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July 2, 2015

Posts in "Democrats"

June 30, 2015

Support for Puerto Rican Bankruptcy Builds

Schumer, D-N.Y., talks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, May 5, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Schumer wants Congress to authorize Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Puerto Rico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Puerto Rico’s slide toward Chapter 9 bankruptcy continues to gain momentum; Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday his intention to introduce legislation allowing such a move.

The New York Democrat, along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is bringing to the Senate the companion bill to the measure Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, Democrat Pedro R. Pierluisi, introduced in the House. Full story

Democrats Want Domestic Terrorism Probe After Charleston Shootings

Blumenthal is among the Democrats wanting a domestic terrorism probe after the Charleston shootings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blumenthal is among the Democrats wanting a domestic terrorism probe after the Charleston shootings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Charleston, S.C., shootings have prompted six Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to push for hearings on domestic terrorism.

Spearheaded by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the top Democrat on the committee, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senators point to statements by alleged shooter Dylann Roof before the massacre at the black church.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:08 a.m.
Democrats, Policy

June 23, 2015

Senators Unveil 6-Year Transportation Bill

Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have unveiled a new six-year surface transportation reauthorization costing more than a quarter-trillion dollars, but it’s still unclear how the Senate would pay for it.

The bill would place a new priority on funding streams for off-system bridges as well as a new grant program for projects of strategic and national significance. According to summary materials obtained by CQ Roll Call, it would provide for increased focus on backlogs related to the Interstate Highway System and the National Highway System. Full story

June 22, 2015

King Will Have Surgery for Prostate Cancer (Video)

Angus King has prostate cancer.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Angus King will undergo surgery this week to address a prostate cancer diagnosis he received earlier this year.

The Maine independent said the prostate cancer was detected early, as was skin cancer some 40 years ago from which he fully recovered.

“And once again, early detection during an annual physical put me on the path to wellness. This time, during an annual check-up this spring, my doctors caught prostate cancer. And, after studying all of my options, and in consultation with my doctors and my family, I’ve decided to have surgery at the end of this week to remove the cancer,” King said in a statement.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 10:30 a.m.
Democrats

June 2, 2015

McConnell Goes Down Swinging, Hard, on Freedom Act (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are frequently told to hold their noses and vote for something, to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was having none of that Tuesday.

Minutes before being rebuked by the chamber, which shot down his preferred amendments to the USA Freedom Act and then overwhelmingly passed it, 67-32, the Kentucky Republican went to great lengths to spell out just how bad a bill it was. Full story

May 31, 2015

Leahy Recalls Seeing Beau Biden in Iraq (Video)

Beau Biden ran into Leahy during a tour of duty in Iraq. (Courtesy John Tracy/Office of Sen. Leahy)

Beau Biden ran into Leahy during a tour of duty in Iraq. (Courtesy John Tracy/Office of Sen. Leahy)

The Senate’s rare Sunday session convened on a somber note, mourning the loss of a son of the chamber’s president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., each opened with condolences for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., on the death of his son Beau Biden, the former attorney general of Delaware, Saturday night.

Full story

May 22, 2015

Currency Amendment Could Derail ‘Fast-Track’ Deal

Portman, R-Ohio, talks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, May 5, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Portman wants tougher enforcement of currency rules in the proposed trade deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters of the Senate’s “fast-track” trade bill that will be voted on sometime Friday are taking seriously the threat of one amendment they fear will derail the whole thing.

The amendment offered by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would strengthen enforcement against other nations considered to be manipulating their currency, which could tip trade deals in the offender’s favor. Full story

May 18, 2015

Whitehouse Keeps Climate Change Front and Center (Video)

Whitehouse invited Manchin to the Rhode Island coast in October. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

Whitehouse invited Manchin to the Rhode Island coast in October. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has been a familiar sight the past few years, standing on the Senate floor beside a “Time To Wake Up” placard and talking to a nearly empty chamber.

