Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Federal government has spent nearly $1 million on romance

    The federal government has spent nearly $1 million studying romance in popular culture, according to a new report that targets government waste.

    The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $914,000 to help fund The Popular Romance Project since 2010, an ongoing study that explores “the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction.”

    With help from taxpayers, the Popular Romance Project is producing a documentary about romance novels called “Love Between the Covers,” a website “dedicated to romance and romance novels,” and academic conferences on the genre.

    The grants are highlighted in the 2013 “Wastebook,” an annual report released by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that highlights taxpayer-subsidized programs that he argues are questionable or unnecessary, especially during a time when lawmakers are viciously debating spending levels and how to trim the nation’s $17

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  • A shutdown-free future is in the cards

    House passes bipartisan resolution 332-94; Senate expected to pass it next week

    Merry Christmas, America. The House just took a step toward ensuring an entire year without government shutdowns.

    Despite a brief minirevolt among hard-line conservative Republicans, the House on Thursday approved a budget resolution that will set spending levels into 2015 with bipartisan support. The nonbinding resolution aims to replace parts of sequestration by offering $63 billion of “sequester relief” and will set spending levels at $1.012 trillion in fiscal year 2014 and $1.014 trillion in fiscal year 2015.

    The House passed the resolution 332-94, and the Senate is expected to pass it next week. Because budget resolutions are not intended to become law, President Barack Obama will not sign it, but the measure will provide the appropriations committees in the House and Senate guidelines for spending over the next two years.

    The agreement, which is by no means historic, comes five years after Congress agreed to its last bicameral budget resolution and several failed attempts at a grand

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  • Watch John Boehner’s epic rant against tea party groups

    When John Boehner briefly lashed out Wednesday at conservative groups that had been agitating against the bipartisan budget bill, it turns out he had more to say. Much, much more.

    On Thursday, reporters asked the Republican House Speaker to elaborate on his comments the day before, when he called conservative opposition to the budget “ridiculous” and accused certain right-wing groups of “using the American people."

    Boy, did he.

    “I thought it was my job and my obligation to stand up for conservatives here in the Congress who want more deficit reduction, stand up for the work that Chairman [Paul] Ryan did,” Boehner said. “I think they're pushing our members in places where they don't want to be. And frankly, I just think that they've lost all credibility.”

    Earlier this week, lawmakers unveiled a bipartisan budget blueprint that would set funding levels for the next two years. (The House plans to vote on it Thursday night.) The bill would replace parts of sequestration, but effectively

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  • Republican establishment bites back

    Walking out of a private conference room beneath the Capitol Building on Tuesday, Republican House members looked tired. Not the typical "I-had-a-bad-night’s-sleep" tired but something deeper — a look of battle exhaustion. Unlike past meetings in the same place during periods of fever-pitched warfare with Democrats, it appeared — for the first time in a long time — the fire in their bellies that drove them to shut down the government and risk federal default, was, for now, no longer evident.

    These Republicans had just been briefed on a new, bipartisan budget blueprint that would establish long-term federal government spending caps.

    The plan, a product of months of negotiation between Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican, and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, lacks many priorities Republicans have fought for during the Obama era. It posits no major reforms to Social Security and Medicare, for instance, nor does it balance the budget.

    But for the first time in years, many

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  • Goodbye, sequestration! (For now. Maybe.)

    After years of partisan discord, can Congress agree to a budget compromise?

    The bipartisan spending resolution released Tuesday after months of negotiations gives Congress a final opportunity to save face after a congressional year known best for a government shutdown, inactivity and bickering.

    Will they take the opportunity?

    The budget chiefs, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, unveiled a two-year budget blueprint Tuesday evening that would avoid the possibility of a government shutdown scenario next year. According to Paul and Murray, the resolution would reduce the federal deficit by up to $23 billion over two years without raising taxes and provide $63 billion in what the lawmakers called “sequester relief" that gives spending flexibility to bipartisan interests like education, medical research and defense. That "relief" is offset by other "deficit-reduction provisions," which will be released soon. The resolution would set spending at $1.012 trillion, and $1.014 trillion in FY 2014 and FY 2015,

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  • Shutdowns and shoutdowns: In 2013, Congress took a gap year

    Late at night in Washington, it's not uncommon to see a white light shining atop the dome of the Capitol Building. The unmistakable beam alerts the nation that Congress is still in session, working overtime while the rest of the city sleeps.

