Posted tagged ‘Nancy Pelosi’

President Obama Signs Health Care Bill

March 23, 2010

As you may have heard, President Obama signed the expanded health care bill into law this morning. The law expands health insurance coverage for more than 32 million Americans.

I have a feeling that this is going to continue to be a heated debate across the United States for days, weeks and months to come. So…what do you think? Is the health care bill a good thing? A bad thing?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama affixed his curlicue signature, almost letter by letter, to the measure, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and a raft of other lawmakers who spent the past year on a legislative roller-coaster ride trying to pass it. Aides said he would pass out the 20 pens he used as mementoes.

The ceremony included two special guests: Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who had been a driving force for health care legislation before his death last year, and Connie Anderson, the sister of Natoma Canfield, the Ohio cancer survivor whose struggle to pay skyrocketing health insurance premiums became a touchstone of Mr. Obama’s campaign to overhaul the system.

Mr. Kennedy’s son, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, was also there, carrying a gift for the president: a copy of a bill his father introduced in 1970 to provide national health insurance. On it, the younger Mr. Kennedy had written a personal message to Mr. Obama.

From ABC News:

Republicans across the country are specifically challenging the mandate in the health care bill that requires every individual to have health insurance, charging that it is unconstitutional.

The individual mandate is an “unprecedented overreach by the federal government forcing individual citizens to buy a good or a service for no other reason then they happen to be alive or a person,” Republican governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty said today on “Good Morning America.”

Pawlenty said he sent a letter to Minnesota’s Democratic attorney general arguing against the constitutionality of the mandate.

Democrat Rep. John Murtha Dies

February 8, 2010

An aide to the House leadership has confirmed that Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha died today as a result of complications from an operation to his gallbladder last week.

From Fox News:

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, the first veteran of the Vietnam war and one of the most powerful lawmakers in Congress, died Wednesday morning at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA, after complications from gallbladder surgery. Murtha was 77.

A native of New Martinsville, W.Va., voters elected first elected Murtha to Congress in a 1974 special election that spelled impending doom for President Nixon and congressional Republicans. That fall, Democrats wrestled away 49 House seats from the GOP, reeling from the scourge of Watergate and a presidency in shambles.

Murtha rose to become the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee that controls spending for the Pentagon. Chairs of the appropriations subcommittee panels are viewed with such prestige on Capitol Hill that they’re called “cardinals.” That’s a nod to Rome because of the eminence these lawmakers hold over spending for their federal fiefdom.

Murtha was also the endorsed candidate of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to become majority leader when Democrats won control of Congress in 2006. But current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) overwhelmingly defeated Murtha by secret ballot in a hard-fought leadership contest.

Joe Wilson’s War

September 10, 2009

What a night it was last night! President Barack Obama’s address to Congress became more than just a speech about a piece of legislation. During the speech, the President was interrupted by a two word outburst by South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson. Because of this, the focus today has been taken off of health care, and has been put on Wilson.

But what exactly becomes of Joe Wilson’s “You Lie”? Who does it help? Who does it hurt? Should we even care?

From USA Today:

Congress is divided and its members are angry. The president and the Democrats had let the plan be defined by its most controversial parts, some of which were distorted or mischaracterized by opponents. Conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans remain opposed to Obama’s insistence that there be a government-run health insurance option. Liberals are watching how much he’ll fight for the public option and whether Obama will hold firm in his promise to “call out” anyone who distorts his ideas going forward.

From the Associated Press:

Rep. Joe Wilson is known as a mild-mannered congressman fond of making short speeches. His shortest got the most attention. “You lie!” Wilson blurted out during President Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint session Wednesday night, an outburst that made some supporters shudder even as others believed it could give Wilson a political boost in his conservative hometown.

“He’s the only one who has guts in that whole place. He’ll get re-elected in a landslide,” said John Roper, an insurance agent, as he sat among patrons at a diner near Columbia.

Still, Southern sensibilities reign in the district Wilson has represented for the past eight years. Added Roper, “He probably shouldn’t have said it in that context.”

Wilson apologized to the White House soon after the speech and again Thursday, but did not back away from the issue that prompted his outburst. “People who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services,” he said.

