House of Representatives

House to vote on Holder contempt resolution

A little more than a week after the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee voted Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over failing to disclose documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal, House Republicans have scheduled a vote to come before the full chamber on Thursday:

A spokeswoman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed on Monday that the vote is scheduled for Thursday. Republicans have said the vote could be postponed if Holder complies with subpoenas issued by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but President Obama has invoked executive privilege to shield Holder from releasing them.
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The vote will likely coincide with a Supreme Court ruling on Obama’s healthcare law. That ruling is likely to overshadow the House vote, but a contempt citation could compound a politically disastrous day for Obama if the court overturns the healthcare law.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who is responsible for whipping votes in his caucus, conceded yesterday that there will be some members of his party in the House that vote for the contempt resolution. Hoyer says that since the National Rifle Association (NRA) is scoring the vote, those in tough re-election bids where gun rights are a big deal need the good marks.

Issa: Contempt vote against Eric Holder moving forward

It looked as though Attorney General Eric Holder was going to be able to avoid a looming contempt vote in the House provided he cooperated with the inquiry into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. However, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said yesterday that he plans to move forward with the vote, as early as today, in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

A House committee is poised to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over more Justice Department documents on a flawed gun-smuggling probe that resulted in hundreds of guns illicitly purchased in Arizona gunshops winding up in Mexico.

The likelihood of a contempt vote rose after Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., failed to reach agreement Tuesday in a 20-minute meeting at the Capitol.

Issa wanted the documents immediately. Holder told reporters he would not turn over documents on the gun-smuggling probe called Operation Fast and Furious unless Issa agreed to another meeting congressional briefing on the Justice Department material. Holder wants an assurance from Issa that the transfer of the records would satisfy a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs.

“If we receive no documents, we’ll go forward” with a contempt vote, Issa told reporters.
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“We have offered to make materials available … to brief on those documents, to answer any questions that might come up with regard to the documents that we produced,” the attorney general said.

House will vote on Audit the Fed in July

After a watered down version of the bill passed in 2010 as part of the financial reform bill, according to Campaign for Liberty, House Republicans leaders plan to bring Rep. Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed legislation, H.R.459, to the floor for a vote in July:

Thanks to all the hard work of C4L’s dedicated activists, we’ve just received word that H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act will receive a vote in the House this July!

Audit the Fed recently passed a cosponsor milestone with more than half the House of Representatives now publicly supporting the bill.

With hundreds of thousands of petitions, emails, faxes, and phone calls pouring into Congressional offices from around the country, now is the time for Audit the Fed to become law of the land!

Please continue to support our efforts as we double down on the pressure on the House and Senate!

We’ve come a long way since C4L made Audit the Fed our top legislative priority in 2009, and the limited audit passed last Congress has only strengthened our resolve for complete transparency at the Federal Reserve.

According to GovTrack, there are 227 co-sponsors of the bill, which would require an audit of the Federal Reserve to be completed by the end of 2012. This would allow Congress, through the Government Accountability Office, to see the thought process behind certain decisions, such as keep interest rates artificially low, and loans.

Ryan’s budget passes the House

While President Barack Obama’s budget went down in flames in the House on Wednesday evening — though introduced by Republicans since no Democrat apparently would carry it, Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal cleared the House yesterday:

By a mostly party-line vote, the House of Representatives approved Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution today by a count of 228-191, slashing trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade, but inflaming Congressional Democrats for proposing controversial reforms to programs like Medicare.
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Ryan’s budget blueprint claims less than $5 trillion relative to the president’s budget proposal, and spends $3.5 trillion less over 10 years than the current spending levels. It also brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015. It would raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013, leaving a $800 billion projected deficit for 2013 compared to $3.53 trillion in budget outlays.

Zero Democrats supported the proposal while 10 Republicans voted against it.

You can view the vote here.

FreedomWorks releases first House endorsements for 2012

The upcoming primaries are going to be just as important as the general election. Voters in many congressional districts will have to choose between “business as usual” or for candidates that will shake up the status quo. FreedomWorks PAC has been on the frontlines of this battle. And yesterday, they released the first round of endorsements for House candidates in the upcoming election:

After a year of intensive research, countless candidate interviews, and input from thousands of FreedomWorks activists, including many in these districts, FreedomWorks PAC is pleased to endorse its first slate of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Each of these candidates is a clear choice for those who want to rein in the government’s reckless spending and out-of-control growth.

  • Florida 22nd: Adam Hasner
  • Georgia 9th: Martha Zoller
  • Illinois 8th: Rep. Joe Walsh
  • Indiana 2nd: Jackie Walorski
  • Indiana 5th: David McIntosh
  • Iowa 4th: Rep. Steve King
  • Kentucky 6th: Andy Barr
  • Louisiana 3rd: Rep. Jeff Landry
  • Missouri 2nd: Ann Wagner
  • Pennsylvania 12th: Keith Rothfus

FreedomWorks PAC Executive Director Max Pappas commented, “Through extensive personal interviews, detailed research of their records, and feedback from activists in their districts, we are confident these candidates will expand the freedom caucus in the House and lead the fight for economic freedom and constitutionally limited government.”

Existing House endorsements for FreedomWorks PAC include Evan Feinberg (Pennsylvania 18th) and Rep. Don Manzullo (Illinois 16th).

