Embattled New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner will resign from the House on Thursday, according to a Democratic aide briefed on his plans.
Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) on Wednesday night — as the two attended the White House picnic — to inform them of his plans, the source said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) told reporters Thursday morning that “it’s an unfortunate situation and I’ve said I didn’t condone his actions and I had said a while ago that I think he should step down.”
His resignation ends a weeks-long scandal over inappropriate online liasions with as many as six women.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will be charged with calling a special election to fill the vacancy caused by Weiner’s resignation.
So, what sort of power does a group like the Tea Party have over members of the House and Senate? Could it be Corporate and special interests who are looking for members of both houses in Congress to tow the free market line?
FreedomWorks Gives Freshman Republicans Tips For Dealing With Medicare At Town Halls
The conservative group FreedomWorks has a message for freshman Republicans in Congress: Do not shy away from the Medicare fight.
On May 24, the group run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey convened one of its regular off-the-record meetings with “communicators from limited-government conservative offices in the House and Senate who have a close relationship with the grassroots,” according to an email from FreedomWorks’ Media Coordinator Jackie Bodnar obtained by The Huffington Post. The email was intended for attendees of the breakfast meeting.
The main topics of discussion, according to notes attached to the email that recapped the meeting, were the debt ceiling and Medicare. The special guest that day was Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who argued, according to the recap, that the “debt ceiling has become a key bargaining chip that can be used to get the BBA [balanced budget amendment] passed.”
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, focused on Medicare and gave the congressional offices tips for dealing with the hot topic in their districts (emphasis added):
Get out there and talk to people. Hold town halls at senior centers and other areas where the population is especially concerned about their benefits being cut. Take the lessons of ’94 and ’95 and get out there and explain to people that their immediate benefits will not be affected. Explaining the plan will offset confusion and the Democrats’ negative messaging.
We need to dispel the myth that if we leave Medicare alone it will stay the same. It won’t. By reforming them we are saving and strengthening these programs for the current and future generations.
Don’t bury your head in the sand. Republicans must not shy away from this issue. Expect Democrats to attack, but not fighting back will only makes it worse. BOLD action is needed.
Communicate that Democrats do not have a plan of their own. Hold up a blank piece of paper as a powerful image of their do-nothing approach.
One day after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) stirred controversy by withholding funds for tornado relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took the extraordinary step of declaring Rep. Cantor a disaster area.
Within hours of the declaration, FEMA officials were dispatched to assess the damage to Mr. Cantor’s status as a human being capable of empathy.
“I’ve seen a lot of hurricanes and tornados, but this is something new,” said FEMA spokesman Tracy Klugian. “Rep. Cantor appears to have been caught up in a moral vacuum.”
While concerned FEMA officials looked on, the morally ravaged House Majority Leader took to the floor of the House to make the case for denying funds to repair himself.
The FEMA spokesman said that the agency was currently trying to estimate the cost of rebuilding Mr. Cantor’s soul.
“Quite frankly, I’ve never seen devastation like this,” Mr. Klugian said. “It’s like there’s nothing there.”
On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term. But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama “excoriated us” for a proposal to privatize Medicare.
That search should start, Cantor said, with a list of GOP proposals that would save $715 billion over the next decade by ending payments to wealthy farmers, limiting lawsuits against doctors, and expanding government auctions of broadcast spectrum to telecommunications companies, among other items.
With just nine days to reach a crucial budget deal, the number two Republican in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, shocked the world by admitting that he has no idea how to solve the budget problem… because he has no idea how a bill becomes a law.
Republicans have already violated some of the vows they made in taking stewardship of the House.
Their pledge to cut $100 billion from the budget in one year won’t be kept.
The first spending cut measure to come to the floor — imposing a 5 percent spending cut on lawmakers’ budgets for office expenses and staff salaries — is hardly in keeping with the promise to return spending back to pre-Obama levels. Such costs have risen by 14 percent since that time.
And for a coming vote seeking to repeal the health care overhaul, the first major initiative of the new Congress, lawmakers won’t be allowed to propose changes to the legislation despite Republican promises to end such heavy-handed tactics from the days of Democratic control.
Is business as usual really back so fast? That’s not clear one day after Democrat Nancy Pelosi yielded the gavel to the new Republican House leader, John Boehner. The GOP came to power in the House with an agenda that, if carried through, would in fact change how the government spends, taxes and does its legislative business.
But those with long memories may have the feeling they’ve seen this movie before.
After the GOP won control of Congress in the 1994 elections, the House churned out a series of votes aimed at fulfilling promises made in the party’s “Contract With America.” Most hit a dead end in the Senate. The GOP’s new governing document, “A Pledge to America,” covers many of the same themes and faces many of the same problems.
The effort to repeal the health care law, for one, is expected to pass in the House and fail in the Senate, going nowhere.
A look at some of the Republican promises in the campaign that delivered them control of the House, and their prospects now:
CUT SPENDING: “We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone,” the GOP pledge stated.
The new Republican House operation is starting to look an awful lot like the old Republican House operation. DeLay’s aides will help run the show; corporate lobbyists have been brought on to shape policy; and the K Street project that Boehner swore to leave in the past is looking reconstituted.
Given the spectacular failures of the last Republican majority, getting the old gang back together isn’t exactly encouraging.
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress – was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.
Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.
Prosecutors said DeLay, who once held the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives and whose heavy-handed style earned him the nickname “the Hammer,” used his political action committee to illegally channel $190,000 in corporate donations into 2002 Texas legislative races through a money swap.
DeLay and his attorneys maintained the former Houston-area congressman did nothing wrong as no corporate funds went to Texas candidates and the money swap was legal.
The verdict came after a three-week trial in which prosecutors presented more than 30 witnesses and volumes of e-mails and other documents. DeLay’s attorneys presented five witnesses.
Prosecutors said DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to use his Texas-based PAC to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee, or RNC. The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can’t go directly to political campaigns.
Prosecutors claim the money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the GOP majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 – and strengthened DeLay’s political power.
DeLay’s attorneys argued the money swap resulted in the seven candidates getting donations from individuals, which they could legally use in Texas.
They also said DeLay only lent his name to the PAC and had little involvement in how it was run. Prosecutors, who presented mostly circumstantial evidence, didn’t prove he committed a crime, they said.
By the time John Boehner took the podium at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC, the stage was set for the Republican restoration. The major networks had called a GOP takeover of the House hours earlier—with even more freshmen than came to Capitol Hill during Newt Gingrich’s 1994 revolution. But amid the jubilant shouts from the crowd—”I love you!” “That’s my boy”! “USA! USA! USA!”—the future House majority leader attempted to send the message that his supporters needed to sober up for a moment.
“This is not a time for celebration…not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt,” Boehner said as the crowd cheered and held up cell phone cameras. He repeated the “get serious” mantra moments later: “Let’s start right now by recognizing this is not a time for celebration. This is a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”
Even before Election Day, the National Republican Campaign Committee insisted that it wasn’t going to be popping campaign corks on Tuesday night. The Grand Hyatt event “is not a ‘party’—even if voters remove Democrats from power, you don’t celebrate at a time when one in 10 Americans are out of work,” a NRCC spokesman said last week.