(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) – Staffers to a top House GOP member sought to clarify an earlier claim of political violence against him Friday after police determined that a bullet shot at his local campaign office was the result of random gunfire.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters Thursday that a bullet had been shot through the window of his Richmond office - supposedly part of an escalating cycle of violence and threats in the wake of Sunday's sharply polarized health care reform vote.
Richmond police later determined, however, that Cantor had not been targeted by political opponents. Instead, they concluded, the incident was a consequence of "random gunfire."
"Given a recent spike in threats against Representative Cantor, he, his family and his security were concerned the bullet found in his campaign office was related to a number of violent e-mails and phone messages, many of them anti-Semitic and some of them threatening gun violence," Cantor spokesman John Murray said.
The congressman "was very happy to find out that police attributed this particular incident to random gunfire," Murray said. Now "we need to move on."
Cantor said Thursday that he had been "directly threatened." Hours later, however, the Richmond Police Department provided a statement noting that a preliminary investigation concluded "that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpanebut did not penetrate the window blinds."
The Senate campaign of Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek is the lead sponsor of a NASCAR vehicle.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - NASCAR stock cars have long been traveling billboards for motor oil, whiskey, even mayonnaise and trashbags, but one of the cars whizzing Saturday along the Daytona International Speedway was a marketing vehicle for a politician.
NASCAR's official kickoff to its season at the racetrack included a marketing vehicle for U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Florida.
"There are a number of businesses that benefit from the presence of this race," Meek, who calls himself a longtime NASCAR fan, told CNN in a trackside interview. "I want to be a part of it, and I want to be able to reach out to the NASCAR world and let them know that I'm a part of it."
Meek was the lead sponsor of driver Mike Wallace's race car in the sport's second-tier Nationwide series race, which began the weekend ahead of Sunday's Daytona 500.
Washington (CNN) - Congress is rushing to pass a bill that would allow Americans to write off donations for Haiti disaster relief on last year's tax returns, instead of waiting until next year to deduct their charitable contributions.
Lawmakers hope it will encourage more Americans to help fund aid efforts in the devastated nation. Republican and Democratic leadership aides in the House and Senate tell CNN they expect the bill will pass easily and quickly, possibly as soon as next week. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York; and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, introduced a bill Friday that would apply to donations that have already been made and to donations for Haiti relief that are made before March 1.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa announced their intention Friday to introduce a similar bill once the Senate returns on Tuesday.
Congress passed similar legislation in 2005 to encourage charitable donations following the tsunami that devastated nations on the Indian Ocean in December 2004.
(CNN) - Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky was one of President Obama's earliest and most ardent supporters.
She served in the Illinois state legislature with him, and she supported his run for the U.S. Senate. But on the issue of Afghanistan, the president can't bank on the support of his longtime political ally.
"I think he's made up his mind that at this point there ought to be a troop increase, and I have to say I'm very skeptical about that as a solution," she said.
Obama is expected to announce Tuesday night that he's sending 30,000 more troops to the war-torn country and ordering military officials to get the reinforcements there within six months, White House officials say.
Washington (CNN) - As Republicans swept the top three offices in Democratic-leaning Virginia last week, Rep. Eric Cantor was in Richmond, shaking hands with supporters and rallying GOP troops as he proclaimed, "The Republican resurgence begins tonight."
He was also taking notes.
In an election that Republicans claim is an indicator that the American electorate is unnerved with the sweeping changes President Obama and congressional Democrats are making in Washington, the GOP sees an opportunity in the 2010 congressional midterm elections, where one in three Senate seats and every seat in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot.
"We're going to take the model that worked in Virginia, so we can unite our party and begin to appeal to independents with solutions that affect our lives," Cantor told reporters in a Richmond ballroom shortly before Bob McDonnell was projected to be the state's next governor.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN Monday that Gov. Mark Sanford told him that he'd had a good weekend with his family. Graham also said "there is hope there" that Sanford can reconcile with his wife, and that his fellow Republican expects to finish out his term.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Outraged House Democrats are scrambling to figure out what, if anything, they can do to recoup the $165 million in bonuses AIG awarded to employees after the company received $170 billion in federal bailout funds.
A House Democratic leadership aide and a House financial services committee aide said Congress is trying to shame AIG executives and employees into forgoing the bonuses while investigating possible legal avenues that can be used to force AIG to return the money used for bonuses.
The House financial services committee is trying to determine if Congress can force AIG to renegotiate the bonuses the company says it is legally required to give employees as dictated by contracts negotiated before it received its first infusion of bailout dollars in September, according to the committee aide.
Both aides said it is unclear what authority Congress has to force AIG to take back the bonuses. Complicating the issue is the fact that the first infusion of cash to AIG was authorized by the Federal Reserve before Congress passed the $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program, which included some restrictions on executive pay.
AIG CEO Edward Liddy will face intense questioning about the bonuses when he testifies Wednesday before the House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– House Democratic aides denied Wednesday that work is already underway on another stimulus package. The push back came a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested more stimulus spending might be needed and the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee said he had already instructed his staff to begin working on a bill.
But multiple Democratic aides told CNN another stimulus plan is not in the works, and they maintained that Democratic leaders believe it will take more time to know whether the first recovery package is effective before taking up another bill.
One leadership aide said that House Appropriations Chairman David Obey got ahead of himself when he told CNN Tuesday evening that his committee was considering another stimulus package, though he had cautioned there was no timeline for moving it.
This aide said House Democratic leaders are letting the current stimulus play out, and that it will be "at least several months, as we get toward the end of the year and see where we are" before they would consider another stimulus bill.
Another Democratic aide said that the Appropriations committee "is not putting pen to paper. We think it's too soon to do [a second stimulus] now."
(CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the full list of her guests at President Obama's address to Congress Tuesday night:
Front row of the Speaker’s box:
-Former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro
-Mayor of Washington, DC Adrian Fenty
-Mr. Paul Pelosi
-Crew Members from U.S. Airways Flight 1549
-Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger
-First Officer Jeffrey Skiles
-Doreen Welsh, Flight Attendant and her son Timothy Welsh, 25
More guests after the jump