Washington (CNN) - America needs policies that link the nation's economic prosperity to increased prosperity for the middle class, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
In a speech at the Brookings Institution, a non-profit policy think tank, Biden said the current system in which the rich get wealthier while the middle class struggles to get by is politically unsustainable.
"The middle class needs to get its fair share again," Biden said. "It sounds like a trite political slogan. But folks, the system is not going to work if they do not believe they're getting their fair share commensurate with the effort they're giving."
Biden touted the reform policies of the Obama administration, saying the recently passed health care bill and proposals to tighten regulations on Wall Street financiers and reshape the energy sector are intended to set up America for continued global economic leadership in the 21st century.
Washington (CNN) - Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak has put out his first television ad in the Pennsylvania Senate race. The spot, which casts Sestak in a positive light, is being greeted by a harsh ad from his opponent.
Sestak is battling Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination. The primary is May 18.
In Sestak's 60-second spot, which began airing across Pennsylvania Tuesday, the two-term congressman introduces himself to voters who may not know him statewide.
"Meet Joe Sestak," the ad begins. It goes on to highlight the congressman's 31 years in the Navy, his rise to become a three-star admiral and notes that Sestak is "not a career politician."
While not mentioning Specter by name, the ad appears to slam the senator.
"If we want real change in Washington, we can't keep sending the same career politicians to represent us," Sestak said in the ad.
In a statement to CNN, Sestak's campaign spokesman laid out what he said was "a clear choice for Pennsylvania."
(CNN) - House Democratic leaders have killed a bill that would have given Washington, DC a voting representative in Congress because the measure included a provision that would have wiped out the District's strict gun laws.
"I am extraordinarily disappointed," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said as he announced the House of Representatives will not vote on the measure this year.
It's a victory for gun control advocates but a disappointment for activists who have been working for decades to get a voting representative in Congress and saw this Democrat-controlled Congress as their best chance. The District has an elected delegate in the House of Representatives, Democrat Eleanor Holmes-Norton, but she cannot vote on the House floor.
"This legislation should be focused solely on the central premise of American democracy, that citizens have a fundamental right to be represented in the policy-making body of their country, a representative with not just a voice but a vote," Hoyer told reporters off camera.
When the Senate took up the DC voting rights bill last year, Republicans attached a gun provision that a number of pro-gun rights Democrats helped pass. It was expected to pass the House, which also has a pro-gun rights majority, as early as Wednesday. But Hoyer said "the price was too high," and the bill was scrapped, a decision ultimately made by Holmes-Norton.
Washington (CNN) - Americans appear to support a proposal to give the government new powers to regulate Wall Street banks and other financial institutions, according to a new national poll.
A Gallup survey released Tuesday indicates that 50 percent of the public supports the move, with 36 percent opposed and 15 percent unsure.
The new powers to regulate large banks and financial institutions are included in a bill backed by Senate Democrats that would create a new process to shut down failing firms and require banks to beef up capital cushions, while creating a new consumer regulator to watch over mortgages and credit cards. Senate Republicans are opposed to the legislation.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted in March found that just over half of all Americans favored greater government regulation over Wall Street, with 43 percent opposed.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, and Rep. Mike Castle, R-Delaware, announced Monday that they will introduce bipartisan legislation in response to a January ruling by the Supreme Court that altered long-standing rules governing how corporations fund political campaigns.
"The Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United v. FEC overturned two decades of precedents that prohibited corporate and union expenditures in political campaigns," the congressmen wrote in a joint statement. "This decision enables larger financial interests to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens, allows foreign corporations to spend money through their domestic subsidiaries, and permits major recipients of taxpayer dollars to funnel these funds into political activities."
"The Court's ruling in this case demonstrates a blatant disregard for its own precedents and ignores the clear intent of Congress to reduce the influence of powerful special interests," they added.
The legislators plan on introducing the legislation on Thursday, a Democratic source close to the negotiations tells CNN.
Van Hollen is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Castle is making a bid for the Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden.
Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has ruled a federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty is an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
The 8-1 decision was a defeat for animal rights groups and sponsors of the unusual congressional legislation.
The specific case before the court dealt with tapes showing pit bulldogs attacking other animals and one another in staged confrontations.
Washington (CNN) - Jim DeMint is sticking his finger in the eye of the National Republican Senatorial Committee once again, this time by endorsing a little-known state legislator in the Indiana Republican Senate primary instead of Dan Coats, the former senator recruited for the seat by national party officials.
"I'm very excited about what's taking place in Indiana right now," DeMint said in a statement endorsing state Sen. Marlin Stutzman. "We've got a young conservative running for the Senate who could pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year. He's surging because he's an authentic conservative who doesn't apologize for his principles."
DeMint's national profile has risen since he broke with many of his Senate colleagues last year to endorse Marco Rubio for Senate in Florida, long before the former state House speaker emerged as the favorite to win the GOP nomination over Gov. Charlie Crist.
He has used his political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, to promote and raise money for other conservative Republicans in competitive primaries. DeMint has so far endorsed four Senate hopefuls along with Stutzman: Rubio in Florida, Ken Buck in Colorado, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Chuck DeVore in California.
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration plans to change the so-called Title IX policy which governs gender equality in sports, eliminating what some women's rights supporters claim is a Bush-administration loophole in compliance, according to a senior White House official.
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the change Tuesday, said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the record.
The 1972 Title IX education amendment required gender equity in sports programs at educational institutions receiving federal funds.
Universities initially faced three requirements to prove they were complying with the law: that the proportion of male and female students participating in sports at the university was proportional to the number of male and female students enrolled in the university; that the university was expanding opportunities for women students in athletics; and that the university was meeting the athletic abilities and interests of women students.
(CNN) - Call it another sign of the frustration by opponents of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" over President Obama's efforts to repeal the controversial military policy.
Protesters interrupted Obama's speech Monday night in Los Angeles at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and the Democratic National Committee.
As the president was praising Boxer, a fellow Democrat and three term senator who is facing a tough re-election battle this year, demonstrators in the crowd interrupted, asking Obama what he is going to do about the policy - implemented during the Clinton administration - that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the country's armed forces.
Obama, who has called on Congress to lift the ban, responded by saying: "What the young man was talking about was we need to - we need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which I agree with and which we have begun to do."
Read a transcript of the incident after the jump:
(CNN) - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday that he still has his eyes on City Hall.
Should Mayor Richard Daley decide not to seek reelection, "one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago," Emanuel told PBS host Charlie Rose.
"That's always been an aspiration of mine," he said, according to a transcript of the interview.
Daley, who turns 68 this weekend, has been the city's mayor since 1989. Chicago's mayoral election is next year, but the Democratic politician has yet to announce whether he'll run again.
"I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection," Emanuel said.