February 14, 2009 |
Upending Washington's entrenched ways of doing business is proving tougher than President Obama may have assumed. The nearly $800-billion stimulus bill served as a test case. During the campaign, Obama released a position paper stating his commitment to open government. As president, he said, he would not only insist on transparency in his own administration, he would press Congress to revamp its practices as well.
February 11, 2009 |
With the Senate's approval Tuesday of a massive, $838-billion economic stimulus package, congressional negotiators launched into a high-risk race to come up with a compromise bill that could be delivered to the White House by the end of the week. It will be anything but easy. There are significant differences in the bill the Senate passed Tuesday and the one the House approved last month, not the least of which are the price tags. The House version is $819 billion.
February 5, 2009 |
President Obama plans to address a joint session of Congress for the first time Feb. 24, five weeks after his inauguration. White House officials say Obama's speech will resemble a State of the Union address, but it will not be one. His first State of the Union will take place in January 2010. Obama is expected to emphasize that he inherited difficult situations on many fronts and that he will preside over a new dawn in Washington.
February 1, 2009 |
With Congress moving toward passage of an $800-billion-plus economic stimulus plan, big government is back. Unabashed. With a vengeance. The stimulus is bigger than the Pentagon's entire budget. It's more than the United States has spent on the war in Iraq. And its hundreds of provisions reach into almost every aspect of American life -- including workers' paychecks, local schools, digital television and modernizing medical records.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 5, 2009 |
As he ran for the White House, John F. Kennedy assured skeptical Americans that he was "not the Catholic candidate for president," but rather a "candidate for president who happens also to be Catholic." In 1961, the year he took office, Catholics accounted for 18.8% of Congress. On Tuesday, when the 111th Congress is sworn in, about 30% of its membership will be Catholic, according to a recent analysis by Congressional Quarterly and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
January 2, 2009 |
Congress has so few moderate Republicans that at least in the Senate they could squeeze into a Volkswagen Beetle. Their ranks have dwindled in recent elections. Those who remain in politics have been marginalized by their own party, which has inexorably veered to the right over the last generation. But this beleaguered minority has an opportunity to wield outsized influence on what President-elect Barack Obama can accomplish in Congress.
December 21, 2008 |
When Rep. John E. Peterson came under attack for steering taxpayer funds to a weather museum in Punxsutawney, Pa., the town famous for its Groundhog Day observance, it wasn't enough for the Pennsylvania Republican to go before the microphone to defend the spending. He sent for Phil. The weather-predicting groundhog joined Peterson on Capitol Hill in 2004 as the lawmaker defended the $100,000 earmark as a way to promote tourism in an economically depressed area.
December 14, 2008 |
The collapse of legislation to bail out the U.S. auto industry is a fitting end to this year in Congress -- and a warning to President-elect Barack Obama that even larger Democratic majorities next year won't guarantee smooth sailing for his ambitious agenda on economics and other issues. Polarized, beset by crises, and preoccupied with ideological and regional politics, this Congress followed a pattern all too familiar in the past decade.
December 12, 2008 |
By standing in the way of an auto industry bailout, GOP senators appear to have bitten the hand that fed them. Over the last decade, General Motors has given $1.50 to Republican candidates for every $1 it has given to Democrats. That same pattern has been followed by Chrysler and Ford, which year after year have favored the right side of the aisle, sometimes by more than a 3-to-1 ratio in dollar terms.
December 8, 2008 |
Speaker Nancy Pelosi took stewardship of the House two years ago with a pledge to "drain the swamp" and clean up ethical abuses in Congress. Now an investigation of one of her party's best-known members is putting her in an uncomfortable spot. Rep. Charles B.