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November 24, 2014

Posts in "Democrats"

November 18, 2014

McConnell Cites ISIS in Opposition to Leahy Surveillance Bill

KYPOL14 172 110514 445x296 McConnell Cites ISIS in Opposition to Leahy Surveillance Bill

McConnell opposes efforts to roll back NSA data gathering. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came out against a surveillance bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., citing concerns that it could hurt the nation’s ability to combat terrorists like Islamic State.

“Many of these fighters are familiar with America’s intelligence capabilities and many are savvy with communications: these are terrorists who know how to use encryption and they know how to change devices frequently,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “That’s part of the reason why I’m so strongly opposed to the legislation.”

McConnell is set to become majority leader in the next Congress and his comments will likely make it more difficult for the bill to advance. The Senate is expected to vote on cloture on whether to take up the bill Tuesday evening and 60 votes are needed to move ahead.

McConnell added that he believes the bill would curtail the intelligence community’s surveillance powers and that would “end one of our nation’s critical capabilities to gather significant intelligence on terrorist threats.”

“This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our backs,” McConnell said. Full story

November 13, 2014

Reid to Obama: Wait on Immigration Move (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated Nov. 12 4:21 p.m. |Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he would like President Barack Obama to wait for Congress to pass legislation funding the government before he takes executive action giving deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.

“The president said he is going to do the executive action,” the Nevada Democrat said heading in to a Democratic lunch. “The question is when. It’s up to him. I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it. But it’s up to him.”

Reid said the president was aware of his preference.

Republicans have warned the president not to take unilateral executive action and have raised the possibility that such a move could threaten work on an omnibus spending bill currently being developed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Full story

Elizabeth Warren Gets Seat at Leadership Table

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Warren will get a new role in Democratic leadership. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will get a newly created seat at the Democratic leadership table.

A Democratic source familiar with the leadership’s thinking told CQ Roll Call the Massachusetts senator’s role will involve outreach to progressives. A second source indicated the position would not supplant another member of the leadership.

Bringing Warren into the weekly leadership meetings could put her brand of populist economic messaging front and center as Democrats look to regain their majority in 2016.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has had high praise for Warren, and adding her to the team gives him a chance to tell his flock that he’s making changes after last week’s midterm disaster cost him his majority leader title.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, meanwhile, is expected to take the steering and outreach slot now occupied by Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who was ousted by Republican Dan Sullivan on Nov. 4. It’s not clear the timing of when that pick will occur.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

Related:

Elizabeth Warren Leads Progressive Charge, But Has GOP Admirers Too

Elizabeth Warren Could Join Democratic Leadership

Democrats Run From Harry Reid

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Claire McCaskill Opposes Reid Staying as Leader

mccaskill 151 072313 445x312 Claire McCaskill Opposes Reid Staying as Leader

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters Thursday she would not vote for Sen. Harry Reid as the Democratic leader as the party heads into the minority.

“I will not,” she responded when asked whether she will vote for the Nevada Democrat.

Full story

November 12, 2014

Elizabeth Warren Could Join Democratic Leadership

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Elizabeth Warren could join Senate leadership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democratic leaders are discussing the possibility of adding Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to their ranks, a source familiar with the conversations confirmed late Wednesday.

The move would be the most significant change to Democratic leadership teams in either chamber, which are expected to otherwise be unchanged despite the historic drubbing at the polls on Election Day.

On a conference call with liberal supporters just before the election, she received high praise from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev.

“This woman has changed the Senate,” Reid said. Full story

Watch: Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Ebola Outbreak

The Senate Appropriations Committee holds a 2 p.m. hearing Wednesday on the U.S. response to the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 4,900 people since the outbreak began in December 2013.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary of Health and Human Services, will testify.

Additional witnesses include officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense and State and USAID.

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November 5, 2014

King Seeks Dealmaker Role in Reversed Senate, Stays in Democratic Caucus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Independent Maine Sen. Angus King is remaining in the Democratic caucus, but it’s clear he views himself as a bridge between the two sides.

“There are a number of bills that, you know, that I’d been working with already with Republicans and you know my job is to going to be to bring enough Democrats along if we can make these things go,” King told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview. Even with a larger than expected victory Tuesday night, Republicans will need to find at least a handful of Democratic votes to secure the 60 votes needed to overcome potential filibuster challenges.

Full story

Manchin Promises to Stay a Democrat; Angus King Doesn’t Answer

manchin092613 445x301 Manchin Promises to Stay a Democrat; Angus King Doesnt Answer

Manchin won’t join the GOP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrat Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has no plans to switch parties following last night’s sweep to the majority for Senate Republicans — and we’re still waiting to hear from Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on his plans.

“Senator Manchin is a proud West Virginia Democrat and will remain one,” a Manchin aide said in an email.

Manchin, who has chafed under the Senate gridlock, was seen as a possible target for Republicans to try to woo.

Full story

October 20, 2014

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

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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

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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

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(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:

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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

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(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

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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

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