Chamber chief: Congress’s hard-liners living in ‘fantasyland’

Chamber chief: Congress’s hard-liners living in ‘fantasyland’

Greg Nash

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue on Friday criticized ideologues in both parties for pushing their leaders too far to political extremes.

Donohue said that those on both ends of the political spectrum are living in a policy “fantasyland” and have prevented Congress from moving forward on a wide array of policy initiatives ranging from passing comprehensive tax and immigration reform, to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

“The people on the far right and the far left who are living in a fantasyland when it comes to what we need to do … [to make the] American people thrive,” Donohue said at The Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington.

Continue reading “Chamber chief: Congress’s hard-liners living in ‘fantasyland’”

GOP lawmakers retreat to Hershey in a search for common ground

GOP lawmakers retreat to Hershey in a search for common ground

By Paul Kane January 15 at 12:55 PM

HERSHEY, Pa. – Congressional Republicans are engaged an intensive day of reflection and preparation for their first session with majority control at both ends of the Capitol in eight years.

In a rare joint retreat together at America’s favorite chocolate-infused resort town, House and Senate Republicans are working their way through a series of panel discussions trying to iron out their differences in both politics and policy.

With the 2016 presidential race quickly taking shape, a large contingent of Republicans are pushing a conservative agenda that isn’t too sharply edged, hoping to set the stage for their eventual White House nominee.

But there’s a smaller — but more-vocal — bloc that wants to press the most conservative agenda possible, arguing that by demonstrating their principles Republicans can best position themselves for longer term victories. Continue reading “GOP lawmakers retreat to Hershey in a search for common ground”

Va. congressman pushes for 3.8 percent pay raise

Va. congressman pushes for 3.8 percent pay raise

Tuesday – 1/13/2015, 9:31am EST

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) plans to introduce a bill Tuesday that would give federal employees a 3.8 percent pay raise next year, according to the Washington Post.

The Federal Adjustment of Income Rate (FAIR) Act has about two dozen co-sponsors, including Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

The 114th Congress is not expected to approve the bill, but Connolly said the bill is a statement on his and the co-sponsors’ commitment to the federal service.

“No other group in our country has been demonized, demoralized and asked to sacrifice more than our federal workforce,” Connolly said. “Enough is enough. It is time for Congress to provide the dedicated men and women of our federal workforce with fair compensation.”

He said the legislation also sends a message to President Barack Obama, as the President prepares next year’s budget proposal for Congress.

Connolly has been a long-time supporter of larger pay increases for the federal workforce. Last March, he sponsored a similar bill that would boost federal pay by 3.3 percent in 2015. The bill didn’t pass, and federal employees instead got a 1 percent raise.

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Even small ball too much for Congress

Even small ball too much for Congress

By: Darren Samuelsohn and David Nather
January 22, 2014 05:01 AM EST

From left, clockwise: Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are shown in this composite. | AP Photos

Everybody knows that Congress can’t do anything big any more – but it turns out Capitol Hill is equally hapless about getting the small stuff done as well.

All the dysfunctional partisan gridlock keeping the House and Senate worlds apart on the transcendent issues of the day also means little progress on the no-brainers, like technical corrections and minor fixes to Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Revamping the nation’s energy policies with low-hanging fruit proposals championed by both Democratic and GOP lawmakers are stuck, too.

It’s a broken government with messy consequences. Absent action from Congress, the Obama administration is stuck navigating a maze of murky statutes and crafting regulations ripe for lawsuits. A glance at recent Supreme Court and federal appellate court dockets underscores what happens when inertia rules in the House and Senate.

(PHOTOS: Senators up for election in 2014) Continue reading “Even small ball too much for Congress”

$1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled

$1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled
By: David Rogers
January 13, 2014 08:08 PM EST

The Capitol is pictured. | AP PhotoHouse-Senate negotiators rolled out a $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night — a giant package that fills in the blanks of the December budget agreement and promises to restore some order to government funding over the next year.

Under pressure from Republicans, the measure keeps a tight rein on new funding for Wall Street regulators and effectively freezes appropriations for President Barack Obama’s health care program at the reduced, post-sequester level.

But the White House retains the flexibility to find the financing it needs to implement the health exchanges and appears satisfied to have avoided the most contentious restrictions proposed by conservatives.

(Also on POLITICO: What’s in the $1.1T government spending bill?) Continue reading “$1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled”