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February 10, 2016

Posts in "Filibusters"

February 9, 2016

Senate Moves on From Flint Crisis — For Now


With no consensus on how to address water contamination in Flint, Mich., the Senate has shelved discussion of a bipartisan energy bill for at least two weeks and plans to move on Wednesday with debate on a package of sanctions against North Korea.

“This is not an effort to scuttle the energy bill at all, but it is an effort to make sure that we’ve got a path forward on helping the Flint families,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who is seeking federal dollars to help Flint replace the corroded pipes that are leaching lead into the city’s drinking water supply. “Once we get an agreement things will move fast.”

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January 19, 2016

Today’s Senate Roadblock Is Tomorrow’s Safeguard


6/14/01.EDUCATION FINAL PASSAGE--Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., left, and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., stand on the stage during a news conference on final passage of the education bill..CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY SCOTT J. FERRELL

Daschle, left, and Lott worked together well for years and think it’s not so far-fetched to overcome the current partisan atmosphere. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate has a reputation for being a slow-moving and conservative institution, but its recent political history is one of volatility: Since 1980, the party holding the majority has changed nine times and even had a 50-50 tie.

That might be one reason senators tend to tread carefully in considering changes to how the chamber votes, because today’s procedural roadblock can become tomorrow’s minority safeguard.

The issue is being hashed out both inside and out of the Senate. Full story

September 21, 2015

Abortion Vote a Prelude to Senate’s Shutdown Watch


UNITED STATES - September 8: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a luncheon as he strengthens his opposition against the Iran nuclear agreement at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, September 8, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Graham is the lead Senate sponsor of the 20-week abortion ban. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate will start its week debating abortion, but it’s far from certain Tuesday’s symbolic vote will diffuse the tension over Planned Parenthood funding enough to avert a government shutdown.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is following through on a promise made to social conservatives to line up a vote on a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, a measure that’s spearheaded in the Senate by presidential candidate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

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September 18, 2015

McConnell Faces More Calls for ‘Nuclear Option’ in Senate


UNITED STATES - MARCH 6: Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, R-Texas, makes his case for funding of his committee during the House Administration Committee hearing on "Committee Funding for the 113th Congress" on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Smith and other House Republicans are pressuring McConnell to change Senate rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s repeated ill-fated efforts to break filibusters of legislation to reject or impose conditions on the Iran deal have had an unusual side effect.

House Republicans, sick of being blamed for the gridlock in Congress and tired of passing bills that never get to President Barack Obama’s desk, have begun to direct their ire onto an unusual target: the Kentucky Republican.

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September 11, 2015

John McCain Entertains ‘Nuclear Option’ to Reject Iran Deal (Video)


McCain is adamant that the defense policy bill should be bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCain isn’t ruling out the nuclear option. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain said Friday he would be willing to look at using the “nuclear option” to advance legislation against the Iran deal.

“I think it would set a dangerous precedent, but frankly … I’m in favor of exploring it. The seriousness of the impact of this agreement I think … argues for us to look at any possible option that we can,” the Arizona Republican said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “I’m not sure I want to change the rules of the Senate because we won’t always be in the majority.”

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September 10, 2015

Democrats Block Iran Deal Disapproval (Updated)


Coons is a Democrat from Delaware. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Coons will vote against cloture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 5:27 p.m. | The Senate debate on the Iran deal will continue through next week, after a cloture vote failed 58-42 Thursday.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, one of the reluctant supporters of the international nuclear agreement who Republicans had hoped would break on the cloture vote on a disapproval measure and support limiting debate, told CQ Roll Call just prior to the vote he would not do so.

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August 24, 2015

Reid Dismisses ‘Longshot’ Prospects for Iran Deal Filibuster


Reid was given a lifetime achievement award Tuesday for his environmental efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid is increasingly bullish about protecting the Iran deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters gathered in Las Vegas that filibustering a bill to disapprove of the nuclear deal with Iran would be a “longshot.”

Still, the Nevada Democrat has far from given up hope on rounding up not only the 34 votes needed to sustain a veto from President Barack Obama, but the 41 needed to thwart the GOP-led Senate from getting the disapproval legislation through the chamber at all.

Full story

August 4, 2015

Cruz Ready for Next Debt Limit Debate


(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz recalled the last fight over the nation’s debt ceiling. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Remember what happened the last time Congress acted to raise the debt limit?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, certainly does.

The 2016 presidential hopeful found himself right in the middle, stopping a February 2014 effort to allow the Senate to vote on a debt ceiling measure with a simple majority.

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July 15, 2015

Cruz, Lee Promise Highway Bill Traffic Jam Over Ex-Im Bank


(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz and Lee are ready to gum up the works. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If senators want to revive the Export-Import Bank as part of the upcoming highway bill debate, they’re going to have to do it the hard way.

That was one key takeaway from GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah at a news conference with other conservative lawmakers and members of outside groups that oppose the government-credit agency.

Full story

June 17, 2015

Senate’s Defense Endgame Expected Thursday


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans McConnell and Cornyn are setting up a defense appropriations showdown Thursday with Democrats.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up to make the case that Democrats are flip-flopping on national security.

With the debate time on the defense authorization bill set to expire late Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican indicated in opening the day’s session that votes are likely to be rolled into Thursday. And as soon as the authorization is off the floor, it will be in order to consider his motion to limit debate to take up the Defense Department’s appropriations measure.

Full story

May 20, 2015

As Many #StandWithRand, Edward Snowden Sits Alone


Rand Paul launched an attempt to filibuster an extension of NSA surveillance powers Wednesday, but doesn't back clemency for Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed the scope of the programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rand Paul launched an attempt to filibuster an extension of NSA surveillance powers Wednesday, but doesn’t back clemency for Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed the scope of the programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If time heals all wounds, then Edward Snowden needs more time to get right in Washington.

Snowden is exiled in Russia, having been charged with espionage and no sign that President Barack Obama will grant him clemency.

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul launched a long floor speech hoping to end the bulk data collection programs that Snowden exposed. Most of the bipartisan coalition of senators who aided Paul in relief did so while promoting a bill that would end one of the programs — the one collecting telephone metadata. And a few weeks ago, a federal court ruled the program violated the law.

But still, Snowden still sits alone. No senators on Wednesday said their perception of the former National Security Agency contractor had softened or changed since he two years ago leaked to the media data exposing the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Comments around the Senate ranged from outright contempt to calling him a criminal whose actions may have led to some good. But no one defended him. Full story

Rand Paul Takes the Floor to Contest NSA Surveillance (Updated) (Video)


Paul toured Independence Hall on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul toured Independence Hall on Monday and vowed to “filibuster” an extension of the NSA’s surveillance powers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:44 p.m. | At approximately 1:18 p.m. Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor for what’s best described as an extended oration about the Fourth Amendment.

Unlike Rand Paul’s filibuster of the choice of John O. Brennan to head up the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013, which was designed to protest the Obama administration’s use of drones, the Kentucky Republican isn’t really holding up Senate business this time since the chamber is sitting through an “intervening day.”

Full story

April 14, 2015

Senate’s To-Do List Keeps Getting Longer (Video)


McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.

Sen. Bob Corker’s efforts to get broad support for bipartisan legislation to provide a role for Congress in reviewing a final international agreement with Iran about nuclear weapons appears to have paid dividends. And the Corker legislation seems to be on an expedited path to the floor after a markup set for Tuesday afternoon. Full story

March 24, 2015

Lynch’s Republican Backers Holding Firm


Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GOP supporters of President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general are sticking by her, meaning Loretta Lynch is still on track for confirmation — if she can ever get a vote.

That’s even as announced Republican opposition to Lynch continues to mount with the nomination sitting on the Senate calendar, effectively held hostage as part of the dispute between the parties about abortion-related language contained in a bill designed to combat human trafficking.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., became the latest Tuesday morning to join the list of lawmakers opposing Lynch.

Full story

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

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