Beyond the county: Paul Ryan named speaker of the House, Republicans battle in third presidential debate | TheUnion.com
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Beyond the county: Paul Ryan named speaker of the House, Republicans battle in third presidential debate

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., flanked by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, after a Special GOP Leadership Election. Republicans in the House of Representatives have nominated Ryan to become the chamber's next speaker, hoping he can lead them out of weeks of disarray and point them toward accomplishments they can highlight in next year's elections. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP | AP

Fresh starts as GOP taps new speaker, approves budget deal

WASHINGTON — House Republicans embraced a new leader Wednesday and swiftly consented to a major budget-and-debt deal to avert a federal financial crisis, highlights of a day of dramatic fresh starts at the Capitol after years of division and disarray.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate and a telegenic spokesman for conservative priorities, was nominated by his colleagues in a secret-ballot election to serve as speaker of the House, second in line to the presidency.



The full House will confirm that choice on Thursday.

“This begins a new day in the House of Representatives,” Ryan, 45, said after the vote. “We are turning the page.”




Immediately after choosing Ryan to chart a new course for their fractured party, Republicans trooped onto the House floor to cast votes on a huge two-year budget deal struck in recent days between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties.

The agreement, approved 266-167, would raise the government’s borrowing limit through March of 2017, averting an unprecedented default just days away.

It would also set the budget of the federal government for the next two years, lifting onerous spending caps and steering away from the brinkmanship and shutdown threats that have haunted Congress for years.

Most of the “no” votes were from Republicans, but 79 GOP lawmakers voted for approval.

“A solid piece of legislation,” declared outgoing Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who played a key role in engineering the accord after announcing his resignation last month following a quarter-century in Congress and nearly five years in the speaker’s chair. Boehner was beset by intractable divisions between the party’s pragmatists and purists, but those will now be Ryan’s to resolve.

— Associated Press

Debate highlights GOP’s 2 tracks

BOULDER, Colo. — Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio fought for control of the Republican’s establishment wing in Wednesday night’s third GOP debate, as insurgent outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson defended the seriousness of their White House bids, underscoring the volatile two-track fight for the party’s presidential nomination.

But in an economic policy-focused debate, Trump and Carson at times faded to the background during the two-hour contest.

Bush, once seen as the top Republican contender, entered the debate in the midst of the most difficult stretch of his White House campaign. He quickly targeted Rubio for his spotty voting record on Capitol Hill, signaling that he sees the Florida senator as the candidate most likely to block his political path.

“Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a 6-year term and you should be showing up for work,” said Bush, who is struggling to right his campaign after being forced to slash spending in response to slower fundraising. “You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job.”

Rubio, who has had a close relationship with Bush, responded sharply: “The only reason you’re doing it is that we’re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me will help you.”

Three months before primary voting begins, the Republican contest remains crowded and unwieldly. Yet the contours of the race have been clarified, with outsiders capitalizing on voter frustration with Washington and candidates with political experience hoping the race ultimately turns their way.

Trump, the brash real estate mogul, has dominated the Republican race for months, but was a less of a factor Wednesday night than in the previous two debates. He largely refrained from personal attacks on his rivals, which has been a signature of his campaign, even taking a light touch with Carson, who has overtaken him in recent Iowa polls.

Carson, the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon who came into the debate with a burst of momentum, stuck to his low-key style. He sought to explain his vague tax policy, which he has compared to tithing, in which families donate the same portion of their income to their church regardless of how much they make. And he insisted he had no involvement with supplement maker Mannatech, although he acknowledged using its product and giving paid speeches for the company, which has faced a legal challenge over health claims for its products.

Carson said it was absurd to allege he’s connected to the company. “If someone put me on their home page, they did it without permission,” he said.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been circling Trump for months, seeking to position himself as the heir to the businessman’s supporters if he fades. While Cruz holds office in the U.S. Senate, he’s cast himself as anti-establishment and a thorn in the side of GOP leaders.

Cruz garnered enthusiastic applause when he criticized debate moderators for trying to stir up fights among the candidates, casting it as a sign of media bias against Republicans.

The jumbled GOP field is a stark contrast to the Democratic contest, where Hillary Rodham Clinton is strengthening her front-runner status over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Campaigning in New Hampshire ahead of the GOP debate, Clinton said the Republican contests are like a “reality TV show but the cast of characters are out of touch with actual reality.”

Wednesday’s debate in Colorado, an important general election state, focused on economic policy, including taxes and job growth.

— Associated Press

Consumers warned about bogus information on traffic fines

The state attorney general’s office warned California consumers Wednesday about debt collectors giving misleading information about a new traffic fine amnesty program.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said the warning was prompted by complaints about debt agencies that contract with counties to collect the unpaid fines.

Her office said some collectors are failing to notify people about California’s debt amnesty program, which allows low-income drivers with lesser infractions such as running a red light to pay as little as one fifth of what they owe from old fines.

Since 2006, the state has suspended 4.8 million driver’s licenses after motorists failed to pay fines or appear in court. Only about 83,000 of those licenses were reinstated, the DMV reported when Gov. Jerry Brown proposed the amnesty program last spring.

The 18-month program continues through March 31, 2017. It applies to certain unpaid traffic tickets and “failure to appear” court violations that were due by Jan. 1, 2013.

Consumers who believe a debt collector provided misleading information can file a complaint online at http://bit.ly/1Wi4lOG.

— Associated Press

US official: Congress shouldn’t control tribal recognition

BILLINGS, Mont. — An Obama administration official says allowing Congress to decide whether American Indian tribes deserve federal recognition would add more delays to what was long a broken system. Interior Department Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said that the administration will oppose the proposal from Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah.

Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, wants to block a recent administration overhaul of the tribal recognition process. He says Congress should make such decisions.

There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., and groups in Louisiana, Michigan, Florida, California and other states want to join.

— Associated Press


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