House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pulled out of talks with Vice President Joe Biden yesterday on whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling. Cantor was seen as a crucial Republican to have in the room. The move is seen to put talks on the fritz, with just weeks before the August deadline that could make the US default on trillions of dollars in debt.
The House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution to scale back the US military intervention in Libya. House Republicans contend that President Obama violated the War Powers Act, which limits the president's ability to declare war without the consent of Congress. While the proposal will prevent the US military from engaging in direct combat operations in the Libya, it will allow it to continue to supply support and intelligence for our NATO allies.
There are potentially three different votes pertaining to Libya happening in Washington this week. House Republicans are set to vote on a proposal that would defund the American military mission in Libya, and Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) put out a joint resolution on Tuesday authorizing limited use of forces in Libya. The senators are partly responding to critics who say President Obama violated the War Powers Act by not getting the mission in Libya approved ahead of time by Congress. There is also talk of the House putting out its own resolution to remove all troops from NATO operations in Libya.
All the jawing and insult throwing has ceased for the time being as negotiations heat up on Capitol Hill over the debt ceiling. Vice President Joe Biden said there are four meetings scheduled, and "now we're getting down to the really hard stuff." Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent, says Congress would love to get an agreement by the 4th of July—way ahead of the deadline in August.
As Washington tries to get the debt ceiling squared away, the Federal Reserve will meet on Wednesday to discuss interest rates. Housing numbers have been consistently awful for some time now, with no sense of relief in sight. Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC, looks at what we can expect from Wednesday's meeting, and whether or not it's likely that the Fed will decide to leave interest rates close to zero.
A mixture of cheers and jeers followed seven-term New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner's announcement Thursday that he would be resigning from public office. Weiner apologized to his constituents and to his wife for the sexting scandal, in which he admitted to sending lewd messages and photos to at least six women. Weiner was one of the more outspokenly liberal members of the House – and his 9th District that has been a Democratic stronghold for decades. Will his successor's replacement change the political spectrum or become a referendum on President Obama's politics, as a litmus test for 2012?
The White House and Congress are butting heads over who authorizes military action in Libya. The 60-day deadline for President Obama to get approval from Congress to go to war passed on May 20th.
Tuesday, the White House offered its first public argument on why the administration thinks it has not violated the War Powers Resolution. The White House Press Secretary said that President Obama’s actions are consistent with the War Powers Act. However, ten members of Congress, led by Representative Dennis Kucinich filed a lawsuit Tuesday, effectively asking a judge to order an end to U.S. involvement in the war.
Does the ethanol industry still need government subsidies? That is the question that will be debated in the Senate with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) forcing a vote on a measure to repeal ethanol tax credits. Ethanol supporters argue that the alternative energy source should not be targeted, but cutting the subsidies could save the federal government billions. Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, reports.
The Republican presidential candidates squared off last night in New Hampshire. It wasn’t the first debate – South Carolina beat the state to the punch. But it was the first one with former Massachusetts governor and front-runner Mitt Romney on stage, and a litmus test for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The GOP will see it's first major debate with all its prominent players in New Hampshire today. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum are all expected to participate. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, is most interested in how Bachmann and Santorum try to "out-conservative" each other to gain the following of those who don't support Mitt Romney. A topic that will surely be a key part of the debate will be the poor state of the economy. A set of key economic indicators is set to be released this week. Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC, is expecting retail sales to fall, and a stock market finishing down for six weeks in a row is certainly not helping either.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admitted Monday to sending lewd photos of himself to women he met online. The revelation came after Weiner denied sending photos of himself, saying that his Twitter account was hacked. In a lengthy and teary press conference, Rep. Weiner apologized to his wife, his family and the media for his behavior. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an investigation of Weiner. Can the congressman survive the scandal?
Former Senator Rick Santorum formerly announced that he will be running for president. Since the Tea Party movement is about spending and the size of government, Santorum is stepping in to claim the social issue territory. "What he hopes to bring to the race is a filling of the void on conservative social issues like gay marriage and abortion," says Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich. What does this mean for the Republican lineup? Todd Zwillich has the answers.
The GOP House, fueled by the Tea Party, banned earmarks at the beginning of this year. However, there's a new Defense Authorization bill on the Hill that cut money from defense, but used that money to pay for special projects. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich says a lot people are concerned that this is "earmarks by another name." Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz), an earmark opponent, says "It's like squeezing a balloon, it's gonna come out somewhere else and all we can do is try to plug every whole that we can."
The basics of "Weinergate" are well established. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), has a Twitter account. The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, a picture was posted on Yfrog and tweeted from Weiner's account to that of a 21-year-old college student in Seattle. The picture, as most of the country knows by now, was a shot from the chest down of a man in his underwear. It was immediately deleted. Rep. Weiner claimed, on twitter, that he'd been hacked. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich has been watching this unfold. John Abell, New York Bureau Chief for Wired.com, discusses Rep. Weiner's assertion that "I was pranked, I was hacked, I was punked" and how a person might actually prove such a thing.
Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, has been following the latest scandal on Capitol Hill, where Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has been grappling with a PR nightmare after his Twitter account sent a sexually graphic photo to a young woman. Rep. Weiner says that his account was hacked, and during a press conference, Weiner got testy with reporters who wanted to know if the congressman had sent the photo himself.
New York's 26th District will hold a special election tomorrow to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned in January aftter he had responded to a Craigslist ad with shirtless pictures of himself. Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich takes a closer look at the special election and notes that this election may be the first test for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) budget proposal to cut Medicare.
There are rumors that Libya's oil minister may have fled to neighboring Tunisia over the weekend, and sources in Libya say rebel fighters - aided by NATO airstrikes, which destroyed eight artillery vehicles - killed more than a dozen of Colonel Gadhafi's forces Wednesday. But it is unclear how and in what form U.S. involvement in the mission will continue. The New York Times' John Burns reports from Tripoli on the latest. In the United States, Friday, it will have been 60 days since President Obama told Congress about the campaign in Libya. According to the War Powers Act, he has until then to secure congressional support for the war.
With less than a year to go until the Iowa caucuses, and less than 18 months out from the 2012 presidential elections, the Republican pool of presidential contenders is still uncertain. Earlier this week, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and real estate mogul Donald Trump announced they would not seek the party's nomination. And pundits are awaiting announcements from big names like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
Top members of the GOP and Newt Gingrich are trading barbs after Gingrich criticized the Paul Ryan budget. After Donald Trump's announcement that he wouldn't run, Gingrich may be one of the most bankable presidential candidates for Republicans, but is he already burning bridges? Newt Gingrich said about Paul Ryan's proposal: “I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions... I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.” The reaction, says Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich was swift and heavy, with conservatives saying Gingrich undermined House Republicans.
Will Congress come to an agreement on raising the debt limit? Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich says there has been some affirmative movement this week with top level meetings between the President and lawmakers. Sen. Mitch McConnell said deep cuts in spending were needed for him to agree to raising the debt limit, targeting entitlement reform and health care. However, this is at direct odds with Democrats. Elsewhere on the Capitol, the Senate Ethics committee issued a report on former senator John Ensign, who may face criminal prosecution for violating ethics laws and election laws.
In a speech in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, President Obama urged immigration reform. The president touted his administration's efforts to meet Republicans' wishes about securing the border, but also made a stern argument for going forward with comprehensive legislation to give illegal immigrants a path towards citizenship. Hispanics are an important demographic in the 2012 elections who care about immigration reform. But it also represented one of the long-stated priorities of the Obama Administration. Today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will reintroduce the DREAM act in Congress.