- - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HOUSE

Hoyer: GOP lawmakers not being adults on vote

The No. 2 House Democrat chastised the chamber’s controlling Republicans for scheduling a “charade” vote Tuesday on raising the nation’s debt ceiling and advised his party colleagues not to support it.

“It will not be an adult moment on the floor of the House of Representatives, which is of course what [House Speaker John A.] Boehner said it would be when we considered the debt limit extension,” said House Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland during his weekly briefing with reporters Tuesday.

“To put something on the floor for the purpose of seeing it fail, particularly putting on the floor a bill of this consequence without any opportunity to debate in any significant way, or to amend in any way, is demonstration of the fact that this is simply a political charade.”

Mr. Hoyer said he doesn’t advise his Democratic colleagues to support the GOP measure and “subject themselves to being politically gained.”

“If Republicans were prepared to work on a bipartisan basis on this issue … then I would be prepared to urge at least half of my members to support the extension of the debt limit, including myself,” he said. “But my advice to them is not to play this political charade.”

GOP

Romney labels Obama ‘ineffective president’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is calling President Obama “one of the most ineffective presidents” he’s ever seen, and says he can beat him next year.

Mr. Romney tells NBC in an interview that while Mr. Obama wasn’t responsible for the recession he inherited, “he made things worse. He’s failed.”

Mr. Romney also says he thinks Obama lacks “a cogent assessment” of world affairs. The Republican charges, “The Arab Spring came, one of the greatest opportunities we’ve seen in decades, and we’ve been flatfooted.”

Mr. Romney, who plans to formally get into the GOP presidential race later this week, says he doesn’t think his Mormon faith will be an obstacle to winning his party’s nomination, saying “we’re not electing a pastor in chief, we’re electing a commander in chief.”

NEW YORK

Lawmaker hires lawyer after online lewd photo

NEW YORK — New York Congressman Anthony D. Weiner has hired a lawyer to investigate what steps to take regarding a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, which his spokesman says was hacked.

Weiner spokesman Dave Arnold says the Democrat believes it was a prank. But he’s retained a lawyer to advise him on what civil or criminal actions should be taken.

The photo, which showed a man’s bulging underpants, was posted on Friday. It was quickly deleted.

It first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.

The site said the photo was tweeted to a woman in Seattle.

The congressman later joked about it on Twitter, asking whether his kitchen blender would be next to “attack” him.

HOUSE

Republicans question healthier eating plans

House Republicans are pushing back against Obama administration efforts to promote healthier eating in a spending bill that pays for food and farm spending.

According to people familiar with the legislation, which was expected to be approved by the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday evening, it would direct the Agriculture Department to write new, healthier menu guidelines for school lunches, which Republicans say are too costly.

The bill also questions a government proposal to curb marketing of unhealthy foods to children and attempts to limit new rules that requires calorie counts to be posted on menus, according to some who have seen it but were not authorized to speak about it.

The spending bill would also cut funding for domestic feeding programs and international food aid.

GEORGIA

Court to sell recordings of health care arguments

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court in Atlanta says it will allow high-profile arguments over the Obama administration’s health care overhaul law to be recorded so they can be sold to the public.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that suspends a ban on audio devices in the courtroom for the June 8 oral arguments.

A court memo says officials plan to sell CDs of the recordings for $26. The court still bans the use of electronic recording devices by the general public.

Some 26 states have asked the appeals court to uphold a Florida judge’s ruling that struck down the changes to the health care system. The Justice Department counters that Congress had the clear authority to adopt the new health care rules.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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