Bad news for Democrats in toss-up districts

According to a recently release poll from a Democratic firm, President Barack Obama is, unsurprisingly, bringing down his party’s numbers in competitive congressional districts:

One of the Democratic party’s leading pollsters released a survey of 60 Republican-held battleground districts today painting an ominous picture for Congressional Democrats in 2012. The poll shows Democratic House candidates faring worse than they did in the 2010 midterms, being dragged down by an unpopular president who would lose to both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
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[T]he numbers - at least right now — are troubling for Democrats, and echoed some of the takeaways from the GOP special election upset in New York City last week. Instead of an overall anti-incumbent sentiment impacting members of both parties, voters are taking more of their anger out on Democrats. When voters were asked whether they’re supporting the Republican incumbent or a Democratic candidate, 50 percent preferred the Republican and just 41 percent backed the Democrat.

Voters in these districts said they were more supportive of Republicans than they were during the 2010 midterms, when 48 percent said they backed the Republican candidate and 42 percent said they backed the Democrat. (Republicans won 55 percent of the overall vote in these 60 battleground districts, while Democrats took 43 percent.) In 2010, Republicans netted 63 House seats - their best showing since 1948.

Respondents were lukewarm about their current Republican representatives - 39 percent approved, while 33 percent disapproved, and 28 percent were undecided. And a near-majority of 49 percent said they “can’t vote to re-elect” the GOP incumbent because “we need new people that will fix Washington” — a jump of four points since March.

A promising CNN poll

Congress is pretty screwed up.  One of the problems through the years has been that, historically, despite deep dissatisfaction with Congress as a whole, most folks think their congressman or woman is doing a great job.  Since this trend spans the nation, we end up with more or less the same jokers in Washington each time.  However, a poll by CNN is showing how that particular trend may be coming to a screeching halt.

Only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected – the first time ever in CNN polling that that figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in 2012. And with ten percent unsure, it’s the first time that a majority has indicated that they would boot their representative out of office if they had the chance today.

“That 41 percent, in the polling world, is an amazing figure. Throughout the past two decades, in good times and bad, Americans have always liked their own member of Congress despite abysmal ratings for Congress in general,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Now anti-incumbent sentiment is so strong that most Americans are no longer willing to give their own representative the benefit of the doubt.  If that holds up, it could be an early warning of an electorate that is angrier than any time in living memory.”

As for all members of Congress, the poll indicates only a quarter of the public says most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.

Debt deal passes the House

In case your head has been buried in the sand this evening, you know that the debt deal struck between the White House and leaders from both parties in Congress cleared the House of Representatives by a vote of 269 to 161. The vote was made even more surreal when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was the target of an assassination attempt during a constituent even earlier this year, showed up to cast a vote in favor of the deal.

The debt plan now moves over to the Senate where it is expected to clear tomorrow, though several conservatives, including Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT), are expected to vote against it.

We’ll have more on the deal in tomorrow.

[UPDATE] In case you’re wondering, Republicans voted 174 to 66 on the bill and Democrats were split down the middle, 95 to 95.

Another Tea Party favorite implodes

Considering that a good number of Tea Party supporters are relatively new to politics, I’ve been more forgiving of some poor judgment the movement has demonstrated.  For example, all but the most hard-core devotees now realize that Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell were disasters.  Yet again and again, Tea Party favorites have shown themselves to be people who lack any seriousness or class.  The list is big and constantly growing - Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann have proven to be embarrassments, and now another favorite, Allen West, has imploded.

In the case of Representative West, this implosion has come in the form of a nasty, childish email sent to fellow House member and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  In this tirade, West goes off on a rant against Wasserman Schultz, calling her “not a Lady” and describing her as “vile” and “despicable”.  And this was in response to a relatively tame speech that Wasserman Schultz gave on the House floor, reiterating nothing more than standard Democrat talking points.  The trigger, it seems, was that West was specifically mentioned.  That apparently caused West to fly off the handle.

The whole display is, quite frankly, disgraceful.  While I’m certainly aware that Congressmen routinely engage in overheated rhetoric, this is a personal attack that ought to be out of bounds for a Member of Congress.  It is the sort of thing that would be roundly condemned by conservatives had it come from a Democrat to, say, Eric Cantor.  And it simply must be condemned across the board if one is to maintain credibility.  We’ve got to hold our Representatives to some standard of maturity and decency.  And this type of response demonstrates a severe lack of judgment and restraint.

House declines to authorize intervention in Libya

On Friday, the House of Representatives declined to authorize President Barack Obama’s illegal intervention in Libya by a 123 to 295 vote:

Members of Congress sent an embarrassing message to President Obama by voting to reject a formal authorization of the use of force in Libya.

The House on Friday voted down a resolution similar to one recently passed in the Senate expressing support for the U.S. mission by a vote of 123 to 295.

The Associated Press reported that the vote is the first time since 1999 that Congress has voted against the president’s authority to conduct a military operation.

“The president has not made the case for committing our military to the conflict in Libya,” said Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican. “The president claims these military actions do not constitute hostilities. However, the American people know otherwise.”

The rejection is an embarrassment for Obama, who has been accused by opponents of the mission of violating the 1973 War Powers Resolution by not getting congressional approval before entering the conflict.

The House also voted down a measure that would have partially defunded the operations. However, some have noted that the resolution would have actually authorized the Libya intervention. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), certainly no supporter of our tendencies to play policeman to the world, spoke out against the resolution:


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