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Social Security 101

The first time I ever heard of Social Security reform was in 1967. It was one of the myriad ideas on various subjects floated by the late Rep. Roman Pucinski, D-Ill., who served in Congress from 1959 to 1973. "Puch," as everyone called him, was chairman of the House education subcommittee, but he was interested in everything from foreign policy to social mores.

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Social Security 101

BY MORTON KONDRACKE

The first time I ever heard of Social Security reform was in 1967. It was one of the myriad ideas on various subjects floated by the late Rep. Roman Pucinski, D-Ill., who served in Congress from 1959 to 1973. "Puch," as everyone called him, was chairman of the House education subcommittee, but he was interested in everything from foreign policy to social mores.

01/10/2005
A Wealth of Choices in Oregon 1

For the past few cycles, Republicans have dreamed about finding the ideal challenger to Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.): a wealthy candidate with political contacts, able to appeal to Portland business leaders, suburban moderates and grassroots conservatives alike. This year, the GOP has two candidates who fit that description. The question is whether the circumstance is an embarrassment of riches, or simply an embarrassment.

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A Wealth of Choices in Oregon 1

BY Josh Kurtz

For the past few cycles, Republicans have dreamed about finding the ideal challenger to Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.): a wealthy candidate with political contacts, able to appeal to Portland business leaders, suburban moderates and grassroots conservatives alike. This year, the GOP has two candidates who fit that description. The question is whether the circumstance is an embarrassment of riches, or simply an embarrassment.

10/29/2003
Another Coalition of the Willing

When President Bush rallied support for his tax-cut package at a gathering of business leaders on Tuesday, it marked the first time that the president has publicly urged his allies in the industry to help him move his plan through Capitol Hill. "Congress needs to hear from you," Bush exhorted a boisterous crowd of more than 600 business leaders gathered at the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "You all can make a difference in this debate." Privately, Bush has been delivering that message to businesses for years.

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Another Coalition of the Willing

BY Brody Mullins and Ethan Wallison

When President Bush rallied support for his tax-cut package at a gathering of business leaders on Tuesday, it marked the first time that the president has publicly urged his allies in the industry to help him move his plan through Capitol Hill. "Congress needs to hear from you," Bush exhorted a boisterous crowd of more than 600 business leaders gathered at the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "You all can make a difference in this debate." Privately, Bush has been delivering that message to businesses for years.

05/07/2003
Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker. "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker," said one senior party strategist, who indicated that "multiple" Members have sought out his advice on the matter. "A number of people are saying grace over this together." But some centrists, such as Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), have signaled that they will support Pelosi in the largely symbolic vote at the beginning of the 108th Congress. "He's as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be," Bishop spokesman Selby McCash said. Nevertheless, one senior Democratic aide noted, "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." Already Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of the party's conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has indicated that he will once again back Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in the vote for Speaker. Insiders say there is little chance Pelosi will receive votes from other conservatives such as Reps. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), who only recently flirted with switching parties. Neither Hall nor Lucas could be reached for comment this week. A senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate for Speaker, but indicated that no one has yet "detected any evidence" of any significant opposition to the California lawmaker. "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come," the aide said, while indicating it is the leadership's "preference" - not its demand - that Members back Pelosi. "We're not here to kill people," the aide said. Uneasiness about Pelosi - but specifically with her liberal credentials - has been evident among moderate Democrats since the California lawmaker was first elected to the leadership as the party Whip. First Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and later Reps. Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) all sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping this anxiety and suggesting that she would serve as a useful symbol for Republicans hoping to paint the Democrats as a party of intransigent liberals. That message would appear to have some traction in the Caucus. In spite of an 11th-hour start, Ford received 29 votes in his leadership matchup with Pelosi last month. In fact, many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology. Bob Doyle, a political consultant who has worked with a number of party moderates, noted that voters are most likely to make judgments about the Democrats from observing the party's nominee for president, not from its leader in the House. Doyle, who has often in the past clashed with party leaders over ideology, said moderates are likely to find reason for optimism in Pelosi's reign as leader. "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people," Doyle said. GOP strategists did in fact seek to link conservative Democrats such as Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Rodney Alexander (La.) to Pelosi in the just-completed election cycle. Both candidates won, but insiders suggest that neither is expected to back Pelosi for the Speakership. At least one outside group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which promotes tax cuts and other conservative economic policies, has begun an effort to undermine Pelosi's tally - the Speakership election is a recorded vote - by seeking to pressure Democrats elected from relatively conservative districts. "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion," CSE said in a press release this week. CSE indicated it has targeted 14 moderates, who are identified on the campaign's Web site, http://www.notpelosi.com. They are Bishop, Ford, Hall, Lucas and Taylor, plus Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Brad Carson (Okla.), Bud Cramer (Ala.), Chris John (La.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Max Sandlin (Texas) and Charlie Stenholm (Texas). CSE is likely to find that some of those targeted are not at all susceptible to whatever pressure is brought to bear. Berry, Peterson and Sandlin, for instance, are longtime Pelosi allies who supported her publicly through her first forays into leadership politics. Bishop, who is someone who has to rely on Pelosi's goodwill for a seat on the Appropriations Committee - or, alternatively, to take over for her as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee - is a more recent ally.

