Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

October 20, 2014

Mikulski Sets Senate Ebola Hearing Two Days After Elections (Updated)

mikulski 140 012914 445x284 Mikulski Sets Senate Ebola Hearing Two Days After Elections (Updated)

Mikulski will hold a post-election Ebola hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:15 p.m. | As the threat of the Ebola virus in the United States appears to be easing, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski announced she would hold a hearing on the issue two days after voters are scheduled to go to the polls.

The hearing is set for Nov. 6, and would be the first in the Democratic-run Senate since the first U.S. Ebola case was discovered in Dallas. The hearing could take on increased urgency if the Obama administration follows through on sending over a supplemental spending request. A Democratic aide said appropriators were told to expect a request for Ebola funding as soon as this week but did not have any details on its scope or whether it would be designated as emergency funding.

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, the top Republican on the subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, has been pushing for a new hearing on Ebola. Moran visited the University of Kansas hospital last week, where he said the situation had changed since a joint hearing last month of the Appropriations subcommittee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Full story

October 14, 2014

Senate Odd Couple Seeks Common Ground on Climate Change

IMG 2205 445x296 Senate Odd Couple Seeks Common Ground on Climate Change

Manchin, left, and Whitehouse measure fish as part of a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management survey. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

POINT JUDITH, R.I. — A visit to the Ocean State’s eroding shoreline didn’t prompt West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III to change his mind about Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon emissions, but his host wasn’t expecting that sort of evolution.

RollCall On the Road Logo300x300 Senate Odd Couple Seeks Common Ground on Climate Change“I didn’t invite Sen. Manchin here thinking that he was suddenly going to have an epiphany and turn into a ‘greenie’ and come to the next climate march with me,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters after the two Democrats took a daylong tour of coastal Rhode Island on Oct. 10.

“What I do think though is that he is a smart and reasonable voice from the prototype coal state who has very, very good relations with a lot of our most conservative members of the Senate, some of whom believe that the whole climate change problem is a conspiracy designed as a foil to allow people to expand the role of government and take away freedom,” the Rhode Islander continued.

You would be hard-pressed to find two Democratic senators who more clearly demonstrate the party’s divide on energy and environmental issues, so it was notable when they announced plans to visit each others’ states to discuss energy and climate policy.

Manchin followed through on the first half of the bargain last week, joining with Whitehouse in meeting with oceanography experts, fishermen, environmental officials and residents and business owners at risk of seeing their properties washed away by rising tides.

Full story

October 10, 2014

Army War College Revokes Senator’s Degree

walsh 108 021114 252x335 Army War College Revokes Senators Degree

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., will have to take one college degree off his wall.

Walsh confirmed in a statement Friday that the U.S. Army War College revoked his master’s degree after reports by The New York Times revealed Walsh plagiarized a final paper.

“Though I disagree with the findings made by the War College, I accept its decision with great humility and respect for the U.S. Military,” Walsh said in the statement. “I apologize to all Montanans for the plagiarism in my 2007 paper, and I am prepared to live with its consequences. I may not be a scholar but I am proud to have been a soldier who has served Montana and this great nation for 33 years in uniform.”

Before the plagiarism reports broke,  discrepancies in Walsh’s educational record raised eyebrows.

After the scandal unfolded, Walsh dropped his bid for Senate. The Montana Democrat was appointed to the chamber in 2014 to fill a vacancy left by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who resigned to become ambassador to China.

RELATED STORIES:

Internet Confused About John Walsh, the College Years

Walsh on Plagiarism: ‘I Made a Mistake’ But Not Due to PTSD

John Walsh Drops Senate Bid in Montana

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

October 9, 2014

Goodell Responds to Boxer, Says NFL Will Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

dw091028121 445x296 Goodell Responds to Boxer, Says NFL Will Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Football League has responded to one of its foremost critics in the Senate, and this time she’s optimistic about what Commissioner Roger Goodell had to say.

Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday released two separate letters dated this month from Goodell and Cynthia Hogan, the new NFL senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, praising each. Boxer had initially led a letter to Goodell from a group of a total of female 16 senators seeking the league to enact a policy of zero tolerance for incidents of domestic violence. She followed up directly with Hogan in subsequent correspondence.

Goodell’s letter, which Boxer’s office has posted here, says the NFL will not tolerate domestic violence and outlines the steps the league is already taking to change the way it handles domestic abuse cases following incidents involving Ray Rice and other professional football players. Full story

October 7, 2014

Democratic Senator: Restrict Africa Visas Due to Ebola

nelson 229 072214 445x292 Democratic Senator: Restrict Africa Visas Due to Ebola

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Senate Democrat is joining the chorus of calls for travel restrictions from African countries with Ebola outbreaks.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is calling for the Obama administration to consider stopping unnecessary travel, such as that not related to providing humanitarian aid. Nelson said he thought this could be done through travel visas in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These travel bans could be temporary until the CDC determines the affected areas no longer pose a threat. This would not only help protect Americans here at home, it would also provide additional time for the added steps the administration is implementing to take effect,” Nelson wrote in a new letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Full story

October 5, 2014

Schumer: Screen Passengers From Ebola-Stricken Areas

schumer 173 022813 285x335 Schumer: Screen Passengers From Ebola Stricken Areas

Schumer (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants federal officials to check passengers from Ebola-afflicted countries for fevers when entering the United States.

