- - Thursday, April 21, 2011

CONGRESS

Lawmakers make influential list

Four members of Congress - three Republicans and one Democrat - have been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The list includes House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota - all Republicans - and Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

Mrs. Bachmann, a darling of the tea-party movement who last year organized the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, fired off an email to reporters Friday morning shortly after Time made the list public, saying her inclusion “is a reflection of the growing voice of everyday Americans who desire to preserve and further the liberty on which our great country was founded.”

Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, crafted the chamber’s 2011 budget, which the House passed almost exclusively along party lines on April 15. Republicans hailed the proposal as a bold step toward reining in runaway government spending while holding down taxes. Democrats countered that the plan would slash benefits for seniors, the middle class and the poor while giving the wealthy and corporations tax breaks.

Mrs. Giffords is recovering from life-threatening injuries from a January gun attack in her Tucson-area district. “Before that morning, Gabrielle Giffords may not have been a household name,” wrote President Obama in an introduction for the congresswoman in the magazine. “But the reason she has long been admired by people of all political stripes is that she embodies the best of what public service should be: hard work and fair play, hope and resilience, a willingness to listen and a determination to do your best in a busy world.”

Mr. Boehner, an 11th-term congressman from the Cincinnati area, was elevated to House speaker when Republicans took control of the chamber in January. He has helped push through Mr. Ryan’s budget plan with few party defections despite many conservative GOP freshmen pressing for cuts beyond the plan’s aim to reduce government spending by $6 trillion over 10 years.

GAO

Criminal immigrants imprisoned on rise

Government auditors say about 55,000 immigrants were in federal prison last year.

The Government Accountability Office says that’s about a 7 percent increase from 51,000 in 2005.

Federal officials reimbursed local and state governments for jailing about 296,000 immigrants on civil violations and for crimes in 2009, compared to 220,000 in 2003.

The GAO estimates the federal government has spent about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion from 2005 to 2009 to incarcerate immigrants in federal and local facilities.

The GAO says the number of immigrants arrested and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement had risen 70 percent since 2009.

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