December 9th, 2010
10:21 AM ET
December 8th, 2010
05:03 PM ET

'Prince of pork' wins top seat on House Appropriations Cmte.

James R. Carroll

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers — known for his ability to secure funding for projects in his Eastern Kentucky district — was selected Tuesday as the new chairman of House Appropriations, the most powerful committee in Congress.

The 5th District Republican was chosen by the GOP steering committee in a secret vote late Tuesday afternoon. The decision is expected to be ratified Wednesday by the rest of the House Republicans.

Rogers beat out fellow committee veteran and former chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and relative newcomer Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

“I am humbled and thrilled with the steering committee's decision, and look forward to the honor and responsibility of leading the Appropriations Committee next year if the full GOP conference approves the recommendation tomorrow,” Rogers said in a statement.

“There is no doubt that we have a tough and demanding chore ahead of us. The nation is in a fiscal crisis, and hard decisions are coming.”

Republicans took control of the House in the November election, giving it the power to name the chamber's leaders, including committee chairmen.

Rogers will preside over the writing of all the federal spending bills — and over the House GOP leadership's plans next year to whack away at President Barack Obama's next budget and stem the flow of dollars out of Washington.

In the lead-up to the selection, some conservatives argued that neither Rogers nor Lewis was qualified to be the chairman because of their past history as vigorous users of earmarks, special requests for spending on state and local projects.

Critics dubbed Rogers “the Prince of Pork” and called his earmark-benefitted district, where everything from highway construction to homeland security contracts had the Kentuckian's help over the years, “Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.”

Rogers secured 137 earmarks worth $251.9 million between 2008 and 2010, according to LegisStorm, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog group. That ranked him 99th among Senate and House members with earmarks.


Filed under: Earmarks • Raw Politics • Republicans
December 7th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

White House seeks Democrats' backing for tax deal

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/07/art.getty_obamataxcuts.jpg]CNN Wire Staff

The White House was fighting Tuesday to persuade Democrats to support a compromise on taxes that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders have reached.

The overall compromise will cost between $600 and $800 billion over two years, according to CNN estimates.

At the heart of the deal: an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, which would keep income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans have advocated. Obama and other Democrats had argued that tax rates should stay the same for most people but rise for people earning more than $200,000 a year and families making $250,000 or more a year.

The deal Obama and Republicans have struck also includes a one-year cut in payroll taxes, from 6.2% to 4.2% on a worker's first $106,800 of wages. If implemented, it would mean that someone earning $50,000 a year would pay $1,000 less in Social Security contributions next year. Someone earning $100,000 would pay $2,000 less. The payroll tax rate would go back up to 6.2% in 2012.

Agreeing to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans represented a major concession for Obama. In a concession to Democrats, Republican negotiators agreed to leave in place for 13 months the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits. That will not, however, affect how long someone can collect unemployment benefits - the maximum will remain 99 weeks in states hardest hit by job loss.

"It's not perfect," Obama said in revealing the compromise, but "we cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

Several Democrats have said they have reservations about the deal. One reason: It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Republicans • Taxes
December 7th, 2010
12:19 PM ET

Senate Democrats openly upset with tax cut deal

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://cnnpoliticalticker.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/t1larg-uscapitol-1207.jpg?w=640 width=300 height=169]Dana Bash and Ted Barrett

Senate Democrats are openly expressing their disappointment, and in some cases outrage, with the President Obama's tax cut deal.

And what is most striking walking the hallways and talking to senators is that the palpable frustration is coming not just from liberal Democrats, but moderates as well.

To be sure – despite their dismay – most Senate Democrats are saying they haven't yet decided how they will vote, because they are waiting for more details.

Still, Democrats are telling us they're not only unhappy with the president for breaking a promise that he and others made not to extend Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans, they're also expressing concern about the overall cost of the plan and its impact on the deficit.

"I still seem puzzled at the president's enthusiasm, and the Republicans, giving an income tax break for people making over $1 million. We're borrowing $46 billion to do so," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, a moderate Democrat.

Landrieu also chastised the president for dealing with Republicans without adequately consulting his fellow Democrats, and said she's worried this is the way the next two years will be.

"He's enthusiastic about this new arrangement dealing with the Republican caucus that stated, according to their leader, their number one objective is to unseat him. I can understand trying to appeal to independent voters. I do that myself. I think it's very important. But this sort of enthusiasm for caucusing with Republicans – and he didn't even, literally, didn't even speak to the Democratic caucus. Not any of it. Not the liberal group, not the moderate group, not the conservative group," said Landrieu.

New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg, a liberal, accused the president of "capitulation under pressure."