The no. 3 Senate Democrat made that announcement in Manhattan at his Sunday news conference, as WCBS radio reported. Schumer said the screenings should feature “fever checks and health surveys in both airports and ports.”

He wants Customs and Border Protection agents trained to administer screenings, according to a news release.

Schumer has also sent a letter to CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden outlining what he views as the need for a health database. The database would track people coming from areas in Africa where they have the potential for exposure to Ebola, so that if individuals present themselves at local emergency rooms with symptoms that may be consistent with the virus, they can be treated appropriately.

Full story

September 17, 2014

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

loan presser019 090914 445x295 Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Senate Democrat is floating a proposal that could increase the government’s leverage over the activities of professional sports leagues like the NFL.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Wednesday that he’s planning legislation to impose a sunset on the antitrust exemptions enjoyed by the National Football League and the other pro sports. The former Connecticut attorney general called the response of the NFL to the domestic violence incident involving now-former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice something ”right out of the 1950s, out of an episode of ‘Madmen.’”

Full story

September 16, 2014

Mark Warner Still Pushing Grand Bargains on the Stump

VAPOL14 032 090414 445x296 Mark Warner Still Pushing Grand Bargains on the Stump

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

FAIRFAX, Va. — How often do you hear a Democrat on the campaign stump tell a largely partisan audience that some of the attendees might be well-advised to vote for a Republican?

That’s exactly what happened when Sen. Mark Warner stopped on a college campus a few weeks ago.

“If you’re a Democrat, you may have to vote for a Republican who is willing to do revenues,” the Virginia Democrat said. “If you’re a Republican, vote for a Democrat who’s willing to do entitlement reform.”

In any case Warner, the former Virginia governor who is favored to win re-election against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie this fall, and has often been talked about as someone who could end up on a national ticket, said no one should vote ”for anybody who’s signed one of these stupid pledges” such as the anti-tax one championed by the Grover Norquist-led group Americans for Tax Reform.

Full story

September 11, 2014

Senators Push Against Burger King Tax Inversion

A handful of members of the Senate Democratic caucus are calling on the leadership of Burger King to abandon the idea of using inversion for tax purposes as part of the merger with a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain.

“In August you and the Board of Directors of Burger King announced an agreement to purchase Canada-based Tim Hortons and move its corporate address to Canada, which will allow Burger King to avoid paying millions in U.S. taxes. We urge you and Burger King’s Board of Directors to reverse your plans to invert and to weigh the long-term consequences this move, known as a corporate inversion, would have on a company that relies on U.S. taxpayers to profit and thrive,” the senators wrote to Burger King CEO Daniel S. Schwartz.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:24 p.m.
Democrats, Taxes

September 5, 2014

Landrieu Offers Rebuttal to Rubio, Cassidy on Venezuela

luncheons003 021213 445x296 Landrieu Offers Rebuttal to Rubio, Cassidy on Venezuela

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu has responded forcefully to criticism of her blockade of sanctions against Venezuela.

In an opinion piece for Friday’s edition of The Advertiser in Lafayette, the Energy and Natural Resources chairwoman and Louisiana Democrat said that sanctions for human rights violations by the government of President Nicolás Maduro shouldn’t be configured to cost jobs in her home state.

Full story

August 21, 2014

McCaskill to Hold Police Militarization Hearings

mccaskill collins 337 103013 445x296 McCaskill to Hold Police Militarization Hearings

McCaskill will hold hearings on the militarization of local police in wake of Ferguson events. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With lawmakers on the left and right questioning the militarization of law enforcement after two weeks of violence in Ferguson, Mo., Sen. Claire McCaskill announced she will hold hearings next month on the federal programs supplying local authorities with surplus military gear.

The Missouri Democrat, chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, plans to take a broad look at programs like the Defense Department’s 1033 program that have steered surplus equipment to local police departments.

That DOD program has come under particular scrutiny from other lawmakers.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, last week said he would review the program, which is part of the defense authorization bill, before it gets to the Senate floor “to determine if equipment provided by the Defense Department is being used as intended.” Full story

August 20, 2014

Vilsack, Shaheen Visit the Farm

NHPOL14 196 081914 445x297 Vilsack, Shaheen Visit the Farm

Vilsack joined Shaheen for Tuesday’s announcement in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LOUDON, N.H. | Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at a hilltop farm here Tuesday to tout new federal grants.

RollCall On the Road Logo300x3008 240x234 Vilsack, Shaheen Visit the Farm“We have one of the highest percentages in the country of our farmers engaging directly with consumers who buy their products, and the whole farm-to-table movement has been very influential, I think, in encouraging people to … make sure that they buy much as they can directly from the farm,” Shaheen said.

Vilsack announced $25 million in grants to farmers who turn their raw goods into finished products.

