Tales from the Trail

House Democrats block Republican call for probe of Pelosi

                        

                                      There was polBRITAIN/itical theater, drama, but no surprise ending on Thursday on a topic involving spies, torture and truth in the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans again ripped into Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing the CIA of misleading Congress — and her fellow Democrats quickly blocked their bid for a bipartisan probe into her truthfulness. The vote was 252-172.

“The Republicans … have been focused on the politics of personal destruction,” House Democratic leader House Steny Hoyer said afterward.

Hoyer also accused Republicans of trying to divert attention from the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners as well as Democratic efforts this year to revamp healthcare and move the nation toward energy independence.

Democrats rushed to Pelosi’s defense earlier this week, saying they believe her statement that the CIA did not inform her at a September 2002 briefing that it had used waterboarding, simulated drowning widely denounced as torture, during interrogations of suspected enemy combatants.

Contraceptives not the kind of stimulus Boehner can believe in

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama’s $825 billion plan to boost the recession-bound U.S. economy has some elements that, well, aren’t the sort of USAstimulus that House Minority Leader John Boehner says he can believe in.
 
“I’m concerned about the size of the package, and I’m concerned about some of the spending that’s in there,” Boehner complained Friday after a meeting at White House.
 
“How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?”
 
Hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives?
 
The Ohio congressman’s office explains. One proposal included in the stimulus package would expand Medicaid family planning services to all 50 states.
 
The proposal would enable people who don’t qualify for Medicaid to receive the family planning services, including contraceptives.
 
“Whether or not you think that is good public policy, it has nothing to do with an economic stimulus,” a spokesman for Boehner said.
 
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Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Boehner watches Obama speak to press)

The First Draft, Friday Jan. 2

The new year begins on a quiet note in Washington, but lawmakers are preparing to hit the ground running next week when the 111th Congress will be seated.

obamaPresident-elect Barack Obama is scheduled to return to Washington this weekend and plans to meet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday to discuss the legislative agenda and plans for a nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus package.

Obama also plans to meet Republican leaders Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Election blowout may cost House Republican leaders

WASHINGTON – Who will be blamed if Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives get crushed in Tuesday’s election?

That’s a question being asked amid Republican fears that they may lose as many as 30 seats. That would be on top of the 30 they dropped in the 2006 election that saw Democrats win control of the House, which they now hold, 235-199.

If House Republicans have another bad night, their leaders could be in jeopardy of being replaced — just like the manager of the baseball team who’s bounced after a bad season or two.

House Republicans won’t change ‘Change’ slogan

WASHINGTON – House of Representatives Republican Leader John Boehner says he has no plans to alter a new campaign slogan — “Change you deserve” — that has been widely mocked since the phrase is used to market the anti-depressant drug Effexor.

rtr1xlet.jpg“I think it’s working out just fine,” a smiling Boehner told reporters when asked about the slogan that has become the butt of jokes on Capitol Hill.

The slogan is part of a new effort by House Republicans “to fix Washington,” outline plans to help Americans and raise their floundering election-year prospects of retaking control of the legislative body from Democrats.

US House Republican leader shrugs off Gingrich advice

WASHINGTON - House Minority Leader John Boehner on Wednesday shrugged off a warning that his fellow Republicans are facing peril in the fall elections unless they change course, a prediction made by a former Republican House speaker. 
 
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned on Tuesday that Republicans must immediately “chart a bold course of real change” otherwise they will “suffer decisive losses this November.”
   
rtr20ahg.jpgThat apparently didn’t sit too well with Boehner as he faces an uphill battle to reclaim control of the U.S. House of Representatives since more than two dozen fellow House Republicans are leaving this fall or running for another office. And last weekend, they lost a Republican seat in Louisiana in a special election.
 
“Listen a lot of people have a lot of ideas and advice for me and our leadership team about what it is that we should do,” Boehner told reporters after a meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House.
 
“I tell our colleagues every week, if you stand up and do the right things for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” Boehner said. “And frankly, we have been standing up for the right things that the American people want us to.”
 
The Ohio Republican argued that their efforts to cut taxes and expand exploration for oil and gas in the United States served as evidence that they were on the right path for the November elections. 
 
“There’s a whole array of issues that I think where we’re representing the interests of the American people,” Boehner said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Boehner after a meeting with Bush at the White House)