Washington (CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's sharp criticism of the media won't stop her from breaking bread with journalists next month at a dinner here in the nation's capital.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee will be the GOP speaker at the Gridiron Club and Foundation's annual winter dinner, the organization announced Friday.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, will be the Democratic speaker at the Dec. 5 event.
Palin's appearance at the Gridiron dinner will come a few weeks after her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," goes on sale.
Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Saturday night passed a sweeping health care bill bya vote of 220-215.
Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Saturday night passed an amendment to pending health care legislation that prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option and in the insurance "exchange" the bill would create.
The vote passed 240-194.
A second amendment considered by the House, introduced by Minority Leader John Boehner, which would have substituted several sections of the health care bill dealing with insurance, did not pass. Legislators voted against the amendment 258-176.
The amendment was introduced by anti-abortion Democrats. Its consideration was considered a big win for them and for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which used its power - especially with conservative Democrats in swing congressional districts - to help force other Democratic leaders to permit a vote that most of them oppose.
The prohibition, introduced by Democratic members, including Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Indiana, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, would exclude cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger.
Republicans strongly supported the measure.
The GOP accounted for 174 of the votes in favor of the amendment, with 1 Republican voting "present."
On the Democrat's side, 64 voted for the measure, and 194 voted against.
Washington (CNN) - In the final hours before the House was set to vote on a sweeping health reform bill, indications were that the vote could come down to the wire.
House Democrats needed 218 votes to pass the health care bill. Without any Republican support, that meant Democrats can lose no more than 40 of their own members. And as the House appeared to near a vote late Saturday night, CNN confirmed at least 35 Democrats planned to vote no. Another dozen or so had not made public commitments or were undecided.
In other words, if no Republicans voted yes, Democrats could afford to lose only five more members of their 258-member caucus on the issue.
As late as 8:30 p.m. ET, some key Democrats were still undecided.
Washington (CNN) - Foes of the House Democrats' health care bill rallied outside the Capitol Saturday afternoon, hours before what many of them anticipate will be a setback for their position - approval of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill.
"It may pass out of the House tonight. We do realize that," Jenny Beth Martin, event organizer for the Tea Party Patriots, said. "But there is the Senate still. And we are going to leave no stone unturned and fight the government taking over our health care."
Chanting "Kill the bill" and "Hell, no" throughout the nearly 90-minute rally, the few hundred attendees kept up their opposition despite having a much lower turnout than a similar rally held on Thursday.
More than a dozen Republican lawmakers spoke to the protesters and encouraged them to keep up the fight by speaking to wavering Democrats and their families, friends and neighbors about the legislation.
Washington (CNN) – In the midst of a heated debate on health care legislation, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, brought the cute, bald 7-month-old daughter of his Chief of Staff to the floor and gently bounced her in his arms as he expressed his opposition to the Democratic health care reform bill.
Shadegg used Maddie to illustrate how he said the Democrats’ proposal would pass debt on to her generation.
“Maddie believes in patient choice health care,” Shadegg said. “She asked to come here today to say she doesn’t want the government to take over health care, she wants to be able to keep her plan.”
Shadegg continued as the small child began playing with the foam microphone cover: “You see, Maddie knows that if this bill passes her mom’s health care goes away and won’t be around in five years. As a matter of fact, the bill says, if the bill passes, then no more health care for her mom because it has to change.
“Maddie wants patient choice. Maddie doesn’t want her mom’s premiums to go. She doesn’t want her mom’s taxes to go up by $730 billion dollars, do you Maddie? That’s too much money.”
Shadegg then did what few if any lawmakers have done before on the floor of the house: He quoted an infant. “She believes in choices, but most of all, Maddie says, ‘Don’t tax me to pay for health care that you guys want. If you want health care, pay for it yourselves. Because it’s not fair to pass your health care bill on to me and my grandchildren.’”
When Shadegg’s time ran out and California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman reclaimed control of the microphone, he said of Maddie, “That was a remarkable child,” and of Shadegg, “and a great ventriloquist.”
Fort Hood, Texas (CNN) - As investigators at Fort Hood meticulously probed Thursday's grisly massacre, a Texas surgeon said more of the wounded victims of the shootings were slowly but surely on the mend.
Flanked by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and two state representatives, W. Roy Smythe, chief of surgery at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, said "a lot of progress has been made" in treating patients wounded in the rampage and that "some of them are out of the woods."
But Smythe told reporters in a Saturday news conference there is a possibility some patients will be "physically impaired" for life. And, he said, there's "no doubt many" will be "psychologically impaired the rest of their lives."
Thursday's mass shooting left 12 soldiers and one civilian dead and 38 others wounded at the Fort Hood Army Post in Texas. Thirty-four of the injured had gunshot wounds, military officials said. The suspect in the shooting, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a licensed Army psychiatrist, was among the two dozen who remained hospitalized Friday night.
Hasan was transported by air Friday afternoon to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and had been listed in critical but stable condition.
The incident has sparked national outrage. In his Saturday address, President Obama said it was "an act of violence that would have been heartbreaking had it occurred anyplace in America." But the president said, "it's all the more heartbreaking and all the more despicable because of the place where it occurred and the patriots who were its victims."
The White House said President Obama and the first lady will be attending a memorial service on Tuesday and the president ordered flags flying over the White House and other federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff until Veterans Day on Wednesday.
"Millions of Americans are watching right now," the president told reporters in a brief news conference in the White House Rose Garden. "Their families and businesses are counting on us. After all, this is why they sent us here: to finally confront the challenges that Washington had been putting off for decades. To make their lives better. To leave this country stronger than we found it."
Obama's comments came shortly after he had returned to the White House from Capitol Hill, where he met with the House Democratic leadership.
The president said he reminded lawmakers "that opportunities like this come around maybe once in a generation. Most public servants pass through their entire careers without a chance to make as important a difference in the lives of their constituents and the life of this country.
"This is their moment, this is our moment, to live up to the trust that the American people have placed in us - even when it's hard; especially when it's hard. This is our moment to deliver.
"I urge members of Congress to rise to this moment. Answer the call of history, and vote yes for health insurance reform for America," Obama said.
The president paused for a photo after meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and other House Democrats on Capitol Hill Saturday. (Photo Credit: Matt Hoye/CNN)
Washington (CNN) - Emerging from a meeting with President Barack Obama, the House Democratic leadership appeared confident Saturday that their health care legislation would pass.
"Today we will make not only history, but progress for America's working families," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters assembled outside the meeting room.
"We're on the cusp of making an historical decision on behalf of the American people," added House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.
A senior Democratic aide quoted the president as saying during the meeting that he was "absolutely confident that you guys will get this done."
"Absolutely confident that when I sign this in the Rose Garden, each and every one of you will be able to look back and say 'this was my finest moment in politics,'" the aide quoted Obama as saying.
White House spokesman Bill Burton said the president made the case that Congress has a historic opportunity today to provide stability and security for those who have insurance, affordable coverage for those who don't and bring down the cost of health care for families, small businesses and the government.
Burton also reported that Obama told the Democratic lawmakers that they had made more progress on comprehensive reform than any administration and any Congress in the past 70 years, and that they should take this historic opportunity to pass health care reform so that he can sign a bill by the end of this year.
Updated: 1:27 p.m.
–CNN's Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.