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April 18, 2014

Posts in "Harry Reid"

April 17, 2014

Harry Reid: Bundy Ranch Supporters Are ‘Domestic Terrorists’ (Video)

In one corner, the Senate majority leader. In the other corner, a Nevada rancher disputing the government’s authority to collect grazing fees and restrict access to land for his cattle.

On Thursday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the armed supporters of the rancher, Cliven Bundy, are “domestic terrorists” at an event sponsored by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

“These people, who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” the Nevada Democrat said. “And I think that we are a country that people should follow the law, and what went up in Mesquite is not very good.

Full story

April 14, 2014

‘Nuclear’ Nominations Aftermath Slows Senate to Crawl

reid 225 032614 445x294 Nuclear Nominations Aftermath Slows Senate to Crawl

( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just how many of President Barack Obama’s nominees will get confirmed this year? If last week is any indication, the answer may depend on whether Democrats once again employ the “nuclear” option to effectively change the Senate’s rules.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a big deal last week about scheduling nomination votes on the Friday before recess, but with senators in both parties eager to jet out of town, the Nevada Democrat was forced to punt.

“We are slogging through these nominations,” Reid said April 10 on the Senate floor. “It is kind of slow because of the inordinate amount of time that we are caused to eat up.”

Reid pondered on the floor whether he should have gone even further on rules changes last year, given the Republican slow-walking of nominations whose confirmations have become a fait accompli, and he lamented that a minimum wage debate he hoped to have on the Senate floor before the break was delayed as a result. Full story

April 11, 2014

Tax ‘Extenders’ and Energy Efficiency Make May Agenda, Reid Says

reid 198 032514 445x296 Tax Extenders and Energy Efficiency Make May Agenda, Reid Says

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring up a catchall tax “extenders” package to the floor next work period, along with a long-delayed energy efficiency bill.

Those measures may be in line behind an effort by Democrats to phase-in an increase of the federal the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The minimum wage bill, spearheaded by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was initially expected to get a test vote on the Senate floor before the most recent work period ended, but Reid decided to move forward first with a vote on a gender pay equity measure, along with some nominations.

Full story

April 10, 2014

‘Nuclear’ Fallout Slows Senate, Briefly Delays Recess (Updated)

oversight005 022614 445x296 Nuclear Fallout Slows Senate, Briefly Delays Recess (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:30 p.m. | Fallout from last year’s “nuclear” rules change trumped the proverbial smell of jet fumes in the Senate this week, but only for a while.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had called a live quorum to summon senators to the floor and declare on the official record what he had said earlier in the afternoon, that he wouldn’t punt on the nomination of Michelle T. Friedland to be a judge on the Ninth Circuit.

“We’ve wasted so much time that we could be working on important issues, and Republicans come to the floor [and say], ‘We want amendments,’” Reid said. “One reason we don’t do that kind of stuff is cause we spend so much time on this.”

Later in the day, Reid set a series of nomination votes for 5 p.m. Friday, but Senate Democrats say it is now anticipated those votes will be postponed until April 28, in what represents a retreat for Reid.

Full story

Reid: Recess Won’t Start Until After Judicial Nomination Vote

reid031114 445x298 Reid: Recess Wont Start Until After Judicial Nomination Vote

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in no mood to delay a scheduled confirmation vote for a Ninth Circuit judicial nominee — warning he’ll keep the Senate in session Friday if Republicans don’t consent to an earlier vote.

“We’re not punting,” the Nevada Democrat told CQ Roll Call when asked if the confirmation vote on President Barack Obama’s choice of Michelle T. Friedland for a seat on the Ninth Circuit would be put off until after the two-week recess.

The Senate voted, 56-41, to invoke cloture and thus limit debate on that nomination earlier Thursday, with Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining Democratic caucus members in voting for cloture.

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Joe Manchin: Koch Brothers ‘Not Breaking the Law’

manchin 058 020614 445x296 Joe Manchin: Koch Brothers Not Breaking the Law

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W. Va., sounds like no fan of the top Senate Democrat’s attacks on the Koch brothers.

Asked by Fox News about the drumbeat of criticism of the billionaire businessmen and donors to conservative campaigns and causes from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Manchin replied, “You don’t beat up people.”

“I mean, I don’t agree with their politics or philosophically, but you know they’re Americans, they’re doing — paying their taxes,” Manchin said.

Full story

April 8, 2014

Senate GOP Not Sweating Democratic Pay Equity Push (Video)

fischer 080 040814 330x222 Senate GOP Not Sweating Democratic Pay Equity Push (Video)

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., arrives in the Capitol for the weekly policy luncheons on Tuesday. Fischer co-authored the GOP’s alternative pay equity bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans aren’t sweating a ramped-up push by Democrats and President Barack Obama for new pay equity legislation — pushing forward women Republicans to rebut charges they have a woman problem and doubting the issue will resonate with voters.

“I think the Democrats are doing anything they can to try to change the subject from the nightmare of Obamacare and the joblessness that we experience in our country right now,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

But Democrats contend that Senate Republicans ignore the pay equity issue at their political peril come November, with control of the Senate at stake.

“They are out of touch,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of Democratic leadership, said of the GOP after a press conference touting the bill. “They are so in their conservative echo chamber that they don’t know what’s going on in America and that’s going to help us dramatically in 2014.” Full story

April 7, 2014

Senate Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension

unemployment 047 020614 445x296 Senate Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:26 p.m. | The Senate approved a bipartisan unemployment benefits extension Monday, with six Republicans joining Senate Democrats to clear the measure.

The measure passed 59 to 38 with all Democrats in attendance voting for the bill. The five Republicans who helped negotiate the measure — Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio — joined the Democrats voting in favor of the bill along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.