    The massive light can be seen for miles and is used quite a lot. But what the hell are lawmakers doing in there?

    Not much.

    (CBSTV Videos)50 bills and not counting
    In the annals of legislative history, the most memorable thing about 2013 is how profoundly unmemorable it was. There isn't one grand legislative achievement that defined the year — in fact, the most remarkable event in Congress occurred when lawmakers failed to fulfill their most basic responsibilities and shut down the government.

    So far this year, President Barack Obama has signed only 50 bills into law. By last Fourth of July — think of it as the congressional calendar's midseason All-Star Break, minus any All-Stars — Congress had sent only 15 bills to the White House that Obama would go on to sign.

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  • Marco Rubio calls for 'a new vision for America's role abroad'

    Terms used to discuss foreign policy are outdated and should be upgraded to describe the complexities of the 21st century, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday during a speech on the subject in which he sought to outline what he called “a new vision for America's role abroad.”

    “Foreign policy is too often covered in simplistic terms. Many only recognize two points of view: ‘doves’, who seek to isolate us from the world, participating in global events only when there is a direct physical threat to the safety of our homeland; and ‘hawks,’ who believe we should use our military strength to intervene in response to practically every crisis,” Rubio said during an address at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washinton. “The problem is these labels are obsolete. They come from the world of the past. The time has now come for a new vision for America's role abroad — one that reflects the reality of the world we live in today.”

    Rubio, who is pondering a presidential

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  • Democrats plan to use Chris Christie's comments against House Republicans

    Democrats are preparing a new broadside against vulnerable House Republicans by highlighting critical remarks made about Washington Republicans by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible GOP presidential contender.

    On a number of issues, Christie has been critical of House Republicans this year, particularly over their handling of the October government shutdown, the delayed federal aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy, and the general state of congressional gridlock in the nation's capital.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official party group responsible for electing Democrats to the House, is planning to launch a messaging campaign that uses the governor’s remarks against sitting House Republicans.

    While not a paid ad buy (yet), the early messaging blast serves as a sneak peek into how Democrats intend to highlight discord within the Republican Party and badger potential GOP presidential candidates at the same time. The DCCC plans to blast out a series of press

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  • No apologies from House Democrats on Obamacare confusion

    House Democratic leaders are refusing to apologize for the confusion caused when millions of Americans received health insurance cancellation notices as a result of the Affordable Care Act, even after President Barack Obama's contrite press conference on the matter and a clear statement of apology last week. 

    Shortly after Obama announced Thursday that he would unilaterally extend by one year the period in which insurers could offer insurance plans that do not meet new quality standards, Democrats moved to defend the “keep your plan” line.

    Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill,the top four House Democrats — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Assistant Leader James Clyburn, Whip Steny Hoyer and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra — were asked if they would apologize to any constituents who felt misled by Democrats. Each declined.

    “I don’t think there’s anything for us to apologize for,” Clyburn said after explaining that once enough Americans switch to exchange-based insurance

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  • Democrats scramble to fix Obama's troubled health care law

    Democrats aren’t running through the halls of Congress with their hair on fire yet, but anxiety over the possible blowback from the federal health care law is growing by the day.

    Between the disastrous rollout of and the fact that millions of Americans are poised to lose their current health insurance coverage at the end of the year despite a promise from President Barack Obama that they would be able to keep their plans “no matter what,” congressional Democrats are scrambling to cover their hides before next year’s midterm elections.

    A handful of Senate Democrats have leapt to support a proposal from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who's facing a tough re-election campaign in 2014, that would allow Americans with already existing insurance plans to keep them even if they don’t meet the quality guidelines established by the Affordable Care Act.

    House Democrats on Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with White House officials, where some members vented frustration with the

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