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Posts tagged ‘United States House of Representatives’

McCain: Immigration Reform Crucial to GOP Success.


Sen. John McCain says he hasn’t yet given up on immigration reform – and he believes failure to pass anything will hurt GOP chances at the ballot box.

“States like mine, over time, the demographics will overtake, not only mine but throughout the whole Southwest and many other parts of the country,” the Arizona Republican said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

A failure to embrace Latino voters could spell doom as Republicans approach this years midterm congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign, McCain said.

Story continues below video.

The Senate, where McCain serves, has already passed immigration reform, but the effort is stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

McCain said he will work see a bill passed through Congress for the president’s signature before the midterms.

“I have not given up hope that we will act, and we must act,” he said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Oduah: Civil Society Groups Demand Release Of Presidential Panel Report On N255m Bulletproof Cars Scam.


Stella-Oduah-003

The political stormy weather for Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah seems not to be over yet as Civil Society Groups have launched fresh demands into the immediate release of the report of the presidential panel that investigated the N255 million BMW bulletproof cars scam.The three-man administrative panel set up by President Goodluck Jonathan submitted its report on November 13, two days after its deadline but as earlier feared by skeptics, the outcome of the panel’s investigation has been closely guarded by the presidency. This is just as the House of Representatives adopted a recommendation of its Committee on Aviation which advised the president to review the continued terms of engagement of Ms. Oduah as a member of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.Leaders of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, and the Campaign for Democracy, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH asked the Presidency to make the report available to the public, the way the lower legislative chamber made its own known recently.The Executive Director, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, urged the Presidency to release the report if it had nothing to hide.He said, “When they set up all these panels, we said it was like doing the funeral for the issues that led to the controversy. Up till now, we are still raising the question.  They didn’t need to set up the committees. It was a case for anti-corruption agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, or the special fraud unit of the Nigerian Police.“We are demanding that the report be made public. We said it from the beginning that when the panels finish their work, they should make their reports available to whoever wants it. We are still demanding that if the Presidency has nothing to hide, it should not treat the report of the panel with secrecy”.Also the Coordinator of CD, Joe Okei-Odumakin, said civil society groups would reject any attempt to cover up the bulletproof car scam.She said, “We have said any attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet will be met with stiff opposition. We shall resist it with all our might and within the ambit of the law. Time has come for those who are holding onto the report to release it. We must get to the root of this, because we cannot continue to cure the symptoms and allow the cause of the problem.“If an amount of money

was spent in the purchase of bulletproof cars and we said we are interested in due process; they have refused to release the report, it shows that there is no political will on the part of those in government who claim they want to fight corruption. We are demanding the release of that report and those found culpable must not only be shown the way out, they must be made to face the full wrath of the law.”The groups also called on President Jonathan to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives committee that probed the scam.

Source: Radio Biafra.
by: daniel

Mike Rogers, King Blast NYT Benghazi Report: ‘Misleading’.


Image: Mike Rogers, King Blast NYT Benghazi Report: 'Misleading' Rep. Peter King, left, and Rep. Mike Rogers

By Newsmax Wires

Two of the House’s top experts on terrorism blasted a New York Times report that says al-Qaida did not carry out the 2012 attack on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The Times report, published Saturday and based on numerous interviews with Islamists in Benghazi, concludes that there was no evidence that al-Qaida or any other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012.

Instead, the Times reports that the attack was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made anti-Islamic video, as the Obama administration first claimed. The attackers were entirely locally based Islamist malcontents with few if any contacts outside of Libya.

But New York Rep. Peter King, member and former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News that the story’s premise that other anti-American militias led the attack is at best academic.

“It’s misleading,” King said. “It’s a distinction without a difference.” King specifically challenged the notion in the Times piece that the Libya-based terror group Ansar al-Shariah somehow was not part of the al-Qaida Islamist network.

“They are saying that ­al-Shariah is involved, but al-Shariah is a part of the al-Qaida umbrella, the al-Qaida network,” King said, challenging the Times’ conclusion that al-Shariah “had no known ­affiliations with terrorist groups.”

