Entries in Letter (8)


Republican Senator Receives Potentially Poisoned Letter

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- A suspicious letter, potentially laced with the poison ricin, was sent to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, ABC News has learned.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed to ABC News that Capitol offices were on high alert. He referred questions to Capitol Police.

Two sources confirmed the letter was sent to Wicker, R-Miss., but did not arrive at his office on Capitol Hill. It was stopped at a mail processing facility.

According to Terrence Gainer, the Senate Sgt. at Arms, the letter was postmarked in Memphis, Tenn.

Wicker's Dirksen Capitol Hill office is closed for the evening, as it is after office hours.

Aides in Wicker's office emphasized that at no point did the senator's office evacuate or close because of the threat.

"Once we get information from Capitol Hill police, we will send out more," an aide to Wicker said Tuesday evening.

Wicker came to the Senate in 2007 after more than a decade in the House. He was appointed by then-Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

The reports of a poisonous letter rekindled memories from 2004, when ricin was found in the office mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee. In the weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, letters containing anthrax were sent to Capitol Hill, which prompted major changes in security and screening protocol of all mail.

Senators were made aware of the letter sent to Wicker on Tuesday night during a closed-door briefing about the Boston attacks. The Senate Sergeant at Arms, Terrance Gainer, warned senators about the letter and outlined a series of precautionary steps to be taken, including the suspension of mail to the Senate.

A senior Senate official told ABC News that authorities had identified and were interviewing a person of interest – someone who frequently writes letters to members of Congress. There were no injuries, but the senior official said the event was being treated as “totally real.”

Members of Congress were also taking extra security steps at their district offices in their home states.

“It rarely gets to the member before it goes through a lot of staff,” said Flake, the Arizona senator. “That’s a big concern obviously for all of us. So we are very anxious to get more details on this.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, on Capitol Hill, declined to comment Tuesday night on the suspicious letter.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jan Brewer's Office Releases Copy of Letter She Handed to Obama

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's office initially said the letter she handed to President Obama during their tarmac encounter on Wednesday was for the president's eyes only, and refused a request by The Arizona Republic for a copy of the letter, which asked for it under the state’s public records law.

A spokesman for Brewer asserted the letter was personal and the governor's office had no copy of it.

But Thursday evening, Brewer's office released a copy of the letter, which talks about job creation, Arizona’s budget and problems at the border.


Written in Brewer’s handwriting, it says in part, "You've arrived in a state at the forefront of America's recovery -- and her future.  We both love this great country, but we fundamentally disagree on how to best make America grow and prosper once again.  I'd love an opportunity to share with you how we've been able to turn Arizona around with hard choices that turned out to be the right ones.  And, of course, my offer to visit the border -- and buy lunch -- still stands."

Much has been written, said and speculated about the impromptu meeting at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport that the governor said showed how "thin-skinned" Obama is about personal criticism.

She claimed that after handing the letter to Obama, she got a lecture from the president about the portrayal of a meeting she had with him in 2010 at the White House that was depicted in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast.  Brewer was also critical of the White House response to Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law that will be ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cameras caught the two speaking very intensely, with Brewer, at one stage, pointing her finger at the president. She claims Obama walked off on her in mid-sentence, adding that it was “disrespectful.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Reid Urges Boehner to Pass Senate Payroll Tax Bill in Letter

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has written a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, urging him to call the House of Representatives back from vacation to pass the Senate two-month payroll tax bill.

Only then, says Reid -- who once accused Republicans of holding the legislative process "hostage" -- will he negotiate towards a longer, year-long deal.

“Once the House of Representatives acts on this immediate extension, we will be able to sit down and complete negotiations on a longer extension,” Reid writes.  “But because we have a responsibility to assure middle-class families that their taxes will not go up while we work out our differences, we must pass this immediate extension first.”

This is, in essence, the same hard-line that Reid has been taking all week: that in order for negotiations to move forward the House must hold a straight up or down vote on the Senate-passed bill, not just the resolution of disapproval of the Senate bill as the House passed this week.

Reid says that there still are differences between the two parties over how to fund and implement the programs  -- differences that he notes will, “take longer than a few days to reconcile,” before the tax cut expires on Dec. 31.

If the two-month deal is passed, Reid says he is “fully confident” that a longer-term extension can be negotiated.

“But in the meantime, families should not have to worry that they will wake up to a tax increase on January 1, 2012,” he adds.

Below is the text of the full letter:

Dear Speaker Boehner,

Our respective chambers have been seeking for weeks to negotiate a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut for middle-class families, as well as unemployment benefits and Medicare payments for physicians.

You and I agree that this should be our goal. But as these weeks have made clear, there remain differences between our parties over how to fund and implement these programs that will take longer then a few days to reconcile.

Recognizing this reality, eighty-nine Republican and Democratic senators came together to agree to a short-term extension of these programs. As you requested when we met last Wednesday, Senator McConnell and I worked together to find this common ground. Once the House of Representatives acts on this immediate extension, we will be able to sit down and complete negotiations on a longer extension. But because we have a responsibility to assure middle-class families that their taxes will not go up while we work out our differences, we must pass this immediate extension first.

As the Senate vote made clear, there is no reason for this to be a partisan issue. I am fully confident that we can work out our differences and find common ground on a year-long extension. But in the meantime, families should not have to worry that they will wake up to a tax increase on January 1, 2012.

To provide middle-class families the certainty they deserve, I urge you to reconvene the House to act on the Senate’s bipartisan compromise as soon as possible.


Senator Harry Reid

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Rebuffs Boehner Claims on Regulatory Burdens

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Tuesday rebuffed criticism of his regulatory agenda leveled by House Republicans, insisting the administration has created a less burdensome business climate than existed under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Obama said that government rules and regulations imposed under his administration have saved tens of billions of dollars, in addition to “lives saved and illnesses prevented.”

The president also refuted a claim, made by Boehner in a letter to Obama last week, that more than 200 pending rules are poised to saddle American businesses with billions of dollars in new costs and thereby hurt the creation of jobs.

“The agenda is merely a list of rules that are under general contemplation, provided to the public in order to promote transparency,” Obama wrote.  “Many rules listed on an agenda, in any given year, are not issued.”

Of the pending rules, Obama said seven have estimated price tags of more than $1 billion.

Four Environmental Protection Agency air quality regulations, which would limit hazardous pollutants by utility companies and other sources, could have a combined cost of at least $33 billion, according to estimates Obama provided.  Three Transportation Department rules are reported to have an estimated combined cost of $5 billion.

“Of course, these rules are merely proposed,” Obama said, “and before finalizing any of them, we will take account of public comments and concerns and give careful consideration to cost-saving possibilities and alternatives.”

Republicans have sought to make the current regulatory climate -- particularly the new financial regulatory reform law and health care law -- a major line of attack against Obama and his handling of the economy.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that House Republicans would focus on repealing federal environmental regulations and labor rules supported by the Obama administration when they return from the August recess, all part of an effort to “focus on jobs.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anthony Weiner Submits Letter of Resignation

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Following his announcement Thursday about his plans to resign, Anthony Weiner officially submitted his letter of resignation on Monday.

Weiner, who decided to step down after admitting to engaging in inappropriate electronic relationships with several women over a three-year period, stated in the letter that he would be resigning as a member of the House of Representatives from New York’s Ninth Congressional District, effective midnight on June 21.

Weiner concluded the brief letter by saying, “It has been an honor to serve the people of Queens and Brooklyn.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boehner Seeks Answers to 'Fundamental Questions' About Libyan Conflict

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a letter to President Obama sent Wednesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner wrote that he “and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.”

Calling the administration’s case made to the American people “limited” and “sometimes contradictory,” Boehner said “fundamental questions about our engagement” are unanswered, though the administration has “consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.”

Said Boehner: “The news yesterday that a U.S. fighter jet involved in this operation crashed is a reminder of the high stakes of any military action abroad and the high price our Nation has paid in blood and treasure to advance the cause of freedom through our history.”

Among the questions for which he seeks answers:

In light of the contradiction between U.S. policy that Gadhafi go, and the U.N. Security Council resolution that does not seek regime change, "is it an acceptable outcome for Qadhafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya? If not, how will he be removed from power?  Why would the U.S. commit American resources to enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests?"

Boehner also asks if we know which coalition partners will be taking the lead in the next phase of the coalition mission and whether there are "clear lines of authority and responsibility and a chain of command."

Boehner also calls it "regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces."

The White House argues that last week the president engaged in a great deal of consultation including a Situation Room meeting with congressional leaders. A Boehner spokesman says that consultation was only done "after the decision was made. After commitments were made to other nations."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Exclusive: George H.W. Bush's Oval Office Letter to Bill Clinton

Photo Courtesy - White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- It's a tradition passed from president to president: leave a letter for the next occupant of the Oval Office on the desk the morning of the inauguration.

Often the contents of these letters are kept secret, but while conducting research for his new novel The Inner Circle, author Brad Meltzer asked George H.W. Bush about these letters, and the former president sent him a copy of what he wrote to Bill Clinton on Jan. 20, 1993.

Here is the full text of the letter:

January 20, 1993

Dear Bill,
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago.  I know you will feel that too.

I wish you great happiness here.  I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note.  I wish you well.  I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success.  I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck –

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP to Block All Senate Bills Other than Government Funding, Tax Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fed up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s focus on issues such as food safety, Senate Republicans on Wednesday said they will block all legislation until lawmakers have figured out a way to fund the government and prevent the Bush tax cuts from expiring.

In a letter to Reid signed by all 42 members of the Republican caucus, the GOP senators said, “We write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.  With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”

But thus far, one month after the mid-term elections, Reid has devoted the Senate’s lame-duck session to a sweeping food safety bill, while stating that he also plans to hold votes on other issues such as repealing the military’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy, passing the DREAM Act to grant legal status to young illegal immigrants who serve in the military or go to college, and ratifying the START nuclear treaty with Russia.

Meanwhile, government funding will run out on Friday unless lawmakers pass another continuing resolution to prevent a federal shutdown.  The House Wednesday will take up a continuing resolution to extend government funding for two weeks to give Congress more time to figure out a longer-term solution.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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