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Capitol Briefing: June 15, 2008 - June 21, 2008

Player of the Week: Steny Hoyer

Which party won this week's round of high-stakes legislative deal making on Capitol Hill? On both the just-passed terrorist surveillance bill and the supplemental spending package that passed Thursday night, Democrats and Republicans have been crowing that they got the better end of the bargain. That's as it should be;...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 20, 2008; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Player of the Week  
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Public Financing Reform Languishes

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) announcement today that he would forgo public financing for his general election campaign looks unlikely to spur congressional reform of the funding system, despite widespread concern that the current setup simply doesn't work. A bill to overhaul the system, dubbed the Presidential Funding Act of 2007,...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 19, 2008; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Fundraising Circuit  
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The Senate: Root of All Evil?

The U.S. Senate has long been known as the "cooling saucer," where legislation can get a nice, slow round of consideration after the hot-tempered House has sped through a bill. That dynamic has long frustrated House members, but perhaps never so much as it did Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today....

By Ben Pershing  |  June 19, 2008; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Senate  
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Let's Make a Deal

After 18 months of mostly partisan fighting and gridlock in Congress, this week has seen bipartisan deals on three high-profile, hot-button issues. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats and Republicans announced a compromise on a big housing rescue bill that had stymied the chamber for weeks. Yesterday, House leaders from both sides...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 19, 2008; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch  
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Tanker Fight Fueled by Millions in Campaign Cash

The news today that the Government Accountability Office has upheld Boeing's protest of an Air Force tanker contract award given to Northrop Grumman and EADS means that the $40 billion deal remains in doubt. Which is very good news for the campaign coffers of members of Congress. The Boeing vs....

By Ben Pershing  |  June 18, 2008; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fundraising Circuit  
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Can Rep. Jefferson Win a 10th Term?

In 2006, Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) defied the odds by winning reelection despite heavily publicized bribery allegations against him. Now he's running for reelection again, this time with a bona fide federal indictment hanging over him, a trial looming in December and three family members also facing prosecution. Can he...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 18, 2008; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Rep. Jefferson Running for Re-election

Say what you will about Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) and his federal indictment, his heavily prosecuted family and the cash found in his freezer. Just don't call him a quitter. Jefferson announced today that he is running for re-election to a 10th term in the House. "My family and I...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 17, 2008; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Ethics Panel to Probe Dodd, Conrad Mortgages

The Senate Ethics Committee is beginning an initial investigation into whether Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) got preferential mortgage rates from Countrywide Financial Corp., even as the two senators are taking decidedly different approaches to dealing with the revelations. Senate Ethics Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) confirmed today...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 17, 2008; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Democrats' 'Generic' Lead

Like just about every one of the last 33,000 or so national surveys that have been taken, the results of the new Washington Post-ABC News poll have some bad news for Republicans. Yes, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) does appear to be running competitively with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). But that...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 17, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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McCain Echoes Hill GOP Message

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters he wanted to end the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, and he will reiterate that point in a speech today in Houston. Tomorrow morning, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on an amendment to the energy and water spending bill that would...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 17, 2008; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Agenda , GOP Leaders  
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The Week Ahead: Taxing (and Spending) Debates

Another week, another round of fights on tap over energy, taxes, unemployment benefits and funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate this week will continue work on a $120 billion "tax extenders" bill that includes energy provisions as well as the tightening of certain controversial tax loopholes....

By Ben Pershing  |  June 16, 2008; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Agenda  
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How to Boil a Bullfrog

In last Friday's Washington Post, Rosalind Helderman penned a fine article profiling Peter James, the Republican candidate fighting a decidedly uphill battle in tomorrow's special election in Maryland's 4th congressional district. James faces activist Donna Edwards (D) in the contest, which is happening because Rep. Al Wynn (D) decided to...

By Ben Pershing  |  June 16, 2008; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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