WASHINGTON (CNN) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi marked President Obama's 100 days in office with some unsolicited advice to Republican voters: "take back your party."
The California Democrat offered her own analysis of the political environment for her political opponents, asserting Republicans across the country are more willing to work with Democrats than their leaders on Capitol Hill.
"Yes, there is, shall we say – a 'radical right-wing' element with whom they identify. But by and large, I say to Republicans in America: take back your party. The party of protecting the environment. The party of individual rights. The party of fairness. This is not the Grand Old Party."
Pelosi concluded her long riff about the GOP by saying, "our country needs a strong diverse Republican party." Without missing a beat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chimed in, saying "not too strong."
As Pelosi, Reid and other Democratic leaders ticked off a list of legislative accomplishments passed largely without GOP support, the Speaker insisted she's tried to reach out to Republicans in Congress, but said it hasn't been easy.
Updated after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republican leaders rolled out their alternative budget on Thursday to respond to President Obama's charge they were slamming his proposal without offering one of their own.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, House GOP Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, held up an 18 page document entitled, "The Republican Road to Recovery" and said, "well, it's just not true, because here it is Mr. President."
Watch GOP leaders unveil their budget blueprint
But, when pressed for the details on how the GOP plan differed from the President's, Boehner acknowledged he didn’t have many. “This is a blueprint for where we’re going," Bohener said.
The blueprint includes familiar Republican proposals to limit wasteful government spending, cut the size of government, and provide incentives to private entities to expand access to healthcare. It also includes a major overhaul of the tax code, proposing a marginal tax rate of 10 percent for income up to $100,000 and 25 percent for any income above that level.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters maintains she did nothing wrong when she sought federal help last fall for a minority-owned bank in which her husband owns stock.
Waters, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, confirmed Friday that she set up a meeting last September with Treasury Department officials to address concerns from minority-owned banks impacted by the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including OneUnited Bank.
Waters' husband, Sidney Williams, had been on the board of OneUnited Bank until last April, and still owns stock that was worth between $250,000 to $500,000 at the end of 2007, when Waters last filed congressional disclosure forms.
According to the New York Times, the chief executive of OneUnited used the meeting to ask for $50 million in bailout funds. The Times reported that Treasury officials attending the meeting, including Jeb Mason, did not know at the time about Waters' ties to OneUnited Bank. Waters did not attend the meeting but did send her chief of staff.
In a statement released Friday, Waters says the meeting with Treasury officials was requested by the National Bankers Association (NBA), the trade organization for minority-owned banks and that she followed up on the request, as did other members of Congress.
"Recent press reports have raised questions about my advocacy on behalf of minority banks. Ultimately, however, these articles only revealed one thing: I am indeed an advocate for minority banks," said Waters.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An aide to Rep. Xavier Becerra and a Democratic leadership aide both say a key reason he turned down the job of U.S. Trade Representative is because trade is simply not a top priority for the country right now, and Becerra felt that he would be better off staying in the House where he can deal with a broader range of issues such as health care and immigration.
The Democratic leadership aide said that another factor is that Becerra is a relatively young and a member of the Democratic leadership with real potential to rise higher in the House Democratic ranks, and didn’t want to get off that track for a narrowly focused, relatively low profile job as USTR.
It is noteworthy that a Democratic member of Congress was actually offered a post in the Obama administration and turned it down in a public way.
Becerra also did an interview with editorial board of La Opinion where he raised concerns about how much influence the position would have. "My worry [was] how much weight this position would hold, and I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be priority number one, and it might not be number to or three," he was quoted as saying.
Earlier Wednesday, Becerra released a statement saying he was eager to work alongside Barack Obama in the Congress.