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Capitol Briefing: February 10, 2008 - February 16, 2008

Player of the Week: John Conyers

House Democrats left town Thursday for the President's Day recess having fired two controversial salvos at the Bush administration -- approving contempt of Congress citations against White House officials while refusing to renew a terrorism surveillance law. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) was at the fulcrum of both moves,...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 15, 2008; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders , House , Player of the Week  
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GOP's Earmarks Crusade Has its Limits

Anti-earmark crusader Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) lost his bid for a seat on the House Appropriations Committee Thursday, and the conservative blogosphere is not happy about it. This Red State post was typical of the reaction. Under the heading, "House Republicans Aren't Serious About Earmark Reform," blogger Bluey wrote, "Just when...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 15, 2008; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , GOP Leaders , House , Purse Strings  
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Bush, GOP Rebuke House Democrats on Surveillance Bill

House Democrats left Washington today for a week-long recess without taking action on a terrorist surveillance bill set to expire Friday night, drawing theatrical protests from congressional Republicans and a sharp rebuke from President Bush. The decision by Democratic leaders to ignore Bush's call for immediate action sets up a...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 14, 2008; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (172)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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House Will Let Surveillance Bill Expire

UPDATE, 1:12 p.m. ET: President Bush just sought to increase pressure on Democrats to act on the surveillance law by saying he would delay his planned trip to Africa this weekend if he is needed in Washington to work on or sign a bill. "If we have to delay [the...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 14, 2008; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders  
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No Plan B in the House for Surveillance Bill?

In a surprise twist, a 21-day extension of the terrorist surveillance law failed decisively on the House floor this afternoon, making it increasingly likely that the law will be allowed to expire on Friday. Thirty-four Democrats, mostly liberals who want to take a tougher line against the Bush administration on...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , House  
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In Clemens's Corner: Dan Burton

If you've been following today's blockbuster House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing into steroids in baseball, you already know that embattled ace Roger Clemens appears to have at least one lawmaker firmly in his corner -- Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.). Best known to the public at large as the...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Hearing Watch  
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House Mulls Contempt Votes Against Bolten, Miers

After months of delay, House leaders are considering bringing contempt citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and ex-White House counsel Harriet Miers to the chamber floor for votes Thursday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said this morning that it was "possible" the citations would be on...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders , Ethics and Rules  
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House Leaders Endorse McCain

Whatever Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) told the House GOP Conference at their meeting this morning, it must have been good, because House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) came out after the gathering and endorsed the Arizonan for president, as did House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo) and Conference Chairman Adam...

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  February 13, 2008; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Web Activism Defeats Gilchrest and Wynn

Two Maryland Congressmen with more than three decades of combined House experience lost their jobs Tuesday, unable to beat back fierce primary challenges driven by strong ideological coalitions. In the 1st District, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest was defeated in the GOP contest by state Sen. Andy Harris. With 96 percent of...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 8:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Waxman Swears Off Earmarks

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is known as a master of orchestrating high-profile investigations, most recently the steroids probe that will bring Roger Clemens to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. But now it appears Waxman has earned a new title -- earmark crusader. In a surprise...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 8:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  House , Purse Strings  
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Dean's Brother Pushing to Unseat Rep. Wynn

The Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, aren't getting involved in today's party primary in Maryland's 4th District, where Rep. Al Wynn (Md.) is trying to hold on against challenger Donna Edwards. The DNC does not make a habit of trying to unseat Democratic incumbents. But it's not...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 12, 2008; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Few Colleagues Giving to Wynn, Gilchrest

UPDATE, 12:15 p.m. ET: All the numbers in the original post below were valid though Jan. 23, the last day covered by pre-primary reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. But in the last days before an election, candidates have to file what are known as 48-hour reports, disclosing the...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 12, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Rep. Shadegg to Retire

Add yet another name to the GOP retirement list. Arizona Rep. John Shadegg (R) is on the verge of announcing that he will not run for re-election, according to Republican sources. Shadegg is in his 7th term in the House and is the former chairman of the conservative Republican Study...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 11, 2008; 5:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Hill Conservatives (Slowly) Moving to McCain

Stepping up his outreach to the party establishment, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will address the House Republican Conference Wednesday morning at the group's regular meeting at the Capitol Hill Club. But the more interesting gathering will take place a few hours later in the nearby Rayburn Building, at the weekly...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 11, 2008; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Rep. Lantos, Holocaust Survivor, Dies at 80

California Rep. Tom Lantos (D), a Holocaust survivor known for his dogged commitment to human rights issues, died early this morning at Bethesda Naval Medical Center after a bout with esophageal cancer. He was 80 and had served in the House since 1981. President George W. Bush, right, shakes hands...

By Ben Pershing  |  February 11, 2008; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  House  
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