Republicans Encourage Defense Contractors to Issue Layoff Notices Before the Election

By: Wednesday August 8, 2012 12:45 pm

Defense contractors have come up with a particularly devious way to undermine the automatic cuts to the military budget in a way that could impact the Presidential election. Under the Worker Adjustment, Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act of 1988, government employees must be notified 60 days in advance of any layoffs. Defense contractors are taking that to mean that they must give such pink slips to practically their entire workforce, consisting of hundreds of thousands of employees, to comply with the law. This is notably one of the first times that a government contractor has ever proactively complied with the WARN Act, they typically must be hounded to warn their workers. But this would have the effect of freaking out politicians with the threat of massive layoff notices four days before the 2012 election (60 days from the trigger enactment date of January 2 would be November 2, the Friday before the election).

 

Report: Lawmakers, Top Officials Knowingly Received VIP Loans From Countrywide

By: Thursday July 5, 2012 2:19 pm

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa’s perch, has released a new report on the practice of now-defunct mortgage lender Countrywide handing out special mortgages at low rates to members of Congress and other key officials through their “VIP” program. And it does not appear to pick sides or divvy up the information to protect one party or the other.

More Republicans Found to Have Received Countrywide VIP Loans

By: Wednesday January 18, 2012 12:20 pm

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) has become the third House Republican discovered to have received a sweetheart loan as part of Countrywide’s “VIP” program. The program became notorious when conservatives jumped on the revelations that Democrats Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad received cheap loans through it. But it was always clear that influence peddling is a bipartisan sport in Washington, and it was inevitable that some Republicans would get found out.

House Armed Services Chair McKeon: I’ll Block Defense Authorization Bill if Military Chaplains Can Perform Same-Sex Marriages

By: Monday October 10, 2011 2:15 pm

Even in the Era of New Dysfunction, Congress usually manages to pass a defense authorization bill. The forces of nature demand that the war machine gets to set its budgets on time, even if the budgets for food stamps, welfare, the NIH, the Department of Education, etc., have to sit on pins and needles and [...]

Paltry Withdrawal Planned for Afghanistan in July

By: Wednesday May 11, 2011 7:50 am

Yesterday, news broke that the “substantial” withdrawal in July 2011 in Afghanistan consisted of maybe 5,000 troops now and another 5,000 by the end of the year. That’s about 10% of the active US military force in Afghanistan, not including thousands of contractors and 30,000 coalition troops from other countries and like. The word “maybe” is crucial here; NBC News quotes senior Administration officials saying that the next month will determine the extent of the withdrawal, and others saying it would be foolhardy to draw down in the middle of “fighting season” in Afghanistan (is there any other kind). So even this clearly inadequate force removal won’t happen, if the military leadership in the Pentagon has anything to say about it.

After Killing Bin Laden, US Moves to Change AUMF, Redefine War on Terror

By: Tuesday May 10, 2011 12:30 pm

Used to be, when you vanquished your enemy, you declared victory and went home.

Progressives Demand House GOP Committee Chairs Investigate Hunton & Williams

By: Tuesday March 1, 2011 12:30 pm

When I first posted on Hank Johnson’s letter demanding an investigation into Hunton & Williams’ appropriation of counterterrorist techniques to attack citizen speech, I was a bit skeptical. Without a way to get some coverage of the demand, such a letter risks being yet one more angry letter into the void.

But I will say the letter is well-constructed.

Raymond Davis Update: Victims Worked for Pakistan Intel, Second House Junket, Widow Suicide

By: Monday February 7, 2011 8:50 am

When we last looked in on the ongoing saga of Raymond Davis in Pakistan, we saw that Congressman Darrell Issa was there, meeting with the President and the Prime Minister, arguing for release of Davis after he shot dead two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore, with a third Pakistani killed by a US consular vehicle rushing to the scene in the aftermath of the shootings. Now, despite earlier US claims that Davis’ victims were thieves trying to hold him up at gunpoint, a report has surfaced in the Pakistani press that Davis’ victims were actually intelligence operatives for Pakistan’s government and that they had found Davis’ actions to be “detrimental to our national security.” In further developments, a second Congressional delegation met with Prime Minister Gilani, threatening US military funding to Pakistan if Davis is not released quickly and the widow of one of the victims has committed suicide because she believed that Davis would be released without being tried in Pakistan.

McKeon’s Right: Petraeus Must Testify on Afghan Review

By: Thursday November 18, 2010 5:10 pm

House Republicans are demanding that Gen. Petraeus appear in person to testify on the Administration’s December review of policy in the war in Afghanistan, the Politico reports. According to Politico, the key reason that the Pentagon doesn’t want Petraeus to testify is that they are trying to bury the review because they have nothing good to report.

Coming Soon: Congress Revisits Authorization to Use Military Force

By: Monday November 15, 2010 7:15 pm

As I tweeted and wrote for Danger Room today, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, briefly argued in a speech today that Congress should “reaffirm — in statute — the Authorization to Use Military Force of 2011.” To expand on that: McKeon mentioned the AUMF in the context of detainee policy — that is, to keep terrorism detainees out of federal courts. But it clearly goes beyond that. Here’s what a McKeon aide told me.

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