News in Brief: House Fails to Re-Authorize PATRIOT Act, and More

House Fails to Re-Authorize PATRIOT Act

The Washington Post reports that the House of Representatives fell seven votes short of “extending provisions of the Patriot Act. The bill, which would have reauthorized “key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law” that expire at the end of the month, “required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures.” Yet, it fell short under that rule, although a majority of House members voted to reauthorize it after 26 Republicans bucked their leadership, “eight of them freshman lawmakers elected in November’s midterm elections.” The vote tally, largely along party lines with most Democrats voting against it, “was 277 members in favor of extension, and 148 opposed.”

Democratic Leadership Council Suspends Operations

The centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) suspended operations Monday, The Christian Science Monitor reports. The DLC, as it was known, “was founded by moderate Democrats in 1985 to steer the party away from its left-wing image and philosophies, and make it more viable on the national stage.” While regularly under the fire of liberals for its support for the war in Iraq and backing of retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), “They were enormously influential for 2-1/2 decades,” says Matt Bennett, founder of the centrist Third Way think tank. “They really had a huge impact on the way the country is governed and, more immediately, on the way the Democratic Party operates. So the end of that is not insignificant.”

Obama Administration Will Seek Tax Relief for States Burdened by Unemployment Rates

White House Budget Director Jack Lew said in an interview with Bloomberg News that the Obama administration “will seek aid for state unemployment-insurance programs burdened by debt because of high jobless rates.” Among the many proposals for the 2012 fiscal budget, the administration will suspend interest payments from states to the federal government “along with a future increase to the minimum income level subject to unemployment insurance taxes.” Lew told Bloomberg News that “… the future tax increase would help get the unemployment insurance program ‘back into solid shape after the recession.'”

Colorado GOP Chair Will Not Seek Re-Election, Blaming Tea Party

Colorado’s GOP Chair Dick Wadhams will not seek re-election, The Denver Post reports. In a memo, Wadhams wrote he “tired of those who are obsessed with seeing conspiracies around every corner and who have terribly misguided notions of what the role of the state party is while saying ‘uniting conservatives’ is all that is needed to win competitive races across the state.” The comment was a clear jab at his Tea Party critics. “I have loved being chairman, but I’m tired of the nuts who have no grasp of what the state party’s role is,” he told The Post.