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Posts in "Harry Reid"
September 16, 2014
At what’s expected to be their final appearances before the cameras in the Ohio clock corridor before the midterm elections in November, the two political strategists leading the Senate offered predictably upbeat assessments for their respective parties’ chances.
“If the election were today, we would be just fine. The election’s not today, it’s 48 days away,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said — not long after his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell of Kentucky expressed optimism the electorate would go their way.
The Senate has set the date for returning for the lame-duck session. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is advising senators they will return for the post-election lame-duck session the day following Veterans Day.
Orientation and the Democratic leadership elections for the next Congress will be held Nov. 12 through Nov. 14, according to a notice obtained by CQ Roll Call.
The Senate’s two top leaders made pre-election pitches in opening the chamber Tuesday morning, as the Senate looks for a quick exit ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
September 11, 2014
Updated 6:40 p.m. | The Senate’s top Pentagon appropriator told reporters Thursday he will be probing the Obama administration about legal authorities for the fight against Islamic State extremists, including in Syria.
“I have a lot of questions to ask about how they’re both interpreting the vote on the invasion of Iraq and the [authorization of use of military force] with Afghanistan,” Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said after a news conference where Senate Democratic leaders called for Congress to unite behind President Barack Obama as the nation confronts ISIS.
Durbin, who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said after an all-senators closed briefing that he had gotten answers to questions about authority for the new military actions. Asked whether or not they were answers he wanted, the senator said the issue will be discussed at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing next week.
September 10, 2014
Updated 2:54 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is backing President Barack Obama’s renewed push for authority to train and equip Syrian rebels as part of his plan to take on the Islamic State, as the president himself is lobbying lawmakers to act before heading home.
Reid called on Congress to approve so-called “Title 10″ authority, which would allow the U.S. to train and equip rebels in Syria and others who are fighting ISIS.
“The president has tried to get that from us and we should give it to him,” Reid said. “That is one way of helping build an international coalition.”
Republicans should prepare to be criticized regardless of how they vote Wednesday afternoon when the Senate reconsiders legislation known as the Paycheck Fairness Act.
It’s an underlying bill that Republicans don’t support, and voting for cloture on proceeding to it would be a reverse in strategy from the last time it came up. For Democrats, who view the GOP as meddling with their schedule of pre-election votes, either vote by the GOP counterparts will be pushed as a negative, making this a classic case of election-year theater all around.
An email circulated to Democratic communications aides and obtained by CQ Roll Call late Tuesday points to a strategy of either criticizing Republicans for voting yes to limit debate on proceeding to a gender pay equity bill that they don’t support and burning valuable floor time, or for voting no and blocking a debate.
September 9, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he doesn’t expect the Senate to vote on legislation revamping corporate inversions this month.
“I kind of doubt it,” Reid said when asked if there would be a vote in September. When asked why not, Reid only chuckled as he walked into the chamber after his weekly Tuesday press conference.
The Senate has a packed schedule and only plans to be in session through Sept. 23, the day before the Jewish High Holidays begin.
Congress and the Treasury Department have been exploring ways to stem the growth of inversions, the growing trend of American companies buying foreign competitors, often times smaller businesses, then re-incorporating overseas in order to pay less in U.S. taxes. Forty-seven U.S. corporations have reincorporated overseas through corporate inversions in the past 10 years, far more than during the previous 20 years combined, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Secretary Jacob J. Lew said Monday in a speech at the Urban Institute that his agency could act soon.
“The Treasury Department is completing an evaluation of what we can do to make these deals less economically appealing, and we plan to make a decision in the very near future,” Lew said in his speech. “Any action we take will have a strong legal and policy basis, but will not be a substitute for meaningful legislation — it can only address part of the economics. Only a change in the law can shut the door, and only tax reform can solve the problems in our tax code that leads to inversions.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he has been in contact with Lew and that he continues to work with ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, on the issue, which he said voters have concerns.
“At community meetings around my state when people would ask about inversions this summer, I said look, if you erode the business tax base, what happens is working families and other businesses have to pick up the freight,” Wyden said.
“What I’m doing is using every single day, and have now for weeks, focused on trying to produce a bipartisan effort,” Wyden added. “We’ve talked about it with Sen. Hatch. Our staffs have been at it day after day now for weeks … and I’m encouraged.”
Wyden said that the environment in the Congress remains highly partisan, which has made it difficult to reach a bipartisan solution to the inversion problem, but not impossible.
“I think it’s important to have a bipartisan stop-gap measure to plug the inversion loophole, and I believe that is consistent to do in line with major tax reform,” Wyden said.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is expected to unveil his own proposal next week that is would further limit the amount of interest an inverted corporation can deduct from its taxable income.
In August, three Senate Democrats called on Obama to use executive action to address the issue.
Bridget Bowman and Katy O’Donnell contributed to this report.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they’re inviting a government shutdown.
