Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday fired back at critics who accused him of being a “Russian asset” after he blocked legislation last week that would have strengthened U.S. election security.
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So, kids, who watched the Jeff Beauregard Sessions’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee today? If you missed it, no prob. I have the important points. After Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner made their statements, Beauregard gave his opening statement:
“Let me say this clearly: I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russkies, and any person who says I did is a scurrilous scoundrel of the highest order, and the very thought of it gives me the vapors!”
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From Andrew Schenkel at mother nature network:
Thursday morning in Washington began with what has become a yearly ritual. The executives from the big five oil companies got to answer questions about their government subsidies in the wake of huge quarterly profits.
Senate Finance Committee Chariman Max Baucus wanted to know exactly why the “Big Five” felt they should continue to get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies while enjoying profits of $31 billion during the first quarter of 2011 alone.
While many reports will make note of the hearing’s circus atmosphere that included Sen. Orrin Hatch’s unveiling of a picture of a dog sitting on a pony after saying he didn’t want the hearing to be about cheap political stunts, there was some actual tension in the room that didn’t require any stunts to feel.
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From The Washington Post:
Three major oil industry executives agreed on one thing in a pair of Senate hearings Tuesday: Someone else was to blame for the drilling rig accident that triggered the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The senior executives from the oil behemoth BP, the offshore oil drilling company Transocean and the oilfield services contractor Halliburton pointed fingers at each other in seeking to explain what caused the accident that set afire and sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 people.
BP blamed the failure of Transocean’s blowout preventer and raised a new question about whether Transocean disregarded “anomalous pressure test readings” just hours before the explosion. Transocean blamed decisions made by BP and cited possible flaws in the cementing job done by Halliburton. And Halliburton said that it had faithfully followed BP’s instructions and that Transocean had started replacing a heavy drilling mud with seawater before the well was sealed with a cement plug.
To the tune of If I Only Had a Brain, written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, as performed by the fabulous Ray Bolger:
I sit here, oh so coyly, don’t know why the gulf’s so oily,
But I’m here to proclaim,
That I couldn’t say for certain,
But I think that Halliburton,
Is the company to blame.
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From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R-UT) political life is on the line tomorrow, with a state Republican convention that has the power to deny him even any chance to fight for the GOP nomination in a primary — and a party base that has been dissatisfied and sees him as being too settled in Washington after three terms.
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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Top Wall Street executives reacted harshly on Friday to proposed legislation that would punitively tax bonuses awarded to employees at firms receiving federal assistance.
Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Ken Lewis issued strongly worded internal memos about the proposed tax legislation, according to the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, while J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon sought to reassure his top executives that the firm is engaging with lawmakers on the matter.
The legislation, passed by the House on Thursday, would impose a 90% tax on bonuses for employees making over $250,000 a year at companies receiving at least $5 billion in federal aid under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
Citi’s Pandit criticized the proposed legislation in a memo to employees on Friday, arguing that it could result in the firm losing top talent.
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From The Washington Post:
President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday that he has selected a “top-notch intelligence team” that would provide the “unvarnished” information his administration needs, rather than “what they think the president wants to hear.”
On Capitol Hill, Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence were still stewing over Obama not consulting them on the choice before it was leaked Monday and continued to question Panetta’s intelligence experience. Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. acknowledged that the transition team had made a “mistake” in not consulting or even notifying congressional leaders, and Obama telephoned committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her predecessor, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), yesterday to apologize.
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