Senate subcommittees to examine financial issues next week

Two key Senate subcommittees will explore issues pertaining to the financial crisis that cast the global economy into recession in 2008:

Foreign Relations subcommittee on European Affairs

Nov. 02, "Hearings to examine the European debt crisis, focusing on strategic implications for the transatlantic alliance," 9:30 a.m., Senate Dirksen Building 419  

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on Investigations    

Nov. 03, "Hearings to examine speculation and compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act," 9 a.m., Senate Dirksen Building 342


McConnell says Senate should take up 3 percent withholding rule next week

The Senate should immediately take up the House-approved bills that repeal the 3 percent withholding tax, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.

"The overwhelming, bipartisan vote in the House on the 3 percent withholding provision shows that when Congress acts on areas of agreement — rather than stimulus spending and tax hikes — we can get things done," McConnell said.


Sen. Durbin urges administration to increase pressure on Syria

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote a letter urging the Obama administration to ratchet up pressure against the Syrian government, which according to the United Nations has been responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 of its own citizens since the revolution began in March.  

The letter, published in the Chicago Examiner on Wednesday, was also signed by Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Robert Menendez, (N.J.), and urges U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to refer credible allegations of crimes against Syrian citizens to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Brussels. 


Sen. Hoeven seeks to protect coal ash from EPA regulations

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) on Tuesday promoted a bill he has introduced that would protect the byproduct of burned coal from being eliminated by the EPA as a viable ingredient in concrete production.

The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act he authored with Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) would ensure that the recycling of ash could not be banned if the Environmental Protection Agency attempts to classify it as a hazardous material. 


GOP congressman suggests birthers could be right to debate Obama's eligibility

Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), in a question-and-answer period, suggested birthers could be right to debate President Obama’s eligibility to lead the country.

An audience member asked Schweikert why congressional conservatives don’t attempt to take action to investigate Obama’s birth certificate and eligibility to serve as commander-in-chief.


Toomey still optimistic supercommittee will succeed

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) hinted he remains optimistic the deficit-cutting supercommittee, on which he serves, will manage to report out a proposal that Congress can accept in time for a fast-approaching November deadline.

"I think we can accomplish something on this committee to change the path we're on, and secure the future for our kids and grandkids," Toomey said as reported by the Reading Eagle on Monday.


GOP Rep: Libyan people, not Obama, deserve credit for Gadhafi's demise

President Obama was in no way responsible for the demise of Libya's former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, conservative lawmaker Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) said at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, as reported by the liberal blog ThinkProgress on Monday.

In the exchange, which was captured on video, a writer for the blog asked Heck if he thought Obama "deserves credit for Colonel Qaddafi’s death."