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323 posts tagged with Congress.
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Daschle, Frank, Lott, Livingston; they fight gridlock...

A bipartisan commission convened by Esquire magazine has reported its findings on how to make Congress work better. [more inside]
posted by Octaviuz on Oct 17, 2014 - 33 comments

When the Feds move away, statehood makes a play?

Lately, Washington DC has been abuzz with the FBI's plans to relocate outside of the District. But for some, the movement of major government agencies to the Maryland and Virginia suburbs means something potentially revolutionary: legal grounds for DC to finally achieve statehood. [more inside]
posted by a fiendish thingy on Oct 1, 2014 - 48 comments

"he succeeded at shifting the immigration debate"

The Method To Steve King's Madness
"Sahil Kapur takes a look at how rank and file congressman Steve King (R-IA) came to call the shots on one of the most important issues of the modern era [immigration]."
posted by davidstandaford on Sep 29, 2014 - 10 comments

Alone on the Hill

Angry Letters to the One Member of Congress Who Voted Against the War on Terror
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Lee's story is how little credit she or her constituents receive for what they got right. Even though a majority now considers the war most understood the AUMF to authorize to be a mistake; even though it has been used to justify military interventions that no one conceived of on September 14, 2001; even though there's no proof that any war-making of the last 13 years has have made us safer; even though many more Americans have died in wars of choice than have been killed in terrorist attacks; even though Lee and many of her constituents were amenable to capturing or killing the 9/11 perpetrators, not pacifists intent on ruling out any use of force; despite all of that, Representative Lee is still thought of as a fringe peacenik representing naive East Bay hippies who could never be trusted to guide U.S. foreign policy. And the people who utterly failed to anticipate the trajectory of the War on Terrorism? Even those who later voted for a war in Iraq that turned out to be among the most catastrophic in U.S. history are considered sober, trustworthy experts.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 23, 2014 - 109 comments

The McDonald's Cocaine Spoon Fiasco

How U.S. drug laws destroyed the McDonald's coffee stirring spoon.
posted by reenum on Sep 19, 2014 - 76 comments

Of certain people, by certain people, for certain people

The class war in American politics is over. The rich won. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses on Sep 13, 2014 - 128 comments

"I like sardines so this was a good dinner."

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Rep. Tim Ryan (OH), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) are among those have been participating in the Live the Wage Challenge, posting on social media about their experiences. The Challenge (pdf) "asks elected officials, community leaders, advocates and anyone concerned about the growing inequality in this country to walk in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by living on a minimum wage budget for one week. That’s just $77."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 28, 2014 - 96 comments

Marilize Leguana

The New York Times came out today endorsing marijuana legalization. The New York Times’ editorial board on Saturday called on the federal government to legalize marijuana. Citing alcohol prohibition, social costs and states’ movements, the board argued “after a great deal of discussion” that “the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization.”
posted by toastchee on Jul 27, 2014 - 153 comments

"A debilitating brain drain has actually been under way in Congress"

The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 27, 2014 - 27 comments

Hong Kong, on the ocean. Snowden and Greenwald, in Hong Kong.

In what early press reports call a "surprise vote" in a "late night session," the US House of Representatives voted to defund controversial NSA surveillance activities. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jun 20, 2014 - 57 comments

The Rise, fall, and legacy of the Office of Technology Assessment

On October 13, 1972, the Technology Assessment Act was put into law as a bipartisan effort to promote scientific understanding for Congress members. The act created the nonpartisan Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which released over 750 studies in its 24 years of operation. The OTA was defunded in 1995, part of Newt Gingrich's efforts to "dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it." (Bruce Bartlett, NYT Economix blog). It was seen by some as "Reagan's Revenge" (Google books preview) for OTA's critical reports (Gbp) in 1985 (PDF) and 1988 (PDF) of the potential for Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, aka "Star Wars"). Chris Mooney looked back on OTA in Requiem for an office (PDF), and both the Federation of American Scientists and Princeton University have OTA report archives online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 13, 2014 - 26 comments

the contest could turn ugly, expensive, and politically costly

"The GOP Has Finally Found a Way to Defeat the Tea Party"
Electability was trumping ideological purity—just as the establishment had planned.
posted by davidstandaford on May 4, 2014 - 93 comments

"There’s always an inherent danger when comparing two television shows."

Why Scandal beats House Of Cards at its own game
Why ‘Scandal’ can’t hold a candle to ‘House of Cards’
Barack Obama Says Life in D.C. is “More Boring” Than Scandal and House of Cards Depict [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 30, 2014 - 60 comments

"A Defining Moment"

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress. 'The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of improperly removing documents from computers that committee staff members had been using to complete a report on the agency’s detention program, saying the move was part of an effort to intimidate the committee.' 'Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, suggested on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and said the C.I.A. had undermined Congress’s constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Mar 11, 2014 - 164 comments

Heigh Ho, to Europa we will go

NASA's 2015 budget request has been released (PDF, OMB Summary), with an interesting mission study : $15 million to look at a unmanned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Why Europa? It may have more water than Earth, sloshing around under a thick ice, which makes it a major contender for harboring life. Don't get too excited just yet though. The mission would't launch until around 2025 and would arrive in Jupiter's orbit in the early 2030s. That's a long way off, but a particular US Congressman really wants this mission to happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 6, 2014 - 69 comments

A Republic - If you can keep it.

Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?" [more inside]
posted by Brent Parker on Mar 3, 2014 - 11 comments

The ‘Mustache of Justice’ has left the building.

Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 13, 2014 - 35 comments

Measure of a Man

2003 American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is running for Congress in North Carolina. Aiken is a long-time political activist, and his campaign seems serious and sincere, as shown by the heartfelt five-minute video announcing his campaign. But the odds are against him in a district which voted for Romney by a twelve-point margin, and being a gay father is a possible liability in a state which recently voted to ban gay marriage. (But of course, electing entertainers to political office is an American tradition.)
posted by showbiz_liz on Feb 6, 2014 - 55 comments

Carpetbagging in the jet age

Allan Levene really — really — wants to serve in Congress. But he's 64 years old, and says he has no time to build a political resume step by step by getting elected to lesser positions and working his way up. So, he is maximizing the odds by running in four different states simultaneously. He has entered primaries in Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota and Georgia, which is where he lives. Is this legal? Apparently so, as long as he is a resident, at the time of the November general election, of whichever state he may manage to get elected in. Politifact checked it out with constitutional experts. NPR interview transcript.
posted by beagle on Feb 5, 2014 - 26 comments

“the oddest congressman”

The Congressman Who Went Off the Grid
Roscoe Bartlett spent 20 years on Capitol Hill. Now he lives in a remote cabin in the woods, prepping for doomsday.
posted by andoatnp on Jan 5, 2014 - 72 comments

America's last political taboo

We were left wondering why a man who served 16 terms in Congress and who bravely came out as gay all the way back in 1987 felt the need to hide his atheism until he was out of office. Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 10, 2013 - 165 comments

US Senate Democrats vote to change filibuster rules

You may find this brief history of the US Senate's filibuster fight timely and interesting, as the chamber just voted to end it for "executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 21, 2013 - 163 comments

I'll only do so if it's fully inclusive.

By a vote of 64-32. the United States Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Full passage of ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 7, 2013 - 90 comments

Despise what you do. Despise your whole crew. You're so out of touch.

Fuck You Congress [more inside]
posted by humannaire on Oct 10, 2013 - 80 comments

Even a rising tide can't raise a sinking ship...

With the government shutdown now well underway and the effects beginning to be felt, the first debt default by a major world power in modern history since the collapse of the Soviet Union speeding toward us in what could be as little as a week, what will Americans and the world think of the US Congress that refused to pay the nation's outstanding debts, making America look like a dead-beat nation to potential investors around the world? Polls show Americans overwhelmingly blame congressional Republicans for the political standoff and shutdown. With some Republican congressmen on the record arguing that a US debt default may actually be necessary to rein in further government spending, it's easy to see why many Americans blame them. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Oct 9, 2013 - 2833 comments

"October is a fine and dangerous season in America"

Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2013 - 2207 comments

Shutdown showdown

If the Federal Government shuts down on October 1st, the DC city government is supposed to shut down as well. In a bid to keep the city functioning, Mayor Vince Gray has declared all city employees "essential." Non-voting Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton and the DC GOP are also petitioning Congress to keep the city open. The District's budget comes from local taxes, but needs Congressional approval to spend it's own money.
posted by troika on Sep 27, 2013 - 378 comments

We look forward to a timely response to our request

Senators Mike Quigley, Tammy Baldwin, Mike Enzi, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Lee, along with thirteen other senators and 64 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter last Thursday asking the Department of Health and Human Services asking for an end to the ban on blood donation of all gay men who have had sex with other men since 1977. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 5, 2013 - 24 comments

Marketing a political scandal

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has a Flickr account. A few highlights. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
posted by goethean on May 9, 2013 - 35 comments

Money Wins Elections

Let's Free Congress via
posted by DU on May 1, 2013 - 55 comments

"'Spitzer! You’re Governor Spitzer!'"

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook (Spoiler: The disgraced Congressman is likely running for Mayor of New York City. SLNYT, Via)
posted by zarq on Apr 10, 2013 - 72 comments

If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a ...

