Wasserman Schultz, 44, was chosen for her strength as a fundraiser and as a television messenger and for her clout in the crucial swing state of Florida, the sources said.
She will succeed Tim Kaine, who announced earlier Tuesday that he will run for U.S. Senate from Virginia.
The committee announced the choice in an email to members from Vice President Joe Biden.
“In selecting Debbie to lead our party, President Obama noted her tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit and her ability to overcome adversity,” Biden wrote.
“President Obama expressed great admiration for her as a leader, and he was honored that she accepted this important challenge on behalf of the Democratic Party.”
Wasserman Schultz becomes the first female DNC chief in 15 years and the third in history.
The congresswoman is beloved by the Democratic rank and file for her aggressive, outspoken advocacy for liberal points of view. She’s frequently deployed as a surrogate, particularly to groups of women and Jewish voters. Read more…
It appears the Honorable Congresswoman from Florida, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, sees the problem with “redefining rape” solely to prevent abortions, with clarity. She produces a cogent rebuttal to such an act against women…
House Republicans wasted no time in declaring their legislative priorities for the 112th Congress. The first: repeal health care for millions of Americans. The second: redefine rape. A day after repealing health care, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, a bill that would not only permanently prohibit some federally funded health-care programs from covering abortions, but would change the language exempting rape and incest from rape to “forcible rape.”
And yet, 172 Republicans — including sixteen women — and lone Democrat Rep. Daniel Lipinski (IL), chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus — readily support the new standard. Appalled at such a cavalier attack on women’s rights, one House member is not taking the change lightly. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) “fiercely denounced” her conservative colleagues for this “absolutely outrageous” dilution of victims’ rights. Enraged at the suggestion that “there is some kind of rape that would be okay,” Wasserman Schultz told The Raw Story that she considers the bill itself to be “a violent act against women”:
“It is absolutely outrageous,” Wasserman Schultz said in an exclusive interview late Monday afternoon. “I consider the proposal of this bill a violent act against women.”[…]
“It really is — to suggest that there is some kind of rape that would be okay to force a woman to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and abandon the principle that has been long held, an exception that has been settled for 30 years, is to me a violent act against women in and of itself,” Wasserman Schultz said.
“Rape is when a woman is forced to have sex against her will, and that is whether she is conscious, unconscious, mentally stable, not mentally stable,” the four-term congresswoman added.[…]
Wasserman Schultz dismissed the effort as a nonstarter in the Democratic-led Senate and a guaranteed veto by President Barack Obama, but conceded that it may pass the GOP-controlled House. She called it “yet another example” of how the “extreme right-wing fringe of Republican Party has complete control over their agenda.”
Congressional Democrats expressed a rare touch of nonchalance Wednesday as House Republicans voted to repeal last year’s health care overhaul, since the repeal has little chance of passing the Senate. Behind the scenes, however, fears are mounting over what appears to be a more serious threat.
Democratic lawmakers tell The Huffington Post that they increasingly expect Republicans to try and freeze funding for the health care law. Such an attempt would face the same institutional hurdles as a straight repeal vote: a non-compliant Senate and a president wielding a veto pen. But whereas the repeal bill’s death would mean — in practical political terms — absolutely nothing, the inability to pass an appropriations bill could have far-reaching effects.
“They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday. “Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling … If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave … they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year.”
“I am real concerned,” Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said. “We do operate on yearly budgets that could exact great harm if they are dedicated to that proposition. You still have to work with the Senate. So what happens when you reach that kind of impasse? We have this gridlock … There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican leadership … has already charted a course. They are very disciplined and very good at what they do.”
“This is only the beginning,” Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said. “I’m also fearful that they are going to try and eviscerate the legislation by denying it funding [and] by harassing the administration.”
“I’m very concerned,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. “There are a lot of things that need funding in order to be implemented … Here is the point: these guys are serious. Give them credit. They said what they were going to do with repeal and now they are doing it … There is no ambiguity here and anyone who doesn’t see [defunding] as a deadly serious effort on the part of GOP leadership is naive.”
