And all over two pesky letters- U and N.
It all started with a bill Republicans call the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. It's meant to cut burdensome regulations that House Republicans say get in the way of small businesses being able to expand, hire and conduct every day business.
One provision of the bill would freeze any new regulations until employment improves, which is where things went wrong.
One section specifically says there can be no new regulations until "employment" is at 6 percent or less.
Read that part again- "employment" at 6 percent or less. That means there could be no new regulations until UNemployment hits 94 percent. That would be a very scary day if the unemployment rate, which is already considered stubbornly high, went from its current 8.2 percent to a whopping 94 percent.
Democrats discovered the mistake yesterday and flagged it for reporters covering Capitol Hill.Continue »
The report showed at least six members of Congress from both parties benefited from VIP loans issued by Countrywide. The lawmakers names were previously reported, but the new report makes it clear that at least some recipients of the special loans must have known they were receiving VIP treatment since letters confirming the terms specifically said "From-Countrywide VIP Unit."
The report states that the benefits of getting a VIP loan included a half-point off the interest rate and the waiving of junk fees that ranged from $350 to $400. It also revealed that in the period leading up to the subprime mortgage meltdown, Countrywide launched 70 lobbyists on the House Financial Services Committee alone to fight off new subprime lending rules and new regulations governing Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae. No legislation ever passed out of the committee. Countrywide, on the verge of collapse, was bought by Bank of America in 2008.Continue »
(CBS News) The weather was already hot and humid at 8:30 a.m. as the drama of today's Supreme Court health care ruling got going. There were belly dancers and pro-life protestors mingling with Tea Party proponents on the Supreme Court steps. At least two dozen camera crews with television correspondents stood just off those steps, ready to go live the moment the court issued its ruling on President Obama's signature achievement so far in his presidency. All of it happened under the watchful eyes of Supreme Court police officers charged with allowing freedom of speech while protecting everyone's safety.
At 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, certain journalists with a special orange pass were allowed to walk up the marble steps inside the court house to the second floor where the court room is located. No cell phones. No BlackBerrys. No electronic devices allowed. So with legal pads, pens and, for this journalist, a copy of the Constitution just in case, members of the media went through security one more time before being ushered into the courtroom.Continue »
Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET
(CBS News) After trading barbs for months over efforts to keep student loan interest rates low, Democrats and Republicans have tentatively reached a deal to extend the current rates, CBS News confirms. The Republican-led House could vote on a new version of the bill as soon as Friday, a source tells CBS News.
If Congress doesn't act by July 1, the interest rate on new subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans for undergraduate students will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Both Democrats and Republicans (with some exceptions) have agreed Congress should extend the low rates, but they've been arguing for months over how to pay for the $6 billion extension.Continue »
The Department of Justice and House Republicans have been at a stalemate regarding documents pertaining to Fast and Furious, the failed federal gun-smuggling operation that resulted in guns landing in the hands of Mexican cartels. President Obama granted executive privilege over the documents last week, which provides protection from Congressional inquiry. Republicans have said the action calls into question the White House's role and if it is participating in a cover up.
A senior administration official said the White House officials "reached out" to the staff of House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and provided "a representative sample" of documents in question. The official said the effort "would dispel any notion of an intent to mislead Congress."
But a Republican congressional aide told CBS News that the Republicans rejected the offer because the administration showed fewer than 30 pages of documents and that they wanted the House to put an end to the investigation and cease the threat of contempt before they could see all the documents.Continue »
Updated 4:30 p.m. ET
(CBS News) House Speaker John Boehner and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sat down for a private one-on-one meeting yesterday in the Atlanta area. The communications Director for the speaker's campaign team, Cory Fritz, confirmed the get-together, which was the first meeting of the two leaders since Mr. Boehner endorsed Romney in April.
Fritz said the two men spoke for about an hour to discuss ways they could work together in the months ahead.
A Republican aide with knowledge of the meeting told CBS News that Romney will join Boehner in Troy, Ohio, which is part of Boehner's congressional district, this Sunday afternoon. The event would be their first campaign event together.