His heckle came after Obama said extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.

Dick Cheney Linked to Concealment of Terror Program

July 11, 2009

According to reports today, the CIA withheld information about a secret counter terrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney.

From the New York Times:

The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.

The question of how completely the C.I.A. informed Congress about sensitive programs has been hotly disputed by Democrats and Republicans since May, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the agency of failing to reveal in 2002 that it was waterboarding a terrorism suspect, a claim Mr. Panetta rejected.

The law requires the president to make sure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”

Congress Agrees on Auto Bailout Plan

December 5, 2008

Democratic Congressional leaders said late today that they were ready to provide a short-term rescue plan for the American automakers, and they expect to hold votes on the legislation during a special session next week.

From the New York Times:

Details of the rescue package were not immediately available but senior Congressional aides said that it would include billions of dollars in short-term loans to keep the automakers afloat at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Ending a weeks-long stalemate between the Bush administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senior aides said that the money would likely come from $25 billion in federally subsidized loans intended for developing advanced fuel efficient cars.

Ms. Pelosi had resisted using that money, which was approved as part of an energy bill last year, and Democrats had called repeatedly on the Bush administration or the Federal Reserve to act unilaterally, using existing authority, to aid the auto companies.

On Friday, Ms. Pelosi said that she would allow that money to be used provided “there is a guarantee that those funds will be replenished in a matter of weeks” and that there was no delay in working toward higher fuel-efficiency.

Word of a breakthrough came as Congress wrapped up two days of hearings at which lawmakers grilled the chief executives of the companies, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, and experts warned that GM could collapse by the end of this month.

Ford Motor Company Reports Huge Losses…Will Cut Jobs

November 7, 2008

The Ford Motor Company reported a $3 billion quarterly operating loss this morning and said it would reduce its staff and capital spending in order to preserve its dwindling cash.

From CNN Money:

Ford said it would cut salaried employment costs by 10% – reducing compensation of its white collar workers by eliminating merit pay, bonuses and the company’s matching contributions to their retirement accounts.

But even with those savings, the company said it’s likely to lay off more salaried staffers. It also said hourly staff – mostly factory workers covered by union contracts – would be reduced by an additional 2,600 through a voluntary buyout package.

The company, which earlier this year sold brands such as Jaguar and Land Rover, said it would continue to look to sell assets.

Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally warned that while the company is confident that it is taking the right steps to respond to the downturn, it does not see a quick turnaround in demand for autos in either North America or Europe.

“We believe the downturn in industry volume will be broader, deeper and longer than previously expected,” he said during a conference call. Sales volume isn’t expected to improve until 2010, he said.

Ford’s loss came to $1.31 a share, excluding special items, far worse than the penny a share loss it reported on that basis a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker Thomson Reuters had forecast a loss of 93 cents a share.

The company had a one-time gain of $2.2 billion, related to the accounting of its retiree health care expenses. With that gain, it reported a net loss of $129 million, or 6 cents a share, an improvement from the $380 million, or 19 cents a share, it lost on that basis a year earlier.

60: The Magic Number for Democrats in the US Senate

October 27, 2008

60. It was once the record number of Home Runs hit by Babe Ruth before Roger Maris surpassed his total in 1961. Now, 60 has an entirely different meaning. The Democrats’ chances of getting 60 seats in the Senate next week has lately become a hot talking point for Republican candidates because of what that magic number means. 60 seats would give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority that could mean relatively smooth passage of Democratic legislation and appointments.

From the MSNBC:

The Democrats now have 51 seats, but they seem likely to gain a half dozen seats, and perhaps more, on Election Day.

With Republican-held seats seeming to be in jeopardy, such as that of Sen. Saxby Chambliss here in Georgia, you’re bound to hear the number 60 a lot more in the days remaining until Election Day.

Under the Senate’s rules, any bill or presidential nomination can be debated — and debated and debated, until every senator has had his or her say on the matter.

That is the filibuster.

Some tax changes can be legislated with fewer than 60 votes through a budget process called “reconciliation,” but most of the next president’s initiatives and all of his nominations must get 60 votes to survive.