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Watch video of Tauscher’s goodbye to Congress

Politics Daily posted this video of Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s good-byes to the U.S. House of Representatives this morning.

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Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

Tauscher is confirmed

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, was confirmed just minutes ago on the floor of the U.S. Senate as Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the State Department.

Her official resignation will come in the next day or so and she is scheduled to speak on Friday morning from the floor of the House of Representatives.

After she resigns, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will name a date for a special election to select her replacement.

Posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2009
Under: Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

Hold on Tauscher’s nomination lifted

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl has reportedly relented and released late this afternoon the hold he had on Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s nomination as undersecretary for Arms Control and National Security. (Click here for my story set for publication on Thursday.)

It’s unclear why Kyl changed his mind. His press secretary hasn’t returned my calls.

I did hear that several of Tauscher’s biggest supporters, the powerful California sens.  Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, lent their considerable clout to the negotiations with the junior Arizona senator.

In theory, Kyl could have held up Tauscher’s nomination indefinitely although that was unlikely. The hold is a common procedural tactic deployed by the minority party intended to make a political point or get the administration’s attention on a particular issue. The Cable, a Washington Post-owned foreign policy news site, reported on Monday evening that Kyl is concerned about the administration’s decision to pursue arms reduction treaty talks with Russia prior to the final release of the national Nuclear Posture Review.

The Senate is scheduled to recess Thursday night prior to July 4 recess and Tauscher’s nomination is one of many still in the hopper.

But if Tauscher can secure the nomination to her new job before the Senate recesss, it will be one heck of a wedding present.

She is set to marry on Saturday retired airline pilot retired Delta Airlines pilot Jim Cieslak.

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Under: Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

Ariz. senator puts hold on Tauscher nomination

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

UPDATE AT 4:57 PM: Click here for my story on the Kyl hold. Note that the “tonight” in the story refers to Thursday. I wrote it for tomorrow’s print edition but an editor did not make the change to reflect that when it was posted online. LAV

The Cable, a Washington Post-owned website dedicated to covering foreign policy, is reporting that conservative U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has placed a hold on the nomination of Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, as undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security.

It’s unclear what this will mean to the outcome of this nomination other than it will almost certainly delay it.

There have been rumblings for several months that Kyl was unhappy with President Barack Obama’s support of an international nuclear nonproliferation initiative as well as other issues. Here is a snippet of what The Cable wrote:

Kyl’s office confirmed his remaining hold on Tauscher’s nomination. “He honestly has made no guise of his hold on her nomination,” spokesman Ryan Patmintra told The Cable Monday. “He expressed privately to the administration his concerns. He has chosen not to discuss them publicly.”

A congressional source told The Cable last week that Kyl objects to the administration pursuing strategic arms reductions talks with Moscow before its Nuclear Posture Review is complete. The U.S.-Russia START treaty is set to expire in December, so the administration feels it has little choice but to proceed with the treaty negotiations.

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Under: Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

Tauscher featured in Politico.com story

This is a nice piece in Politico.com about the more personal side of serving as a member of Congress and some details about Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s upcoming wedding.

Posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »

How they voted on the war supplemental

As I reported Monday, Bay Area House members were being pressed by anti-war progressives on one side and by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the other about how to vote on the $106 billion supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House passed the bill late Tuesday on a 226-202 vote. Here’s how the Bay Area delegation voted:

No: Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Pete Stark, D-Fremont; Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose

Yes: George Miller, D-Martinez; Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco

The 32 Democrats voting against the bill did so mainly for anti-war reasons, while most of the 170 Republicans who opposed it did so because the bill included more than $5 billion for the International Monetary Fund. The bill passed overwhelmingly last month, but changes in conference committee led to an intense battle to get it through again.

Here’s what Lee had to say about it:

“I cannot support any funding for Iraq that was not dedicated solely for the redeployment of our troops and military contractors. I am also unable to support the open ended military escalation in Afghanistan. We need a better balance between humanitarian and military spending in Afghanistan and we need an exit strategy. The supplemental appropriations bill does not reflect a fundamental shift in direction. Therefore, I cannot support it.”