It’s set to happen again Monday evening, when the Rhode Island Democrat delivers his 100th weekly floor speech on climate change. Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 12:56 p.m.
2016, Democrats

May 11, 2015

Senators See Bipartisan Momentum for Criminal Justice Overhaul

Proposals to overhaul the criminal justice system are piling up in Grassley's committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Proposals to overhaul the criminal justice system are piling up in Grassley’s committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators’ plans for an overhaul of the criminal justice system are piling up in the Judiciary Committee — and the latest spate of officer-involved tragedies could give them a boost.

While many bills touching all aspects of criminal justice sit idly by, recent movement in the committee shows change could be coming. One bill seeks to review the entire criminal justice system, while another approved last month addresses recidivism; and a subcommittee is set to review body cameras for police officers.

But even as senators speak of change and bills pop up in the hopper, America can expect a slower, more measured response from the Senate.

Full story

April 28, 2015

Senate Democrats Warn GOP on Appropriations (Video)

 (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even before GOP lawmakers filed a budget resolution conference report, Senate Democratic Conference Chairman Charles E. Schumer put down a marker.

“Republicans should be warned right here, right now, Democrats are not going to help you pass appropriations bills that lock in senseless, automatically triggered cuts that hurt the middle class,” the New York Democrat said. “Instead, we’ll be eager to work with our Republican colleagues to prevent those cuts from taking effect and restoring both defense spending and vital middle class funding in an even way, one dollar for defense, one dollar for the middle class.”

Full story

Senators Urge Action on FBI’s Use of Faulty Forensic Evidence

Blumenthal (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blumenthal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of Democratic senators on Tuesday urged action from the Justice Department and the FBI in response to a recent FBI study showing erroneous and invalid testimony in 96 percent of cases analyzed involving microscopic hair analysis.

The study also revealed 32 defendants of the 257 cases found to be prosecuted on faulty forensic evidence had been sentenced to death.

Full story

April 27, 2015

DOJ to Probe Baltimore at Maryland Delegation’s Request

Demonstrators face off with Baltimore Police on Monday as a CVS pharmacy burns at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Demonstrators face off with Baltimore Police on Monday as a CVS pharmacy burns at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated: 8:11 p.m. | Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said Monday the Justice Department is moving forward with an independent investigation into the death of a Baltimore man who died in police custody that has fueled days of protests and looting in the city.

The Justice Department announced the criminal probe April 21.

Cardin and fellow Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told reporters that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan were working closely together to quell the violence and vandalism that has erupted in the city.

As the sun set on Baltimore after an afternoon of police clashes with protesters, the two veteran Maryland lawmakers attempted to put the nationally televised images of violence into perspective.

Full story

April 23, 2015

Durbin Claims He Has Votes to Remain Whip

Murray has yet to rule out a run to topple Durbin as Democratic whip following Reid's announcement that he will not run for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murray has yet to rule out a run to topple Durbin as Democratic whip. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard J. Durbin says he has the votes to remain Democratic whip two years from now — although senators asked by CQ Roll Call are loath to publicly declare their support and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington has yet to rule out a run.

“I’m confident I have the support to be re-elected whip,” the Illinois Democrat told CQ Roll Call Thursday.
Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 3:27 p.m.
Democrats

April 15, 2015

Life as Jon Tester’s Executive Assistant

Tester and Jackson sit down for an interview in the senator's Capitol hideaway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tester and Jackson sit down for an interview in the senator’s Capitol hideaway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With 14 fingers between them, there’s never a shortage of joke material for Montana Sen. Jon Tester and his executive assistant, Luke Jackson: catching, texting, meat grinders.

During last month’s vote-a-rama — from the couch in Tester’s hideaway office in the bowels of the Capitol to a hallway just off the Senate floor — their laughter made an endless day of nonbinding amendment votes tolerable, at least for one particular hour spent with CQ Roll Call. Full story

April 14, 2015

A Busy and Bipartisan Tuesday

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For all the talk of the death of bipartisanship, Tuesday’s busy legislative day in the Senate provided quite the counter-argument.

A little more than a day after returning from a two-week recess, the legislative dam burst, with senators making significant headway on sticky issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, a replacement for the payment formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients and possibly even the confirmation process for Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general. Full story

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