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Inside Politics: Grassley asks HUD for data on public housing officials’ pay

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Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the Obama administration to post the compensation of top officials at public housing agencies across the country.

The request Tuesday from the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee comes a day after the administration announced pay limits for top local housing executives.

The Housing and Urban Development Department imposed pay limits after finding instances of housing agencies in Atlanta and Los Angeles with compensation packages that in 2010 exceeded $600,000 for each of their directors.

HOUSE

Proposal would help parents collect foreign child support

Legislation passed by the House Tuesday would make it easier for states to collect child-support payments from parents living outside the United States.

The measure, approved by a voice vote, would put the United States on a course to ratifying a 2007 international treaty on child support under which participants would cooperate in ensuring that families receive the financial support promised.

"This bill is about empowering states, which operate the child support enforcement program, to do more to help families, and most importantly, children," said Rep. Rick Berg, North Dakota Republican and the bill's sponsor.

The 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance has been signed by the United States, the European Union and several other mostly European countries, including Ukraine, Albania, Norway and Bosnia and Herzegovina. So far, only Norway has ratified it.

CALIFORNIA

Romney's lack of military record faces scrutiny

SAN DIEGO — Mitt Romney's military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny as he courts veterans and makes his case to the nation to be commander in chief.

The Republican presidential candidate is calling for a stronger, active American military. But he avoided military service at the height of the Vietnam War.

Mr. Romney sought and received four draft deferments from 1965 to 1970 during college and his time as a Mormon missionary in France.

As a presidential candidate in 2007, he said he had "longed" to be in Vietnam. But his actions, Selective Service records and previous statements showed little interest in joining the conflict.

President Obama, whose job Mr. Romney is seeking, also did not serve in the military.

CONGRESS

Lawmakers consider pick for ambassador to Iraq

Democrats and Republicans pressed ahead on President Obama's choice for U.S. ambassador to Iraq, even though a top GOP lawmaker has "grave concerns" about the nomination of Brett McGurk.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, with members of the panel saying they saw no obstacles to Mr. McGurk winning their approval to the posting to one of the United States' largest diplomatic missions in the world.

"He's had diverse experience in Iraq. He's probably had more assignments there than anyone I can think of and in very senior positions," Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., Pennsylvania Democrat, said Tuesday. "I think he'll do quite well."

But Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, remains critical of what he says is Mr. McGurk's failure to negotiate with Baghdad to ensure a U.S. residual force in Iraq after combat troops left at the end of 2011.

"I think when you see the unraveling of Iraq that's taking place, we should have had a residual force," Mr. McCain told reporters Tuesday. "Everybody knows that. But that wasn't what Obama wanted."

Asked if he would try to block the nomination, Mr. McCain said, "I have to see what happens in his hearing."

PENNSYLVANIA

Romney eyes Keystone State as possible pickup

GETTYSBURG — Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his allies are pouring money into Pennsylvania even though his party's nominees have lost there five straight times.

Some independent analysts say the same result is likely this year. But few expect President Obama to repeat his double-digit victory of four years ago.

If Republicans can make Mr. Obama sweat and scrape for Pennsylvania, it will consume resources he otherwise could use in crucial states such as Florida and Ohio. They say Mr. Obama's economic record gives them a chance.

Mr. Obama campaign aides say they will fight hard to win the state again. They say women in the Philadelphia suburbs will be turned off by GOP stances on sex issues and deliver crucial votes.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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