The kick-off of the 112th Congress on Wednesday also marked the end of an era in the House – the demise of a committee devoted solely to climate change and energy issues. The Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, created by Nancy Pelosi in 2006, has been shuttered under the new Republican leadership. In the final days of the committee, staffers released a report on what the committee accomplished in its brief tenure – an epitaph of sorts.
Just hours after taking control of the House, Republicans passed a sweeping set of rules promising transparency and reform.
But the new majority is already showing these promises aren’t exactly set in stone.
After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.
Outgoing Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) is headed for a pay raise, announcing on Tuesday he'll be joining a high-profile law firm that lobbies on transportation issues. While in Congress, Bond served as ranking member on a subcommittee that doled out transportation funds. Now he is joining the St. Louis-based law firm Thompson Coburn as a partner.
"I joined this firm to be a lawyer, not to be a lobbyist," Bond told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday, pointing to ethics rules that ban former lawmakers from lobbying for two years after leaving the chamber. "I do not plan to be involved in lobbying Congress."
The Senate approved a new strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia on Wednesday, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory in his drive to improve ties with Moscow and curb the spread of atomic weapons to other countries.
This is breaking news....
Representative Ron Paul, Texas Republican and author of "End the Fed," will take control of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve.
"This is the leadership team that crafted the first comprehensive financial reform bill to put an end to the bailouts, wind down the taxpayer funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and enforce a strong audit of the Federal Reserve," Bachus said in a statement.
To keep U.S. warplanes flying over Afghanistan, the Pentagon allowed a "secrecy obsessed" business group to supply jet fuel to a U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan, turning a blind eye to an elaborate fraud involving fuel deliveries from Russia, according to congressional investigators.
In a report due to be released Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs hammers the Pentagon and also State Department diplomats for ignoring red flags raised by jet fuel contracts worth nearly $2 billion for the Manas Transit Center, a U.S. base used for in-flight refueling over Afghanistan.
The US Senate has passed bill to end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, putting the long campaign to end the ban on gay men and lesbians close to its conclusion. The final vote was 65 Senators in favor and 31 opposed to the bill.
This is breaking news.
Page 19 of 43