“If I have anything to do with it? No, no, no,” the Nevada Democrat said of allowing a vote on such a proposal, as sought by a group of Senate and House conservatives led on the Senate side by Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions and Mike Lee.
Asked what happens if the senators insist on considering it as part of the continuing resolution debate that’s expected next week, Reid pointed to a risk government funding could lapse.
September 4, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has joined a bipartisan group of 50 senators seeking a moratorium on closing mail-processing facilities by the U.S. Postal Service.
“With Reid’s signature, a bipartisan majority of all senators now have signed the letter,” said Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who helped organize the effort, in a release touting Reid’s move.
The moratorium would save postal jobs while giving Congress time to come up with a way to reform the postal service, which reported it lost $2 billion in the second quarter, and $740 million more than the same time last year.
Previous losses, and a lack of congressional action, have led the postal service to consolidate 141 mail-processing facilities since 2012 and more closures are expected. Sanders said a moratorium would save as many as 15,000 jobs.
Along with Sanders, Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jon Tester of Montana put the effort together and released a letter in August. Most of the 50 signatories to the letter were Democrats, but six were Republicans: Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Hoeven of North Dakota, John Thune of South Dakota, Susan Collins of Maine, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah.
After the letter was released, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., who is chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has written a postal service overhaul bill, issued a release warning that in the absence of congressional reform, a moratorium would further drain the USPS’s resources without giving it any additional authority to cut costs or increase revenue, and increasing the risk of a congressional bailout.
“If my colleagues want to address these concerns for the long-haul, I urge them to join me this September as we continue our efforts to fix the serious, but solvable, financial challenges facing the Postal Service,” Carper said. “Our bill isn’t perfect but it is an important step in the right direction. I hope my colleagues will join our efforts to enhance this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”
July 31, 2014
Updated 7:56 p.m. | The Senate failed to pass a $3.6 billion emergency supplemental spending package, most of which was designed to deal with the tens of thousands children illegally emigrating from Central America.
Hours after House GOP leaders had to pull their own $659 million bill, Republicans used a budget point of order by Senate Budget Chairman Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to kill the Senate bill on a 50-44 vote, 10 votes shy of the 60 votes needed.
Majority Leader Harry Reid called the CIA’s snooping on computers used by Intelligence Committee staff “appalling and deeply threatening to our system of checks and balances” and is demanding changes.
The Nevada Democrat issued his statement Thursday after public acknowledgement by the CIA that the agency’s inspector general found improper access to computers utilized as part of the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the use of torture during the George W. Bush administration.
“What is even more disturbing is that the unauthorized CIA actions come in the context of the Senate’s effort to complete a report of the CIA’s interrogation program. The deeply troubling CIA actions show to what lengths some in the CIA are willing to stoop in order to prevent the report’s release and to avoid accountability,” Reid said. Full story
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is warning of a whirlwind September schedule that will feature a slew of do-over votes on Democratic campaign priorities.
“I want everyone to know what’s going to happen when we come back. Following the August recess, we’re going to convene on Sept. 8, and we’re going to be here for one week, two weeks and two days. Sept. 23 is our target date to adjourn until after the election,” the Nevada Democrat said when opening the Senate floor Thursday for the last expected session day before the August break.
July 29, 2014
The Senate Tuesday approved a short-term patch to keep funds flowing to highway projects through Dec. 19, but Speaker John A. Boehner has already promised to strip the Senate provisions and send the House-passed bill right back.
After the Senate’s version of the bill passed 79 to 18 — Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah called it a “free vote…because the House is going to send this right back, they are going to strip everything out — after they’ve left” for the August recess.
Boehner is playing hardball.
“I just want to make clear, if the Senate sends a highway bill over here…we’re gonna strip it out and put the House- passed provisions back in and send it back to the Senate,” the Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday morning. Full story
July 28, 2014
The pre-recess rush began Monday with a plea from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Leaving here with Israel being naked as they are, with these wildfires raging and a crisis at the border, it would be a shame if we did nothing,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.
Those three priority items would get emergency funding under a measure introduced last week by Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.
July 22, 2014
The Senate might just have too much to do before departing for August recess.
But, it is a chamber where “magic” all-too-often occurs on Thursday evenings, and senators might need it come July 31. There’s no shortage of big ticket items on the legislative agenda of Majority Leader Harry Reid, including funding for the crisis involving unaccompanied migrant children, stopgap highway funding and the ongoing issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Senate Democrats are hoping their use of the “nuclear option” to end a Republican blockade of circuit court nominees last year will help overturn a 2-1 appeals court ruling with the potential to gut Obamacare tax subsidies for millions.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blasted the court’s ruling that Congress only wanted to provide tax subsidies in states with their own exchanges an “absurd” move by “two activist Republican judges.”
The administration plans to appeal the ruling to the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which now has more Democrat-appointed judges after the nuclear option blew up GOP attempts to filibuster Obama’s nominees. Full story