Republicans Tiptoe On Immigration

By Andrea Salazar

Republicans are struggling to find their footing on immigration as they vie for the Latino vote in 2012.

From GOP presidential candidates to members of Congress, immigration has been a hot talking point despite no legislative action on the issue this year. In particular, comments suggesting a more “humane” approach to immigration have brought attention to candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for straying from the hardline anti-amnesty stance most conservative candidates have taken.

“They’re all indications of a struggle within the Republican party,” said Angela Kelley, vice president of Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. “I think they’re trying to figure out who they want to be to Latino voters at a time that they’re also pretty eager to give a lot of red meat to Republican primary voters. And perspective of the two groups on the issue of immigration is very different.”

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House GOP Announce Bill Extending Payroll Tax Cut, Approving Keystone Pipeline

House Speaker John Boehner announces payroll tax cut extension bill. Dec. 8, 2011.

By Andrea Salazar

House GOP leadership Thursday announced that they expect a vote on extending Social Security payroll tax cuts next week.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, at news conference, that the bill would also include an extension and reform of unemployment benefits and approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite President Obama’s threat to veto any bill linked to the oil pipeline.

“Mr. President, we will have some of your ideas in this bill, but maybe it’s time to try some of ours. Do not veto this jobs bill,”  said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

Acknowledging that the bill does not include everything both sides asked for, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said it “does make some progress.”

“This bill does ensure that we abide by the principle that we want people to keep more of their hard-earned money, and this bill does have some incremental steps towards continued efforts of economic growth,” Cantor said.

But Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Republicans have “chosen a path of confrontation instead of the search for common ground.”

“The president said he’d veto it,” Levin said at a briefing on extending unemployment benefits. “So instead of reaching out…they’re trying to undercut the president.”

Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

Senate Dems Urge Republicans To Side With Main Street, Confirm Consumer Bureau Chief

By Andrea Salazar

Senate Banking Committee Democrats called on Republicans Wednesday to vote to confirm Richard Cordray —  the president’s nomination for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

President Obama nominated Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, to head the bureau in July. However, Senate Republicans have promised to block his confirmation until the agency’s powers are limited.
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Protesters Occupy Congress Demanding Jobs

By Andrea Salazar

Demanding good jobs for the 99 percent, protesters from around the country took their message to members of Congress Tuesday as part of the “Take Back the Capitol” rally.

Elbridge James, the board president at Progressive Maryland, one of the participating organizations, said the group is in support of a plan to put people back to work at a time when the unemployment rate sits at 8.6 percent.

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Senate Tackles Congressional Insider Trading

By Andrea Salazar

Senators from both sides of the aisle are contemplating an insider trading bill aimed at members of Congress, after a “60 Minutes” report alleged that some Congressional leadership may have profited from insider information. Continue reading

House Dems Want Infrastructure, Transportation Materials Made In US

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) introduces the Invest in American Jobs Act requiring all taxpayer funded transportation and infrastructure projects to use U.S.-made materials. Dec. 1, 2011.

By Andrea Salazar

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge may be in the United States, but parts of it are stamped Made in China.

To combat the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrats announced Thursday the introduction of a bill tightening the requirements for investments in infrastructure and transportation.

The Invest in American Jobs Act, sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), would mandate that all materials used in infrastructure and transportation projects funded by U.S. taxpayers be made in the United States.

“Made in China but paid for by American tax payers,” Rahall said referring to the Chinese materials and man-power used in replacing a part of the Bay Bridge. “We are no longer just buying cheap trinkets from China, we are literally buying bridges and major transportation infrastructure, while outsourcing innovation and capabilities that could be fostered and strengthened right here in the U.S. of A.”

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House Divided Over Immigration Program

Republicans and Democrats in a House subcommittee butted heads over the effectiveness of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities (S-Comm) program Wednesday amidst claims that the program promotes racial profiling.

ICE Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Gary Mead testified in front of the House Immigration Subcommittee, part of the House Judiciary Committee, assuring lawmakers that S-Comm is taking dangerous criminals off the streets.

“Secure Communities is smart, effective immigration enforcement,” Mead said. “It provides real time leads to the ICE criminal alien program, greatly reducing the likelihood that criminal aliens will be released from state and local custody back into the community.”

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