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April 27, 2015

Posts in "Democrats"

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

Watch Live: Senate Committee Debates Iran Nuclear Framework

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets Tuesday to mark up Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation creating a 60-day congressional review period of any nuclear agreement reached between Iran, the United States and five other countries.  Full story

April 10, 2015

After Budget Votes, Democrats Push Paid Sick Leave, Middle Class Tax Credits, Federal Benefits for Gay Couples (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murray’s amendment was among those to get clear of 60 votes during the budget debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:28 p.m. | Senate Democrats want Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to embrace lessons of the budget vote-a-rama that took place just before recess.

In a letter to the Kentucky Republican, a copy of which was obtained in advance by CQ Roll Call, nine Democratic senators called for votes on issues like paid sick leave and Social Security benefits for same-sex couples.

“Too often, the budget vote-a-rama is characterized as a partisan exercise that leaves no lasting policy impact. Working with you, we hope to make this Budget vote-a-rama different. While we strongly oppose the underlying Senate Republican budget and the negative impacts it would have on middle-class and working families, we believe the following four amendments represent policies that deserve a vote in this Congress,” the senators wrote.

Full story

April 1, 2015

Meet the New Boss. Not the Same as the Old Boss

Schumer, right, is not like the other Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Relationships are everything in the Senate, and Charles E. Schumer, the presumptive top Democrat in the next Congress, has them down pat.

“Most senators have been there a while. … They do have these strong relationships, and they’re deep relationships, because they spend a lot of time together,” said former Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del. Kaufman spent decades observing the chamber as a top aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., and served alongside Schumer after being appointed to Biden’s Senate seat from 2009 to 2010, after Biden became vice president.

But even in the clubby atmosphere of the Senate, Schumer’s network is particularly deep. Of the 43 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with them, who are not named Schumer, roughly a third were recruited directly by the New Yorker when he ran the party’s campaign arm. Full story

March 31, 2015

Senate Democrats Fall in Behind Schumer

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 24: Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., talks with a reporter before the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, February 24, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer talks with a reporter before the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Charles E. Schumer said last week he had the votes to be the next Senate Democratic leader. By Tuesday, it was clear the New York lawmaker’s colleagues had united behind his bid for the post.

Four days after current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced he would retire in 2016, a source close to Schumer confirmed he’d received “personal commitments” of support from each of the 42 Senate Democrats who plan to return to Capitol Hill in the 115th Congress. Full story

March 30, 2015

Patty Murray Backs Schumer for Leader

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murray is backing Schumer for leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BOSTON — Having won the backing of the entire leadership team, New York’s Charles E. Schumer might become the next Senate Democratic leader by acclamation.

Conference Secretary Patty Murray, D-Wash., has joined in endorsing Schumer for the top job when Nevada Democrat Harry Reid retires at the beginning of 2017, according to a Murray aide.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:46 p.m.
Democrats

March 20, 2015

Democrats Take Aim at Liquid Detergent Packaging

Nelson, Durbin and Speier, say the liquid detergent packets look like bite-sized candy. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Nelson, Durbin and Speier say the liquid detergent packets look like bite-sized candy. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

“Now that’s pretty attractive,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, eyeing a half dollar-sized packet of liquid laundry detergent on Thursday morning, before stroking the squishy blue orb against his well-tanned jaw.

“And it feels really nice to the touch,” the Florida Democrat cooed. “And it smells good,” he added, coaxing a reporter covering the news conference on liquid detergent package poisoning to pass his prop on to the cameramen. “Pass it on because until you touch it, you don’t realize how attractive it is.”

Nelson’s theatrical performance elicited some laughter during an otherwise somber presentation that featured a mother whose 8-month-old daughter ended up in intensive care after biting into one of the colorful, bite-sized packages of highly concentrated, single-load detergent. Liquid detergent packaging exposure is also linked to the death of a 7-month-old boy in Florida.

“It ought to be common sense that things that are attractive are going to enter into the mouth of an infant,” Nelson said. He also took a quick swipe at one of Democrats’ favorite foes, e-cigarettes, comparing the colorful detergent to liquid vials of nicotine.

