October 16, 2013 |
In 1942, the popular detective fiction writer Rex Stout published a book about Congress featuring "the silliest, stupidest and most dangerous statements that have ever been made by men laying claim to being leaders of the American people. " The book's title told the whole story: "The Illustrious Dunderheads. " I've been thinking about Stout during the government shutdown, which has triggered a fresh round of ridiculing Congress. But the joke is on us, as comedian Jimmy Kimmel recently noted.
October 15, 2013 |
Today's watchword on Obamacare is "income verification. " That's a process that House Republicans, and Senate conferees, appear poised to write into their solutions to resolve the fiscal standoff. It means somehow verifying in real time the income that applicants for insurance list in order to claim a government premium subsidy. Senate Democrats seem inclined to go along with income verification to reach a fiscal agreement with their Republican counterparts, though the details of what they would agree to are murky.
October 11, 2013 |
Among the far-reaching effects of the ongoing government shutdown is the lack of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is about to put a major crimp in the Alaskan fishing industry. The problem is so great that it's even being felt by reality TV star Keith Colburn, who catches crabs off Alaska's coast on the Discovery Channel series "Deadliest Catch. " According to CNN, Colburn testified before members of the Senate Commerce Committee on Friday to urge them to have the currently furloughed staffers return to work so they could assign quotas before the start of Alaskan fishing season next week.
October 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The crabbers are getting, well, crabby. With the offices of the National Marine Fisheries Service closed because of the federal government shutdown, fishermen have been unable to get permits for the Alaska king crab season, which begins Tuesday. "Instead of a fiscal cliff, right now we're facing a fishing cliff in the Bering Sea unless Congress acts before the season is scheduled to start on Oct. 15," said Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington state. "This is the first time in my 28 years of fishing that I haven't been in the Bering Sea in October getting ready to go fish," said Keith Colburn, a crabber who journeyed to Capitol Hill on Friday to testify at a hearing on the impact of the shutdown.
October 10, 2013 |
Oh. Have I got your attention now? (Apologies to Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross .) This may be a case of the worst timing ever, but the question of whether Congress is underpaid actually is on the table right now. You can thank tin-eared representatives like Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who complained at a party caucus that while his staffers can hop to a lobbying job and make $500,000: " Meanwhile I'm stuck here making $172,000 a year. " (Actually, $174,000.) Or Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.)
October 8, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Several members of Congress plus about 200 labor leaders and immigration advocates were arrested Tuesday outside the Capitol in a protest calling for the House to take up immigration reform, which stalled after passing the Senate. Demonstrators marched to the Capitol after a rally and concert on the National Mall. Many stood or sat in the street in what organizers called a campaign of civil disobedience. Democratic Reps. Charles B. Rangel and Joseph Crowley of New York, Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona, John Lewis of Georgia and Luis V. Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois were among those loaded into police vans.
October 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The urgency to end the government shutdown eased Saturday as the Pentagon said it would recall nearly all its furloughed civilian employees and House Republicans focused their attention to a broader budget battle with the White House. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's surprise announcement to call about 350,000 civilian defense workers back to work next week was expected to loosen pressure on Congress and the White House to quickly end the shutdown, which was in its fifth day Saturday.
October 4, 2013 |
As the political standoff over the Affordable Care Act keeps the federal government shut down for a fourth day, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine are urging the nation's physicians to “lead by example” and “make your views known to your representatives in Congress.” In an editorial published online Friday, Drs. Jeffrey M. Drazen and Gregory D. Curfman write that the journal - the oldest and arguably most prestigious medical...
October 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With no end to the shutdown in sight, Congress headed into a weekend session as House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) sought to firm up fraying support from his conservative flank by vowing he would not agree to raise the nation's debt limit without them. Boehner pushed back against reports that he was ready to “roll over” - and leave his majority behind by relying heavily on Democratic votes in this next battle - saying “that's not going to happen,” according to lawmakers attending the private strategy session Friday in the Capitol basement.
October 4, 2013 |
No matter what President Obama does to work around Congress' refusal to raise the federal debt limit -- a real possibility given the brain freeze afflicting the House of Representatives these days -- the result will be a legal mess. That's the argument made Friday by former Treasury Department official Mark A. Patterson, now a fellow at the Center for American Progress. In an op-ed article for Politico , Patterson reports that during earlier debt-limit standoffs while he was at Treasury (from 2009 to last May)