Fed meddling may do more harm in foreclosure mess

Editorial Most of what Congress does is ill-advised. But when Congress is in a hurry to appear especially active and responsive to a perceived crisis, it is likely to go beyond ill-advised to downright boneheaded. It is becoming increasingly obvious that several aspects of the bill passed in response to the decline in housing prices […]

Stevens has left Republican party in tough position

It is ironic how often great malefactors get tripped up on matters that seem picayune by comparison. Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens has for decades had a reputation as one of the most shameless, unapologetic and relentless pork barrelers in Congress. Sen. Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate — since 1968 — acts […]

Military pay increase will exceed private sector’s

By Tom Philpott Active duty and reserve component members can bank on a 3.9 percent pay raise next January as Congress continues to close a perceived military “pay gap” that a Pentagon pay study says no longer exists. The House Armed Services Committee on May 14 joined Senate colleagues in approving, for a 10th consecutive […]

Savings numbers don’t match health care reality

By Tom Philpott Bush administration officials again have saddled Congress with an under-funded military health-care budget by projecting $1.2 billion in savings they know will not be realized, say critics on Capitol Hill. Part of the false savings, for a third straight year, is tied to the unlikely scenario that Congress will enact administration plans […]

Improper use of national security letters should be curbed by Congress

Freedom New Mexico FBI Director Robert S. Mueller has confirmed in a Senate hearing that a forthcoming report from the Justice Department’s inspector general will find that abuses by FBI agents in the use of a tool called national security letters (NSLs) occurred in 2006. This comes even after abuses had been documented from 2003-05, […]

Congress overstepping bounds with bill

By Kevin Wilson Congress is about to tell you it’s OK to break the law, as long as somebody in the government is paying you to do it. The Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of giving telecommunications companies immunity for their roles in a National Security Administration eavesdropping program previously ruled unconstitutional by the […]

Bush seeking higher TRICARE fees

By Tom Philpott President’s Bush final defense budget, for fiscal 2009, asks a reluctant Congress for a third time to raise TRICARE co-payments on drugs dispensed at retail pharmacies and to increase TRICARE enrollment fees and deductibles for working-age military retirees and their families. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the […]

Early retirement provision drawing ire

By Tom Philpott The $696 billion defense authorization bill for 2008, which Congress expects to return to the White House by next week for a promised signature, has a host of critical pay and benefit initiatives for service members at war. The House passed a revised HR 1585 last week, removing a provision that would […]

Troops need protection during ‘bonus limbo’

By Tom Philpott Pentagon officials and congressional staffs are working together to try to ensure that thousands of bonus-qualified recruits, and thousands of careerists ready to re-enlist, aren’t harmed financially by the current suspension of bonuses and incentive pays. Bonuses and many special pays stopped Jan. 1 because President Bush vetoed the fiscal 2008 defense […]

Campos plans run for Congress

Freedom New Mexico State Rep. Joe Campos of Santa Rosa said Tuesday he will run for Congress from New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. Campos, who represents Curry, Roosevelt and De Baca counties, hopes to fill the seat being vacated by Steve Pearce, who is running for the U.S. Senate. He plans a formal announcement of […]