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

Player of the Week: Jim DeMint

The most oft-used cliche about the Senate is that it's the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body." Leaving aside the question about whether it really is great, the chamber certainly is deliberative, and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has busied himself in recent days making it even more so. DeMint was a key...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Player of the Week  
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Bloomberg Huddles With Senate Democrats

Has the Senate Democratic Policy Committee taken over the vice presidential vetting process for the Obama campaign? Or at least, the vetting of VP candidates with ambiguous party loyalties? Last week, it was retired Marine Gen. James Jones who came to the Hill to address the DPC's weekly luncheon. And...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 17, 2008; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Senate  
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Rangel Goes on Attack Over Post Story

Rep. Charles Rangel (D) defended himself today against allegations that he improperly solicited donations for a new center named after him in New York, calling on the House ethics committee to investigate him and excoriating Capitol Briefing's employer in the process. Rangel convened a press conference this morning to address...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 17, 2008; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Cheney Playing Diminished Role on the Hill

In the fourth and final Congress of the Bush administration, Vice President Cheney is playing a different and diminished role on Capitol Hill. Vice President Dick Cheney talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prior to President Bush's last State of the Union address. (Richard A. Lipski) Having served as the...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 17, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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Paulson to Address GOP Concerns on Housing Bill

With GOP concerns over the proposed Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac bailout bill continuing to percolate, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will meet privately this afternoon with House Republicans to try to allay their fears. Paulson will meet with the House Republican Conference behind closed doors in the Capitol at 4 p.m., as...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 16, 2008; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Agenda , GOP Leaders  
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Unrest in the GOP Base

Keying off the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Jennifer Agiesta has penned a fine post on the Behind the Numbers blog about the new survey's findings on congressional approval. The headline is that the numbers aren't pretty. Congressional approval stands at 23 percent, the lowest level measured in Post polling...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 16, 2008; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (185)
Categories:  GOP Leaders  
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Members Shell Out for Legal Fees

With so many House lawmakers under federal investigation or some other form of scrutiny, it's a good time to be a member of the ethics and criminal defense bar. New reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show that several members shelled out big bucks to pay legal...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 16, 2008; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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House Again Refers Impeachment to Committee

For the second time in as many months, the House has voted to refer a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) against President Bush to the Judiciary Committee. The vote tally to refer the single impeachment article was 238-180, with nine Republicans joining every Democrat present in favor. Judiciary Chairman...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 15, 2008; 7:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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More Republicans Defect on Medicare Veto Override

UPDATE 7:05 PM: The Senate has now also voted to override the veto, 70-26. Four Republicans switched from voting against the measure previously to voting in favor of the override today: Kit Bond (Mo.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Richard Lugar (Ind.). ORIGINAL POST: The House just voted...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 15, 2008; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch  
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Probe Closes In on Ex-Rep. Weldon

A federal investigation into alleged corruption by former ex-Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) appears to be closing in on the former lawmaker, as a Pennsylvania lobbyist close to Weldon was charged Tuesday with destroying evidence. Taking a page from the "How Not to Handle Evidence" handbook, lobbyist Cecilia Grimes allegedly threw...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 15, 2008; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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What's Next for Rangel?

This hasn't been the greatest week for House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). On Friday, he was on the front page of the New York Times in a story about his occupying four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, three for his residence and one for a campaign office. Today,...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 15, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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The Week Ahead: Top Hill Aides Weigh In

Since Capitol Briefing first started asking House and Senate leadership aides last month to contribute their thoughts on each week's agenda, their responses have focused almost exclusively on two pressing issues: housing and energy. This week is no different, as the two parties continue squabbling over oil drilling and both...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 14, 2008; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , The Week Ahead  
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Conservatives: Slow Down on Housing Bailout

Momentum appears to be building behind quick congressional action this week on a plan to help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weather their current financial storm. But not everyone on Capitol Hill is on board. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) -- chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 14, 2008; 5:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda  
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On Vetoes, Bush Beats Harding

After vetoing just one bill in his first six years as president, the stem cell research measure in 2006, President Bush has picked up the pace. The White House reaffirmed today that Bush will soon veto, likely on Tuesday, a bill blocking cuts in doctors' pay under Medicare. His...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 14, 2008; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch  
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'Missed Votes' Charge Could Backfire

Lately many critics have been making sport of tracking all the Senate votes John McCain has missed while he's been out on the campaign trail. Just last Tuesday, Capitol Briefing had an imaginary party at his desk, complete with a fake cake (it was delicious), to mark the three-month anniversary...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 14, 2008; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders , Senate  
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The Week Ahead: Housing Talks and Possible Action on Fannie and Freddie

With the Senate having finally passed a major housing package on Friday, the pressure is now on for the two chambers to begin work on a compromise measure that can get to the president's desk quickly. The House appears unlikely to simply accept the legislation passed by the Senate, but...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 14, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , The Week Ahead  
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