December 20, 2009 |
After a dramatic month of sometimes round-the-clock negotiating and deal-making, Senate Democrats came together Saturday behind sweeping healthcare legislation, providing a powerful boost for President Obama's top domestic policy goal. The breakthrough came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his lieutenants engineered a delicately crafted compromise to prevent federal funding of abortions, the same issue that nearly stopped the House from passing its healthcare bill six weeks ago. With the deal, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a strong opponent of abortion, became the 60th and crucial last member of the Democratic caucus to line up behind the healthcare legislation.
December 18, 2009 |
The White House and several advocacy groups banded together Thursday in an attempt to pacify liberals who are furious over compromises made to the Senate healthcare legislation. The bill's advocates said that it still would make a difference in the lives of Americans, and warned that the cost of failure was high. Former President Clinton issued a statement that said: "America can't afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And this is a good bill." And abandoning the effort to pass healthcare legislation would be "a tragic outcome," David Axelrod, a senior advisor to President Obama, told MSNBC.
January 20, 2010 |
In a stunning blow to Democrats, Republican Scott Brown on Tuesday seized the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy, handing the GOP the crucial vote that could thwart President Obama's far-reaching agenda, beginning with healthcare reform. More broadly, Brown's epic upset signals the start of what could be an exceedingly tough year nationwide for Democrats, who are fighting to hang on to their majorities in the House and Senate in a political climate that seems to grow more hostile by the day. "The effort to pass Obama's legislative agenda has grown more difficult, a flood of new Democratic congressional retirements may follow, and Republicans will certainly feel emboldened to expand their list of Democratic targets for the fall election," said Rhodes Cook, an independent campaign analyst.
January 7, 2010 |
The decisions by two powerful Democrats to retire from the Senate are a rude reminder of how dramatically the political climate has changed over the last 12 months since President Obama came to power -- a wind shift that has thrown the Democratic Party off balance and turned the politics of raising hope into the politics of managing anger. The news that Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) would not seek reelection in 2010, compounded by Wednesday's surprise announcement that the Democratic governor of Colorado would not seek another term, resulted from very different personal and political considerations.
January 22, 2010 |
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's confirmation to a second term is in jeopardy due to growing opposition from Senate Democrats, who have been battered by public anger about the economy and the surprising loss of a Massachusetts Senate seat to the GOP this week. At least four Senate Democrats have said they will oppose President Obama's decision to renominate the Fed chairman. Critics of Bernanke, who was named to his first term by former President George W. Bush, are pressing the case that he was an architect of policies that helped drag the U.S. into a period of recession and high unemployment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2010 |
Democrat Barbara Boxer outdistanced her Republican challengers in raising money during the first quarter of the year, and her two leading GOP would-be opponents were nearly tied in income over the period, according to financial reports. Boxer, a three-term incumbent who faces no serious primary challenge but is anticipating her toughest general election battle yet, raised $2.4 million in the first three months of 2010. She now has $8.7 million on hand, and is due to raise more next week with a visit from President Obama.
December 20, 2009 |
Citing concerns over skin cancer, Senate Democrats inserted a last-minute provision into their healthcare overhaul that would tax the use of tanning beds. The 10% sales tax would be imposed on individuals who purchase tanning services, but would not apply to what the bill called "phototherapy by a licensed medical professional." Most tanning salons are not staffed by medical personnel. The tanning tax would help pay for the massive overhaul by raising an estimated $2.7 billion over 10 years.
January 17, 2010 |
Steve Giosi and Liam Foley have been known to tip back a few pints on adjacent stools at the Galway House in this city's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. But on Tuesday, they'll part ways -- at least politically. "I'm leaning toward him," Giosi said one recent afternoon, nodding at the TV screen, which had been playing a seemingly continuous loop of ads both promoting and denigrating Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown. "I'm a Democrat. I always have been," said Foley, 55; to demonstrate his sense of loyalty, he pointed to his Tiger Woods cap. "I'm voting for Martha Coakley.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2010 |
Republican Meg Whitman's unprecedented spending spree in the race for governor has rocketed her into a narrow lead against Democrat Jerry Brown, while incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) is holding her own as a trio of little-known GOP candidates vies to challenge her, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll has found. Whitman, who gave her campaign a record-breaking $39 million to finance a blistering pace of recent television advertising, carried 44% of voters to Brown's 41%. The campaign by Brown, the former governor and current attorney general, has been the antithesis of Whitman's, operating under the radar except for a brief burst of publicity in early March when he announced his intention to run. In her first bid for elective office, Whitman was easily outdistancing her fellow Republican, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, with a 40-point lead in the poll as they move toward the June primary.
January 10, 2010 |
The Senate filibuster has emerged as the bane of President Obama's legislative agenda, igniting anger among liberals over a tactic that is now hogtying Congress even on noncontroversial bills. The threat of filibusters has become so common that congressional leaders take it for granted that any bill of consequence will not pass the 100-member Senate with a simple majority of 51. Instead, 60 votes -- the number needed to cut off the interminable speeches of a filibuster -- has become the minimum required.