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Capitol Briefing: April 6, 2008 - April 12, 2008

Player of the Week: Robert Byrd

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., presides over a committee hearing on Sept. 26, 2007 (AP) Robert Byrd is the longest-serving senator in history. The West Virginia Democrat is Senate President Pro Tempore, third in the line of presidential succession. He is an accomplished historian who carries a copy of the constitution...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 11, 2008; 3:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Player of the Week , Senate  
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Citizen McCain, Cont'd

A few Senators really, really believe that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) can serve as president (not "should" serve, necessarily, but "can"). Back in late February, a New York Times story revisited the question of whether McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone (where his father was serving in...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 11, 2008; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Senate  
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Keeping Score on the Colombia Trade Pact

The House voted today to "stop the clock" on the Colombia free trade agreement, passing a rule change allowing the chamber to ignore the traditional 90-day timeframe under which Congress must vote on trade bills. The 224-195 vote in favor of the rule change broke down mostly along party lines,...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 10, 2008; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Agenda , House  
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After Petraeus, a Growing Divide

Two days of hearings on the progress of the Iraq war did nothing to bring President Bush and congressional Democrats any closer to a consensus on future action, as both sides have laid down increasingly combative markers today. This morning, Bush announced that tours in Iraq and Afganistan for Army...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 10, 2008; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (199)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Iraq  
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Meet the House's Newest Member

Former state Sen. Jackie Speier (D) won a special election Tuesday to replace the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D) in California's 12th district, easily avoiding a runoff by racking up nearly 78 percent of the vote against four other contenders. Speier, who will likely win a full term in November...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 9, 2008; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , House  
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Pelosi to Stop Clock on Colombia Deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threw a counter-punch at President Bush on the Colombia free trade agreement today, announcing that the House would vote on a rules change to stop a legally mandated 90-day clock for Congress to take up the measure. Bush sent Congress the Colombia measure on Tuesday,...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 9, 2008; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch , House  
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No Comeback for Rep. Sekula GIbbs

Former Senate aide Pete Olson defeated ex-Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs in Texas' 22nd district GOP primary runoff yesterday, giving Republicans their nominee against Rep. Nick Lampson (D) and, sadly, depriving Hill reporters of the chance to cover Sekula Gibbs again. You may remember (more likely you don't) that Sekula Gibbs...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 9, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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The Politics of Petraeus

Even as Gen. David Petraeus testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee, political operatives off the Hill are already working to frame his appearance. This morning, the re-election campaign of Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to "Sign the Petraeus Petition," telling the general...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 8, 2008; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Hearing Watch , Iraq  
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Iraq Hearings: What to Watch For

Some days, when the Senate has dozens of amendments to comb through, the chamber has what is known as a "vote-a-rama." Today and tomorrow might appropriately called "hearing-a-ramas," as four different House and Senate panels are holding separate sessions on political and military progress in Iraq. The Senate gets first...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Hearing Watch , Iraq  
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Two Faces of Earmarks

With the annual appropriations season slowly coming to life on the Hill, members of Congress are once again confronting more news stories about what has become a hot-button issue -- earmarks. Wading through all the press releases in his inbox this morning, Capitol Briefing was struck by the starkly different...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 7, 2008; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , Purse Strings  
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Week Ahead: Iraq Hearings and Housing Bill

Who said Congress is out of touch? The House and Senate will focus this week on the two issues consistently identified by voters as their primary concerns -- the housing and economic crises, and the Iraq war. This week's agenda will be headlined by four hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 7, 2008; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , Iraq  
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