House of Cards is a new original "TV" series that is not destined for any TV distribution channel. Instead, it was developed by, and is only available through, Netflix. Netflix posted the entire first "season," 13 1-hour episodes, on Friday. (Is this the new thing?) Some of us, cough, watched the whole thing. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Feb 3, 2013 - 106 comments

The Cyber-Ombudsman

TruthTeller is an ambitious new automated application built by the Washington Post, which fact checks political speeches, ads and interviews "in as close to real time as possible." The prototype is intended to be a complement to the paper's Fact Checker Blog. More on the project from TechCrunch and Poynter.
posted by zarq on Jan 29, 2013 - 13 comments

Fiscal-Cliff-Diving

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 1, 2012 - 214 comments

Harry Reid Endorses New Filibuster Reform Proposal

As the least-productive Congress in a generation draws to a close, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has spoken in support of a new proposal to reform the filibuster. The proposed changes would not eliminate the filibuster, but would restore the talking filibuster, which requires that the opposition explain their objections and keep talking in order to delay a vote on the bill under consideration. [more inside]
posted by wintermind on Nov 16, 2012 - 54 comments

Russell Simmons: Occupy Democracy

Russell Simmons presents thirteen proposed Constitutional amendments aimed at getting money out of American politics.
posted by Rykey on Nov 16, 2012 - 25 comments

"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"

Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 14, 2012 - 137 comments

I Voted! (for the most corrupt)

Just in case you haven't overdosed on American politics: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Most Corrupt members of Congress (Full 2012 report - pdf). [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2012 - 22 comments

¿Sí Se Puede?

The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected, marijuana legalized for the first time in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters in four, and even the first openly gay senator. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America as the long-fabled 51st state. How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama and Republican leaders have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]. And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño appears headed toward a narrow loss. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag? (Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 7, 2012 - 108 comments

Science. It works, candidates.

Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy writes SciAm, as part of their election coverage, which also includes rating two candidates' answers on particular sciencey topics (full replies here, marking sheet here), as well as inquiring about the positions of other congress critters. Use 'Print' button for single page presentation
posted by Sparx on Oct 18, 2012 - 49 comments

Steve Packard "The Bad Science Guy" shares what he learned from running for Congress.

Revelations From Running For Congress Steve Packard writes a blog called "Depleted Cranium," which debunks bad science in the media. Last spring he decided to run for Congress on a "Science-based" platform. It was ultimately a heartbreaking experience for him and he had to quit, as he'd run out of money for food. He has a pretty great post up summing up his experiences now. And at this point probably wouldn't mind if you donated a couple of cans of beans.
posted by proscriptus on Oct 15, 2012 - 58 comments

"Republicans stand the chance of controlling Congress for the rest of the decade if they don't screw it up."

"The Republicans’ dominance in races throughout the country in the 2010 elections eviscerated the Democrats’ farm teams in state after state." Former Bill Clinton political director Doug Sosnik offers an 8-page analysis of the U.S. election that discusses the likelihood of an Obama win, the chances of a complete Republican takeover of Congress, continued Republican dominance of governorships and state legislatures for the rest of the decade, and more. There's also a related slideshow. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Sep 17, 2012 - 85 comments

The Curious Case of the Missing Congressman

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of revered civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, Sr., has been missing from the public eye since June 10th, failing to cast votes and making no public appearances. After weeks of vague statements raising more questions than answers about his mystery illness, Jackson's office has stated that he is seeking treatment for "debilitating" depression at the Mayo Clinic. Jackson's office denies alcoholism or drug addiction. [more inside]
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Aug 7, 2012 - 39 comments

In the Public Interest....

Earlier this year, six scientists and doctors filed a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration alleging that the FDA had secretly monitored their personal e-mail accounts after they (legally) warned Congress that the "agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients." The agency said it had done so to "investigate allegations that the employees had leaked confidential information to the public." At the time, the FDA indicated their computer monitoring was limited to five scientists. But now, the New York Times is reporting that "what began as a narrow investigation" "quickly grew in mid-2010 into a much broader campaign to counter outside critics of the agency’s medical review process.". [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 15, 2012 - 29 comments

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (previously), R-MI 11, is a very conservative politician and a colorful character, to say the least. [more inside]
posted by dhens on Jul 7, 2012 - 27 comments

THOMAS

Apparently, the USHOR Appropriations Committee feels uncomfortable about permitting convenient bulk access to THOMAS database of bills.
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 8, 2012 - 34 comments

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Calls are growing for a special counsel to investigate leaks of classified information by the Obama administration. Concerns have been raised over leaks involving classified information on cyberwarfare, infiltration of an Al Qaeda cell in Yemen, and drone warfare procedures. [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jun 8, 2012 - 115 comments

Your Congressperson Is So Dumb, He Speaks at a Ninth-Grade Level

The Sunlight Foundation, an organization dedicated to transparency in government, has analyzed 17 years of Congressional speech (per the Congressional Record) and found that the Flesch-Kincaid grade level of speech on the floor of the House and Senate has dropped by nearly a full year in the last decade. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on May 21, 2012 - 39 comments

Mark Kirk & the Candy Desk

What do John McCain, Rick Santorum, and George Voinovich have in common? They have all been seated at the Senate's candy desk throughout their careers. [more inside]
posted by Bukvoed on Mar 27, 2012 - 35 comments

In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

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