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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

BY Ethan Wallison

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker. "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker," said one senior party strategist, who indicated that "multiple" Members have sought out his advice on the matter. "A number of people are saying grace over this together." But some centrists, such as Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), have signaled that they will support Pelosi in the largely symbolic vote at the beginning of the 108th Congress. "He's as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be," Bishop spokesman Selby McCash said. Nevertheless, one senior Democratic aide noted, "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." Already Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of the party's conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has indicated that he will once again back Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in the vote for Speaker. Insiders say there is little chance Pelosi will receive votes from other conservatives such as Reps. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), who only recently flirted with switching parties. Neither Hall nor Lucas could be reached for comment this week. A senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate for Speaker, but indicated that no one has yet "detected any evidence" of any significant opposition to the California lawmaker. "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come," the aide said, while indicating it is the leadership's "preference" - not its demand - that Members back Pelosi. "We're not here to kill people," the aide said. Uneasiness about Pelosi - but specifically with her liberal credentials - has been evident among moderate Democrats since the California lawmaker was first elected to the leadership as the party Whip. First Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and later Reps. Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) all sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping this anxiety and suggesting that she would serve as a useful symbol for Republicans hoping to paint the Democrats as a party of intransigent liberals. That message would appear to have some traction in the Caucus. In spite of an 11th-hour start, Ford received 29 votes in his leadership matchup with Pelosi last month. In fact, many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology. Bob Doyle, a political consultant who has worked with a number of party moderates, noted that voters are most likely to make judgments about the Democrats from observing the party's nominee for president, not from its leader in the House. Doyle, who has often in the past clashed with party leaders over ideology, said moderates are likely to find reason for optimism in Pelosi's reign as leader. "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people," Doyle said. GOP strategists did in fact seek to link conservative Democrats such as Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Rodney Alexander (La.) to Pelosi in the just-completed election cycle. Both candidates won, but insiders suggest that neither is expected to back Pelosi for the Speakership. At least one outside group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which promotes tax cuts and other conservative economic policies, has begun an effort to undermine Pelosi's tally - the Speakership election is a recorded vote - by seeking to pressure Democrats elected from relatively conservative districts. "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion," CSE said in a press release this week. CSE indicated it has targeted 14 moderates, who are identified on the campaign's Web site, http://www.notpelosi.com. They are Bishop, Ford, Hall, Lucas and Taylor, plus Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Brad Carson (Okla.), Bud Cramer (Ala.), Chris John (La.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Max Sandlin (Texas) and Charlie Stenholm (Texas). CSE is likely to find that some of those targeted are not at all susceptible to whatever pressure is brought to bear. Berry, Peterson and Sandlin, for instance, are longtime Pelosi allies who supported her publicly through her first forays into leadership politics. Bishop, who is someone who has to rely on Pelosi's goodwill for a seat on the Appropriations Committee - or, alternatively, to take over for her as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee - is a more recent ally.

12/19/2002
Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker.

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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

BY Ethan Wallison

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker.

12/19/2002
Climbers

A Peaceful Endeavor. Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) bids farewell to his chief of staff, Marie Wheat, who moves to the Peace Corps to be director of Congressional relations. Wheat was appointed to the post by President Bush. The Mauldin, S.C., native made her Capitol Hill debut in 1993 as budget analyst for then-Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio).

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Climbers

BY Jennifer Yachnin

A Peaceful Endeavor. Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) bids farewell to his chief of staff, Marie Wheat, who moves to the Peace Corps to be director of Congressional relations. Wheat was appointed to the post by President Bush. The Mauldin, S.C., native made her Capitol Hill debut in 1993 as budget analyst for then-Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio).

