Tales from the Trail

This lame duck sure can fly

December 21, 2010

Congress seems to work better under deadline pressure (like journalists).

Democrats are racing to cram as much through the post-election lame duck session as possible, before their majority turns into a pumpkin when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

Washington Extra – jumpSTART

December 14, 2010

There are 11 days to Christmas, time for Congress to do the end-of-session roll in which proposals that grew cobwebs for months and months are now heading through the chambers at breakneck speed.

Democrats, Meet Mr. Hobson

December 9, 2010

RTR1H4KV_Comp-150x150Democrats don’t like President Barack Obama’s tax compromise. They’re disappointed. Some may vote against it. But the package still seems destined to pass.

Hoyer, Clyburn compete for House leadership post

November 7, 2010

clyburn_stenyU.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will win his bid to remain in party leadership in the soon-to-be Republican-led chamber, a source close to Hoyer said on Sunday.

Comedian Colbert “inappropriate”?

September 26, 2010

Comedian Stephen Colbert’s satirical testimony before Congress last week left some lawmakers cold, and one of them was House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer.
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“I think it was inappropriate,” Hoyer said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about Colbert’s appearance before a House judiciary subcommittee on immigration where he testified on his brief stint as a migrant farm worker.

Boehner says lawmakers should expect to do more reading if he becomes House Speaker

July 23, 2010

Republican John Boehner wants you to know that if his party wins control of  the House of Representatives and he becomes the chamber’s next Speaker, things will be a lot different.

Are folks ‘for’ or ‘agin’ healthcare reform? Both, according to the partisan rhetoric

March 17, 2010

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Republicans say Americans don’t want the president’s healthcare reforms. Democrats beg to differ. What’s true? Depends how you figure, though as Mark Twain observed: figures don’t lie, but liars … well, you know.

Republican wants more Massa exposure but Democrat says it’s over

March 10, 2010

House Republican Eric Cantor thinks Congress should get to the bottom of Eric Massa’s bizarre tale of congressional nudity, satanic White House advisers, the groping of men (or not) and a congressional healthcare putsch by Democrats. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the case is over. 
 

With jobs the priority, Obama invites culture war?

February 3, 2010

AFGHANISTAN/Has President Obama opened a Pandora’s Box marked “Culture War” by moving — however slowly – to repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military?
    
Conservative punditry hasn’t weighed in yet. But  there’s no reason to doubt  the issue will be red meat for those who want to sink the Obama agenda and send congressional Democrats to the unemployment office in November.
    
“Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal-social-policy guinea pigs,” Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, tells Time magazine.
    
Sen. John McCain, a top Republican on military affairs, accused the administration of acting by fiat to circumvent Congress and the military’s chain of command after the Pentagon announced a year-long review of the policy.
    
“You’re embarking on saying it’s not whether the military prepares to make the change but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of Congress, without hearing from the members of the Joint Chiefs, and of course, without taking into consideration all the ramifications,” he told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen at a Senate Armed Services hearing yesterday.
 
Polling data show most Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military. But the risk for Obama is that Republicans and their talk-show allies will cry up the issue and steer the now palpable frustrations of voters against him and his fellow Democrats.
    
Democrats, who got a taste of that voter frustration in Massachusetts last month, now hope to win favor by making the economy their USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSItop priority.
    
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer favors repeal but seems happy to let the Pentagon take the lead until after this year’s election.
    
“What I want members to do in their districts? I want them to focus on jobs and fiscal responsibility. Those are our messages,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “The American public clearly wants us focused on growing the economy, adding jobs. That is a principle responsibility.”

Talking healthcare: How close is “close”?

January 15, 2010

The talk on Capitol Hill is that a deal is close on healthcare legislation, President Barack Obama’s signature issue.