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“Call it a stumble out of the gate. Or a failure to find the gate entirely. Veteran Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) failed to make the official swearing in ceremony yesterday, a violation of the Constitution that has sent Republicans scrambling and briefly brought an end to the new majority’s push to repeal the health care reform law.
While the rest of the House was being made official in the chamber, Sessions and Fitzpatrick were outside the room at an event for Fitzpatrick supporters. The pair reportedly took their oath to a televised image from inside the chamber. Huffington Post’s Ryan Grimm reports the event was part of fundraiser for Fitzpatrick. […] The action is now behind the scenes, as Speaker John Boehner tries to persuade House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to agree to a unanimous consent decree that would make all the work Sessions and Fitzpatrick did over the past day count retroactively.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how that process is going.”
“Rep. Steve King (R-IA), master of the pithy C-SPAN clip, made an original argument today for why health care reform is unconstitutional during an emergency House rules meeting about the GOP’s upcoming vote to repeal it.
After Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) said that health insurance counts as interstate commerce and therefore falls under the Congress’s constitutional powers, King argued that there are people who never even use health care — and therefore a law requiring them to buy insurance is unconstitutional.
“There have always been and likely will always be, babies that were born, lived and died within the jurisdictions of the individual states,” he said, “who never cross a state line, access no health care and therefore do not impact interstate commerce. Therefore, to compel someone who fits that category to buy an insurance policy” does not fit under the interstate commerce clause.”
“An apparent member of the birther movement seated in the gallery of the House of Representatives on Thursday interrupted a reading of the Constitution. The woman yelled out “Except Obama, except Obama, help us Jesus!” as Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) read the “natural born citizen” clause of the Constitution”
“Members of the House of Representatives, led by their new Republican majority, will kick off the 112th Congress this morning with a reading of the U.S. Constitution. The reading is largely a political maneuver, so it’s no real surprise that the Constitution you’ll hear read on C-SPAN this morning will be the politically correct version.
It’s fairly likely that no elected politician wants to stand up and read aloud the Founder’s vision of African Americans as equaling three-fifths of a white person, so the GOP has decided to leave that part, and others, out when the Constitution is read today.”
“Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced today that the United States will hit its $14.3 trillion debt limit on March 31 of this year. If Congress does not move to increase the national debt ceiling by that time, “disastrous consequences” for the nation’s economy will result, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.
Despite the real danger, many Republicans in Congress are trying to use the debt ceiling as a political chip in order to impose draconian spending cuts or demagogue to the right-wing fringe. Leading candidates for RNC Chairman, including Michael Steele and Ann Wagner, have also expressed their unequivocal opposition to raising the debt ceiling. At least seven Republicans also want to go so far as to shut down the federal government rather than see the debt ceiling increased.
The ignorance of the anti-debt ceiling wing of the GOP were encapsulated by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC). Speaking with The Hill, Mulvaney declared that he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling because he had “yet to meet someone who can articulate the negative consequences.”
Today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) articulated those negative consequences. Speaking with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Graham described what would happen if the debt ceiling weren’t raised: “financial collapse and calamity throughout the world. That’s not lost on me”.”
“Campaigning before the recent midterm elections, House Republicans were adamant that, if given power, they would cut government spending. However, when pressed for specifics, many were unable to list even one single item they would cut from the budget. “The line-item will be across-the-board,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) embarrassingly responded when asked for specific cuts.”
“Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gaveled in the GOP takeover of the House. Christening his rein in tears, the self-proclaimed “most transparent person in this town” promised an era of more “honest” and “accountable” government with a set of new House rules to match. But that was yesterday afternoon. By nightfall, the House GOP leadership had already broken key pledges of transparency and accountability. Republicans have already walked back three key promises they touted up through the end of 111th Congress.”
“The buzz over William Daley, President Obama’s choice to be his next chief of staff, has been all about his business connections. But long before he worked for JPMorgan Chase or the Chamber of Commerce, the son of late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley was part of a Democratic machine.”
“Proponents of financial deregulation may have a strong ally within the White House, now that President Obama has named Bill Daley his new chief of staff.
The prospect of Daley taking the key White House position had earned praise from Wall Street insiders who cited his ability to “bring people together” and “success in getting things done,” according to Fortune.
As the brother of Chicago’s outgoing mayor Richard Daley, a former Commerce Secretary and a current JPMorgan Chase executive, Daley shared certain commonalities with his predecessor: Rahm Emanuel also came to the White House by way of a Chicago connection, worked under Bill Clinton, and—as a former investment banker—brought his own ties to Wall Street.
In addition to those things, Daley has strong ties to the Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the financial reform bill that was a cornerstone of the administration’s agenda last year. “
“The Marines will be sent mostly to Kandahar province, as the United States tries to solidify progress in areas of the south before troop reductions.”
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