WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Linda Sanchez has given birth to a healthy baby boy, Joaquin Sánchez Sullivan, her office announced Wednesday.
"Linda and I have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy," Jim Sullivan, the California Democrat's husband, said in a statement released by her office. "Mother and baby are both healthy and happy. Joaquin's arrival is a long awaited welcome in our lives and we are richer because of it."
Sanchez is the eighth member of Congress to deliver a baby while serving in office.
(CNN) - Senate Republicans Wednesday blocked President Obama's choice to be the No. 2 official at the Department of the Interior.
On a vote of 57 to 39, they sustained a filibuster against David Hayes to be deputy Interior Secretary. It marked the first time the Senate has voted against one of Obama's nominees.
Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, led the fight against Hayes. Bennett says his opposition is not about Hayes' qualifications. Rather, Bennett says the administration has not adequately answered his questions about why oil and gas leases in his state – that were approved in the last days of the Bush administration – were canceled by the Obama administration. He called the actions "political."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada., said the disputed leases are near national parks and the Interior Department did not cancel the leases but pulled them for review.
Reid vowed to bring the nomination back for another vote, saying he would wait to see if Democrat Al Franken wins the disputed Minnesota Senate seat, which would give Democrats the 60 votes they need to end the filibuster and approve Hayes.
Update: Democratic leaders say they could vote again on the nomination as early as next week when three more Democrats would be available.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The CEO of bailed-out insurer American International Group told Congress Wednesday that it has made "substantial" progress in its restructuring efforts, but lawmakers said they wanted more to show for it.
"We are hearing, 'Trust us,' but we are not willing to let $180 billion go just on trust," said Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Oversight Committee. "We will question; we will inquire; we will verify."
Chief Executive Edward Liddy, who said AIG is diligently working toward paying back its government bailout, described the company's plan for paying back billions of taxpayer dollars.
"We continue to weigh every decision regarding the restructuring with several criteria in mind," Liddy said. "Will this action facilitate a reduction in systemic risk? Is this action the best use of the federal assistance we are receiving? Will this action enhance our ability to pay back the government?"
"The restructuring efforts ... are a reflection of this thought process," he added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates Wednesday defended his decision to shift budget funds to support weapons the U.S. military is currently using in Iraq and Afghanistan and away from research and weapons that may be used in future conflicts.
"We have to be prepared for the wars we are most likely to fight. Not just the wars we have traditionally been best suited to fight or threats we conjure up from potential adversaries who in the real world also have finite resources," he said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, where he appeared with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen.
The budget decisions were met with some skepticism from the outset. In his opening remarks, Rep. John McHugh, R-New York, questioned the decision to cut spending from some of the development programs.
"Can we really say that the threat of nuclear and missile proliferation is lower now than it was four years ago to warrant such significant reductions to missile defense? Are we so confident in our diplomatic efforts with Iran and North Korea that we can afford a nearly 90 percent cut in European Missile Defense and a 35 percent cut to our U.S. missile defenses in Alaska and California? Some of us, to say the least, are dubious," McHugh said.
(CNN) - Liz Cheney is picking up where her father left off when it comes to taking aim at the Obama administration, saying Tuesday the new commander-in-chief appears to be siding with terrorists.
In an interview on Fox News, the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney sharply criticized the new administration for agreeing to release photographs depicting alleged abuses at U.S. prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration.
"I think it is really appalling that the administration is taking this step," she said in the interview. "Clearly what they are doing is releasing images that show American military men and woman in a very negative light."
"I have heard from families of service members from families of 9/11 victims this question about when did it become so fashionable for us to side, really, with the terrorists," she continued. "You know, President Obama has a lot of rhetoric about support for American military families, support for our men and women who are fighting for us overseas. But if he really cares about them, then he wouldn't be making such an effort to release photos that show them in a negative light."
Late last month, Pentagon officials said the hundreds of photographs released are from more than 60 criminal investigations from 2001 to 2006, and show military personnel allegedly abusing detainees. But the officials rejected allegations by the American Civil Liberties Union that the photos show a systemic pattern of abuse by the military.
In her interview Monday, Cheney also echoed recent calls from her father for the Obama administration to release classified documents detailing information yielded from the aggressive interrogation techniques since denounced by the president.
"They seem only to be interested in releasing things that really paint American in a negative light and don't give the American people a full picture of what went on," she said.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– The Senate Democratic leadership is preparing to lose a vote Wednesday morning on the confirmation of David Hayes as Deputy Secretary of Interior. If that happens, it would be the first time Congress votes to reject one of President Obama’s nominees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley tells CNN that Democrats believe Republicans will vote in lockstep to block Hayes’ nomination, and therefore, it will fail.
Republican objections to Hayes appear to have little to do with him or his qualifications, and more to do with an Obama administration policy.
Specifically, Utah Republican Robert Bennett has been leading his party’s opposition to Hayes because of an Obama decision to cancel oil and gas leases in Utah.
“This is not about Hayes,” Bennett spokeswoman Tara Hendershott tells CNN.
She says Bennett is blocking Hayes because the Department of Interior “has not provided any information he requested regarding the Secretary’s unilateral decision to cancel the oil and gas leases.”
If Republicans do successfully block Hayes’ nomination, it will be the starkest illustration yet of what it means for Democrats to have 59 seats – just one shy of a filibuster proof majority – as the Minnesota Senate race remains unresolved.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Obama Official Expected to be rejected by Senate Wednesday
The Senate Democratic leadership is preparing to lose a vote Wednesday morning on the confirmation of David Hayes as Deputy Secretary of Interior. If that happens, it would be the first time Congress votes to reject one of President Obama’s nominees.
CNN: Crist gives GOP 'big fish' in 2010 Senate elections
Score a big one for John Cornyn.
CNN: Source: Aide told Pelosi waterboarding had been used
A source close to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now confirms that Pelosi was told in February 2003 by her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, that waterboarding was actually used on CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah.
CNN: Changing course in Afghanistan
Just 11 months ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates selected Gen. David McKiernan to head the war in Afghanistan.
CNN: Commentary: Harry, Louise back at the table
It's hard not to be cynical about the prospects for the passage of serious health care reform.
CNN: Liz Cheney suggests Obama 'siding with terrorists'
Liz Cheney is picking up where her father left off when it comes to taking aim at the Obama administration, saying Tuesday the new commander-in-chief appears to be siding with terrorists.
CNN: Elizabeth Edwards discusses tragedies, strengths
CNN's Larry King sat down with Elizabeth Edwards on Tuesday to discuss her new book, her personal tragedies and the power of resilience.
NYT: U.S. Considers Limits on Financial Pay
Obama Administration officials are contemplating a major overhaul of the compensation practices in the financial services industry, moving beyond banks to include more loosely regulated hedge funds and private equity firms.
USA Today: U.S. warhead disposal in 15-year backlog
President Obama plans deep new cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal at a time when the government faces a 15-year backlog of warheads already waiting to be dismantled and a need for billions of dollars in new facilities to store and dispose of the weapons' plutonium.
Washington Post: Officials Knew of AIG Bonuses Months Before Firestorm
As American International Group chief executive Edward M. Liddy returns to Washington to face Congress today, new details are emerging about how long federal officials were aware of the company's recent bonus payments to its executives and of how inflammatory the payments could be.