Three members did not vote — Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Final passage of the five-month extension comes after Senate Democrats and six Republicans overcame the last of three Republican filibuster attempts last week, and as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid teed up the vote with another screed against the billionaire Koch brothers.

Reid on Monday tied his war against the Kochs to the fight to restore emergency unemployment insurance benefits that have been cut off since December.

“Americans need a fair shot at getting back on their feet and finding work, but Koch groups are opposing benefits for the unemployed,” Reid said, teeing off on Charles Koch’s letter to the Wall Street Journal saying that “dignity” was under attack by the government.

“What about the dignity of a single mother from Las Vegas, Christina and her son, and see what dignity there is stuck living in her grandmother’s living room because she and her son were evicted when Christina’s benefits were cut off?” Reid fumed. Full story

April 4, 2014

Reid Contributor Hopes to Toss Remaining Campaign Finance Limits

reid 198 0325141 445x296 Reid Contributor Hopes to Toss Remaining Campaign Finance Limits

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A man convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would like to make a nightmare of one of the Nevada Democrat’s top lieutenants come true — by eliminating all campaign contribution limits.

Senate Rules Chairman Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., reacted to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, tossing aggregate campaign contribution limits by telling reporters ”the implications of this particular decision are significant but not huge, but the direction that the court is heading in is just dramatic and just dark.”

Full story

April 3, 2014

Fort Hood Shooting Has Harry Reid Talking Gun Control Again

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Wednesday shooting at Fort Hood made him wish that Congress would pass expanded background checks for gun purchases.

“As I was told today, this young man bought this gun a day or two before he killed these people,” Reid said. “Couldn’t we at least have background checks so that people who are ill mentally or felons shouldn’t be able to buy a gun? Even [National Rifle Association] members, the majority of them, support that.”

Reid could bring such a bill back to the floor this year.

“I would like to bring it back up; we need some more votes,” he said. Full story

Republicans Offer Deal on Unemployment Extension Vote

mcconnell 036 030612 317x240 Republicans Offer Deal on Unemployment Extension Vote

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 3:34 p.m. | Senate Democratic leaders are weighing an offer from Senate Republicans to agree to a vote on one catchall amendment, including authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline, in exchange for finishing work on an unemployment insurance extension bill today.

A senior Senate Democratic aide said they believe wrapping several Republican amendments into one has the effect of “watering down” their efforts to score political points.

“The fact that we are considering this at all, I think, shows that their gotcha amendments have lost their punch,” the aide continued.

The proposal would likely have a 60-vote threshold, the aide said, but stressed it was still being finalized. Passage of the amendment would be unlikely since Democrats control 55 votes in the chamber. Full story

April 2, 2014

Unemployment Extension Bill Advances Narrowly in Senate

reid 020 040114 445x320 Unemployment Extension Bill Advances Narrowly in Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2 p.m. | The Senate’s deal to revive an extension of unemployment benefits passed a key procedural test — barely — Wednesday morning.

Senators voted to limit debate 61-38 — and thus get beyond any filibuster threats — on the five-month deal hashed out by a coalition led by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R -Nev.

Six Republicans joined with all of the Democrats — Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio. Portman and Kirk had voted to filibuster a deal in February. Four Republicans who had voted to bring the bill to the floor last week switched and voted to filibuster the deal Wednesday: Dan Coats of Indiana, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The procedural vote required the agreement of 60 senators.

Full story

March 31, 2014

Reid: Unemployment Benefits Extension Will Pass This Week (Updated)

Updated 7:31 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., predicted Senate passage of a bipartisan unemployment insurance benefits extension this week, and urged action by the Republican-run House.

“I’m confident we will pass this legislation here in the Senate this week here and hopefully the Republicans in the House will have the soft hearts and strong minds to pass it over there,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday. “It’s in their hands.”

“This is a matter of significant importance for millions of Americans,” Reid noted. Full story

March 27, 2014

Senate to Vote on ‘Doc Fix’ Monday, Wyden Looking Ahead (Updated)

wyden 126 062513 264x335 Senate to Vote on Doc Fix Monday, Wyden Looking Ahead (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:18 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to send a yearlong patch for payments to doctors treating Medicare patients to President Barack Obama’s desk today, but it was not to be. A vote on the “doc fix” bill was postponed until Monday evening.

The Nevada Democrat’s comments on the floor backing the patch came not long after a surprise House voice vote to pass the measure, which represents a compromise between Reid and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“I personally am not overjoyed about what’s in the bill, but I’m satisfied with what’s in the bill, and I would hope that we could expeditiously move and get this done today,” Reid said.

He praised the efforts of Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to develop a long-term solution for the ongoing Medicare payment rate debacle that’s led to the recurring “doc fix” patches. Wyden said he would keep his focus on that longer-term solution.

“The patches do not meet the needs of seniors and doctors and what our country deserves,” Wyden said. “The cost of these past patches really is about the same cost as repeal, so I intend to work very closely with Leader Reid and Republicans.

“The patch, guys, is Medicare make-believe. It’s a fake. You have this target which is always exceeded,” Wyden said. “There have been 16 of them.”

Reid’s office previously indicated that Wyden would be able to get a floor vote on the broader bill, but it became clear that the patch was the only way forward by March 31.

March 26, 2014

Unemployment Benefits Headed for Senate Vote (Updated)

reid 227 032614 445x296 Unemployment Benefits Headed for Senate Vote (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 1:45 p.m. | The Senate is moving ahead Thursday with much-anticipated votes on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits that lapsed at the end of last year.

With backing from at least five Republicans, the bill should get the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster on bringing the bill up for debate.  It’ll still face the likelihood of another filibuster before final passage, expected next week. Full story

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