“Al-Shariah is a pro- al-Qaida terrorist organization,” King said, adding that the video had little to do with the attack, which he said was highly organized.

“This was a well-coordinated attack,” he said. “This was not a ragtag group.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told “Fox News Sunday” that the attack was clearly an “al-Qaida-led event.”

Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel has gone through 4,000 classified cables, talked to people on the ground and done a postmortem on the event. He doubts, he said, whether the newspaper conducted such an exhaustive investigation.

“So what did they get wrong?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“That al-Qaida was not involved in this,” Rogers said. “There was some level of pre-planning. We know that. There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al-Qaida and their affiliates in Libya. We know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound even. … That tells me they didn’t talk to people on the ground who where doing the fighting, shooting and the intelligence-gathering.”

Fellow committee member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., agreed with Rogers that intelligence shows that al-Qaida was involved in the attack. But other groups were involved, too, Schiff said.

Schiff called it a “complex picture.” There was some pre-planning, he said, but it was not extensive, and people joined in the attack for multiple reasons, including because of an anti-Muslim video produced by a man in the United States.

Rogers also disputed the contention that al-Shariah was key to the attack. The intelligence shows otherwise, he told Wallace.

“Now, do they have differences of opinion with al-Qaida core? Yes. Do they have affiliations with al-Qaida core? Definitely,” he said.

Rogers said he doesn’t know whether the story was politically motivated to clear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before an expected presidential run in 2016. But he is suspicious of the timing, especially with former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice talking about the subject on “60 Minutes” last week.

“I don’t want to speculate on why they might do it,” Rogers said, adding that what is being presented in The Times and on “60 Minutes” has been shown by committee testimony not to be accurate.

The attack killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

The Times’ conclusion also conflicts with other evidence, including the testimony of Greg Hicks, Stevens’ deputy, Fox reports. 

Hicks described the video as “a non-event in Libya” at that time, and consequently not a significant trigger for the attack. Also, a separate report by a leading social media firm found that the first reference to the anti-Islam film that was initially blamed for sparking the attack was not detected on social media until a day later.

Rep. Darrell Issa also stood by his conclusions that a group affiliated with al-Qaida was involved.

“It was accurate,” Issa said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al-Qaida.”

Issa said that Times reporter David Kirkpatrick did “very good work” but that he has seen no evidence that the video was the attack’s leading cause, a claim made by then-UN ambassador Susan Rice in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The administration should come clean about misstatements about the causes of the attack, even if those claims were made to protect the CIA outpost in Benghazi, Issa said.

“They went out on five stations and told the story that was at best a coverup for the CIA or at worst something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in Benghazi,” Issa said.

Kirkpatrick, who also appeared on the show, said that Republicans like Issa, King and Rogers conflated local Islamic militant groups with international al-Qaida.

“If you’re using the term al-Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al-Qaida,’ then, okay,” he said.

A senior Obama administration official told NBC News on Saturday that the White House does not dispute the New York Times report.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Poll: Americans Say 113th Congress is Worst Ever.


Image: Poll: Americans Say 113th Congress is Worst EverSpeaker of the House John Boehner swears in members of the 113th U.S. House of Representatives during the opening session at the U.S. Capitol on January 3, 2013.

By Lisa Barron

An overwhelming majority of Americans say the 113th Congress is the worst in their lifetime, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday.

While nearly three quarters of the respondents said this has been a “do-nothing” Congress, two thirds of those surveyed said the current Congress is the worst in their lifetime, with 28 percent disagreeing.

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“That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young old — all think this year’s Congress has been the worst they can remember,” Keating Holland, CNN polling director, said.

“Older Americans — who have lived through more congresses — hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes.”

The telephone poll of 1,035 adults nationwide showed that 73 percent say Congress has done nothing to solve the country’s problems, with roughly 25 percent disagreeing.

Indeed, less than 60 bills have been passed and signed into law during the past year, according to CNN, and there is not much optimism that next year will be much better.

