July 27, 2013

Republicans preview Stop Government Abuse week

Next week, say House of Representatives Republicans, is Stop Government Abuse week, featuring a series of bills aimed at cutting waste and unnecessary regulations.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., previewed the week in the Republicans' weekly Saturday address. While the legislation is expected to win approval, most is unlikely to go far in the Democratic- run Senate.

Here's some of Cantor's preview:

"We will cut government waste by passing legislation that prevents Washington bureaucrats from recklessly spending your tax dollars. We will ensure senior government officials accused of serious offenses and unethical conduct won’t be paid while under investigation; we will put an end to lavish conferences and employee retreats by requiring online disclosures and prior approval by senior officials; and we will stop the excessive granting of hefty bonuses to government employees.

"Squandering other people’s money is one of the easiest ways to lose their trust.

Continue reading "Republicans preview Stop Government Abuse week" »

July 10, 2013

House GOP leaders: Republicans will pursue immigration overhaul step by step

House of Representatives Republicans met for two and a half hours Wednesday to discuss immigration, and afterwards, participants described the mood as polite, though no agreements were reached.

Here's a post-meeting statement from House Republican leaders, led by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

"Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system.

"The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy. But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. "

The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate."

February 05, 2013

Cantor calls for more compassion, cooperation

Ihouse Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday tried to paint his Republican party as compassionate and willing to let the federal government take a bigger role in improving constituents' lives.

In what was billed as a major speech, the Virginia Republican told the conservative American Enterprise Institute the government has a role in education, health care and child care.

The speech was seen as an effort to soften the image of the House Republican party, an image battered in recent years because of its insistence on slashing domestic programs. Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, is seen as having a strong following among hardcore conservatives.

"I’m pleased that many of my colleagues in both chambers of Congress on both sides of the aisle have begun work in good faith to address these issues," Cantor said.

He also praised colleagues for starting to deliberate on overhauling the nation's immigration system.

"It’s the right thing to do for our families, for our security, and for our economy," he said. "There are some who would rather avoid fixing the problem in order to save this as a political issue. I reject this notion and call on the President to help lead us towards a bipartisan solution rather than encourage the common political divisions of the past."

He got some encouraging reaction. "If House Republicans can adapt their agenda to match Leader CAntor's word, this Congress could surprise people with productive it can be," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

On health care, Cantor proposed modernizing Medicare to make it less complex and efficient.

"We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services. We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans," he said. "Seniors who choose to receive their health care treatment through a group of doctors and hospitals working together to control costs, should share in the savings through lower Medicare premiums and out of pocket costs. This is both cost effective and good for seniors."

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February 04, 2013

Cantor expected to discuss federal role in health care, education, other areas

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., plans a major speech to a conservative group Tuesday that will outline his views on how government should work, views that will try to portray a more compassionate side of conservatism..

Cantor is expected to discuss a federal role in education, health care and other areas, in an afternoon speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington..

"Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government. Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams," he is expected to say. Excerpts were released Monday.

"Government policy should aim to strike a balance between what is needed to advance the next generation, what we can afford, what is a federal responsibility and what is necessary to ensure our children are safe, healthy and able to reach their dreams," according to the prepared remarks.

"One of our priorities this year will be to move heaven and earth to fix our education system for the most vulnerable. ...Explaining that rising health care costs are depressing take-home pay is little consolation to a working mom. Her grocery bills are higher, her kids' school needs are more expensive, rent is up – and now, she's just trying to get by. And getting by is not the American Dream."

January 03, 2013

Obama calls leaders on first day of new Congress

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. called President Obama Thursday as is traditional on the first day of a new Congress.

Cantor and Pelosi informed Obama, vacationing until Saturday in Hawaii, that the House has a quorum and that a speaker and clerk have been elected and that the 113th Congress is ready to receive his communications.

"The president thanked the two leaders, congratulated them and extended well wishes to all members of the new Congress,'' according to a senior administration official.

December 12, 2012

Republicans tell rank and file: You might be in DC till New Year's

Be ready to stay in Washington through the end of the year, Republican leaders warned members of Congress Wednesday.