And here’s what Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said:

“Our men and women in uniform deserve far, far better than to be treated like this. Republicans supported a troop funding bill last month, and we are prepared to do so once again. But this is a politically-motivated stunt that uses troop funding as bait for a global bailout that should be judged on its own merits in its own legislation. Let’s give our troops the resources they need for victory in a real troop funding bill free of a costly global bailout.”

Strange bedfellows indeed.

Some liberal bloggers are singling Miller out for heat, because he’s among Democrats who voted against the war funding last month “when their votes stood no chance of actually blocking the funding” but voted for it Tuesday, as AfterDowningStreet.org’s David Swanson put it. Swanson described this group as “the Hall of Shame. These Congress members voted No for show when it didn’t matter, and voted Yes to fund wars when it came to crunch time.”

Elsewhere, the Down With Tyranny blog called Miller “another progressive who let pressure get to him and has now jumped the fence and is voting for more war.”

Miller, a close political ally of Pelosi, explained his shifting vote to the Chronicle:

“I understand the deep frustrations regarding this bill; I’ve voiced them myself and have consistently voted against the war,” Miller said. “I don’t support the war in Iraq, and I want to bring it to a close. I registered my concern, but now it is time to give President Obama what he believes he needs to make progress. This bill is part of the price of cleaning up the mess of the failed policies from the previous administration.”

It’s worth noting that the progressive community was split on this: Although lots of left-leaning groups opposed the bill, some significant heavyweights – including the Campaign for America’s Future, the Center for American Progress, Democracy for America, Moveon.org, Talking Points Memo, and True Majority – didn’t.

Posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
Under: Afghanistan, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Iraq, Iraq War, Jackie Speier, Jerry McNerney, John Boehner, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 2 Comments »

Another candidate declares in CD-10

With 11 candidates already declared or most likely in the field and a few more rumored to be mulling it over, the race to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the 10th Congressional District became an even dozen Monday with an entry from the “who’s that?” department.

Self-described “soccer mom” Tiffany Attwood of Danville, a Democrat and Bay Area native, says she’s the only minority woman (Latina/Filipina) in the race.

“Why would anyone elect the same officials that put California in a $21 billion deficit in a federal seat?” she said. “I don’t think constituents of the 10th District want to put an experienced deficit-spending, tax-increasing politician in Congress.”

Her news release says that with her father and two brothers as former or current Marines, she’s “acutely aware of the issues surrounding veterans and senior citizens, especially with health care.” She also touts her experience as a wife, a mother, a mortgage officer with Emery Financial and a Danville Planning Commissioner, noting she faces the everyday challenges of holding down two jobs and balancing a family life to make ends meet.

From her campaign’s Web site:

As health care is a personal issue with Tiffany and her family, she has taken on a second job with United Parcel Service (UPS) to secure full health benefits, which her union manages. Over the years with UPS, Tiffany has found that not only do her coworkers hold down second jobs too, but are there also to cover family health benefits. Outside of UPS, health care is a cost problem within the 10th District and needs to be addressed.

She said her priorities will focus on responsible home ownership, open dialogue on solutions for the health care industry, and federal help for small business owners in order to boost the district’s employment.

“Defaults in home ownership are up, on average by 14 percent in the district. Families are now faced with possible layoffs, bad credit and nowhere to turn to for help. I want to get the word out that Obama’s stimulus for housing is working, although a little bureaucratic, we’ve been able to give families their lives back,” she said. “We’re all going through tough times right now – my family is too. But there is hope! With American ingenuity and a positive attitude we can ALL make it through this.”

This race ought to be getting off the ground in earnest soon, as Tauscher’s confirmation hearing went off without a hitch last week and the vote on her appointment to a high-ranking State Department should be soon to follow. Other declared candidates or those likely to run include Democrats Tony Bothwell, Joan Buchanan, John Garamendi, Adriel Hampton, Mark DeSaulnier and Anthony Woods; Republicans Nick Gerber, David Harmer and Catherine Moy; Green Jeremy Cloward; and independent Gino VanGundy.

UPDATE @ 3:24 P.M.: I spoke with the new candidate about an hour ago; read about it here.

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Elections, Ellen Tauscher, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

FrontPage tears into Ellen Tauscher

Ben Johnson, managing editor of the conservative FrontPage magazine, today tears into Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s nomination to a high-ranking State Department post, saying she’s too naive for the job:

President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Ellen Tauscher as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security will exacerbate rogue states’ worst behavior and assure the president receives the worst counsel about how to respond. Tauscher believes the United States should disarm, as our arsenal provokes aggressive dictators into developing nuclear weapons. She deems long-range missile defense unnecessary, because Iran and al-Qaeda do not yet have nuclear weapons. She calls for negotiating with our enemies while punishing close allies who have abided by the highest standards of non-proliferation. She may also have been the first Democrat of national prominence to accuse President Bush of lying but Iraqi WMDs, and her troubling record on Homeland Security includes advocating habeas corpus rights for terrorist detainees.

It seems as if Johnson’s complaints — perhaps especially the final two — would be seen as huge assets by most Bay Area liberals, no?

As we reported Friday, it sounds as if Tauscher’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be held next Tuesday, June 9; although there’d been some early whispers of conservative opposition, I’ve not heard anything more recently.

Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009
Under: Barack Obama, Ellen Tauscher, Obama presidency, U.S. House | No Comments »

Tauscher’s confirmation hearing set for June 9

We’re hearing that Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who was nominated earlier this month by President Barack Obama to serve as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, will have a confirmation hearing Tuesday, June 9 before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There hasn’t been much talk of opposition to her taking the post, and so confirmation would probably follow within a few weeks.

CD-10 candidates… start your engines.

As Lisa has reported, the first of the potentially two-part special election to replace Tauscher, D-Alamo, in Congress will take place about two months after she resigns from the seat. If a candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, he or she will win the seat outright; if not, the top voter-getter in each party will compete in a runoff about two months later.

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, General, U.S. House | No Comments »

David Harmer in, Tom Del Beccaro out in CD-10

Lisa had reported the possibility in April, but now it’s official: Republican attorney David Harmer – son of former California lieutenant governor and Southern California state legislator John Harmer – says he’ll be a candidate in the 10th Congressional District should Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, be confirmed to the State Department post to which she is nominated.

“Now more than ever, we need Congress to practice prudent fiscal management,” he said in his news release. “Instead, Congress is mortgaging our children’s future with trillions of dollars in new debt. It’s the opposite of the American dream. We’re living beyond our means and leaving the bill for our kids.”

Harmer, of San Ramon, said he believes the district’s voters share his commitment to fiscal responsibility. “The 2008 elections offered a great opportunity for change, but a doubling of the national debt within four years and massive corporate bailouts is not the change we had in mind I am running for Congress to work toward common-sense solutions.”

And although this will be an uphill battle for him – the district has an 18-percentage-point Democratic registration edge – Harmer said he already has raised more than $150,000 for this race. Spokesman Michael Caporusso said if this early support is any indication, “we’re well on our way to raising over $1 million for this election.”

California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette told me this morning he won’t be a candidate – “It’s just not the right time for me,” he said – and we’re hearing that Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf probably won’t seek the seat either (although I couldn’t immediately reach him this morning to confirm).

Other potential GOP candidates include Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy, who has set up an exploratory committee Web site; 2008 10th District nominee Nicholas Gerber of Moraga; and CBS News Radio National Business Correspondent and former KTVU Channel 2 Business Editor Brian Banmiller.

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Elections, Ellen Tauscher, U.S. House | 7 Comments »