Despite losses at the polls earlier this month, Senate Democrats are forging ahead with some of their top priorities during the lame duck session. Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday he’ll push for repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. He will also bring a vote on the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who grew up in the US. FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports.
A House ethics panel convicted one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress of eleven ethics violations today. Charlie Rangel, of New York, was accused of breaches including failing to pay taxes, and improperly soliciting donations. But as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, the conviction doesn’t mean Congress’s ethics watchdogs are doing a thorough job.
The co-chairs of Federal Debt Commission have released a draft proposal calling for deep spending cuts, elimination of tax breaks, and social security reform including raising the retirement age. The aggressive plan would strip nearly $4 trillion from the deficit. But as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, the bipartisan proposal drew fire from all quarters.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case that could have broad implications for consumers who are victims of small-time rip-offs. The case involves a clause in AT&T’s contracts banning consumers from joining class action lawsuits, and limits them to arbitration. Consumer groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending and the Consumer Federation of America, have come out in support of full access to the courts. FSRN’S Jacob Fenston reports.
While attention Tuesday focused on House and Senate races, voters were also electing more than six thousand state legislators. And the results of those races could be even more important than who controls Congress. State legislatures are responsible for redistricting, which will happen once the Census results are released early next year. Republicans’ big gains in the redistricting battles will shape politics for the next decade. FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports.
As voters head to the polls today, some are reporting problems ranging from intimidation to not being allowed to bring a dog inside the polling place. Conservative groups are mobilizing to fight voter fraud, concerned undocumented immigrants and others will vote illegally. But voting rights organizations worry that tea-party-affiliated groups are scaring away legitimate voters, and targeting minorities. DC Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell speaks with reporter Jacob Fenston who has been following developments from Washington.
The Obama Administration is easing a ban on military aid to countries using child soldiers. Citing national security, the President waived the Child Soldiers Prevention Act for four countries in the Middle East and Africa. The White House wants to give the countries more time to comply, but as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, human rights activists say the move completely undermines the law’s intent.
In the Iraq war, the Pentagon has long insisted it “doesn’t do body counts,” and the Bush Administration was critical of independent groups, like Iraq Body Count, which kept a tally of civilian death based on public records and media reports. But, as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, the WikiLeaks release over the weekend of nearly 400,000 military documents confirms much of that group’s work and paints a grim picture of the Iraq War’s toll on civilians.
The nation’s largest bank is restarting foreclosures in 23 states. The announcement came just ten days after Bank of America stopped processing foreclosures following allegations of fraudulent practices. But as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, the brief moratorium may not have fixed anything.
President Obama’s commission to investigate the Gulf Oil Spill released an initial report on Wednesday. They found the government’s response was slow in the spill’s early days – and suggested the administration may have held back worst-case scenario estimates. But, as FSRN’s Jacob Fenston reports, the White House is pushing back.