- - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Congress is taking its first look at problems voters had in November, including long lines that left many waiting for hours to cast ballots.

A rise in the use of provisional ballots delayed the results for days in some cases. And growing photo-ID requirements placed on voters by Republican-controlled legislatures in some states sparked intense partisan fights.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was to examine last month’s balloting during a hearing Wednesday on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The law requires federal approval for election changes in all or parts of 16 states with a history of racial discrimination.

The panel’s chairman, Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, described the long lines and new tools for policing voter fraud as evidence of abusive practices intended to disenfranchise minority voters.

HOUSE

Boehner under fire on own website for ‘Plan B’ for ‘cliff’

House Speaker John A. Boehner is being savaged on his own Web page, with commenters fiercely denouncing him for proposing a plan that would see income-tax rates rise for the wealthy.

Mr. Boehner’s approach, which he labeled “Plan B,” would extend the lower Bush-era income-tax rates for all but those with incomes above $1 million, who would see their rates rise from 35 percent to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6 percent.

But in the open comments forum on the speaker’s official Web page, there is scant support for his move.

John Boehner communicates as poorly as George W. Bush,” said commenter TruthPolice60, who said President Obama appears to be pushing Mr. Boehner around. “He is Obama’s ‘House boy.’”

Commenter Potvin said Mr. Boehner, who claims to have naturally dark skin, has instead been baking too long under artificial lights.

“Your tanning bed is frying your brain. Walk away from Obama. Now,” Potvin said.

WHITE HOUSE

It’s more of everything for 2nd Obama inaugural

Inaugural officials are planning more staff, signs and metal detectors to prevent the pedestrian jams that clogged the National Mall the first time President Obama was sworn in.

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