June 05, 2013

Sen. Lautenberg will lie in repose in Senate chamber Thursday

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who died Monday at age 89, will lie in repose in the U.S. Senate chamber Thursday afternoon.

Lautenberg's casket is due to arrive at the Capitol. A color guard ceremony is scheduled on the East Front steps, starting at 1:30 p.m.

The casket will then be taken inside the Capitol, where Lautenberg will lie in repose on the Lincoln catafalque in the Senate chamber during the afternoon.

Lautenberg was the Senate's oldest member and the last of its World War II veterans. He was eulogized Wednesday at a New York City synagogue. He was remembered as champion of transportation and environmental causes. Vice President Joe Biden, who served with Lautenberg in the Senate, was among the speakers.


May 04, 2013

NC Gov. McCrory, in GOP weekly address, urges DC to look to states

Learn from governors, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory urged Washington lawmakers Saturday.

McCrory delivered the Republicans' weekly address. “Like you, when I look to Washington, I see entrenched gridlock and an immediate need for executive leadership. Fortunately, Washington bears no resemblance to states where strong Republican governors are using their leadership skills to improve the daily lives of their citizens," he said.

McCrory gave a number of examples. In North Carolina, he said, "We’re concentrating on reforms in three fundamental areas: the economy, education and efficiency."

He described how "We launched the ‘Partnership for Prosperity,’ an initiative which will provide a central point of contact for business. The private sector’s ground-floor involvement is critical to this new venture. Their expertise will allow us to cut red tape and respond quickly and effectively to the needs of job creators so more North Carolinians can get back on the payroll.

“But," he said, "getting businesses to open and expand is only half the job. That’s where education comes in. Employers right now need job-ready workers who have the technical and critical thinking skills that are mandatory in today’s workplace. Too often, employers tell me they can’t find qualified applicants. To close what I call, the skills gap, my budget prioritizes engineering, vocational and technical training—areas where there is immediate demand for qualified workers."

To see the address: http://www.youtube.com/gopweeklyaddress

Continue reading "NC Gov. McCrory, in GOP weekly address, urges DC to look to states" »

April 29, 2013

Top Commerce committee senators react politely to Foxx

Not many clues from top senators Monday as they reacted to the nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and transportation secretary.

The Senate Commerce Committee will review the nomination. Here's the statement of Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.:

"Our country faces daunting transportation challenges. We must make critical investments in our transportation network to remain economically competitive in the 21st Century. Mayor Anthony Foxx has established himself as a strong transportation advocate and shown the ability to move transportation infrastructure projects in Charlotte.

"He can be a driving force in the federal effort to take advantage of transportation opportunities. I look forward to meeting Mayor Foxx and discussing his vision for the Department and our transportation needs. I will move his nomination in the Commerce Committee as soon as possible."

And here's the statement from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., top Republican on the Commerce Committee:

"I want to thank Secretary LaHood for his years of service at both the Department of Transportation and before that in Congress. He is a dedicated public servant and I wish Ray and Kathy the best.

"I look forward to reviewing Mayor Foxx's record and working with Chairman Rockefeller to ensure the confirmation process is fair and thorough. Without question, our nation faces a number of transportation challenges that will require strong leadership and effective communication with Congress to keep our nation moving."

Public blames Obama administration, Congressional GOP equally for air traffic chaos

The public blames the Obama administration and congressional Republicans equally for the air traffic mess last week, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

The survey, taken April 25-28, found 34 percent thought the GOP was more to blame, while 32 percent blamed the White House. Ten percent blamed both.

Independents were split 31-31 percent on GOP-Obama blame.

Announced furloughs were said to be the reason for air traffic delays. Congress last week approved legislation giving the Federal Aviation Administration more flexibility, easing the trouble.

To read more: http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/29/political-blame-for-flight-delays-spread-evenly

April 27, 2013

In weekly address, GOP blasts Obama for flight delays

Republicans Saturday used their weekly address to blast the Obama administration for its handling of the air traffic system this week.

"Many Americans had their flights delayed or cancelled because of the way in which the Obama administration chose to implement the president’s automatic sequestration cuts," said House Transrportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

"Travelers were fed up, and rightly so.  Sequestration is bad policy – the wrong way to reduce the deficit.  That’s why House Republicans have voted twice to replace these automatic cuts with smarter ones."

Republicans as well as Democrats voted for the automatic spending cuts.

Nevertheless, Shuster continued, "After a public outcry and pressure from Congress, the Obama administration agreed to a legislative solution to address these flight delays."

To read more:

Continue reading "In weekly address, GOP blasts Obama for flight delays" »

April 26, 2013

Obama will sign bill to fix airport delays

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama would sign a bill Congress passed Friday to ease airport delays around the nation triggered by furloughs of air traffic controllers.

