Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives be will be called back into session next week to take up a $26 billion bill designed in part to help avoid teacher layoffs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.
"As millions of children prepare to go back to school - many in just a few days - the House will act quickly to approve this legislation once the Senate votes," Pelosi said Wednesday.
"I am calling members of the House back to Washington at the beginning of the week to pass this bill and send it to President Obama without further delay."
The House began its summer break last week and was not expected to return until mid-September.
House Democratic leaders began discussing the unusual move after the Senate unexpectedly advanced the state assistance bill on Wednesday.
(CNN) - This time a Sarah Palin endorsement wasn't enough for victory. But score another win for Sen. Jim DeMint.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt was edged out by Rep. Jerry Moran in a battle between two conservative congressmen for the Republican Senate nomination in Kansas. Moran is now considered the overwhelming favorite in November's general election to succeed GOP Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for Kansas governor rather than for re-election to Congress.
Tiahrt was endorsed by the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee in June. In a Facebook post, Palin said Tiahrt was "a protector of our Constitution, a pro-family, pro-Second Amendment commonsense conservative who has never voted for a tax increase."
But Palin didn't personally campaign for Tiahrt, who also enjoyed the backing of Karl Rove and Phyliss Schlaffly, two other conservative powerhouses.
Washington (CNN) - The ethical complaints against Rep. Charlie Rangel have caused enough anxiety among House Democrats that ten caucus members have called for his resignation.
Although those ten members come from red states, blue states and swing states, the similarities among them are striking. While Rangel is popular on Capitol Hill, his history with these representatives is short - all rode into Congress on the 2006 and 2008 Democratic tidal waves. Six were elected in 2006, in the wake of Abramoff, DeLay and Foley Republican scandals with the Democratic House leader, future Speaker Nancy Pelosi, promising to "drain the swamp" of corruption.
The four members of the 2008 class came to Congress on the coattails of President Obama, who bragged repeatedly during the campaign about his work to pass "the toughest ethics reform legislation since Watergate" with promises of "transparency and accountability."
But beyond those campaign promises, or perhaps because of those promises, the looming Rangel trial in the fall weighs heavily on their electoral fortunes. According to the CNN 100 list of embattled House seats, eight of the ten members are in electoral trouble. Five were ranked as "Most Vulnerable." Those incumbents include: Rep. Mike Arcuri (New York), Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (Arizona), Rep. Walt Minnick (ID) and Rep. Zack Space (Ohio). Two others, Reps. Debbie Halvorson (Illinois) and Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania), are on the less perilous "Races to Watch" bottom half of the list.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama sought to rally the Democratic Party's union base Wednesday, telling a meeting of AFL-CIO leaders that the looming midterm elections offer a clear choice between moving forward with a stronger economy and moving backward with a failed GOP philosophy.
He ripped former President George W. Bush's administration for fostering "a profound animosity toward the notion of unions" and creating an unstable economy that only advanced the interests of "a privileged few."
The president's remarks were delivered against a backdrop of rising Democratic fears over the November elections due largely to what many analysts view as a tepid economic recovery.
"We're on the right track," Obama declared in his speech at the Washington Convention Center. But it "took us nearly a decade to dig ourselves into the hole that we're in" and a full recovery will take time.
(CNN) - A new poll indicates that the battle for Connecticut's open Senate seat is becoming more competitive, as is next week's Republican Senate primary.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, 50 percent of Connecticut voters say they back longtime state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the presumptive Democratic nominee, with four in ten supporting former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon, the leading GOP Senate candidate, and seven percent undecided.
Blumenthal's ten point advantage is down from a 17 point lead in a Quinnipiac poll from last month and a 20 point margin from June.
"The McMahon-Blumenthal Senate race in Connecticut could be a real smackdown, as the Republican has the money and momentum, cutting into Blumenthal's lead month to month," says Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz. "Independent voters, the largest bloc of voters in Connecticut, are for the first time evenly divided between Linda McMahon, who gets 46 percent, and Richard Blumenthal, who gets 44 percent. Blumenthal led 54 – 35 percent among independent voters just three weeks ago."
