Portal:Elections and Government Policy (U.S.)/In the news

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  • The Congressional Research Service issued a memo outlining the possible constitutional violations that occur in a situation like the current transportation earmark controversy.
  • The House passed an ethics bill on July 23 by voice vote that would ban lawmakers from paying their spouses for campaign work.
  • A watchdog group reported on Jul. 17 that senators have failed to claim responsibility for at least $7.5 billion worth of projects approved by the Appropriations Committee.
  • Arguing that they had fulfilled a promise to the electorate by raising the minimum wage, Democratic lawmakers in the House voted to raise congressional salaries for the following year by 2.7 percent on Jun. 27.
  • Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), stalled a major lobbying overhaul bill in late June by attempting to add a "poison pill" amendment to the Senate Campaign Disparity Act of 2007.
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the committee which funds the Vice President's office, threatened to cut off funding to Cheney's office on Jun. 26 if Cheney continued to exempt his office from oversight.
  • House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) prepared to confront Vice President Dick Cheney on trying to exempt his office from inspections by arguing that it is an entity outside the executive branch in late June.
  • Congressional watchdog groups came out against the current proposal for an independent ethics panel in the House in late Jun., over requirements that groups who submit complaints reveal their donors.
  • Democratic leaders in the Senate announced on Jun. 13 their intention to disclose all earmarks after they leave the Appropriations Committee, and publish the information on their website.
  • After GOP members successfully stalled the appropriations process in the House, on Jun. 13, House Republicans and Democratic leaders came to a tentative agreement over earmark disclosure in the FY2008 appropriations bills.
  • It was revealed on Jun. 13 that Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) secured more earmarks than any other senators in the 2008 Defense Department authorization bill.
  • As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were preparing start up talks on a ethics and lobbying reform package, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called in a last minute block in early Jule.
  • After President Bush called for doubling U.S. aid for global HIV/AIDS relief, a House Appropriations subcommittee approved on Jun. 5 a measure allowing the president, now or in the future, to waive current laws requiring one-third of U.S. aid for HIV/AIDS prevention to be spent on abstinence-only programs.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Jun. 1 her intention to create an independent ethics commission that would allow outside groups to file complaints against members of Congress, which previously could only be filed by other members.
  • President Bush called for an additional $30 billion in the FY 2008 budget for AIDS relief in Africa as part of a continuation of PEPFAR (President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief), on May 30.
  • The Justice Department confirmed in May that it remains opposed to a bill currently in Congress which would grant the District of Columbia a voting member of the House.
  • The House passed the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R.1255), which would restore the 1978 law making presidential records public after 12 years that President Bush amended by Executive Order to allow documents to be withheld indefinitely, on Mar. 14 by a veto-proof margin of 333-93.