Nation in brief: Senate says no to pay hike
WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a bill Thursday to deny members of Congress a pay raise next year.
Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold engineered surprise passage of the legislation, which would deny senators and members of the House an automatic pay raise of about $1,600 next year. Members of Congress make $174,000 a year.
The Senate passed the measure unanimously without a roll call vote. The House has yet to act on it, but probably will go along given election-year pressures.
Lawmakers receive an automatic cost-of-living pay hike unless they pass legislation to block it.
Education bill likely stalled
WASHINGTON – The chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee in charge of rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act said this week that lawmakers would be hard pressed to pass a bill this year.
“It will be difficult,” said Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., head of the House panel on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, the first checkpoint for any House version of a proposal. “Time is running out, and it’s an election year, too. People are going back home for that.”
Observers and congressional staff point to a crowded legislative calendar and a lack of consensus that’s magnified during a campaign season. Kildee’s comments are the clearest indication yet from congressional leadership that one of the president’s top domestic priorities of 2010 may have to wait.
Pentagon disinvites Graham
WASHINGTON – Christian evangelist Franklin Graham says the Army has withdrawn an invitation for him to appear at a special Pentagon prayer service for the National Day of Prayer.
In a statement Thursday, Graham said he regrets the Army’s decision and will continue to pray for the troops.
Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, in 2001 described Islam as evil. More recently, he has said he finds Islam offensive and wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins.