Other News

McCaskill to constituent: Health reform is 'frustrating'

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who was recently commended at the best Twitter user in the Senate, showed why she gained that title on Monday, tweeting a response to directly to a constituent regarding healthcare reform.

A recent University of Maryland study found that most lawmaker tweets were self-promotional, but also rated McCaskill as the best tweeter for using it to provide thoughtful responses and replying to her more than 32,000 followers.

Today a constituent asked her about the public option and McCaskill replied:

@clairecmc I am a major supporter of health reform, but in light of recent Dem. concessions, how can I support a plan w/o public option?

@clairecmc Why pacify a GOP that supports nothing we do? This is a slap in the face to Dem supporters not swayed by propoganda (sic) campaign.

@clairecmc BTW this time I will be dissapointed (sic) if you don't respond. Need a fellow Dem to tell me why I shouldn't be frustrated w/process.

Of course process is frustrating,we're trying to work on big & very difficult problem & we've Dems from states that McCain won big.@CDivino


Gingrich releases new movie discussing faith in America

Newt Gingrich flashed his Hollywood side today, tweeting about the release of a new film released by his production company "Gingrich Productions."

The company features documentaries, books, and other media items featuring the former Republican House Speaker and his wife Callista. He tweeted:

Callista and I are on Hannity radio today at 5:30 to discuss our new movie. Go to http://www.gingrichproducti... to watch the trailer.

Gingrich's newest release is entitled "Rediscovering God in America II." The film "explores the role of religion in early America and the belief that 'Our Creator' is the source of out liberty," according to its website. 

View a trailer here.


Ellison wishes Muslims a 'blessed festival'

One of the two Muslim members of Congress wished "Eid Mubarak" or "blessed festival" to people celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Observabce of Eid-ul-Fitr began yesterday and continues into today. During Ramadan, Muslims each day must fast between dawn and sunset.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) took to Twitter on Monday, saying:

Eid Mubarak one and all!

Freshman Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) is the other Muslim serving in Congress.


Pallone: Baucus bill 'the right framework for reform'

A key member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said on Monday that Sen. Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) healthcare proposal is "the right framework for reform."

Rep. Frank Pallone's (D-N.J.) comments represent a significant endorsement of the Baucus plan. Pallone serves as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, which passed H.R. 3200 before August recess.  The House bill includes a public option but the Senate Finance Committee chairman's does not.

Though he backed Baucus' plan as a general outline, Pallone said said that the $856 billion bill needs to be "more affordable." 

The eleventh-term Democrat tweeted

The Baucus health bill will get marked-up this week. It needs to be more affordable, but it has the right framework for reform.

Republicans and Democrats both criticized Baucus' plan after he released it last week. But some key centrist lawmakers have come to support the bill as a good starting point.

Yet several members of the Senate Finance Committee have said they would propose amendments to the bill during markup starting on Tuesday.


Sen. McCain Tweets: Demanding a decision on Afghanistan troops

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Senate Armed Forces Committee's top Republican, pressured the White House on Monday to decide whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan.

It was reported Monday that the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, requested that the Pentagon send additional forces to the war-torn country. McChrystal's recommendation came in his long-awaited report on the state of the conflict between allied units and insurgents.

The Arizona Republican, who has long favored sending more troops, Tweeted:

General McChrystal: "More troops or Mission Failure." — we need a decision now.

McCain borrowed the headline of a Washington Post story that broke the news of the McChrystal report.

When he was the GOP's presidential nominee last year, McCain advocated for a "surge" in Afghanistan similar to the strategy undertaken by Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.

It is unclear if Congress will approve additional troops. Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have both balked at the move. But Levin said on Sunday that the decision would ultimately be up to the president.


Lawmakers' tweets largely self-promotional

Lawmakers largely use their Twitter pages to self-promote, rather than interact with constituents, according to a new study.

A University of Maryland study found that 80 percent of tweets are links to articles or press releases, or descriptions about what members of Congress are working on any given day.

"Members of Congress were not sharing much new information on Twitter, and there were few posts that improve transparency," said Jennifer Golbeck, an assistant professor at Maryland's College of Information Studies, who was part of a team conducting the study.

The study analyzed over 5,000 tweets from 69 members of the House and Senate dispatched since February.

Of the tweets that weren't related to self-promotion, seven percent were related to constituent communication, five percent focused on official business, four percent were personal messages, three percent requested some sort of action, and one percent were personal communication.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room.


No, thank YOU

Rep. Tom Periello (D-Va.) made an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe today to discuss healthcare reform.

He seems to have made quite an impression on host (and former Congressman) Joe Scarborough. Here's what Joe tweeted just after Perriello's apperance

JoeNBC I think Rep Tom Perriello (D-Va) has a bright future in politics.

Perriello noticed, and thanks Scarborough for the high praise:

tomperriello RT @JoeNBC I think Rep Tom Perriello (D-Va) has a bright future in politics. // Thanks, Joe.


Specter: Take stock of Afghan mission before sending troops

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Thursday took a wait-and-see approach on the issue of sending additional U.S. forces to Afghanistan.

The Obama administration sent additional troops in February but has indicated it will wait until the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal issues his recommendation on troop levels there.

Specter tweeted:

Before committing more troops, we must determine whether securing Afghanistan is essential to prevent al-Qaida from launching another attack

Senate Republicans and Democrats have become divided whether or not to deploy more troops. Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) stated his opposition to the idea, while the committee's top Republican John McCain (Ariz.) said he favors increasing the force's size.

The Republican-turned-Democrat appeared to take a similar tack as the White House, hesitating to opine on the issue before learning more information about the scenario.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room


Stearns now on Twitter

As Twitter becomes a more popular means of communication, members of Congress who don't use the microblogging service are catching on.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) is the latest congressman to sign up for Twitter. He is now tweeting under the handle @RepCliffSterns.

Stearns' first tweet discussed his position on President Barack Obama's policy czars:

Congressman Stearns calls upon President Obama to provide transparency about the appointment of czars -- http://bit.ly/P2Yj2

It is unclear if Stearns will tweet himself but a sample of his feed indicates that his staff is handling the work thus far. Several tweets refer to the congressman in the third person and multiple applications have been used to tweet.

Stearns currently has 39 followers.



Poor time to nix missiles - Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Constitution Day - Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.)
Border security this morning - Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)
No tax money to drug dealers and gangs - Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Missile cuts send wrong message - Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)
Rally for reform - White House
Bipartisan deal without bipartisan support - Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Wis.)
100th tweet to eat - Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)
Message meeting on Iraq & Afghanistan - Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)
Glenn Beck's fuzzy math - DNC