Republican aides were coy when asked for a response to such concerns. To this point, much of the party’s emphasis has been placed on the just-completed repeal vote — which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to duplicate in the upper chamber — and on proposed hearings that would examine aspects of the health care law. More…
NASA’s selection Thursday of a backup commander for astronaut Mark Kelly served as a reminder that the shooting in Tucson affected another community nearly as much as Capitol Hill — the one affiliated with America’s manned space programs.
For critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Kelly had become the first couple of space exploration, a unique, high-profile team that took to the national stage as some of the most critical decisions in the history of U.S. human spaceflight were on the agenda.
The partnership between the lawmaker and the space shuttle commander, who had been scheduled to lead a flight in April, added a glamorous sheen to a venture whose luster had dimmed. But more important, the relationship between the two had significant political and policy implications as the nation undertook its first major debate over manned spaceflight since the end of the Apollo program that sent Americans to the moon.
The marriage between Giffords, a rising political star, and Kelly, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and a decorated Navy combat pilot, took place just months after she was first sworn in as a House member in 2007, and it marked Giffords as the only lawmaker ever to watch a spouse launched into space.
“It gave her an insider’s view of the space program and gave her an opportunity to really know a different side of the space program than any of us ever had an opportunity to know,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a close friend of Giffords and Kelly, told POLITICO on Tuesday.
Luckily regular Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer was vacationing because the mild-mannered Schieffer might not have been able to keep this wild bunch of elected representatives under control. Substitute host Harry Smith handled the debate well though, as Representatives Michele Bachmann, Anthony Weiner , Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mike Kelly unleashed a fury of verbal blows on one another.
Discussion of the nation’s debt ceiling was a frequent topic on the Sunday shows, to which Kelly called raising it “absolutely irresponsible” and Bachmann declared “at this point I am not in favor of raising the debt ceiling.” During the lively debate, each participant fired off a few humorous shots, here are some of the best one-liners from each:
Weiner: “Apparently my Republican friends believe the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – somehow the bill fairy pays for that.”
Kelly [to Weiner]: “You’re very amusing. You have never, in your life, you have never done anything on your own with your own skin in the game.”
Wasserman-Schultz: “It’s time to go beyond rhetoric. Going beyond campaign slogans which is all I’ve heard today from Mr. Kelly and is all Ms. Bachmann really ever engages in.”
Bachmann: “Real world is where America lives, it’s not the bubble in Washington, D.C. where they engage in fantasy economics.”
In the end though they shook hands, laughed and wished each other a happy new year, one sure to be filled with many more heated arguments like this.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sought on Sunday to quickly and clearly distance the Republican Party from a GOP candidate whose past participation in Nazi re-enactments surfaced this weekend.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Cantor (the lone Jewish Republican in the House) said he “would absolutely repudiate” Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Ohio’s 9th District who apparently had an affinity for donning a German Waffen SS uniform.
“What we have got now is a new crop of young leaders energized to go to Washington for the right reasons,” said Cantor. “Now Debbie [Wasserman Schultz, Cantor’s co-panelist] went and launched into her attacks as to some of the reports about candidates that are running, particular the one in Ohio having to do with Nazi re-enactment. She knows that I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual who would do something like that.”
At this point Wasserman Schultz urged Cantor to actually articulate his repudiation. “I’m doing it right here,” he replied. “I’m doing it right here Debbie. You know good well that I don’t support anything like that.”
Iott’s past involvement in Nazi re-enactments, first reported by The Atlantic, may well constitute the largest discomfiture for the Republican Party in a cycle in which a number of candidates have done or said discomforting things. The Ohio Republican has defended himself by insisting his participation in the events was done for “purely historical interest in World War II.” But the defense has done little to assuage GOP leadership. Once listed on the Republican Party’s site of “Contenders” (a ranking/prioritization of candidates that was just below the “Young Guns”), Iott’s name was removed altogether once the photos of him surfaced.
The Democrat in the race, incumbent Marcy Kaptur, already seemed likely to hold the seat. Iott’s quick sink seems likely to seal the deal.