- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican congressman W. Todd Akin has been slowly rebuilding his Senate campaign in Missouri after apologizing for inflammatory remarks about pregnancy and rape.

Now Mr. Akin is approaching a critical week that could determine whether his re-emerging campaign can gain enough momentum to put Missouri back in the battleground column as Republicans attempt to win control of the Senate from Democrats.

Tuesday is the deadline for Mr. Akin to get a court order to drop his challenge of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. But Mr. Akin says he won’t quit.

Instead, Mr. Akin plans to ramp up his campaign. He’s holding a fundraiser Monday with former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He’s addressing a potentially influential group of pastors Tuesday morning. Then as the dropout clock ticks down, he’s embarking on a statewide bus tour.

HOUSE

GOP leaders reject plan for welfare

Republican leaders Friday pushed back against Obama administration efforts to allow states to waive federally mandated work rules in their welfare programs for needy families.

By a 250-164 vote, the House passed a resolution Friday rejecting the Department of Health and Human Services’ July notice to states that they could seek permission to devise their own definitions of work and participation rates in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Nineteen Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to block the HHS policy.

Also on Friday, Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, released a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, which asks her to explain by Oct. 25 how her agency reached its July 12 decision to grant states waivers on TANF work rules. A recent Government Accountability Office report said such waiver policy requires congressional approval, the Republican leaders said.

An HHS spokesman said Friday that the agency was standing by a July 18 letter from Mrs. Sebelius to Mr. Hatch and Mr. Camp that said HHS “is clearly authorized” to offer waivers. The goal is to allow states more flexibility to design their TANF work programs, and no state will be permitted to start a policy that “undercuts” or “waters down work requirements,” the HHS letter added.

SENATE

Hunting bill passes procedural hurdle

A sportsmen’s bill that could help a Democratic incumbent in Montana has survived a procedural hurdle in the Senate.

The bill would allow hunters to bring back 41 polar bear carcasses from Canada as big-game trophies. The bill also would permit more hunting and fishing on federal lands and let bow hunters cross federal land where hunting isn’t allowed.

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