Fifty-two percent believe the policies of Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction, and 54 percent think the policies of the Republican leaders would do the same, the survey found. The poll, conducted Dec. 16-19, had a sampling error of plus or minus three percent.

One of the first tests of where Congress is headed in 2014 will be the fight over the debt ceiling, and analysts are somewhat divided about the prospects, reports The Washington Times.

“I don’t think there’s any political reason why they’ll fight over this, at least not to the degree that they have in the past,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said Wednesday on CNN.

But others maintain that could still be gridlock, despite the bipartisan budget dealreached earlier this month.

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“I believe we very quickly began to move away from ‘Kumbaya’ a couple weeks ago,” Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said Tuesday on MSNBC.

“I’m afraid we’re not going to see a lot [of cooperation], but we’ll see some,” he added.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Okonjo-Iweala Suffers Twitter Backlash – PM News, Lagos.


Nigeria‘s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Seun Bisuga

Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, suffered a public attack on social network site, Twitter this afternoon after she responded to harsh remarks made at her. Okonjo-Iweala’s twitter handle, @NOIweala was barraged by users after she allegedly tweeted in response to @OccupyNaija.

@OccupyNaija tweeted at the two-time Finance Minister in response to claims that House of Representative members walked out on her during an interactive session Thursday.

The report that the House of Representative members walked out on Okonjo-Iweala, is a report she claims is false. @OccupyNaija read “I hope you’ll honourably resign from that office you hold than embarrassing your person in the international world.”
Okonjo-Iweala’s response was “Thanks but you should resign from Occupy you nattering nabob of negativism.”

But her response did not go down well with many as she suffered attack after attack on Twitter.

@Akin_Official tweeted that he was disappointed she was a minister. “Really disappointed in u being a minister” and her response to him was “no problem get another one am not only one capable of serving.” Okonjo-Iweala’s responses also raised questions of her temperament. ‏@TempXXL tweeted “Is this anger?” and she promptly responded that it was “no just fairness.”

If Okonjo-Iweala thought her response were in fairness she was in for a surprise as @OccupyNaija who started it tweeted again. “When you get results of your careless utterance on Twitter, I hope 1 day, you’ll get it on the streets where it really matters.”

But there was more from others who felt exasperated by her tweet. @AFOketunji tweeted, “she is just talking anyhow.” while @KrissyPearlie wrote “Wow. #TwitterBrawlAlert All we really want is respectable, transparent & accountable public officers o,” tweeted.

There were claims that Okonjo-Iweala did not post the tweet claiming that perhaps her account was hacked but that claim was quickly punctured. @Solar_unique “What are you now trying to say sir? Her acct was hacked? Her PR guys goofed? @NOIweala” definitely one of d 2.”
Okonjo-Iweala got some respite from Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education who tweeted on her account ‏@obyezeks account. “I would bet any day that SHE did not post that tweet.) @NOIweala @OccupyNaija,” she tweeted.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

US Rep. Tom Latham Won’t Seek Re-election in 2014.


Image: US Rep. Tom Latham Won't Seek Re-election in 2014

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham announced Tuesday he won’t seek re-election in 2014, creating a potentially competitive race for a seat that likely would have favored the 10-term Iowa Republican.

The 65-year-old Republican from Clive will have spent 20 years in Congress and is Iowa’s senior U.S. House member. The decision creates an open seat that includes the Des Moines area in central Iowa and the vast rural tracts of southern and western Iowa.

The news, coming late Tuesday, took Iowa’s GOP senior strategists by surprise.

“It’s a bombshell politically in Iowa because he was so strong,” said Doug Gross, a longtime aide to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and former nominee for governor. “It throws open a congressional seat in a very, very important district I think you’ll have a scrum on both sides. I think you’ll have lots of interest.”

Democrat Staci Appel, a former state senator from Ackworth, had already announced her plans to seek the seat before Latham’s decision.

Latham was heavily courted this year by Iowa Republicans, especially Branstad, and the national GOP to seek Iowa’s open Senate seat in 2014, but he turned that down in February. Five-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced in January that he would retire, and several Republicans have announced their candidacies.

