Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

Appropriation Chess Game

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Not much polling around recently, maybe partially due to the Easter holiday. I was tied up all weekend between Easter dinner and my fantasy baseball draft, so my interest in politics over the weekend was near zero, hence my absence. But I did start a post last week and since nobody seems to have anything interesting to talk about, I figured I’d finish it up and post.

The Hill had an article last week detailing how various Congressmen are following a new rule put out by Nancy Pelosi on how the members of the US House are required to publicize their earmark requests on their website.

Under the new rule, touted by House Democrats and echoed by President Obama as a move toward a more open system of earmarking, members submitting spending requests for 2010 to the Appropriations Committee are required to create an active link on their webpages giving the details.

But the requirement to create a link allows for great disparity, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) down the line to the most junior member of the minority, in how and where those requests are displayed.

The result was a hodgepodge, with some members of each party proudly displaying their requests while many others apparently did their utmost to keep their requests out of public view.
The ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), could not display his requests any more prominently. They are his leading news item, nearly impossible to miss.

But dozens of members’ requests could be found only by scouring their pages and trolling through any number of different categories, from “Issues” to “Legislation” to “District” to — in at least one case — “Other.” Viewers of these members’ pages would have to click three or more times to get the list of submitted projects, and that is assuming the website visitor knows where to look.

I decided to do surf around and check out the eight congresspeople from Maryland to see if they are following the intent of the rule to display appropriation requests on their website or merely following the “letter” of the rule and doing their best to hide them from public view.

To his credit, my own Congressman Elijah Cummings from District 7 does display a prominent link on the front page of his website called “Appropriations Requests” which links to this page.

In District 1, Frank Kratovil has a link “Appropriations Requests” on the front page of his official House website prominently displayed. You can find his appropriations here.

In District 2, Dutch Ruppersberger has a link on his front page called “Appropriations Requests” under “Top Issues” that links to this page. One thing I do love is he uses “dutch” in the url for his website instead of his last name like everyone else.

In my former District 3, John Sarbanes has a link to an article under “Latest Press Releases” on his front page with a link to this page detailing his requests.

In District 4, Donna Edwards currently has a link at the top of her website front page called “2010 Appropriations” that links to this page. Warning, that one is a pdf file.

The Majority Leader in the US House from District 5, Steny Hoyer, has a link on the left-hand side of his front page in rather small print under “Updates” that directly links to his Appropriations requests page. He also currently has a link to the news release he put out with the requests.

In District 6, the lone Republican Congressman from Maryland Roscoe Bartlett has a link to his appropriations in the side bar under the topic “Bulletin” on his official website front page. His appropriations can be found here. He decided to separate them into two separate pages – Defense and Non-Defense.

In District 8, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee Chris Van Hollen has a link under “Hot Topics” on his website front page to his requests, which can be found here.

So overall, all of Maryland’s Congresspeople appear to have followed the true intent of the rule to give a prominent display to their Appropriations on their official House websites. The more interesting research might be to see what exactly these congresspeople are requesting, which may be something for another post.

So what is your particular Congressman doing on his official website to show what appropriations he or she is requesting? You can find their sites by going to the main US House here.

PA: Specter Barely Leads Matthews In 2010 Match Up

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

I don’t know what type of polls we will get today, but Quinnipiac University apparently has some money to burn with a new poll for a potential 2010 US Senate race in Pennsylvania. They match up sitting Republican Senator Arlen Specter against talking head Chris Matthews from the liberal news channel MSNBC.

Arlen Specter (R-inc) 41%
Chris Matthews (D) 36%

This poll was done July 30-August 3 among 1580 registered voters.

That should tide you over until some real polls come out later….

MS: Lott Will Quit This Year

Monday, November 26th, 2007

This news is somewhat old, but I am just getting around to it. From Fox News.

Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, will announce his resignation effective this year, FOX News has learned.
The senator, after 34 years of public service in Congress, is not wealthy like many of his colleagues and has talked for some time about leaving so he could earn more money.

So, aides said, the senator decided to leave by year’s end to circumvent new lobbying rules — instituted by Congress this year and effective in 2008 — that that would bar members from lobbying their colleagues after two years.

Mississippi will now become the second state next year to hold two separate elections for their two US Senate seats after Wyoming. Thad Cochran, Mississippi’s other Senator is up for re-election next year as well.

