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Posts tagged ‘Lawmakers’

Budget Deal Reached: ‘There Will Be No Shutdown’.


House and Senate appropriators agreed to a bipartisan bill to fund the U.S. government through Sept. 30, and it will be introduced tonight, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski said.

The measure will reach the House floor tomorrow or Jan. 15, Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, said in Washington. “We have a bill,” she said. “There will be no shutdown.”

Government funding runs out Jan. 15, so lawmakers also plan to pass a separate three-day stopgap bill at current funding levels to push the deadline to Jan. 18. That would give lawmakers enough time to enact the comprehensive bill without risking a government shutdown.

“I think it’s a really good deal,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican. “The Senate and the House got together in a good way.”

Lawmakers agreed on a $1.01 trillion spending level in December as part of a two-year, bipartisan budget deal. The measure announced tonight would provide funding for individual agencies. Mikulski said negotiators agreed to details on all 12 sections of the bill, avoiding the need to write any of them as stopgap spending measures continuing the prior year’s funding.

The Senate plans to take up and pass the short-term extension once the House sends it over. Any senator could delay passage of either measure for about four days, though no senators have said they will do so.

In an effort to win support from Democrats, House appropriators didn’t include contentious policy provisions such as one blocking President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care law.

Government Shutdown

Republican efforts to block the health-care law were at the center of a spending-bill dispute that caused a 16-day partial government shutdown in October.

“There is nothing in the bill that blocks Obamacare,” Mikulski said. The measure also omits language sought by House Republicans to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and to limit rules governing coal mining waste.

“We tried to keep those political riders out,” said Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Senate Republican appropriator.

Lawmakers struggled to trim more than $25 billion from military spending amid lobbying from defense contractors including Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp. The top customer for each of the top 10 federal contractors was a unit of the Department of Defense, according to a Bloomberg Government compilation of contracting records.

Several lawmakers said that one of the last unresolved issues had been a proposed $63 billion contribution to the International Monetary Fund’s permanent capital fund. Mikulski declined to say if that provision will be in the final bill.

Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, predicted last week that there would be objections to the final spending package “from all across the spectrum” from lawmakers who wanted more cuts and others who wanted fewer spending reductions.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Two Suspects Arrested And Remanded In Ondo State House Assembly Assassination Attempt.


 

Hon. Soji Akinkurolere
By SaharaReporters, New York

Akure Magistrate Court today arraigned two suspects in the assassination attempt of Ondo lawmaker, Hon, Soji Akinkurolere.

SaharaReporters reported last week about the assassination attempt when masked gunmen raided Akinkurolere’s residence. The lawmaker escaped with his family through the backyard unharmed.

The suspects, Oluwatosin Aro and Femi Oyekan are charged with attempted murder and robbery.

They are also charged with malicious damage of three vehicles, valued at Niara 42 million, belonging to the lawmaker and damage to his property, when gunmen fired guns during the raid.  Those offenses violate Section 2 of the Robbery and Firearms Act.

Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Magistrate, Mrs. Oluwaboukola Kuye, ordered the two suspects to be remained in prison.

Police Prosecutor, ASP Pelumi Adejuwon said the Investigative Police Officer will send duplicate copies of the case to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice.

The case is  adjourned until January 24 for a further hearing.

Robert Gates: Obama Didn’t Make Troops Believe He Supported Their Sacrifice.


Image: Robert Gates: Obama Didn't Make Troops Believe He Supported Their Sacrifice

By Newsmax Wires

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said says he doesn’t regret anything he wrote in his controversial new book and calls the memoir “an honest account.”

And in an interview Sunday with CBS News, he offered perhaps his harshest yet criticism of President Obama’s wartime leadership: that he didn’t reach out to American troops and make them believe he supported their sacrifice.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“You say about President Obama that as much as you admired him on so many levels, he never really had a passion for pursuing the war in Afghanistan, and that kind of bothered you,” CBS News correspondent Rita Braver asked Gates.

“It’s one thing to tell the troops that you support them. It’s another to work at making them believe that you believe as president that their sacrifice is worth it, that the cause is just, that what they are doing was important for the country, and that they must succeed,” said Gates.

“President (George W. ) Bush did that with the troops when I was Secretary. I did not see President Obama do that,” he said. “As I write in the book, it was this absence of passion, this absence of a conviction of the importance of success that disturbed me.”

In “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War,” the former Pentagon chief raises questions about Obama’s war leadership and harshly criticizes Vice President Joe Biden.

Gates told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” that people credited him with being blunt and candid while he was in the Cabinet and that “I could hardly be any less in writing a book.”

