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November 7, 2007 | Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, recently invited White House budget director Jim Nussle over to the Capitol to talk about how to avert what could become the biggest budget showdown in years. "We went out on our balcony and had a drink and talked for a while," Obey said.
November 4, 2007 | Faye Fiore, Times Staff Writer
The sun was hardly up when Jerry McNerney shut his front door behind him, a bowl of Great Grains Maple Pecan Crunch in his stomach, a brown suit and his good black shoes in a garment bag for later. In the 16 hours before he returned home, the freshman congressman who was never supposed to win would put on 40 pounds of gear at a firehouse and spend nearly two hours at a grocery store, talking to voters by the beer nuts.
November 1, 2007 | Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
Ignoring a veto threat and stoking a fight over trade, the House on Wednesday approved an $8.6-billion expansion of a federal program that assists workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition. The vote comes as the White House works to steer four trade deals through a less-friendly Democratic-controlled Congress amid U.S. job losses and other effects of globalization.
October 25, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Janet Hook, Times Staff Writers
Democratic ideas for fixing the healthcare system to cover the uninsured enjoy more support among Americans than proposals coming from Republicans, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows. The poll also found that a restive public was pessimistic about the direction of the country and that voters were dissatisfied with President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress. Congress was shown to be more unpopular than Bush: Its approval rating was 22%, the president's 35%.
October 23, 2007 | Jane Engle, Times Staff Writer
Owners of the historic Delta Queen, the country's best-known paddle-wheeler, say they may be forced to pull the boat out of regular overnight service on the Mississippi River unless Congress extends its exemption from safety laws. Opponents say the 1926 steamboat, with a steel hull and wooden superstructure, is a fire hazard. The waiver exempts the Delta Queen from a federal law that requires fire-retardant materials on vessels carrying 50 or more passengers on overnight trips.
October 19, 2007 | Teresa Watanabe, Times Staff Writer
Government actions in a deportation case involving a Vietnamese refugee family in Santa Ana drew fire Thursday as political and community leaders accused immigration agents of intimidation. Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency last week arrested the parents and brother of Tam Tran, a 24-year-old UCLA graduate who testified before Congress about the plight of undocumented immigrant students in May.
October 17, 2007 | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Times Staff Writer
Faced with the likelihood that they will fall short in their effort to overturn President Bush's veto of a popular health insurance program for children, congressional Democrats are confronting a difficult choice about what to do next. Should they come up with a cheaper, scaled-back version that Bush might accept? Or should they continue to press for the full $60-billion plan Congress has passed, hoping to pressure more Republicans into breaking from the White House?
October 13, 2007 | Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
washington -- Key lawmakers criticized CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's decision to launch an investigation of the spy agency's inspector general, saying Friday that the move threatens the independence of the official who serves by statute as the agency's watchdog.
October 10, 2007 | Jonathan Peterson, Times Staff Writer
washington -- A populist push to hike taxes on private equity firm partners is apparently petering out in the Senate, following a fierce lobbying effort by those who faced whopping tax increases under the legislation. Influential House members remain interested in the measure. But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has quietly signaled to the investment firms that he does not plan to schedule the tax hike for consideration before members adjourn for the year, possibly next month.
October 9, 2007 | Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
Congressional Democrats have found an unexpected ally in their budget showdown with President Bush: Republicans. The president is pushing to cut and even eliminate some popular domestic programs that pump billions of dollars into the states. Many congressional Republicans, wary of the potential fallout from the loss of funds, have joined Democrats to oppose the cuts. California alone has hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
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