ThinkFast: July 27, 2010

Outgoing BP chief executive Tony Hayward’s severance package, which will pay him approximately $1 million annually, is receiving criticism from lawmakers. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is demanding that BP delay Hayward’s severance until the company has paid off all its claims from the oil spill. Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) has launched a new petition demanding that the money go to Gulf Coast recovery instead.

Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson, an avid drilling proponent, has received scrutiny for retaining over $100,000 in BP stock. Two weeks after he told reporters that he would get rid of the stock, Johnson backtracked yesterday, saying that he hasn’t yet decided what to do.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is working hard “behind the scenes” to stop some “House Republicans [from] inappropriately hanging out with female lobbyists.” The issue “came to the forefront last week” after a House GOPer was quoted asking a lobbyist, “Why did you get me so drunk?” at a Capitol Hill bar, but “several Republican lobbyists” said the incident “is part of a larger” pattern. According to new Census data, “[m]ore Americans say they moved because they were evicted or wanted to spend less money and now live in a worse house with more people.” The 2009 survey, also conducted in 2007, “shows the stark effect the recession and housing crisis have had on some people’s lifestyles in just two years.”

House leaders are “rushing to hold a vote on a critical war-financing bill,” fearing they could lose liberal votes in the wake of the WikiLeaks disclosure. Meanwhile, Gen. James N. Mattis, nominated as the next commander of Central Command, will likely have to answer questions on the matter today during his confirmation hearings in the Senate.


The Senate is expected to vote on the DISCLOSE Act today, and President Obama yesterday “pre-emptively” criticized Republicans for opposing the campaign finance measure. He said blocking it would be “nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special-interest takeovers of our elections.” The Senate is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.

Yesterday, the White House “gave the strongest signal yet” in support of Elizabeth Warren as its pick to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency created by the Wall Street reform bill. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Warren, who chairs an oversight panel of the 2008 Wall Street bailout, is “a terrific candidate” who is “very confirmable for this job.”

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said he intends to face a House Ethics Committee “trial” into allegations that he broke ethics rules. A special investigative subcommittee has already concluded that there is “substantial reason to believe” he violated rules. Politico reports that “Rangel is hoping this trial clears him of at least some of the allegations, although his backing is clearly softening.”

Yesterday marked the official launch of OutServe, an “organization of gay and lesbian active-duty service members” who will work with the Pentagon to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Starting on Facebook last Octboer, OutServe now has 450 members who help the organization “bring information and statements to the Pentagon while preserving members’ anonymity.”

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