U.S. Congress

Congresspedia Review: This Week in Congress (Feb. 9 - 15, 2008)

Democrats in Congress this week challenged their Republicans colleagues in the House and Senate and the Bush Administration, approving contempt citations for two White House aides and a controversial intelligence authorization that drew a veto threat from President Bush.

The animosity on the Hill came on the heels of a bipartisan push to approve an economic stimulus package, which Bush signed on Wednesday. The spirit of compromise that ushered the stimulus bill through Congress in less than two weeks was quickly erased when the debate over intelligence reform resumed this week.

When Democrats in the House approved contempt citations for former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton – rather than conference with the Senate on a reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – GOP members walked out and staged a protest on the Capitol steps.

AAEI - How Democrats Took Over and Betrayed the Peace Movement

Matt Taibbi analyzes how "Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends." He faults the MoveOn-led Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, "a political tool for the Democrats -- one operated from inside the Beltway and


Congresspedia Review: This Week in Congress (Feb. 2 - 8, 2008)

Less than two weeks after President George W. Bush issued his call for action, Congress approved an economic stimulus package designed to put spending money in the hands of Americans. While the Senate was able to exert some pressure on the legislation, expanding eligibility for seniors and disabled veterans, Republicans successfully blocked additional measures geared toward lower-income workers and the unemployed.

Meanwhile, the debate over the stimulus package stalled work on the RESTORE Act (the FISA reform bill) in the Senate. With the recently approved 15-day extension of the Protect America Act expiring on February 16, time is again running out for electronic surveillance reform.

Major differences exist between the House and Senate versions of the bill, including the question of whether phone companies that helped the administration eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls should receive immunity from civil lawsuits. The House approved its bill last year without an immunity provision. Meanwhile, the Senate spent the first few weeks of the year fighting over immunity, which President Bush has said is essential in a completed bill.

For more on FISA and on energy legislation, follow the link after the break.

James Glassman: The Journalist Turned Journo-lobbyist's Bid to Be PR Czar

James GlassmanJames Glassman, the nominee for Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, probably won't have much of an impact on how the United States presents itself to the rest of the world.

For one thing, he'll only have 11 months in the post. For another -- as his predecessor Karen Hughes proved -- putting shinier lipstick on the pig of U.S. foreign policy doesn't do much to assuage widespread anti-American sentiment. Still, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's January 30 hearing on Glassman's nomination provided some insight into Washington's evolving view of public diplomacy.

Congresspedia Review: This Week in Congress (Jan. 22 - 25, 2008)

Details of a proposed economic stimulus package were revealed this week. It includes rebate checks (of at least $300, with individuals set to receive $600 and couple's $1,600) for most Americans and a series of tax incentives for businesses. While the Senate hasn’t had a chance to really contribute to the conversation, most observers believe the proposal will quickly move forward following President Bush’s State of the Union speech on Monday.

Also on Monday, the Senate will debate a cloture motion on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act overhaul bill. Known as the RESTORE Act, the legislation outlines oversight roles for the collection of electronic communications intelligence. Today, the Senate voted down a proposal to increase oversight, tighten restrictions in intelligence collection. A competing measure -- which includes legal immunity for phone companies that helped the federal government spy on Americans without a warrant – is to be debated on Monday. If the cloture motion succeeds, members will continue with a vote on the overall bill, without discussing a number of amendments introduced during debate.

War, What Is it Good For? Electing Democrats in '08

Ryan Grim reports that the biggest and best-funded organizations in the liberal peace movement, primarily MoveOn and the groups in its Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) coalition, are no longer advocating that Congress end the war.


Congresspedia Preview: This Week in Congress (Jan. 15 - 18, 2008)

By Avelino Maestas, Assistant Managing Editor, Congresspedia

Congress is back up to half-strength this week, following the winter recess. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) kept the Senate in a special “pro forma” session in a bid to prevent President Bush from making any recess appointments. That didn’t stop Bush from attempting a pocket veto on the Defense Appropriations Act, which funds the Defense Department and provides money for soldier and sailor enlistment bonuses.

Drug Ads Raise Legislators' Blood Pressure

The U.S. Congress is investigating "the pharmaceutical industry's use of celebrity endorsements in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements." First up are ads for Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor, which feature the inventor of the artificial heart, Dr. Robert Jarvik.



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