In response to recent poisonings, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has introduced legislation that would give the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority and direction to issue rules requiring safer, child-resistant packaging for liquid detergent products within 18 months of enactment. Six Senate Democrats, including Nelson, are co-sponsoring the bill.

Durbin and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., sponsor of companion legislation, also wrote to the commission, asking them to help. “The problem with that is government moves slowly,” Durbin said. “And while the government is moving slowly, if it does move in the right direction, kids are at risk.”

Nelson, Durbin and Speier called on industry giants, starting with Procter & Gamble, to add protections to their products. They suggest changing the design and color of the liquid detergent packets to make them less appealing to children, changing the composition of the packets to make consequences of exposure less severe and adding proper warning labels.

“If it had a bitter taste to it, the kid might spit it out right off the bat,” Durbin said. The lawmakers plan to abandon the bill if those voluntary standards are accepted and put into practice. Durbin urged the industry: “Don’t wait. Do it yourself, and do it in a hurry, because kids lives are at risk here.”

Related:

Democrats Renew Press for Curbs on E-Cigarettes

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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March 18, 2015

Klobuchar’s Office Says Aide Knew of Hyde Language in Trafficking Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office has conceded that a Democratic staffer was aware of the contested language in a bipartisan bill to combat sex trafficking that’s been stuck on the Senate floor.

An aide to the Minnesota senator, who is the primary Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation introduced by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, provided a lengthy statement explaining the situation following a report by The Associated Press. The full statement appears below:

Full story

Democrats Blast ‘Back of the Bus’ Status for Loretta Lynch (Video) (Updated)

Updated 5:58 p.m. | A top Senate Democrat has accused the GOP forcing Loretta Lynch to “sit in the back of the bus” by delaying the vote on her confirmation.

“The fact is, there is no substantive reason to stop this nomination,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in a Wednesday morning floor speech blasting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for prioritizing pending anti-human trafficking legislation. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:11 a.m.
Democrats, Nominations

March 6, 2015

Menendez: ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’ (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Menendez is a Democrat from New Jersey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:45 p.m. | Sen. Robert Menendez, who is likely to face federal corruption charges in the coming weeks according to multiple published reports, is gearing up for a battle with the Justice Department.

Without taking questions, Menendez signaled Friday night that he was prepared for a fight the Department of Justice over what seems to be a likely indictment on federal corruption charges.

“I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law,” the New Jersey Democrat said at a news conference. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Full story

February 25, 2015

Kaine Won’t Attend Netanyahu Speech

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kaine is skipping the Netanyahu Congress speech. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tim Kaine is the latest Democrat to announce he will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress next week.

The Virginian said in a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call that he’s concerned in particular about the timing of the March 3 address, just weeks ahead of the scheduled Knesset elections on March 17.

Full story

February 24, 2015

Corker, Menendez on Bipartisan Campaign to End Modern-Day Slavery

 Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has a red X pin, symbol for the End It Movement, applied by aide Tara DiJulio, before a news conference in the Capitol on the introduction of the "End Modern Slavery Initiative Act," February 24, 2015. Ranking Member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Corker has a red X from the anti-slavery END IT movement pinned to his lapel by aide Tara DiJulio Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are pushing for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to rally behind an international effort to raise $1.5 billion to end slavery around the globe.

On Monday, Chairman Bob Corker posted a photo of himself alongside National Football League star Peyton Manning and Todd Helton, another former University of Tennessee signal-caller, each of the three men proudly sporting on the back of their hands the symbol of the anti-slavery END IT movement: a large red X. Full story

February 18, 2015

Hawaii Internment Camp Monument a Legacy of Akaka, Inouye

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Akaka and Inouye led efforts to secure the monument designation. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Thursday’s expected announcement from President Barack Obama that the Honouliuli internment camp will become a national monument will bring to fruition an effort that dates to Hawaii’s former senators.

The process to secure the monument designation began in earnest in 2009, in much the same way many of Hawaii’s federal projects have originated for decades: through inclusion of language in an appropriations bill by the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii. Full story

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