Washington (CNN) - National Republicans are touting a primary result in Missouri where voters overwhelmingly rejected a key controversial part of the new health care law. But Democrats downplay the significance of the vote, the first in which the new health care law was on a ballot.
More than 70 percent of Missouri primary voters Tuesday cast ballots in favor of Proposition C. The measure would allow state residents to opt out of mandatory health insurance, a key part of the new health care reform law, which was pushed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. The proposition prohibits the federal government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having such insurance.
"In a significant blow to the Obama administration, the people of Missouri overwhelmingly struck down a central pillar of ObamaCare by passing a statute that prevents the federal government from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance," says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in a statement. "By rejecting ObamaCare with nearly three-quarters of the vote in a critical swing state, Missouri sent a clear message to Democrats and the Obama administration that government-run healthcare is a gross overreach of the federal government that needs to be repealed and replaced."
New York (CNNMoney.com) – The Senate overcame a key procedural hurdle Wednesday to send $26 billion more in federal aid to cash-strapped states.
The measure, which passed by a 61-38 vote, contains $16.1 billion in additional Medicaid money and $10 billion in education funding to prevent teacher layoffs.
State officials have been desperately lobbying their representatives, saying they need the money to shore up their budgets. President Obama weighed in Monday, asking lawmakers to pass the bill.
Senate Democrats needed to garner at least 60 votes for the measure to pass this initial vote, meaning some Republicans had to cross the aisle. That help came in the form of Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
Washington (CNN) - "The long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil" befouling the Gulf of Mexico is at last nearing a finish, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
"We learned overnight that efforts to stop the well through what's called a 'static kill' appear to be working and that a report out today by our scientists shows that the vast majority of spilled oil has been dispersed or removed from the water," the president told the AFL-CIO executive committee at the labor union's meeting in Washington.
"So, the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end, and we are very pleased with that," he said.
On the cleanup front, 74 percent of the oil that leaked from the well since the drilling rig sank in April has been collected, has dispersed or has evaporated, according to a government report released Wednesday.
Updated: 1:35 p.m.
President Obama’s birth certificate (left) has been certified authentic by the Republican governor of Hawaii. His birth announcement (right) appeared in print in 1961. (PHOTO CREDIT: State of Hawaii)
Washington (CNN) - It's surely not what the leader of the free world wants for his birthday. But, for a stubborn group of Americans, conspiracy theories about President Obama's birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving.
The president celebrates his 49th birthday Wednesday. On the same day, a new national poll indicates some Americans continue to doubt the president was born in the United States. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, more than a quarter of the public have doubts about Obama's citizenship, with 11 percent saying Obama was definitely not born in the United States and another 16 percent saying the president was probably not born in the country.
Forty-two percent of those questioned say they have absolutely no doubts that the president was born in the U.S., while 29-percent say he "probably" was.
Kansas City, Missouri (CNN) - An influential group of GOP officials called on the Republican National Committee Wednesday to open an investigation into the leaking of internal documents and sensitive information to the media - a major source of distraction for the party in this critical election year.
In one of their first orders of business at the opening of the RNC's Summer Meeting taking place here in Kansas City, Republican state party chairs approved a resolution urging the RNC executive committee to launch an investigation into the leaks.
"It is a unanimous move to strike against the repeated and consistent leaking in regards to committee finances," said a committee source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the vote occurred in a private meeting.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele's tenure at the committee can be described as rocky at best. It has been marred by embarrassing personal missteps, questions about his fundraising ability and poor decisions by staffers. But Republicans have won some major races in the past 18 months including the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia as well as the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
While a scandal involving a risqué Hollywood nightclub made major headlines earlier this year, it is concern about Steele's lack of focus on committee finances that has caused the most heartburn for RNC members and GOP strategists heading into the midterm elections.