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Capitol Briefing: July 27, 2008 - August 2, 2008

Bizarre Scene on the House Floor

UPDATE 5:30 PM: It's over. Approximately 20 minutes ago, the remaining members and staff on the floor sang "God Bless America," chanted "U.S.A., U.S.A!" and then, finally, left the chamber. Since none of this was broadcast anywhere, you're just going to have to take Capitol Briefing's word for it. A...

By Ben Pershing  |  August 1, 2008; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (146)
Categories:  House  
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Effort to Censure Rangel Fails

Just hours after a prominent Senate Republican pleaded not guilty to federal charges, House GOP leaders tried to shift the ethics focus across the aisle today by offering a motion to censure House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). The censure motion, which was "tabled" (or shelved) on a...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 31, 2008; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Is a Government Shutdown Ahead?

Will there be a government shutdown on Oct. 1? Yes, it's a ways off, but it's a date you should keep in mind as the debate over oil drilling continues on Capitol Hill. Current law includes a ban on opening more offshore territory to oil and gas exploration, and that...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 31, 2008; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch  
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'The Culture of Corruption,' Cont'd

Flash back to this time two years ago, and the news was thick with allegations by Democrats that Republicans were practicing "the culture of corruption" on Capitol Hill. The charge ended up being a key plank in Democrats' national campaign efforts in 2006, and it paid off, as corruption allegations...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 31, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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The Politics of Adjournment

Need more evidence that the oil drilling issue is giving Democratic leaders headaches? Look no further than the vote that occurred a few hours ago in the House on a resolution adjourning the chamber for the August recess. The resolution, which passed 213-212, calls for the chamber to adjourn later...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 30, 2008; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , Dem. Leaders , GOP Leaders , House  
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Is Obama Really the 'Most Liberal' Senator?

You've probably heard the charge dozens of times by now: Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the "most liberal" member of the Senate. The assertion is based on National Journal's annual vote ratings, and it's become a staple of Republican talking points as the GOP tries to paint the presumed Democratic nominee...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 30, 2008; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Senate  
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Obama Huddles With House Democrats

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) met behind closed doors with the entire House Democratic Caucus Tuesday evening, emphasizing his plan to reach out to congressional Democrats, both during his campaign and his presumptive administration. Members described an upbeat session marked by calls for unity. The one note of discord came when...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 29, 2008; 8:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Dem. Leaders , House  
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Stevens Relinquishes Ranking Panel Posts

UPDATE 5 PM: Stevens has released a statement declaring his innocence: I have proudly served this nation and Alaska for over 50 years. My public service began when I served in World War II. It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. I have never...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 29, 2008; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Report: Sen. Stevens Has Been Indicted

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is facing federal indictment on seven criminal counts, according to Reuters. A press conference announcing the indictment is said to be imminent. Stevens is facing a difficult reelection race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, and has been under a cloud of ethical scrutiny as part...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 29, 2008; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Slavery Measure Could Figure in Tenn. Primary

Tucked away in today's House schedule among bills naming post offices and congratulating last year's winner of the Heisman Trophy is a measure that just might play a key role in a heated and divisive Democratic primary that's playing out right now in Tennessee. The House is expected to vote...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 29, 2008; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Agenda  
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The Week Ahead: Top Hill Aides Weigh In

Energy is only one of several issues on tap for Congress' last week in town before August recess, but it's still issue No. 1. Republicans will continue to call for more oil drilling and criticize Democrats for not allowing a vote on the issue, while Democrats will push a variety...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 28, 2008; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agenda , The Week Ahead  
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One Last Reminder on Convention Parties

Some habits can be hard to break, so when it comes to the fast-approaching Democratic and Republican conventions, it appears that members of Congress need lots of reminding about just what kinds of parties they can and can't attend under the new regime of stricter gift rules. The House and...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 28, 2008; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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The Week Ahead: Sprint to Summer Break

With the housing relief bill having passed the Senate Saturday and the heavy lifting mostly done for now, Congress will try to dispense with a handful more big-ticket measures before leaving town at the end of this week for the August recess. On tap in the Senate is a massive...

By Ben Pershing  |  July 28, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agenda , The Week Ahead  
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