06/17/2002
Climbers

AFresh Spin. Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) spruces up the committee's press office by hiring a new communications director and press secretary. Christin Tinsworth advances to the communications director post after serving as deputy director of communications. Before joining the committee staff in 2001, Tinsworth was communications director to Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.). The Bradenton, Fla., native also spent a year as press secretary for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that lobbies for lower tax rates. Tinsworth began her career in the office of her hometown lawmaker, Rep. Dan Miller (R-Fla.). She joined the office in 1997 as a legislative assistant before moving up to press secretary. A 1993 alumna of Vanderbilt University, Tinsworth has a bachelor's in political science and human and organizational development. New to the office is Molly Millerwise, who takes on duties as press secretary. The Pinconning, Mich., native moves over from the House Republican Conference, where she served as deputy press secretary and press assistant to Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-Okla.). Millerwise has also worked for Quinn Gillespie & Associates, where she served as a staff assistant. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Millerwise has a bachelor's in business management. Land of Opportunity. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has tapped two former interns, Amber Elbert and Jason Smedley, to be constituent relations assistants. In addition to interning for the Arkansas Senator, Elbert, 22, has also interned in Rep. Marion Berry's (D-Ark.) office. The Horseshoe Bend, Ark., native is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas. She has a bachelor's in psychology. Smedley, 24, hails from Little Rock, Ark. He has also interned in Rep. Vic Snyder's (D-Ark.) office. Smedley plans to graduate from Howard University in 2003 with a degree in English. Check It Out. James Gallagher has been tapped to be director of information technology services at the Library of Congress. Gallagher is a veteran of the Justice Department, most recently serving as acting deputy assistant attorney general and deputy chief information officer. He received his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and has a bachelor's from Connecticut's Fairfield University. Gallagher is also a graduate of National Defense University's Information Resources Management College.

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Climbers

BY Jennifer Yachnin

AFresh Spin. Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) spruces up the committee's press office by hiring a new communications director and press secretary. Christin Tinsworth advances to the communications director post after serving as deputy director of communications. Before joining the committee staff in 2001, Tinsworth was communications director to Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.). The Bradenton, Fla., native also spent a year as press secretary for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that lobbies for lower tax rates. Tinsworth began her career in the office of her hometown lawmaker, Rep. Dan Miller (R-Fla.). She joined the office in 1997 as a legislative assistant before moving up to press secretary. A 1993 alumna of Vanderbilt University, Tinsworth has a bachelor's in political science and human and organizational development. New to the office is Molly Millerwise, who takes on duties as press secretary. The Pinconning, Mich., native moves over from the House Republican Conference, where she served as deputy press secretary and press assistant to Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-Okla.). Millerwise has also worked for Quinn Gillespie & Associates, where she served as a staff assistant. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Millerwise has a bachelor's in business management. Land of Opportunity. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has tapped two former interns, Amber Elbert and Jason Smedley, to be constituent relations assistants. In addition to interning for the Arkansas Senator, Elbert, 22, has also interned in Rep. Marion Berry's (D-Ark.) office. The Horseshoe Bend, Ark., native is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas. She has a bachelor's in psychology. Smedley, 24, hails from Little Rock, Ark. He has also interned in Rep. Vic Snyder's (D-Ark.) office. Smedley plans to graduate from Howard University in 2003 with a degree in English. Check It Out. James Gallagher has been tapped to be director of information technology services at the Library of Congress. Gallagher is a veteran of the Justice Department, most recently serving as acting deputy assistant attorney general and deputy chief information officer. He received his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law and has a bachelor's from Connecticut's Fairfield University. Gallagher is also a graduate of National Defense University's Information Resources Management College.

06/17/2002
Gordon LD to Join Lent Scrivner as Lobbyist

At the close of the Congressional session, Louis Finkel, legislative director for Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), plans to pack his bags and head to the private sector, where he will join the D.C-based lobbying firm Lent Scrivner & Roth. The South Florida native came on board the Volunteer State lawmaker's staff in 1996 and has been legislative director for the past three years. Finkel began his career in 1993 in the office of Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.). He has a 1995 bachelor's in political science and sociology from George Washington University.

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Gordon LD to Join Lent Scrivner as Lobbyist

BY Danielle Grote and Jennifer Yachnin

At the close of the Congressional session, Louis Finkel, legislative director for Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), plans to pack his bags and head to the private sector, where he will join the D.C-based lobbying firm Lent Scrivner & Roth. The South Florida native came on board the Volunteer State lawmaker's staff in 1996 and has been legislative director for the past three years. Finkel began his career in 1993 in the office of Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.). He has a 1995 bachelor's in political science and sociology from George Washington University.

10/25/2001
Lobbying Group Vows to Set Aside Priorities to Back Bush Wartime Plans

A number of K Street giants have agreed to set aside individual legislative wish lists and rally around President Bush and what he determines the fall agenda should be. "Our agenda is whatever the President believes is necessary for the country, and we will be supportive of that," said Dan Danner, senior vice president of public affairs for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. "This is not the time for individual groups to be concerned about their own specific tax item or specific agenda."

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Lobbying Group Vows to Set Aside Priorities to Back Bush Wartime Plans

BY Susan Crabtree

A number of K Street giants have agreed to set aside individual legislative wish lists and rally around President Bush and what he determines the fall agenda should be. "Our agenda is whatever the President believes is necessary for the country, and we will be supportive of that," said Dan Danner, senior vice president of public affairs for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. "This is not the time for individual groups to be concerned about their own specific tax item or specific agenda."

09/20/2001

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