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Earmarks and Eric Cantor’s Primary Loss

Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin have an excellent piece in The New York Times on the changing demographics of voters in suburban districts and how that led to primary defeats of Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi (now in a runoff) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia. I think they underplay a critical

Reid Goes On Record For Earmarks

Earmark reform is a hot topic on Capitol Hill and in the advocacy community. Earlier this week, Senator Reidcommented on the need to repeal the ban on earmarks.  This is not a new sentiment for many members of the House and Senate.  What is new is for a congressional leader to actually

Is Obama’s budget DOA?

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Lori Montgomery did an excellent job laying out why Obama’s budget matters less this year than most.  But don’t let that fool you; it still matters, and matters a ton. First, Congress has fewer than 150 staff in the House and Senate combined who review the president’s budget and put

Last One Out…

This week has been a big one for congressional retirements (Coburn, McCarthy, McKeon, McIntyre, Moran, Owens).  Many we have heard about, including half a dozen Members, for various reasons but at least one columnist has speculated that it is the working conditions.  Other departures have been more quiet as three senior House Appropriations Committee staffers

Congressional Staff Continue to be Punching Bag

This morning on WTOP’s morning program Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1) blamed the government shutdown on Democrats’ refusal to remove the “gold-plated” health care benefit from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  That’s the provision that allows the government to chip in for Members and their staff’s health benefits.  Interestingly, fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a sponsor

Update On Government Employee Benefit Loss

As I mused in my last post, one argument in Congress is not ONLY should Congressional staff receive a subsidy as they are moved out of FEHBP and into the Exchange, it has also become who else should be moved without an employer match.  According to a recent Robert Wood Johnson survey, slightly

Federal Gov Staff to lose FEHBP

During a Communicating and Working with Congress seminar Ken Gold and I were teaching last week, I brought to the attention of the class the prospect that congressional staff may seem a little more ornery than normal due to the fact that they may be losing their government health insurance.  While many of the Congressional

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