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Capitol Briefing: April 13, 2008 - April 19, 2008

NRCC Still Lagging in Cash Race

Traditionally in Washington, bad news gets dumped on a Friday afternoon. The National Republican Congressional Committee just filed its latest fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission, though the news is more "mixed" than "bad." The NRCC raised $7.1 million in March and $15.4 million in the quarter, and had...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 18, 2008; 5:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Player of the Week: Don Young

In his 35 years as Alaska's sole House member, Don Young (R) has never been shy about talking back to his critics -- and he's had quite a few. When he was asked in 2005 about calls to redirect money for Alaska bridge projects to Hurricane Katrina victims, Young said,...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 18, 2008; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , Player of the Week  
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Muslim Rep. Ellison on the Pope

Speaking this week as Pope Benedict XVI visited the U.S., Congress' first Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), declined to criticize the pontiff for his past comments about Islam and suggested that the continued "age-old exchange of ideas" between Catholics and Muslims was "a good thing." Speaking to Sally Quinn...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 18, 2008; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  House  
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Specter: Mukasey Is 'Still Wearing His Robe'

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today accused the Bush administration of being overly obstinate on a range of controversial issues, expressing particular frustration at Attorney General Michael Mukasey's unwillingness to compromise. "Mukasey is non-negotiable," Specter said at a meeting with the Washington Post editorial board. "Mukasey is still wearing his robe."...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 17, 2008; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Branch vs. Branch , Senate  
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Citizen McCain Measure on the Move

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced today that it will take up a resolution next Thursday expressing the sense of the Senate that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is "a natural-born citizen." The issue has surfaced because McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father was stationed in the...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 17, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Senate  
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Byrd Watching

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) chaired an important Appropriations Committee hearing yesterday on the Iraq supplemental bill, with onlookers paying as much or more attention to the ailing 90-year-old's performance in the chair as to the underlying issue of war funding. Byrd's failing health and ability to continue to hold the...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 17, 2008; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Hearing Watch , Purse Strings , Senate  
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A Papal Audience for Members

It sounds like layfolk still hoping to score tickets to tomorrow's papal Mass at Nationals Park are out of luck. But, as is often the case, members of Congress appear to have been blessed with better fortune. The Catholic ones, anyway. More than 100 members of the House and Senate...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 16, 2008; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  House , Senate  
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The Costs of War

As the Senate begins moving on the latest military supplemental spending bill, congressional Democrats are mounting a new push to highlight the growing cost of the Iraq war and its affects on funding for domestic priorities. House and Senate Democratic leaders gathered today to tout new data from the Joint...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 16, 2008; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Iraq , Purse Strings  
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A Dubious Milestone for Rep. Young

Embattled Alaska Rep. Don Young (R) has now spent more than $1.1 million on legal fees since the start of 2007, after shelling out $253,000 to four different sets of lawyers in the first quarter of this year, according to his latest filing with the Federal Election Commission. Young is...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 16, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , House  
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McCain Has Plan to Help House Republicans

Two senior aides to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign met this afternoon with the House Republican Whip team, telling the assembled members that McCain is committed to helping the party win House seats in November. Today's meeting in the Capitol basement -- which was attended by more than 20...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , GOP Leaders  
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'Bitter' Fight Goes Downballot

The controversy surrounding Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) "bitter" comments seems to have been explored from nearly every angle in the presidential campaign. But now GOP strategists are hoping to milk a bit more mileage out of the story by tying Obama's words to Democratic House and Senate candidates. The National...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Tax Day on the Hill

Just as Tax Day reminds millions of Americans how much they dislike paying taxes, members of Congress are engaged in their annual ritual of self-flagellation for spending all that tax payer money. Of course, without taxes members of Congress wouldn't exist, nor would they be able to pay themselves $169,300...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , Purse Strings  
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Mr. Thomas Has the Floor?

Last Thursday morning, just a few hours before the House approved a key procedural move on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, ex-Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) strolled onto the chamber floor to chat with his former colleagues. By his own account, Thomas was on Capitol Hill on other business and just...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House  
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Abramoff Story Lives On

Just when it seemed that Washington had moved on to more recent scandals like the D.C. Madam trial or the indictment of Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), an old chestnut -- the Jack Abramoff scandal -- has come back to life. The tale of the disgraced lobbyist and his congressional partners...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 14, 2008; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Week Ahead: FEC Filings, Few Bills

This week will be a relatively quiet one on Capitol Hill (or did Capitol Briefing just jinx it?), as most of the action will be off the House and Senate floors and at the downtown headquarters of the Federal Election Commission. Negotiators from the two chambers are working to complete...

By Ben Pershing  |  April 14, 2008; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agenda  
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