Story continues below video.

Gates say how some are looking at the book reflects the country’s polarized political process.

He says he didn’t think that waiting until 2017 — after the next presidential election — to weigh in on important issues “made any sense.”

“So why was I so angry all the time? Why did I want to leave all the time? . . . It’s just because getting anything done in Washington was so damnably hard,” he said.

Lawmakers in Congress were “uncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic Constitutional responsibilities, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical . . . too often putting self and reelection before country.”

“I thought about that sentence a lot,” Gates told Braver,” and whether it was too strong. And I decided at the end of the day, that that’s what I believe.”

Gates praised Obama for facing down political opposition from his own party. But he is still very critical of the president and says Obama was at skeptical of his own strategy in Afghanistan.

But he saves much of his criticism for the president’s staffers. The  national security staff under Obama was the most micromanaging and controlling since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.

But, Braver asked, “Did you ever tell the president about it directly?”

“No,” Gates said. “And I acknowledge that in the book.”

“Should you have, do you think?”

“Well, first of all, things don’t happen that way if the president doesn’t want them to happen that way.”

“Do you have a sense that’s changed? Or do you think they are still running things from the White House?”

“I actually think it’s gotten worse,” Gates said.

His disagreements with Vice President Joe Biden were especially harsh.

“You are not very flattering to Vice President Biden in this book,” said Braver.

“Actually I think I am in some areas complimentary of him,” Gates responded, “but where I had a particular problem with the vice president was in his encouragement of suspicion of the military and the senior military with the president: ‘You can’t trust these guys. They’re gonna try and jam you. They’re gonna try and box you in,’ and so on. And that did disturb me a lot.”

But Gates said he did occasionally see eye-to-eye with Biden.

“One time when I agreed with him on something — often Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and I would ride back to the Pentagon together from the White House — and Mullen turned to me at one point [and] said, ‘You know that you agreed with the vice president this morning.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m rethinking my position.'”

Gates says he was “dismayed” when he heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tell Obama that her opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq had been “political, because she was facing him during the primary season.”

But Gates also has high praise for Clinton, saying she became one of his closest allies in the administration.

“The thing that I liked best about Secretary Clinton, other than the fact that she has a great sense of humor, was she is very tough-minded,” he said.

“Do you think she’d make a good president?” Braver asked.

‘Actually, I think she would,” Gates replied.

“And how about Vice President Biden? There is some talk he might run.”

“Well, I suppose to be even-handed, I would have to say I suppose he would,” he laughed.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Lawmakers Press Holder to Explain Prosecution of Reddit’s Swartz.


Lawmakers are demanding answers from Attorney General Eric Holder over the Justice Department’s conduct toward late Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide one year ago, after he was slammed with federal charges over breaking into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer network.

A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers from the House and Senate wrote to Holder on Friday, one day before the first anniversary of Swartz’ suicide, calling him a “brilliant technologist and activist” and demanding that Holder explain how the Justice Department’s conduct toward the 26-year-old was “appropriate,” reports The Hill.

Lawmakers said they asked for details a year ago over the department’s treatment, but got no answers, “not even the sentencing memoranda that surely were prepared in a case such as this.”

Swartz’s family maintain he killed himself because of the overzealous federal prosecutors in his case. He was facing up to 35 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines after he was charged with wire and computer fraud, among other charges, for breaking into the MIT servers and downloading nearly 5 million documents from the JSTOR academic service.

The eight lawmakers, Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; and Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.; Alan Grayson, D-Fla.; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; and Jared Polis, D-Colo., also said they “respectfully disagree” with Holder’s claims that the case represented “a good use of prosecutorial discretion.”

Beyond his legal troubles, Swartz was considered a computer genius who as a teenager helped create the publishing program RSS, which allows people to subscribe to website, blog, and news site updates. Swartz co-founded the social news website Reddit, which was later sold to Conde Nast, as well as the political action group Demand Progress, which campaigns against Internet censorship.

Meanwhile, web visionaries Saturday remembered Swartz and his legacy, reports Wired.com.

Story continues below video.

“I think Aaron was trying to make the world work – he was trying to fix it,” World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee said. “So he was a bit ahead of his time.”

And Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, who noted “he was just doing what he thought was right to produce a world that was better.”

Director Brian Knappenberger, whose documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” will debut at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, drew parallels between Swartz and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

“Now we are all submerged in a massively networked world where every important part of our lives has an online component to it,” Knappenberger said. “Geeks and hackers already knew this but, thanks to Edward Snowden, now everyone realizes it.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

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