"The president seems to be walking us ever so slowly towards the cliff," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters after meeting with other Republicans.

"We've said we're committed to staying here. We're going to stay here right up to Christmas Eve," he said, "throughout the time and period before the New Year, because we want to make sure that we resolve this in an acceptable way for the American people."

His comments came as both parties reported little progress in talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner discussed his Tuesday call with Obama, saying the president is calling for $1.4 trillion in revenue.

"That cannot pass the House and Senate," Boehner said.

He would provide no other details. "Listen," he said, "there were offers exchanged back and forth yesterday, and you know the president and I had a pretty frank conversation about just how far apart we are."


December 05, 2012

Republicans complain Obama isn't responding to them

Republicans Wednesday wondered aloud: Where's President Barack Obama on fiscal cliff negotiations?

"You know, this week, we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis and that offer included significant spending cuts and reforms," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Monday, House of Representatives Republicans offered a $2.2 trillion spending and tax package.

"Now we need a response from the White House. We can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves," he told reporters. "Our targets and frameworks are things we can all agree on."

If Obama disagrees with the approach--as the White House has said it does--"I think he's got an obligation to send one to the Congress and a plan that can pass both chambers of Congress," Boehner said.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., echoed that thought. "We have not had any discussion and any specifics with this president about the real problem, which is spending," he said.

December 03, 2012

House GOP letter describes new offer to White House

The House Republican offer to avert the fiscal cliff is described in a three page letter signed Monday by key GOP leaders.

The letter calls the plan, which would raise $800 billion in new revenue and projects $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction, is based on testimony from Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of the bipartisan commission that in 2010 recommended trillions in savings.

That testimony, the letter said, describes "exactly the kind of imperfect but fair middle ground that allows us to avert the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy and destroying jobs," the leaders say.

 The entire letter as a PDF.

September 04, 2012

GOP enraged over Democratic platform stance on Israel

         Republican leaders were outraged Tuesday at changes in the Democratic platform on Israel. Unlike the 2008 platform, which said the city is and will remain the capital, this year's version does not discuss Jerusalem's status.

          Jewish voters traditionally vote heavily for Democratic presidential candidates, but Republicans have been pushing hard for their support. Obama got about 74 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and polls suggest support is just as strong this year.

       But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., charged Tuesday that Democrats were steadily distancing themselves from Israel.

          Former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., added that, “By failing to mention Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital, by no longer insisting that Palestinian refugees be settled inside a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel, and by failing to condemn Hamas—all new positions from four years ago—the Democratic Party is signaling a radical shift in its orientation, away from Israel.”

          Democrats insisted the platform, adopted at the convention Tuesday, strongly supported Israel. The United States has maintained that Jerusalem’s status as Israel's capital is a matter of negotiation.

          They strongly rejected any notion the White House has wavered in its support of Israel. "Over the past four years, the president has proven this commitment time and again in both word and
deed," former Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., told the convention.

          “President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel's security,” the platform said. “A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply
because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values.”

          It urges peace between Israel and the Palestinians, “producing two states for two
peoples,” saying that “would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel's security concerns are met.”

            The platform also insists Obama will “insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.”

August 01, 2012

Back from Israel, Romney announces new group of Jewish supporters

The day after returning home from a trip that included a visit to Israel, Mitt Romney Wednesday announced the formation of the Jewish Americans for Romney coalition.

Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, met with Israeli officials in Jerusalem, raised more than $1 million from prominent donors and caused a stir among Palestinian officials when he suggested the Israeli culture helped lead to its economic progress.

The Jewish community historically votes overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidates, and polls suggest it will do so again this year.

But Romney will try to win that support.

"Having just visited Israel at a critical juncture in the history of the Middle East, I am persuaded that now, more than ever, America needs to stand with Israel. I will extend the hand of friendship because our partnership is not merely a strategic alliance but a force for good in the world," he said in a statement.

Listed as honorary chairmen are House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman, former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and Florida U.S. House of Representatives candidate Adam Hasner.


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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