"It would be good news for America's traveling public if Congress spares them the unnecessary delays that we've seen that have resulted directly," he told reporters. 

But Carney called the effort a "Band-aid" and  that Congress needs to stop the rest of the budget cuts.

"We call on Congress to show as much concern for others who are being harmed by -- other Americans, hard-working, middle-class families who are being hurt by this; hard- working communities that depend on defense industries and should not have been dealt this blow of arbitrary cuts that cause furloughs and layoffs and job terminations because Congress decided, the Republicans decided and they said it publicly: "You know what? Everything we said about how terrible the sequester's going to be, never mind. It's a victory. It's a tea party victory."

February 27, 2013

McConnell slams Democrats on sequester

Senate Republican Leader will meet with President Barack Obama Friday, but Wednesday, he was his usual fiery self, giving a Senate floor speech that blasted away.

“For months now, I’ve been coming to the floor to urge my colleagues on the other side to help us replace the President’s sequester proposal," the Kentucky Republican said. “Yet here we are, with just two days to go until the cuts hit, and the Democrats who control Washington still haven’t put forward a serious bipartisan plan; not the President and not his allies in Congress.

"They’ve preferred to keep it alive as a political issue instead," he said.  “Now, less than 48 hours before the clock runs out, all they’ve offered is a gimmicky tax hike that’s designed to fail. I hope they’re not expecting a round of applause for this particular act of political bravery."

“Is it any wonder the American people are so fed up with Washington? McConnell asked. “Look: the American people didn’t send us here to play games. They sent us here to solve problems. That means getting spending under control and putting the economy back on track. They’re tired of the gimmicks."

To read the rest of his speech:

Continue reading "McConnell slams Democrats on sequester" »

February 15, 2013

California Rep. Matsui calls for investigation of Carnival Triumph incident

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento called on her colleagues in Congress Friday to investigate an engine fire on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship, which left 4,000 passengers and crew members stranded at sea in squalid conditions for four days.

The crippled ship was towed into the port of Mobile, Ala., late Thursday, and weary passengers were taken to hotels in New Orleans.

In a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Matsui cited safety concerns for the passengers, who lacked access to food and working toilets after the ship lost power and some rooms flooded.

"The cruise industry forcefully defends itself as being a provider of safe, luxurious vacations. Yet the experience on board the Triumph was anything but," Matsui wrote. "We owe it to the people who lived through this nightmare a swift and thorough investigation into what went wrong and why."

Matsui, a Democrat, co-sponsored the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act in 2010, a law that Congress passed with bipartisan support and President Barack Obama signed.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said in a statement that the panel would make sure the law was being implemented.

"Safety of the traveling public is a top priority," Shuster said. "Currently, the Coast Guard, in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board, is conducting an inquiry and the Committee is receiving regular updates from the parties involved."

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/02/matsui-calls-for-house-investigation-of-carnival-triumph-incident.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#mi_rss=Capitol%20Alert#storylink=cpy

November 27, 2012

House Republicans recommend committee chairs

    House of Representatives Republicans will formally pick committee chairmen Wednesday for the 113th Congress, which starts in January.
    Here are the recommendations from the House Republican Steering Committee:

Agriculture – Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)

Appropriations – Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)

Armed Services – Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)

Budget – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Education and the Workforce – Rep. John Kline (R-MN)

Energy and Commerce – Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Financial Services – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

Foreign Affairs – Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)

Homeland Security – Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX)

Intelligence – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Judiciary – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Natural Resources – Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)

Oversight and Government Reform – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)

Rules – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

Science, Space, and Technology – Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Small Business – Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)

Transportation and Infrastructure – Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)

Veterans’ Affairs – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)

Ways and Means – Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

August 21, 2012

Americans' confidence in economy remains low on eve of conventions

On the eve of the national political conventions, Americans' confidence in the economy remains dismal--not a good sign for incumbents.

A new Gallup survey found 43 percent of Americans rated the economy as poor, compared to 13 percent who saw it as good. Earlier in the year, confidence was higher.

"Whatever happens going forward, the continuing negative views of the economy Gallup has measured over this summer so far show no signs of any upward shift in Americans' economic optimism," a poll analysis said.

It saw higher gasoline prices as perhaps responsible for the latest results, and suggested prices could fall at the end of summer.  "On the other hand, the stock market has been generally moving up since June, yet that hasn't seemed to improve Americans' perceptions -- meaning other issues are influencing their views of the economy, including the jobs situation," Gallup said.

To read the complete report: http://www.gallup.com/poll/156809/economic-confidence-stable-low-level.aspx


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

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