Republican freshman – tea partyers and others – keep breaking ranks, leading to shocking legislative defeats. Now, 87 representatives and 11 senators have written to Speaker of the House John Boehner to insist on $100 billion in budget cuts.
The words of Republican and Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill suggest Congress is headed for a government shutdown over budget issues. But several bipartisan groups of rank-and-file senators are seeking to find a solution.
In the wake of the Tucson shootings, Congress was, briefly, awash in talk of the need for a more civil, less caustic tone in politics. This week’s vote to repeal health-care reform, President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, provided a formidable test – and produced mixed results. Here are five ways to break it down.
Congress targeted the man responsible for protecting US taxpayer dollars from Afghan corruption, but aid workers say the bigger problem is that the US is sending too much money.
The bulk of the money will go to the first responders who worked on and after Sept. 11, 2001, at ground zero. President Obama has said he will sign the legislation.
Senate leaders decided to scrap a 1,900-page omnibus spending bill that contained $8 billion in home state spending projects – otherwise known as earmarks, pet projects, or "pork." Government spending and the deficit became an issue in the midterm election, and lawmakers are keenly aware of voter anger about large, catch-all bills that are quickly passed. The following senators have been ranked by the monetary value of earmarks they backed, whether alone or with others, in the now-scuttled omnibus spending bill. The earmark process became more transparent with the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which required creation of a database of all government spending. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense used the database to compile this ranking. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, who co-sponsored the legislation, also has a list of the disclosed earmarks in the omnibus bill on his website. *This is the amount requested both alone and with other members of Congress.
Some see ideals of tea party movement at play in Senate, after a huge spending bill loaded with earmarks is scuttled after GOP lawmakers thought twice about it.
Senators vote to end debate on GOP-Obama tax deal, clearing the way for its passage. Attention now shifts to the House, where liberal Democrats are expected to discuss revisions.
A 60 percent majority on Obama's bipartisan deficit commission say they approved the co-chairs' recommendations, not enough to force a vote in Congress. Will their work have an impact?