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HOUSE PASSES BILL COUNTERING PAY BIAS RULING

WASHINGTON

The House passed a bill Tuesday that would overturn a Supreme Court ruling in June that set an 180-day deadline for filing pay discrimination claims. Lawmakers voted 225-199, almost entirely along partisan lines. Democrats hailed it as a victory. The House vote reinstated the accepted practice before the Supreme Court ruling, which allowed an employee to sue after every discriminatory paycheck. Senate Democrats plan to sponsor the bill in that chamber. President Bush has threatened to veto it.

WASHINGTON

Spy chief offers Gonzales defense

President Bush's spy chief, Mike McConnell, sought to defend Attorney General Alberto Gonzales against charges of lying to Congress in a technically worded statement Tuesday hinging on when the government's terror surveillance program got its name. He hinted - as Gonzales has - that there's more to the program than has been made public. Senate Judiciary Committee members have questioned whether Gonzales told the truth when he testified last week that a 2004 confrontation between administration officials was not about the president's secret eavesdropping program, dubbed the terrorist surveillance program. In a letter that never mentions Gonzales, director of national intelligence McConnell noted that the administration first acknowledged its controversial surveillance activities and used the phrase "terrorist surveillance program" in early 2006.

ROCHESTER, N.H.

Giuliani gives health care plan

Rudy Giuliani laid out his health care prescription for America, though he acknowledged it could take years to help folks too rich for Medicaid or too poor for private insurance. The centerpiece of the former mayor's market-driven plan is a $15,000 tax exemption for families - $7,500 for individuals - to pay for health coverage, a break that he says would drive down costs by creating a vast new pool of customers for insurers to pursue. When asked how many of the nation's 46-million uninsured the plan may help, the Republican Giuliani said, "Don't know yet."

WASHINGTON

You say Capitol, he says capital

Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo promised a package of gifts, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington and a tour of the Capitol, to anyone who brought 25 people to the GOP straw poll in Iowa on Aug. 11. There was one problem: A tour of the Capitol could be a violation of House ethics rules, which prohibit the use of any buildings on the Capitol grounds for campaign purposes. Scrambling to explain, the Colorado lawmaker's campaign said it was just a spelling error. National chairwoman Bay Buchanan, said Tuesday that she meant supporters would get a tour of the capital city - spelled with an 'a' - which could also include a "public tour" of the Capitol building - with an 'o' - in which Tancredo would go along and point out highlights.

Elsewhere

CHENEY'S PITCH: Facing low approval ratings, Vice President Dick Cheney is making the media rounds this week. On CNN's Larry King Live and CBS Radio, Cheney backed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and defended the commutation of ex-aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison term.

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