12:01 PM, Dec 16, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
When President Obama visited Brisbane, Australia in November for the G-20 summit, the large U.S. delegation required multiple hotels and thousands of "room nights" for the length of the stay, though the president himself spent only one night in his hotel. Initially, as first reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, it appeared that a total of three hotels and 4,096 room nights were booked. However, additional contracts posted last week bring the total to 5,146 room nights and $2.1 million.
In addition to the Marriott, the Urban, and the Adina hotels, the State Department also contracted with the Watermark and the Traders hotels in Brisbane. The Traders contract was for $224,776.66 to cover 503 room nights plus function space, while the Watermark was $175,263.67 for 547 room nights. An attempt was made to confirm that no more hotel contracts were issued for this trip, but after an initial response acknowledging the inquiry, no answer was forthcoming.
Each of the contract documents states that "Senior High Level USG Principal traveling with a delegation inclusive of support elements in: Security, Communications, Logistics and Operations." Despite the 5,000-plus "room nights" in the contracts, the number of persons on the trip could be considerably less since advance security teams, diplomatic personnel and others may arrive in advance and stay multiple days or even weeks.
The State Department has been reluctant in the past to reveal details about the size of the delegations accompanying the president on such trips, and the Australia trip is no exception. The State Department did not respond to a request to clarify, even broadly, the number of U.S. government personnel that were involved in this trip.
5:28 PM, Dec 15, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In one final ignominious act of parliamentary genius, outgoing Senate majority leader Harry Reid rolled Republican troublemaker Ted Cruz of Texas over the weekend, robbing the GOP of a chance to stop Democrats in the lame-duck session.
9:42 PM, Dec 11, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The House of Representatives passed a long-term spending bill Thursday night, just hours before the current continuing budget resolution is set to run out. The vote of 219 to 206, including nearly 60 Democrats, took longer than the alotted 15 minutes as House members from both parties witheld their votes for several minutes.
4:03 PM, Dec 11, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California has announced her opposition to the 2015 omnibus spending bill. Congress is attempting to pass the bill to continue funding for the federal government, which runs out at 12 midnight Friday morning. Without passing this bill or a short-term continuing resolution, the government will necessarily shut down.
3:03 PM, Dec 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an open letter to Democrats, Nancy Pelosi urges her colleagues to continue fighting the House spending bill.
"Dear Democratic Colleague," writes Pelosi.
4:48 PM, Dec 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Conservatives on Capitol Hill are passing around a document titled, "Omnibus Contains $2.5 Billion to Accommodate Illegal Immigrants and Refugees," which claims to new spending bill has dedicated a lot of money to helping people in the U.S. illegally.
Will spend $336M over 10 years8:05 AM, Dec 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In the last five years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent over $130 million to store unused satellites from eight different satellite programs, and plans to spend another $206 million on storage over the next five years. Storage costs for individual pieces of equipment range from $40,000 up to an estimated $120 million for one particular satellite. Costs vary depending on the amount of care needed for each satellite.
7:01 AM, Nov 4, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Anti-Obamacare ads are dominating the airwaves in the election’s stretch run. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, Republicans ran nearly 13,000 anti-Obamacare ads in Senate races during the week of October 20-26. That’s after they ran nearly 12,000 anti-Obamacare ads during the week of October 13-19 and over 11,000 during the week of October 6-12. In each of those three weeks, Republicans ran far more ads against Obamacare than they — or the Democrats — ran on any other issue.
8:04 AM, Oct 27, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The American public has resisted the metric system for decades, but that has not discouraged the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from sinking $37,950 into two more episodes of a "motion-comic" video series called "The League of SI Superheroes." (SI stands for International System of Units, the modern metric
9:02 AM, Oct 16, 2014 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
Yesterday’s presentation by the U.S. Treasury was a comical spectacle—at least for those of us with sardonic senses of humor. The good news? The deficit for FY2014 (which ended September 30) was 29 percent lower than the deficit was in FY2013.
8:01 AM, Oct 14, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Analysis of Congressional Budget Office projections by the Senate Budget Committee finds that Obamacare will increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade.