Anna Palmer

Off-Topic on Eve of White House Debt Talks

Key players in debt ceiling talks spent the day before a White House meeting on the topic discussing tax proposals that wouldn’t reduce the deficit, shooting down plans from their colleagues, releasing far-afield budget blueprints and trading tweets.

Overall, neither Democrats nor Republicans made much progress toward a deal as they head to a leadership meeting with President Barack Obama today.

Cantor Says Tax Loopholes Are on the Table

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pushed back Wednesday against President Barack Obama’s assertion that bipartisan negotiations on the debt limit broke down over tax loopholes and special tax breaks for industry, insisting that House Republicans would be willing to discuss the issue.

“If the president wants to talk loopholes, we’ll be glad to talk loopholes,” Cantor said in his weekly press briefing. “We’ve said all along that preferences in the code aren’t something that helps economic growth overall. Listen, we’re not for any proposal that increases taxes, and any type of discussion should be coupled with offsetting tax cuts somewhere else.”

Debt Deal May Not Have to Be All Cuts
Senate Democrats Want to Add Stimulus

Suddenly, the debt limit negotiations aren't just about distributing painful cuts. They're also about including sweeteners that could make it somewhat easier for Members to stomach the political risks of such a plan.

In fact, Senate Democratic leaders Wednesday demanded new job-creating stimulus measures to be included alongside any spending cuts or entitlement reforms in bipartisan debt negotiations led by Vice President Joseph Biden.

Boehner Pledges $1 Million to Retire NRCC Debt

Speaker John Boehner moved to rally his troops Wednesday morning at a GOP Conference meeting, committing to raise $1 million to help retire the party’s debt.

The Ohio Republican’s financial commitment comes as GOP leaders tried to motivate their Members and remind them of the importance of paying dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee before the June 30 second-quarter filing deadline.

Debt Talks Worry Lobbyists
K Street Uneasy Over Possibility That Industry Tax Provisions Could Be Nixed

K Street lobbyists are scrambling to defend industry tax breaks and spending programs from ending up as fodder to reduce the deficit in the debt limit talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden.

A lack of news about the specific cuts under consideration by the close-lipped bipartisan group, coupled with last week's surprising 73-27 Senate vote to eliminate long-sacrosanct ethanol tax subsidies has put lobbyists in a defensive crouch.

Last-Minute Frenzy for Campaign Cash

House Republicans and Democrats are making a mad dash for cash, scheduling hundreds of fundraisers during the next four days before they leave town for the July Fourth recess.

Republicans in particular are feeling the pressure to produce big numbers as they try to hold on to their newfound status in the majority and to ward off any potential challengers.

GOP Senators Back U.S. Involvement in Libya

Republican Senators on Sunday defended the ongoing American military involvement in Libya even as the House prepares to assert its authority under the War Powers Act to require Congressional approval of the campaign against strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

“The War Powers Act is unconstitutional and not worth the paper it is written on,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president needs to step up his game in Libya, but Congress should sort of shut up and not empower Gadhafi.”

McCain Warns Against Abandoning Afghanistan

Updated: 12:31 p.m.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he would support a modest withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan but that Republican presidential candidates should stop promoting isolationist policies on the campaign trail.

Greenspan Gives GOP Hope on Debt Limit

House Republicans wary of the Obama administration's Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling think they have support for their skepticism from a surprising source — former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Greenspan met with a small group of House Republican Policy Committee members Monday afternoon.

HP’s Top Lobbyist Logging Off

The head of global government affairs for tech giant Hewlett-Packard Co. is leaving after less than two years on the job. Larry Irving, a former White House technology adviser in the Clinton administration, will depart “to pursue other interests,” the Palo Alto-based company announced Wednesday.

“Larry’s unique perspective on business, technology and government has been invaluable to HP,” Michael Holston, HP’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a press statement. “I fully expect that HP will continue to seek his counsel, especially in the area of federal technology policy, in years to come.”

Biden Cites Progress in Debt Talks, Hopes for Deal by July Fourth

Vice President Joseph Biden wants a debt limit package ready for Congressional leaders by the Senate’s July Fourth recess, he said Tuesday after another round of bipartisan negotiations.

“We are making real progress,” he said after the meeting in the Capitol. “I’m convinced — it ain’t over until it’s over — but I’m convinced we can come up with an agreement that gets the debt limit passed and makes some real serious down payment on the commitment to 4 trillion bucks over the next 10 to 12 years.”

When Compromise Is ‘Going Soft’

Tea party activists are urging House Members to resist compromise in the debt limit debate, but too firm a stance by the conservative faction could marginalize the group rather than strengthen it when a final deal is cut.

Conservatives saw this happen in the continuing resolution debate, when House GOP freshmen insisted on major spending cuts that ultimately were whittled down to satisfy Democrats in the Senate and White House. Outside groups are hoping to avoid a repeat of that March defeat, but some Members are trying to manage conservative expectations on the terms for raising the federal debt limit.

Democrats Can't Change the Subject Away From Weiner
Democrats Fret That N.Y. Congressman’s Troubles, Photos Still Driving Conversation in Washington

Even in his absence from Washington, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sex scandal continued to dominate political conversation Monday, undermining Democrats’ efforts to change the subject to the debt ceiling, jobs or anything not involving lurid pictures of the embattled New Yorker.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) had hoped the combined efforts by Democratic leaders Saturday would force Weiner out of office — and the scandal revolving around his sexually charged online activity off the front pages — but it was clearly not going away.

Cummings Urges Cautious Path for Oversight

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee may be known as a forum for political street fighting, but ranking member Elijah Cummings is trying to be more strategic with his punches.

Nearly six months into his role as Democrats’ lead defender, the Maryland lawmaker brings a quiet strength to his effort to blunt House Republicans’ attacks against President Barack Obama.

Weiner’s Style Has Always Put His Name First

For Rep. Anthony Weiner, it has always been about him.

The New York Democrat remains embroiled in a still-unfolding sex scandal, having so far defied the chorus of colleagues urging him to resign. He will not join the House returning from a weeklong recess, but not because he finally acceded to demands for his resignation.

King: Weiner Has Lost Clout in House

New York Rep. Peter King said Wednesday that Rep. Anthony Weiner won’t have any clout or sway on Capitol Hill after being embroiled in an ongoing sex scandal.

Although the veteran Republican lawmaker did not call for Weiner’s resignation, King said the New York Democrat “is going to have to decide whether he is going to have any influence on Capitol Hill. I don’t think he does.”

Democrats Want Weiner to Go

While House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stopped short of calling for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, her demand for an ethics investigation into his online affairs clearly signaled that her Caucus thinks it's time for him to go.

Democrats said Pelosi's unprecedented decision to swiftly call for an ethics investigation — and her harsh words for the New York Democrat — has sent a not-so-subtle sign that leadership does not want to see a protracted scandal at a time when Democrats are battling for control of the House.

What’s With All the Sex in the City?
New Yorkers See Their Fair Share of Scandal

Move over Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen — the New York Congressional delegation is making a run to be the sex scandal kings of the decade.

From Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) to former Reps. Chris Lee (R) and Eric Massa (D), Empire State politicians are baring all and bringing their own version of "Sex and the City" to D.C.

Pelosi Wants Ethics Panel to Investigate Weiner

Updated: 7:03 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Monday for the Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

At Last, Kucinich Draws Republicans to a Cause

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is fighting for his seat back home, but on Capitol Hill the liberal lawmaker is finding some unusual allies.

The Ohio Democrat, who earlier this year rallied bipartisan opposition to the USA PATRIOT Act before it ultimately was reauthorized, reasserted his Congressional influence on issues of war and peace last week with his effort to end the nation's military involvement in Libya. House Republicans found themselves in the odd position of backing the efforts of the liberal gadfly before GOP leaders cobbled together their own resolution that was approved on the floor.