WASHINGTON (CNN) - Overwhelmed by problems trying to write a bill overhauling the nation's health care system, the Senate Finance Committee will postpone votes on the legislation until after the July 4th recess, two Democratic Senate sources confirmed to CNN.
The decision, which one source described as not 100 percent final, is a setback for Democrats who wanted the bill out of committee before the recess so the full Senate could have the entire month of July to debate health care reform.
Key stumbling blocks for the Democrats who control the committee include the high overall cost of the bill and the lack of any solid Republican support for the measure in its current form, one of the sources said.
The bill is different from the one the Senate HELP Committee took up Wednesday. But those two bills are expected to be merged in hopes of getting a final bill to President Obama by Oct. 15.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The flood of Twitter activity emerging from the street protests in Iran is bringing back some fond memories for Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan.
"Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House," Hoekstra tweeted from his BlackBerry on Wednesday, referencing how House Republicans used the Web to get their message out after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi adjourned the House before an energy vote last August.
But just how "similar" was that effort to the passionate protests in the streets of Iran that followed last week's disputed election?
Barely a minute passed before Twitter users objected to Hoekstra's assertion. One user quickly tweeted back: "Except the Democrats didn't come after you with clubs and guns, did they?"
Hoekstra's office said the congressman was not making a direct comparison between the two situations and was simply highlighting the value that new technology can play in communicating with supporters.
“Congressman Hoekstra did not compare the ongoing violence in Iran to when Democrats shut down the House chamber during the energy debate last summer," said spokesman Dave Yonkman. "The two situations do share the similarity of government leadership attempting to limit debate and deliberation, and the ability of new technologies to bypass their efforts and allow for direct communication. That’s the only point that he was trying to make."
This isn't Hoekstra's first Twitter controversy. Back in February, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee tweeted details of a congressional trip to Baghdad. Congressional Quarterly called that a security breach, but the congressman's office said the trip details were not classified and that the the tweets posed no risk.
Story updated with Hoekstra response at 2:40 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Months after withdrawing his name from cabinet consideration, Tom Daschle has finally landed a position with the Obama administration.
The White House announced Wednesday the former Senate Majority Leader would serve on the commission that will select this year's White House Fellows, along with the president's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and 26 others. The fellows chosen will be given the the chance to work in the federal government and take part in discussions with leaders in the public and private sectors.
"The men and women of this commission embody what makes the White House Fellows program so special," Obama said. "These leaders are diverse, non-partisan, and committed to mentoring our next generation of public servants. I'm confident that they will select a class of White House Fellows that demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strong character, and a deep commitment to serving their country."
Daschle was under consideration for Secretary of Health and Human Services, but withdrew his name amid controversy over his failure to pay certain taxes.
Over 1,000 young people applied for the fellowship program. The commission will convene this week to pick 11-19 winners out of 30 finalists. Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark are past participants in the program.
Whether or not there's another political revolution in Iran — there's no doubt the country has already witnessed a technological revolution.
Iranian officials have been trying to clamp down on the flow of information in all the ways these regimes do — restricting the coverage of western journalists, kicking others out of the country, shutting down web sites.
But it's not working this time — and one of the big reasons is social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Many of the young demonstrators — 70-percent of Iranians are under 30 — have used these technologies as a tool to coordinate their protests over the election's outcome. They're also posting graphic pictures and videos of the crackdown by officials.
The U.S. State Department points to Twitter as one of the ways Iranians can "get the word out," and officials in this country are even following these social networks. In fact, the government contacted Twitter at one point asking them to delay a planned update that would shut the system down temporarily.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
(CNN) - Brushing off suggestions Tuesday the media is not critical enough of his administration, President Obama couldn't help but take aim at one cable news channel in particular.
"It's very hard for me to swallow that one," Obama told CNBC when asked whether he thinks the media is too easy on him. "First of all, I've got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration."
The interviewer quickly assumed Obama was referring to Fox News, a suggestion the president didn't disagree with.
"Well, that's a pretty big megaphone," he said. "And you'd be hard-pressed, if you watched the entire day, to find a positive story about me on that front."
"We welcome people who are asking us some, you know, tough questions," he continued. "And I think that I've been probably as accessible as any president in the first six months–press conferences, taking questions from reporters, being held accountable, being transparent about what it is that we're trying to do. I think that, actually, the reason that people have been generally positive about what we've tried to do is they feel as if I'm available and willing to answer questions, and we haven't been trying to hide them all. "
Obama struck a similar tone on the matter last month in his appearance before the White House Correspondents Dinner, during which he joked to the crowd, "Most of you covered me; all of you voted for me, apologies to the Fox table."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republicans on Wednesday presented what they called a "sorely needed" alternative to Democrats' proposals to overhaul health care.
Republicans want to make sure all Americans have access to affordable coverage, Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority whip, said Wednesday.
"We do so by making sure we keep down costs and incorporate the ability for folks to pool together to access lower costs, to bring private sector into the game and keep government out," Cantor said.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans have detailed how they would pay for their proposals. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said his party's plan will cost "far less" than that of the Democrats and "provide better results for the American people."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – President Obama on Wednesday will finally announce his long-anticipated plan to restructure how banks and other firms are regulated in the hope of preventing another financial collapse.
The far-reaching effort would reorder the roles of some key agencies to try to tighten government supervision of the financial sector.
Obama's plan will include a proposal to get rid of the embattled Office of Thrift Supervision and merge it with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.
The OTS has been on the hot seat for months for its role as the overseer of American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) and failed lenders IndyMac and Washington Mutual. The comptroller's office is a Treasury Department bureau that regulates national banks.
"On this issue, I do not believe that the president is taking a leadership that is incumbent upon an American president, which we have throughout modern history, and that is to advocate for human rights and freedom - and free elections are one of those fundamentals," the Arizona Republican told John Roberts on CNN's American Morning.
President Obama Tuesday said that he has deep concerns over the election results in Iran, but stressed that "it's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections."
McCain disputed that assessment. "We're not meddling in any country's affairs when we call for free and fair elections and the ability of people to exercise their human rights," he said Monday. "And when they disagree with a flawed or corrupt election, as the Iranian people have, [not] to be beaten and even killed in the streets."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Republican National Committee is urging GOP members of Congress to take to the local airwaves next week to discuss their approach to healthcare reform in an effort to counter an ABC News primetime special featuring President Obama speaking on the issue.
The RNC is informing GOP congressional offices this morning that it will pay for and help schedule the interviews with local television reporters in their states and districts.
The RNC tells the Republican lawmakers it is taking this step because they said their request to be included in the special “was denied.”
“This means that President Obama and the Democrats will have an entire day to push their government-run health care agenda without hearing Republicans’ policy ideas and principles on health care reform,” the RNC writes in the memo that was obtained by CNN.
Read the full memo after the jump