Latham is a member of the Appropriations Committee and chairman of the transportation subcommittee. He’s known for his friendship with House Speaker John Boehner and his love of golf.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Despite Budget Deal, Atmosphere in Washington Remains Toxic.


Image: Despite Budget Deal, Atmosphere in Washington Remains Toxic

Anyone expecting a new era of good feeling to break out on Capitol Hill in the wake of this week’s bipartisan budget deal should probably forget about it.That was the clear message from most lawmakers interviewed on Friday as well as from close observers of Congress, after the deal passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday on its way to the Senate.

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The budget bill, negotiated by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray, is vague and non-specific, avoiding tough, divisive issues. But Congress’ agenda for the next year is full of specifics, including raising the debt ceiling, funding individual government programs, immigration reform and passing a farm bill.

“I think next year is tougher,” said Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns. “It’s an election year. Tens of millions of dollars will be spent trashing people, and it’s hard to forget that.”

The deal was a “one-off,” said Norm Ornstein, a scholar of Congress at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

It may avoid government shutdowns, assuming it passes the Senate next week as expected, he said. But “I don’t see any signs that the fundamentals have changed.”

That was also the message from the floor of the U.S. Senate, where Republicans, some red-faced with rage, kept berating Democrats on Friday for stripping away their right to block President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations using the filibuster, a procedural hurdle.

“The whole atmosphere here is totally poisoned, OK,” said Senator John McCain when asked as he left the floor if the budget deal changed anything.

“There’s no cooperation, there’s no comity. And it is what it is,” notwithstanding the fact that Democrats and Republicans came together to approve the budget bill.

“It can’t get much worse,” he said.

That does not bode well for the issues facing Congress as it enters its second half, with all seats in the Republican-led House and a third of those in the Democratic-led Senate up for election next November.

The political advantage of the budget agreement was its vagueness. It set overall spending levels for two years, a significant break from the recent pattern of short-term funding bills that required extension every few months, always under the threat of a government shutdown like the 16-day closure in October.

But it did not tackle the most volatile issues, such as Democratic demands for tax increases and Republican efforts to control spending on “entitlements,” such as the healthcare program for seniors, Medicare, or Social Security retirement.

While it set as a goal $1.012 trillion in spending, it did not specify how the sum would be divided up among individual programs, each of which has a constituency.

Indeed, once the budget bill is approved by the Senate, as expected next week, a more challenging and potentially acrimonious appropriations process will begin that could set off a scramble among advocates for particular interests.

“We have a heavy lift ahead of us,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, “drafting, negotiating, and passing these bills in just over one month.”

In an interview on PBS, Murray acknowledged that she and Ryan avoided the divisive questions. “You set aside the hot issues,” she noted in describing the formula for success in the negotiations.

In the immigration fight, for example, setting aside the “hot issues” might not be possible, as Democrats, including Obama, insist that any legislation contain a “pathway to citizenship” for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

That presents a problem for many conservative Republicans, who see those people as having broken the law by either entering the United States illegally or overstaying their visas.

Nor did the budget deal address the bill expected in the spring to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. Conservatives, particularly those associated with the Tea Party movement, have regularly opposed the debt ceiling measure, twice bringing the government to the brink of a potential default.

Since Republican House Speaker John Boehner enraged conservatives this week by pushing through the budget deal they equated with surrender, Ornstein believes he may feel a need to mollify them by again demanding big spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

“If you do something” that angers “the radical wing, does that give you more ability and incentive to do it again or does it require you to do something to make it clear that you really love them?” said Ornstein.

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The debt ceiling “will come up,” said Johanns. “We are going to struggle with that issue.”

“The fact that the debt ceiling fight will come right before the Republican primaries means that the fiscal battles haven’t gone away, but instead will likely heat up,” said Ron Bonjean, a former Republican leadership aide in the House.

“Republican members of Congress will want to show how conservative they are to voters back home,” he said. “This deal looks like a peaceful retreat made by both parties in order to rest up for the major battle over the debt ceiling.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

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