Coordination between House Republicans and the Romney team will be critical as major news events like the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act and the continuing response to American's economic struggles will be major factors in how Republicans fare this November.
The most important coordination between the two camps will be over the Republican response to the Supreme Court's ruling on the health care law.Continue »
The proposal, known as the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, includes seven bills that would do everything from requiring a plan to expand energy production and exploration on federal lands if the president taps into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to easing barriers to accessing permits to drill on federal lands.
Another portion of the bill, written by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., would require an overall review or freeze of certain regulations put in place by the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency meant to increase fuel standards and increase air quality. Republicans say the new regulations could hurt the already-struggling economy.
"All we are doing with this legislation is, before it's implemented, let's examine and explore the cost and what will be the impact on fuel in America," said Whitfield. "Because if we're going to stimulate the nation's economy, we do at this particular time in our nation's history have to be concerned about additional cost."Continue »
UPDATED 4:10 p.m. ET
(CBS News) For anyone listening to House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon at the Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit in Washington, DC, his words might have sounded familiar.
According to the speaker's remarks, Boehner said that when the time comes for President Obama to ask for another increase in the nation's legal borrowing limit, "I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase."
Boehner made this same demand before the great debt limit showdown last summer. The requirement that the increase be matched dollar for dollar with spending cuts led to months of wrangling between, and within, the two parties over which cuts should be made and whether a "grand bargain" was something the Mr. Obama and the speaker could achieve to cut trillions from the deficit.
Ultimately, a grand bargain was out of reach. Boehner said today that the president "moved the goalposts, changed his stance and demanded tax hikes."
"We ended up enacting a package with cuts and reforms larger than the hike," Boehner added. "But it could have been so much more. The letdown was considerable. And, in turn, our nation's credit rating was downgraded for the first time."Continue »
(CBS News) Under pressure from members of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General is launching its own investigation into the Colombian prostitution scandal that's done great damage to the reputation of the United States Secret Service.
In a message to congressional investigators, the inspector general said that his office notified the Secret Service last week "of our intent to conduct a comprehensive review of the matter."
The objectives of that investigation, according to text of the notice obtained by CBS News, are to determine whether the Secret Service responded to the scandal adequately, whether they investigated the incident sufficiently and whether appropriate actions to have been taken to stop similar scandals from happening again. The DHS independent investigators will also determine how well the Secret Service "is administering workplace programs such as diversity, recruitment and discipline."Continue »
VAWA was signed into law in 1994 in an effort to curb acts of stalking, rape and domestic violence against women. The law also ensured law enforcement personnel and treatment centers had resources to help victims.
Senate Democrats are considering a bill that would expand protections to Native Americans, gays, lesbians and undocumented immigrants as well.
House Republican women held a news conference today on Capitol Hill to show that Republicans have their own plan for extending the law.
The GOP bill would increase penalties for stalkers who target minors and the elderly by adding five years to a perpetrator's prison sentence. It would also provide funding to clear the backlog of untested rape kits that lawmakers say is as high as 400,000.Continue »
(CBS News) United States Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has told members of Congress that he expects more resignations from agents involved in the Colombian prostitution scandal by the end of the week, according to a congressional staffer with knowledge of the investigation.
One day after Sullivan announced that three agents involved, including two supervisors, would be leaving the service, investigation of the remaining eight agents continues.
Polygraph tests have been conducted on the agents allegedly involved all week and will continue today and tomorrow. If they fail those tests, the agents would lose their security clearance which would bar them from the Secret Service completely. For the agents who do pass the tests, according to aides, Sullivan has said that the service is taking all the appropriate steps so they can make personnel decisions based on the law, but that ethics and standards are very important to the agency and the agents' actions reflect poorly on them all. According to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the agents are all also undergoing drug testing.Source: Ousted Secret Service agent plans to sue
Report: Colombian escort talks of encounter with Secret Service Continue »
Updated 3 p.m. ET
(CBS News) House Speaker John Boehner finally got into the 2012 presidential race today, saying he will be "proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win."
In response to a question from CBS News as to whether the speaker would finally endorse Romney, Boehner said that "it's clear now that Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee."
