Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 29, 2015

Posts in "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

February 17, 2015

Democrats Escape Cold, Spend Part of Recess in Cuba

McCaskill, center, and Klobuchar, right, were part of a CODEL to Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

McCaskill, center, and Klobuchar, right, were part of a CODEL to Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Democrats from both sides of the Capitol have been spending parts of their Presidents Day recess in Cuba as relations between the communist nation and the United States begin to thaw.

The trips weren’t designed to be a means of avoiding the bitter cold, but that might be a much appreciated side effect. A House delegation led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrived on the island Tuesday, just as a trio of senators wrapped up their trip of a few days and prepared to return to the U.S. Full story

February 13, 2015

GOP Senators Also Pushing to Nuke Filibusters, Says House Lawmaker

Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks during a news conference with House and Senate members on immigration on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Brooks said GOP senators are also asking McConnell to change the filibuster rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House conservatives are increasingly pushing the Senate to “go nuclear” and change filibuster rules so that a Department of Homeland Security funding bill blocking the president’s executive action on immigration can move forward. But according to one GOP lawmaker member, it’s not just the House pushing for that change.

Alabama Republican Mo Brooks told CQ Roll Call Friday that he had spoken to senators supportive of changing the filibuster rules. Full story

February 3, 2015

Lobster and Ham on the Menu for Bipartisan Senate Luncheon (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:23 p.m. | On Wednesday, senators will gather for a most unusual bipartisan Senate lunch.

Senators will gather in the Russell Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room for a feast featuring Maine lobster and Virginia ham, a source familiar with the menu told CQ Roll Call. Not surprisingly, Republican Susan Collins of Maine is behind the lobster salad and Democrat Mark Warner will bring the ham.

Collins, in hosting, will provide Maine-themed offerings including Maine blueberry pie and Gifford’s ice cream. There will also be chips sourced from Maine potatoes, according to her office.

The New York Times first reported on the plan for the lunch coming to fruition, saying it was put together by Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 in the Democratic leadership structure. Sources confirmed the lunch plan.

Full story

January 30, 2015

Senator Presses NFL on Domestic Violence Ahead of Super Bowl

NFL blackouts Blumenthal McCain

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal isn’t convinced the National Football League is doing everything possible to address domestic violence.

The Connecticut Democrat is particularly skeptical of the way the NFL plans to allocate $25 million over five years to back groups that fight domestic violence. Some of that money will come in the form of “promotional support” to entities such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline, according to a letter to Blumenthal and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Aside from the dollar value seeming small compared to the NFL’s multibillion-dollar revenues, Blumenthal sounds dubious of the promotional elements, and he fired off a response letter to Goodell on Friday.
Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:24 a.m.
Democrats

January 15, 2015

Ernst Gives GOP #SOTU Rebuttal a Folksy Feel

State of the Union 2015

Ernst heads to the Senate subway following a vote on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are going folksy with their choice to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., jointly announced at their retreat Thursday that Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would deliver the Republicans’ rebuttal.

Ernst, who upset former Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa in 2014 as one of the party’s majority-makers, gained notoriety during her campaign for an ad she ran conflating her childhood on the farm castrating pigs with her ability to cut government spending. Full story

Obama Meets Senate Democrats in Baltimore After Lunch With Mikulski (Updated)

Mikulski had lunch with Obama Thursday ahead of his address to the Democratic retreat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mikulski had lunch with Obama Thursday ahead of his address to the Democratic retreat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:40 p.m. | BALTIMORE — President Barack Obama may not be Jay Leno, but he has earned top billing at the annual issues conference for Senate Democrats at a hotel where he’s speaking Thursday.

His mid-afternoon appearance is entirely off limits to the media, in contrast to his 2010 appearance down the street for a similar retreat with House Republicans. This year, most of the media attention was with the new Senate majority GOP and their House counterparts, who huddled for a joint retreat in Hershey, Pa.

There, reporters were being treated to pen-and-pad sessions and media availabilities with prominent Republicans from both sides of the Rotunda, including House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and her Senate counterpart, John Thune of South Dakota.

Full story

January 14, 2015

Harry Reid Absent, but Still in Charge

(Courtesy Reid's Office)

(Courtesy Reid’s Office)

As Senate Democrats headed to Baltimore for their retreat, Minority Leader Harry Reid wasn’t with them — but he will be listening in.

Even without a physical presence, the Nevada Democrat is still making the daily decisions about running the caucus — and an aide said late Wednesday he is likely to return to the Capitol next week.

Full story

January 13, 2015

Menendez Staffer Bids Farewell to Hill Life

O'Brien is leaving Capitol Hill to join General Electric. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

O’Brien is leaving Capitol Hill to join General Electric. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Danny O’Brien never had a career path plotted out — certainly not one that included serving as Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff director for the past two years, in the Clinton White House or in senior Senate posts for now-Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

Now, after more than 20 years in the public sector, O’Brien is calling it quits to join General Electric’s global government affairs team. Full story

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