NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The White House and leading congressional Democrats have reached an agreement on legislation to provide a stopgap bailout to U.S. automakers, according to officials from the administration and Congress.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan cautioned at a press briefing that he had not seen the final language of the bill but said that great progress had been made on bridging differences with congressional Democrats.
Kaplan said administration officials would push reluctant Republican lawmakers to support the deal.
A vote could take place in the House as soon as Wednesday.
(CNN) - With the dust still settling from the 2008 presidential race, one of its biggest celebrities lashed out Tuesday at the man who made him famous.
Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, the Ohio voter who challenged President-elect Barack Obama on his tax plan and later became a hero of John McCain's presidential bid, said Tuesday he felt "appalled" at some of his interactions with the Arizona senator, and soon felt the need to ditch his campaign.
Speaking with conservative talk-radio host Glenn Beck, Wurzelbacher said he was specifically at odds with McCain's support over the massive $700 billion bailout, a measure many conservatives opposed despite McCain's attempts to shepherd the bill on Capitol Hill.
“When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen,” Wurzelbacher told Beck. “I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers…they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry.
"In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."
Wurzelbacher rocketed to stardom during the third and final presidential debate, when McCain referenced the Ohio plumber's direct challenge of Obama's tax proposals. On an Obama campaign swing shortly before that debate, Wurzelbacher approached the Democratic presidential nominee while cameras rolled and challenged the candidate over his plan to raise taxes on those making over $250,000. Wurzelbacher said that could mean his taxes would go up if he ever achieved his goal of owning a plumbing business.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Key lawmakers blasted Treasury Wednesday for its handling of the $700 billion financial rescue plan, saying it lacks appropriate measures to ensure the bailout is working.
At a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee, committee chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., accused Treasury of failing to address its obligation to address foreclosures and enforce lending obligations on banks.
"Refusal so far to use money for that purpose [of foreclosures] undermines the intent of the bill," said Frank. "What troubled me was when Treasury was asked by the Government Accountability Office, 'What are you doing to ensure banks are lending?,' they appeared to be saying, 'We're not going to try to find that out.'"
(CNN) - Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan officially launched his re-election campaign Wednesday by emailing committee members and launching a sleek new Web site touting his record at the helm of the party.
In a Web video, Duncan advertised his experience running the party machine over the last two years and his understanding of the behind-the-scenes efforts that make the GOP tick, promising to avoid "flash" and focus on the "nuts and bolts" of building up the party's state-by-state grassroots infrastructure and its fluency in new technology.
He also promoted post-election Republican gains in the Georgia Senate race runoff and special elections in Louisiana, calling those wins a "a crushing blow to the Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda."
"It's clear that Republicans still know how to win elections as we build a solid foundation for the 2010 campaign," he said.
Duncan's candidacy has already been pushed online by an anonymous web site - "Keep Mike Duncan as RNC Chairman" - that has attacked Duncan's rivals for the chairmanship, with a particular focus on Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis.
Duncan and Anuzis are joined in the chairman's race by South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Tennessee GOP chair Chip Saltsman and former Maryland Lieutenant Gov. Michael Steele.
(CNN) - According to prosecutors, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich knew all too well how much leverage he had as the only person who could appoint Barack Obama's Senate replacement.
A criminal complaint released Tuesday details conversations Blagojevich is said to have had with potential Senate candidates, who are identified only by a number.
Blagojevich is said to have called the open seat a "f-ing valuable thing" and something you don't give away "for nothing."
No one mentioned as a possibility for the seat is saying that he or she is one of those unnamed candidates in the complaint.
Award-winning writer Bob Greene rode CNN's Election Express across the country in the final weeks of the campaign before the Election Express parked in Chicago.
ABOARD THE CNN EXPRESS
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Well, that was quick.
On Election Night in Chicago, people in the immense crowd in Grant Park were talking about how the victory of Barack Obama might do the impossible: change forever the international political image of Illinois, make the world forget about the corruption that has for so long been associated with politics in the state, and particularly with politics in Chicago.
So much for that.
That was a warm and balmy November night in Grant Park - which in itself should have told you something: the shirtsleeves-in-November feeling had a when-pigs-fly quality to it - but this week there is sleet and wind and snow, a Chicago December week fit for neither man nor beast, which is to say: the usual, the expected. And in the federal courthouse just a few blocks from the Grant Park scene of civic pride and celebration, the weather had changed in more than the meteorological sense.
(CNN) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly is planning to return to work Wednesday, a day after his indictment on federal corruption charges.
The Democrat appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to hear federal corruption charges against him and was released on $4,500 bail.
"He's sad, surprised and innocent," Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky told reporters Tuesday night.
Early Tuesday, FBI agents arrested Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, on charges that the governor attempted to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife, Patti.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers said they are preparing to take from the governor his power to fill the vacant Senate seat. Otherwise, Blagojevich - despite the charges he faces - could still move to nominate anyone he chooses for Obama's replacement.
CNN: Blagojevich free on $4,500 bail after arrest
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to hear federal corruption charges against him. He was released on $4,500 bail.
CNN: Commentary: What was Blagojevich thinking?
In the great annals of "What Was He Thinking?" (political edition), the case of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich sets a new standard - for its breathtaking stupidity, venality and illegality.
CNN: Duncan to seek new term as GOP chief
Mike Duncan plans to seek another term as chairman of the Republican Party, a post that already has drawn several high-profile candidates seeking to replace him, a source close to Duncan said Tuesday.
CNN: Obama and Gore: Time to deal with climate change
With former Vice President Al Gore at his side, President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday it's time the issue of climate change is dealt with in a "serious way."
CNN: House Ethics expands Rangel investigation
The House Ethics Committee announced Tuesday it is expanding its investigation into Rep. Charles Rangel.
CNN: Forbes takes a side in RNC race
Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes announced Tuesday he would serve as honorary chair of Ken Blackwell’s campaign to be the next Republican National Committee chairman, describing the former Ohio secretary of state as a “reliable conservative … who can broaden the appeal of the Republican Party.”
CNN: Inauguration Day fashion
The presidential inauguration party tops the list of formal affairs next January, and President-elect Barack Obama is rumored to be preparing for his big event: He’s believed to have ordered a simple and classic black tuxedo by the union-friendly suburban Illinois-designer Hart Schaffner Marx, a stylist to which the president-elect is said to be faithful, according to the Los Angeles Times.