Capitol Hill (CNN) – Congress has 110 new members and one new ruling party in the House. And then, not so new, are the 12,000+ registered lobbyists in Washington. (See the Center for Responsive Politics' database here.) This week, American Sauce asks whether change in Congress will force any change in the lobbyist ring of power.
And we clear up some numbers in the Health Care Wars. Does the new law save or cost the government? Does it add or kill jobs?
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Washington (CNN) - Lobbyist and former Congressional aide Ashley Turton, wife of a top White House staffer, was killed Monday in an early morning fire in her garage, according to sources familiar with the still-unfolding investigation.
D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer would not confirm the identity of the victim but said the first emergency calls came in around 5 a.m. ET. He said "the main theory now is that this was a crash event and then a fire" in the garage adjacent to Turton's home on Capitol Hill.
Washington (CNN) - Some knew Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, others just wanted an outlet for emotions they felt in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage. In all, more than 50 marchers gathered on Capitol Hill Saturday night to honor the victims.
The group braved sub-freezing temperatures and gusty winds, marching to the Capitol and up the west steps to hold the vigil.
Aspen, Colorado (CNN) – Craig Newmark, a self-described "nerd," has found a pretty nerdy issue on Capitol Hill and is seeing bipartisan support: transparency in government through technology.
Newmark, who founded the popular website Craigslist, is now the company's customer service representative and a board member of the Sunlight Foundation, which focuses on transparency in government.
"A democracy needs informed citizens to survive, and that requires accurate information on political matters," Newmark told CNN after a discussion on technology and government transparency with America's Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Washington (CNN) - A slew of adjectives come to mind to describe the past week on Capitol Hill: historic, intense, passionate and exhausting, to name a few. We saw Democrats finally reach their goal that for so long seemed so out of reach, and outnumbered Republicans giving their arguments against sweeping reform as the wrong prescription for what all agree is an ailing system.
This last leg of the health care marathon brought a slew of citizens to the Capitol. Unfortunately, some of the protests had nothing to do with health care – calling a civil rights icon the 'N' word, and hurling a slur at an openly gay congressman. There were also thousands of peaceful protesters genuinely exercising their precious right to demonstrate, to call on Congress not to pass health care legislation they vehemently oppose.
At one point during the weekend of House health care votes, several House Republicans went onto the balcony of the Capitol to show solidarity with the demonstrators. One of those GOP congressmen, Steve King of Iowa, was captured by our cameras holding a picture of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He gave a thumbs down, but then began to swipe the face of her picture, even appearing to slap it.
In an interview with King. I asked him to explain what appeared to be offensive gestures.
He called that description an exaggeration.
"My goal is to inspire people to stand up for the Constitution, stand up for fiscal responsibility, and stand up for the rule of law," said King, "This bill is an affront to the Constitution."
Washington (CNN) – Ask any Georgetown University Law Center professor how to beat the best basketball players Congress has to offer, and they might quote the Beatles: All you need is Love. Reggie Love, that is.
The former Duke University player and personal aide to President Obama took to the court Wednesday night in a surprise appearance to help the "Hoya Lawyas" faculty team defeat a congressional squad, 49-42, in the 23rd annual "Home Court" charity basketball game in Washington.
The members of Congress, dubbed the "Hill's Angels," ended the first half with a 10-point lead, but the tide quickly turned when Love rotated in for the Georgetown team shortly before halftime.
Love was the faculty team's second-highest scorer, with 8 points for the night. Mervyn Jones, son of the late Ohio congresswoman and longtime Hill's Angels coach Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, was the leading scorer for the congressional team with 16 points, the most for any player in the game.
Other top congressional scorers were Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania with 7 points and Michael Arcuri of New York with 6 points. Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona scored 4 points, all of them in free throws. Also scoring for the Hill's Angels were Democratic Reps. Gene Green of Texas, Frank Kratovil of Maryland, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, and John Boccieri of Ohio.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Paula Nowakowski, the chief of staff to House Minority Leader John Boehner, died Saturday, according to a statement from Boehner.
"It is with profound sadness and shock that I announce the passing of Paula Nowakowski, my longtime chief of staff, trusted aide, and friend, who died suddenly last night," Boehner said in the statement released Sunday.
Boehner spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said Sunday that the 46-year-old Nowakowski had "an apparent heart attack."
In his statement Boehner wrote, "Words cannot adequately express the sorrow and disbelief I and every member of our team are grappling with today in the wake of this stunning news. We will remember Paula as she would want to be remembered - as a tireless worker, faithful friend, rabid Detroit sports fan, whip-smart strategist, warrior for freedom, and devoted Catholic who counted President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II among her greatest heroes."
President Barack Obama called Boehner on Sunday to express his condolences, Ferrier said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The nation's capital city took a major step Friday toward legalizing same-sex marriage.
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a measure recognizing such marriages as legal. The city council overwhelming passed the bill on Tuesday, following a similar vote on December 1.
Fenty signed the measure at All Souls Church, a Unitarian-Universalist house of worship in the northwest part of the District that is known for its diversity and for the welcoming of same-sex couples.
The measure now goes to Congress for a 30-day review period, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill would block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District of Columbia's council.
If the measure becomes law, the District would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages. A law legalizing such marriages in New Hampshire takes affect on January 1.
Conservatives rallied in Washington Tuesday to show their opposition to Democrats' plans for health care reform. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Activists opposed to the Democrats' health care reform plans rallied outside the U.S. Capitol Tuesday.
The "Code Red Rally," was organized by a long list of conservative groups, including advocacy organizations Americans for Prosperity and Patients First. Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, and talk show host Laura Ingraham were among the featured speakers.
The event was held as Senate Democrats try to reach agreement on a health care reform plan.
Washington (CNN) - GOP leaders and thousands of Tea Party movement protesters gathered on Capitol Hill Thursday to call House Democrats' health care reform bill a full-blown government takeover of the nation' health care system.
"My colleagues and I last week were wracking our brains trying to figure out what could we do, because quite simply Republicans don't have the votes to kill this bill," Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told the crowd. "Every lever of power is controlled by one party now in DC. We tried to figure out what we could do. We knew that we were limited. But what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people, and that's why you are here today with your voice of persuasion.
"....Let me assure you your efforts to stop this bill are being heard loud and clear. And I will guarantee you that we are committed to making sure that not one Republican will vote for this bill."
Actor John Ratzenberger, known partly for his role as Cliff Clavin in the 1980s sitcom "Cheers," slammed the Democratic bill as a form of socialism.
"These are Woodstock Democrats," he said at the rally. "We have to remember where their philosophy comes from. It doesn't come from America. It comes from overseas. It comes from socialism. And socialism is a philosophy of failure."
Police later arrested 12 protesters outside Pelosi's office for unlawful entry or disorderly conduct, according to Capitol Hill police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.