"I think capitulation under pressure is something that has, in my view, the wrong message and will have the wrong outcome," said Lautenberg.


Filed under: Dana Bash • Democrats • Raw Politics • Republicans • Ted Barrett
November 6th, 2010
09:15 AM ET
September 13th, 2010
10:43 PM ET

Political Theater: DNC vs. John Boehner

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

If you had any doubts about who would get the honor of being Republican Bad Boy for the Democrats this fall, set your mind at ease: Minority Leader John Boehner has the job.

President Obama is teeing off on him like a new Titleist. Dems on the Hill, fearful of the fall of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should the Republicans take a majority, are rallying around the attack flag. And the Democratic National Committee is launching a commercial this week that suggests he could be the bane of millions of jobless Americans.

Cue the music and the dramatic announcer. "Think republicans have no plan for the economy?” this commercial says, “It's not true. John Boehner opposes funding for government jobs; jobs for teachers, for cops, for firefighters. Boehner has a different plan; Tax cuts for businesses, those that shift jobs and profits overseas, saving multinational corporations ten billion. So to China and India and Mexico, Boehner has a message: You’re welcome.”

For many Democrats, this is enough red meat to make a gown for Lady Gaga. For many Republicans, it is another effort to push the spotlight away from the Democrats’ economic policies at a difficult time. So who is right?

Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Republicans • Tom Foreman
August 31st, 2010
02:22 PM ET

GOP claims Iraqi success despite Obama

Dana Bash
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent

Programming note: Watch President Obama's speech live on CNN tonight at 8 ET, online, on TV and on the CNN App for the iPhone.

Washington (CNN)
- In twin speeches laced with heavy doses of "I-told-you-so," Republicans leaders in the House and Senate tried to convince voters Tuesday that America's success in Iraq is not because of President Barack Obama, but in spite of him.

"Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, in prepared remarks before the American Legion convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"One lawmaker rejected the idea that the surge would reduce violence in Iraq, saying - and again I'm quoting - 'in fact, I think it will do the reverse.'"

The lawmaker Boehner is referring to is then-Sen. Barack Obama. Boehner aides said he was reluctant to criticize the commander-in-chief by name in front of a room of veterans, but insisted it would be clear who he was talking about.

Full story

Filed under: Dana Bash • Iraq • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Republicans
August 25th, 2010
06:16 PM ET

Rollins: Political earthquake shakes GOP

Ed Rollins
CNN Senior Political Contributor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/08/25/rollins.political.earthquake/tzleft.ed.rollins.erollins.jpg caption="Political experts are getting blindsided by the frenetic politics of 2010, Rollins says." width=300 height=169]

Editor's note: Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, is senior presidential fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. He is a principal with the Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations firm. He was White House political director for President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

New York (CNN) - Republican primary voters yesterday sent shock waves of earthquake proportions from Florida to Alaska.

The upset victory in Florida's gubernatorial primary of the Tea Party- "embraced" multimillionaire businessman Rick Scott over the establishment-endorsed Attorney General Bill McCollum continues the string of outsider candidates knocking the daylights out of the Republican establishment.


Filed under: Ed Rollins • Opinion • Raw Politics • Republicans
August 24th, 2010
12:02 PM ET

10 things Republicans must do in 10 weeks

Ed Hornick

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/08/23/republicans.midterms/t1larg.republicans.gi.jpg caption="Republicans must focus on creating jobs and improving the economy, strategist says" width=300 height=169]

Washington (CNN) - With the midterm elections just 10 weeks away, analysts expect big wins for Republicans.

But strategists and analysts say there are some key things the GOP must do to win over the American people and have a chance of taking back control of Congress.

1. Focus on jobs, jobs, jobs

Full story

Filed under: Raw Politics • Republicans
May 27th, 2010
01:28 PM ET

What would it take to become a three-party nation?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

American politics hasn't always been dominated by the Democratic and Republican parties.

The Democratic Party didn't arrive on the scene until 1828 and it took until 1854 for the early "modern" Republican party to enter the game.

Strangely enough, from 1792 to 1824, there was actually a "Democratic-Republican Party". That would almost be like having Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner on the same side. It boggles the mind.

Founding father John Adams famously described political parties as "the greatest political evil." Adams was a wise man.

Although Democrats and Republicans have been around for a long time, we've also had other major parties - including Federalists, Whigs, and even Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose party.

And now we have the Tea Party and/or the Conservative Party.

What are the chances that the Tea Partiers or Conservatives will form a viable third party? And if they did, where would they get their strength from? And who would they hurt?


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Gewirtz • Democrats • Republicans
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