In the case of this town’s Miles Smith Farm, that’s a new burger made of a mixture of pork and beef.

Full story

August 18, 2014

Jim Jeffords, Veteran of Three Decades in Congress, Dead at 80

Jeffords3TW092600 445x291 Jim Jeffords, Veteran of Three Decades in Congress, Dead at 80

Jeffords served more than three decades in Congress. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, a longtime Republican who flipped control of the Senate to the Democrats after switching parties in 2001, has died.

Jeffords, who had been in declining health, was 80. The Burlington Free Press first reported his death.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was sad to hear of Jeffords’ passing and called him a man of conscience.

“Throughout Jim’s time in the Senate he left an important mark on the history of the institution,” Reid said. “He was a strong supporter of helping people with disabilities and always fought for the underdog. Jim was a model of a great legislator who avoided partisan politics and fought for what was best for the people of Vermont. In 2001 he changed the makeup of the Senate by switching from a Republican to an Independent and caucusing with the Democrats. History will remember Senator Jeffords as a courageous man who listened to his conscience, and I will always respect him for doing so.”

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., also lauded Jeffords’ career.

“He was a partner in our work for Vermont, and he was a friend,” Leahy said in release. “He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate’s history.”

Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who won the election to replace Jefford after he retired in 2006, praised his demeanor and his dedication to the state.

“Jane and I join all Vermonters in sending condolences to the family of Jim Jeffords,” Sanders said in a statement. “Jim was one of the most popular elected officials in the modern history of the state — serving at the local, state and federal levels. Vermonters admired him because of his low-key and down-to-earth qualities, and because of his obvious and strong love of the state and the Vermont way of life. He was an effective champion of education, disability rights, the environment and the arts — and millions of Americans have benefited from his efforts.”

Sanders acknowledged Jeffords’ strength when he changed the Senate in 2001 and became an independent. “He displayed enormous courage by leaving a party that, he often said, had left him because of its dramatic move to the right,” Sanders said. “Jim was a friend and he will be sorely missed.”

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said that Jeffords and his wife Liz Daley, who died in 2007 of ovarian cancer, were mentors during his early days as the state’s at-large House member.

“While Jim would certainly wave away the notion, he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation,” Welch said in a release. “With characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress.”

“Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he lead the charge for their equal access to education,” Welch said. “Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition.”

“And, in 2001, the world saw what his fellow Vermonters already knew: Jim Jeffords, above all, had the courage of his convictions,” Welch said.

Jeffords endorsed Welch in his 2006 campaign over GOP candidate Martha Rainville.

Education was a legislative passion for Jeffords and Republican leaders decision not to include a school funding provision in a $1.6 trillion tax cut bill led him down the path to renouncing his party affiliation.

At the time of his decision to become an independent who would caucus with Democrats, the Senate was split 50-50 with Vice President Dick Cheney the deciding vote giving Republicans control of the chamber.

Following Jeffords’ switch, the Democrats controlled the chamber, 51-49. Until 2001 he identified as a Republican his entire political career, including 14 years in the House of Representatives and all but the last six years of the 18 years he spent in the Senate.

“It was a unique time in history,” Jeffords once recalled. “It was the first time you had a situation of a 50-50 Senate. That opened up an opportunity for one individual, myself or any other Republicans that wanted to, within the rules, to change the whole thing. And then I got to thinking. … I said, ‘If you don’t do it, you’re going to be to blame for everything that happens from now on — Supreme Court appointments — all of that. Because you had the power to make that change, to stop the abuse of power.’ So that’s when I decided I had to do it.”

August 12, 2014

Tim Kaine: Obama Needs Congress to OK Iraq Air Strikes

luncheons010 031114 225x335 Tim Kaine: Obama Needs Congress to OK Iraq Air Strikes

Kaine says the president needs congressional authorization for air strikes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine wants President Barack Obama to seek new approval from Congress for the current bombing campaign in Iraq.

“I support providing humanitarian relief to Iraqi civilians and measures to protect American personnel, but I am concerned about the timeline and scope of our renewed military efforts in Iraq,” the Virginia Democrat said in a statement. “Since the Administration has conceded that the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force is obsolete and should be repealed, it is now up to the Administration to receive Congressional authorization for the current air campaign against IS. This is especially the case since the President has indicated that our renewed military engagement in Iraq could be a long-term project.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 5:44 p.m.
Democrats, Iraq

August 5, 2014

Durbin, Reed, Warren Seek Executive Action to Combat ‘Inversion’

banking004 070814 1 445x295 Durbin, Reed, Warren Seek Executive Action to Combat Inversion

Warren is among Democrats urging the president to take executive action on corporate inversions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of liberal Senate Democrats want President Barack Obama to make use of his “pen and phone” to cut down on corporate “inversions.”

In a new letter, Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts seek executive action to reduce or eliminate tax preferences that come along with the business practice, in which a U.S. company will acquire an overseas company and then be based in the foreign country, at least on paper. The practice has increased in popularity as a tax-avoidance strategy.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:42 p.m.
Democrats, Taxes

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...