Posts by Chris Moody and Olivier Knox
At the end of the 16th day of the government shutdown, the Senate and House passed a bill that would reopen the government and avert a potentially cataclysmic default on U.S. debt payments by raising the federal government's debt limit.
The Senate voted 81-18 to pass the measure, and the House voted 285-144.
The final package, unveiled by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor earlier in the day, would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7.
The bill would also strengthen income verification requirements for those who sign up for insurance under Obamacare, and it would provide time for both parties to appoint lawmakers to a conference committee to reconcile a broad budget resolution. The panel would be led by Budget Committee heads Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, and it would be required to announce the result of its negotiations by Dec. 13. President Barack Obama said Wednesday evening soon after the Senate vote that he would “immediately” sign the legislation.
Police and other emergency workers raced Friday to answer reports of a man on fire at the National Mall near the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, a D.C. Metropolitan Police spokeswoman told Yahoo News.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing flames engulfing the unidentified man near the storied tourist attraction before passersby and joggers scrambled to smother the blaze with their shirts. A helicopter landed on the Mall and he was taken to an area hospital.
Police received a call at 4:24 p.m., and emergency personnel were dispatched to a man who had been on fire but was conscious and breathing, Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Saray Leon said. A medical helicopter arrived and evacuated the man a short time later. Whether the man set himself on fire or was attacked was unknown, though one eyewitness told CNN he saw a gasoline can next to the man.
“I was crossing the street and didn't see him pour the gas or light the match, but saw the flames move up from the middle of his body to his arms,” eyewitness Vanessa Sink told Yahoo News. “He didn't make any noise that I heard.”
A runner and passerby put the flames out. It was incredible.
The federal government officially shut down for the first time in 17 years at midnight on Monday, after House Republicans refused to drop demands that parts of the Affordable Care Act be delayed in return for approval of a mandatory government funding bill. Federal employees who are considered essential to public safety will be expected to work this week. But most federal offices will be closed until Congress reaches a deal. The shutdown is the first one of its kind since 1996, when the government closed for 26 days under President Bill Clinton.
"Republicans are still playing games," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat of Nevada said on the House floor.
As a result of Republicans refusing to hold a budget conference to set spending levels for the year, Congress is funding the government with short-term, stop-gap "continuing resolutions" that must be approved when old ones expire. The deadline for approving a new one is midnight Monday.
Senate Democratic leaders warned that they would accept nothing short of a “clean” continuation of funding — one without riders such as defunding Obamacare — a move that practically dared Republicans to blink.
President Barack Obama promised congressional Democrats behind closed doors Wednesday that he will fight to help retake the House of Representatives in 2014 and urged them to close ranks with the White House to defend Obamacare, congressional aides said.
"No one is more mindful than me for the need for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker again," a Democratic leadership aide quoted Obama as telling House Democrats during the private meeting.
Obama, rallying his troops ahead of lawmakers’ five-week August recess, also vowed not to bow to Republican demands to tie government spending to any increase in the country’s legal power to borrow.
"The president made it very clear that while he was prepared to work with our Republican colleagues, he was not prepared to put at risk the credit of the United States of America," Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters after the meeting.
"Our members are ready to go out in August and talk to their constituents. We are asking them please, to go out and talk to Americans," Rep. Xavier Becerra, the Democratic Caucus Chairman, told reporters.
Chris Moody and Olivier Knox at The Ticket 2 yrs ago
The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, overcoming a fierce campaign by some GOP lawmakers to block President Barack Obama's nominee.
Hagel's nomination, which required support from just a majority of the chamber, passed 58-41.
Four Republicans voted to approve Hagel's nomination: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.
In a statement, Obama praised the Senate for passing the confirmation.
"With the bipartisan confirmation of Chuck Hagel as our next Secretary of Defense, we will have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve," Obama's statement read. "From the moment he volunteered for military service in Vietnam, Chuck has devoted his life to keeping America secure and our armed forces strong. An American patriot who fought and bled for our country, he understands our sacred obligations to our service members, military families and veterans."
Chris Moody and Olivier Knox at The Ticket 2 yrs ago
John Brennan, the White House nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, faced a series of questions during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday regarding how he would lead the organization, with an emphasis on national security information leaks under President Barack Obama and Brennan's views on interrogation techniques like waterboarding.
Brennan, a gruff 25-year CIA veteran and the White House's counterterrorism adviser, also spent much of the hearing fielding questions about the president's use of drone strikes, a controversial program of targeted killing abroad. Brennan defended the use of drone strikes against terrorists but said he preferred catching them alive.
“I never believe it’s better to kill a terrorist than to detain him," he said, and added there was value in interrogating suspects.
Regarding information leaks, Republicans have charged that the Obama administration has disclosed sensitive information for political gain. When pressed by North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr about the information he makes public, Brennan denied revealing classified information from covert operations.