He added that as chairman of the GOP convention, he had not wanted to endorse before now to give the candidates a "fair process and a fair opportunity."Continue »
In a move of bipartisanship, the Senate passed today a two-year extension of programs that fund the nation's highways, public transit and infrastructure. The $109 billion bill passed with the support of 74 Senators and just 22 voting against the extension.
As the Senate advanced the measure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called on the House to pass the bill before the current highway bill expires at the end of this month.
"That could lead to the laying off, termination, of well more than a million people," Reid said on the Senate Floor right before the vote. "This bill, when signed by the president, will save or create 2.8 million jobs. It's important we get this done."
The Senate version streamlines transportation programs by cutting and consolidating them by more than two-thirds. It would give states more control over how to use federal transportation funds and it also provides funding for mass transit. The bill would also offer additional grant money to states that make it more difficult for teenagers to get a full driver's license by prohibiting teens from night driving and using mobile devices except in emergencies.Continue »
Welcome to another the latest installment of Hot Ads of the Week -- the latest and greatest ads from around the country. This week we feature a selection of ads in the campaign for president, for the Senate, for the House and last but not least, a governor's race with a bit of history thrown in.
Ron Paul attacks the field
After speculation that Ron Paul was secretly teaming with rival Mitt Romney in the GOP primary, Paul's campaign is up with an ad in Washington State that hits Romney, as well as regular targets Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Over pictures of Gingrich, the narrator says: "one is a serial hypocrite who lobbied for Freddie Mac before the housing crisis and for the individual mandate before Obamacare."
Enter Santorum: "Another counterfeit conservative who opposes right to work, massively increased spending and funded planned parenthood."
And then Romney: "Finally, a flip-flopper who's been on all sides, supported bailouts, and provided the blueprint for Obamacare, says the announcer."
Over pictures of all three: three men, one vision, more big government, more mandates, less freedom, the ad says.
Then the ad changes its tone to positive, with the announcer saying, "One man stands apart, ready to deliver real change voting against every tax increase and every unbalanced budget, every time." Then, over video of Ron Paul speaking to a enthusiastic rally, the announcer drives home the message -- "Pro-life, pro-liberty, guided by faith and principle, Ron Paul, the one who will restore America now."
The ad is unique in that it hits all three opponents equally and not just attacking the front runner at the time.Continue »
Ron Paul uses Bigfoot to call Santorum fake
Welcome to Hot Ads of the week - the latest on the wacky, the wild, the bizarre, the negative, the seldom positive and the most unique campaign ads from the world of politics. Check them out on these pages and then vote for your favorite at the end.
We start today with an ad that made a big splash at Wednesday night's debate where Ron Paul called Rick Santorum a fake.
For most of the campaign, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has been winning hearts of viewers with his creatively hard hitting attack ads aimed at his Republican opponents. He is now turning his focus to Rick Santorum in this ad which takes on Santorum's record as a fiscal conservative.
"Is this dude serious?" asks the announcer with an arrow pointing to a cut out of Santorum. "Fiscal conservative? Really?"
With creative graphics reminiscent of a viral web video, (anyone remember jib jab?) -- Paul's ad goes right at Santorum with tiny fine print backing up each claim with vote records and laws.
"Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling five times, doubled the size of the department of education," says the announcer over a the video of a large bloated man's belly. "Then supported the biggest entitlement expansion since the 60s," it adds. The announcer doesn't say what - but fine print points to the Medicare "Prescription Drug Act" that expanded prescription drug coverage for seniors, and the video shows the Santorum cutout standing with stacks of paper and the number "$727 Billion" splashed across the screen. "Not groovy" says the announcer over Santorum's head floating over a 60s style tie-dyed background.
"Santorum voted to send billions of our tax dollars to dictators in North Korea and Egypt, and even hooked planned parenthood up with a few million bucks. Rick Santorum, a fiscal conservative? FAKE," says the announcer over a picture of big foot holding a sign that simply says "fake."
Paul has been known for his support among young people and his ads are only helping him. This ad is fresh and entertaining and is definitely not the traditional campaign attack ad.Continue »
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