this post). Kaptur, the longest-serving female Democrat in the house, isn’t looking forward to the primary. “We’re friends,” Kaptur said. “This is hard for us.”  source

16 Aug 2011 22:26


U.S.: John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi both very unpopular

  • -24 net approval of Speaker John Boehner
  • -24 net approval of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi source
  • » The moral of the story? Don’t become Speaker of the House. Boehner’s approval ratings have fallen thirty-one points (!) since he assumed the Speaker’s chair; Pelosi, meanwhile, is just as hated as when she handed over the gavel. These numbers comport with surveys showing Congressional disapproval ratings at their highest levels in thirty years.

26 Jul 2011 13:29


U.S.: Rep. David Wu explains why he’s resigning from Congress

  • The wellbeing of my children must come before anything else. With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.
  • Rep. David Wu • Discussing his decision to resign from Congress amid allegations that he had unwanted sexual contact with an 18-year-old woman. Earlier he said he wouldn’t seek reelection after this controversy, but now he’s resigning after increasing pressure from other representatives. He’s had his fair share of troubles — namely his wife father passing away, and a midlife crisis that’s manifested itself in embarrassing ways. At least he’s making it clear that he’s doing this to help his kids out, and let’s hope this doesn’t turn into Weinergate 2.0. source

15 Jun 2011 15:26


U.S.: Obama faces lawsuit over American role in Libya conflict

  • With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies.
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich • Expressing anger over the current military presence in Libya. He and a bipartisan group of representatives have brought a lawsuit against President Obama for foregoing Congress on Libya and, in the process, violating the War Powers Resolution, a law meant to stop the President from sending troops overseas without Congressional approval. Kucinich has backing from unlikely allies such as John Boehner and Ron Paul on this matter. Meanwhile, the White House disputes the lawsuit: “The president has acted in a manner that is consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney. Definitely one to watch. source

13 Jun 2011 14:13


U.S.: The White House annoyed about this Weinergate thing

  • The president feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction, as Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate.
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney • responding to Weinergate. He didn’t go so far as to say Weiner should resign, though. It seems like the White House is pretty upset about this whole thing, which is understandable. Obama just made a speech about jobs today, and it’s easy to imagine him being fed up with Weiner getting all this press. Not only is Weiner’s situation bugging Democrats, but he’s taking press away from Obama. source

12 May 2011 15:29


Politics: Rep. Joe Barton, the white knight of “b** oil”

  • I don’t think it should be a pejorative. We’ve got this mentality on the liberal side of our political debate: big oil, big insurance, big this, big that.
  • Rep. Joe Barton • Sticking up for big oil (oops!) during a committee hearing today. In all honesty, it’s difficult to take Barton seriously on energy issues, and that’s not just a liberal taking a pot shot at the “R” next to his name. Barton is absolutely soaked in oil cash; if last year’s totals remain true, he’s received more contributions from big oil than any member of the House dating back to 1990, over $1.5 million in that span. That money can buy a lot of loyalty, from apologizing to BP over the gulf spill compensation fund, to trying to turn “big oil” into a slur, something we’ve never thought of as inherently pejorative. Barton also insisted the term wasn’t right, as the largest private oil company, ExxonMobil, is only the fifth largest worldwide, the other four being nationalized. Which makes it unfortunate for Barton that he decried “big oil” instead of “biggest oil.” Oh, and lest you think Joe Barton just hates labels, you know what he hates more? Obamacare! source

02 Apr 2011 21:52


Politics: Americans woefully misinformed, part two

  • 19% of Americans think Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House source
  • » Even more discouraging: That number was at 13% after Republicans won the House in November. That means the percentage of people who incorrectly believe that Pelosi is still Speaker has increased since she handed to gavel over to John Boehner (who, by the way, is only correctly identified as Speaker of the House by 43% of Americans). Sigh.

24 Feb 2011 14:26


U.S.: House Democrats move to repeal Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA)

  • yesterday The Obama Administration advanced on what’s been an agonizingly slow process of hedging and pivoting on gay marriage, as they no longer plan to defend the DOMA in federal court. The announcement was rejoiced by marriage equality activists, as it showed a shift in the President’s publicly stated views.
  • today House Democrats (headed by NY Rep. Jerry Nadler) moved to repeal the DOMA, which will almost assuredly fail in a Republican dominated chamber, but does thrust the issue squarely back into the national consciousness. Barack Obama could be the most pro-gay President in American history if he just steps out on this. source