CO: Tancredo To Quit

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Not the presidential race, but a run for re-election to the US House. So says The Rocky Mountain News.

Even if he loses his long-shot bid for the White House, Rep. Tom Tancredo will be leaving the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of 2008.

Tancredo, 61 , waited until after the Colorado Rockies’ last out of the World Series on Sunday night before announcing that he plans to retire from Congress at the end of this, his fifth term.

“It’s the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the issue about which I care greatly (immigration),” Tancredo said in a phone interview from a motel in Iowa.

Bush got 60% in Tancredo’s district in both 2000 and 2004, so it would seem to be safe for Republicans. The bad news is that it appears we have to deal with Tancredo for the rest of the Primary season even though he has no shot whatsoever of winning the nomination…none….

MA-5: Is There Hope For The GOP?

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Interesting article out yesterday from CBS News and the state of financial race for the upcoming Special Election in Massachusetts.

With two weeks to go until the special election to replace Rep. Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), Republican Jim Ogonowski is closing the financial gap with his better-funded Democratic opponent, Niki Tsongas.

Both candidates filed their last fundraising reports before the special election. Between August 16 and September 26, Ogonowski raised $200,500 and banked $221,000. Tsongas raised significantly more money — $600,000 plus a $50,000 personal loan – but spent heavily on television ads on broadcast in the expensive Boston media market. She ended the period with $240,000 cash-on-hand.

It would be great to see some new polls in this race to see how competitive it really is and whether the GOP really has a true shot of winning this seat. The only poll I have seen was this previous Survey USA poll that showed Ogonowski within 10% of Tsongas.

ID: Craig’s Will “Delay” Resignation

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Because he can, Larry Craig is now claiming he will not resign on September 30th as he originally said. From AP.

Idaho Senator Larry Craig now says he’ll stay in Congress for the time being.

Craig had said he would resign September 30th over his guilty plea in a men’s room sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. Craig made no mention of that commitment in a statement released today.

It came after a Minnesota judge said it will be next month before he rules on Craig’s request to withdraw a guilty plea.

{Shakes head in disbelief}

DC: Push For US House Seat Fails

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

The Washington Post has the news.

Republican lawmakers today blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. voting rights bill, dealing a major blow to the District’s most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The vote was merely on whether to begin action on the bill. But only 57 senators voted in favor, short of the 60 needed to proceed. Without enough support to vault the Senate’s procedural hurdles, the bill is expected to stall for this year, and possibly next year as well.

Here is the roll call vote. Eight Republicans voted in favor of the bill: Bennett, Hatch (no surprise since their state would get an extra House seat with this bill), Coleman, Collins, Lugar, Snowe, Specter and Voinovich. One Democrat voted against bill: Max Baucus.

ID: That Thing About Craig Resigning…Never Mind?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Over the weekend, we had PA Senator Arlen Specter publicly asking Larry Craig to reconsider his resignation. Now Craig’s own spokesman is claiming Craig is doing just that, according to the AP.

Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign after his arrest in a Minnesota airport sex sting and may still fight for his Senate seat, his spokesman said Tuesday evening.

“It’s not such a foregone conclusion anymore, that the only thing he could do was resign,” said Sidney Smith, Craig’s spokesman in Idaho’s capital.

First he pleaded guilty and then claims he wasn’t. Then he says he is going to resign and is now reconsidering. He is starting to make John Kerry look principled by comparison….

Oh boy, the Republican Senate leadership must be loving this….

ID: GOP Senator Arrested For Lewd Conduct (UPDATED)

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Just when you thought things could not get weirder in Washington (and worse for the Republican Party), there is this story being reported by Roll Call.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

So he pleads guilty, but claims it is a “he said/he said” misunderstanding? You can read the whole article, but check out this passage from the article.

“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.

Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.

“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”

Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could … see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Good grief. if this report is true (and keep in mind that Craig already pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct in conjunction with this incident, how does he possibly survive?

This is borderline unreal…300 million people in this country and we end with people like this in the United States Senate….

UPDATED (6:48pm): This is only going to get worse. Mitt Romney’s campaign has already moved and dropped any mention of Larry Craig from their website, according to the Politico….

What Did He Just Say?

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Some humor to head into the weekend with from the good Senator in Florida.

Obviously he used the wrong word…or he had fellow Senator David Vitter on his mind….

(HT: RedState)

Have a Good Weekend!