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November 28, 2014

Posts in "John McCain"

November 24, 2014

Republicans Push for More Iran Sanctions as Talks are Extended

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Ayotte, McCain and Graham likely to pursue tighter sanctions on Iran. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Monday’s seven-month extension of talks about the Iranian nuclear program make it very likely the Senate will vote on strengthening sanctions against Iran in the first part of 2015.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican who will be majority leader next year, signaled that just two days before Election Day.

“I think what we ought to do if we can’t get an acceptable agreement with the Iranians is tighten the sanctions, and in fact we had a bill in the Senate to do that, which the current majority leader wouldn’t allow a vote on,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky at the time. “Not to stop the talks, but to say at the end of the talks, if there’s no good outcome, then the Iranians would get tougher sanctions.”

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November 20, 2014

McCain, Corker Doubtful of White House’s ISIS Strategy, Intent for AUMF

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McCain and Corker are skeptical of the Obama administration’s intent for an AUMF. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Leaving Wednesday’s closed briefing on the fight against the Islamic State, the terror group also known as ISIS or ISIL, Sen. John McCain said he doubted the Obama administration really wanted to have a new Authorization for Use of Military Force at all.

“They keep talking about the AUMF. They haven’t, they haven’t sent over anything. I’ve been involved in numerous of these crises where they send over a request for the authorization for the use of military force,” the Arizona Republican said. “You can’t believe they really want it if they don’t even send over a proposal.”

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October 30, 2014

McCain, Graham and Rubio: No Executive Immigration Relief

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three Republican architects of the Senate’s immigration bill are warning President Barack Obama not to give relief without Congress to immigrants here illegally, warning that would “open the floodgates” to more illegal immigration.

“We write to you today to strongly discourage such action,” John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida said in a letter Thursday.

“Providing legal status by executive order to people who entered this country unlawfully will only incentivize illegal immigration and open the floodgates to more visa overstays and illegal entries over our southern border,” the letter continued. Full story

September 30, 2014

Senators Laud FCC Rollback of Sports Blackout Rule

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Booker, who played football in college, applauded the FCC’s rule change vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators on Tuesday lauded the Federal Communications Commission’s move to do away with the rule that, in effect, keeps National Football League games that don’t sell out off the air in hometown markets.

Sen. Cory Booker, who played tight end in college at Stanford University, was among the lawmakers thanking the FCC for taking the action on a unanimous vote.

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September 3, 2014

McCain: Senate Shouldn’t Leave Without Authorizing Use of Force Against ISIS (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:03 p.m. | NORFOLK, Va. — Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that Congress shouldn’t leave Washington for the mid-term election break until authorizing the use of force against ISIS.

Speaking with reporters after a campaign event for GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie at a VFW hall, the Arizonan dismissed the idea that the Senate is only scheduled to be in session for two weeks in September, where advancing a continuing resolution to keep the government running will highlight the agenda.

“I believe that these two weeks should be used to continue the CR, but most importantly the issue of this whole ISIS situation has to be reviewed. We have to have hearings. I know we’re scheduling hearings in the Armed Services Committee, and we have to act, in my view, on the authorization of use of military force,” McCain said. “And we don’t have to leave after two weeks. We can stay in session. This is an international crisis. This is a direct threat to the United States of America. That’s according to the intelligence people, the secretary of Defense, etc.”

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August 28, 2014

Republicans Warn of ‘Dark and Dangerous’ Future if Putin Isn’t Confronted on Ukraine (Video)

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Ayotte, McCain and Graham (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed any suggestion of military intervention to address Russia’s further incursion into Ukrainian territory, as Republican lawmakers renewed calls for stronger action.

“We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia,” Obama said. “But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming.”

Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned of a “dark and dangerous” future if Russia and President Vladimir Putin are not confronted about the action in Ukraine.

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August 1, 2014

McCain: ‘What Did the Director of the CIA Know and When Did He Know It?’

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have joined the chorus expressing outrage at the bombshell confirmation that the CIA was snooping on the Senate.

The two senators indicated they looked forward to having conversations with colleagues over the August recess about a variety of responses, including congressional inquiries or a special prosecutor.

“This is to me [of] the utmost seriousness. What did the director of the CIA know and when did he know it?” McCain said. Full story

July 23, 2014

Bob Dole, Veterans Groups Push Disabilities Treaty

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Former Senate Majority Leader Dole, R-Kan., speaks with Sen. Ayotte, R-N.H., after a news conference urging the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite remaining short of the 67 votes needed to ratify the United Nation’s disability treaty, disabled veterans groups are pushing for a vote to identify the holdouts.

Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., at a press conference urging ratification, said the treaty is a no-brainer to help veterans.

“I just hope the Republicans will take another look and support this treaty,” Dole said.

“This is a common sense thing … so … the people in wheelchairs can have the same rights when they travel overseas as able-bodied persons.” Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 2:33 p.m.
John McCain

July 18, 2014

McCain: United States ‘Also Responsible’ for Circumstances Leading to MH17 Crash in Ukraine (Audio)

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McCain (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain said Friday that the tragic shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 might never have happened if the United States had armed Ukrainian forces battling against Russian-backed separatists.

The Arizona Republican also said there’s no reason to wait for an international investigation of the site of the crash in eastern Ukraine.

McCain pinned the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin, but said the U.S. does have some responsibility for not arming the Ukrainians in their fight against separatists and other Russian elements.

Full story

July 9, 2014

CBO Score Continues to Vex Veterans Bill Talks

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Sanders (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sky-high CBO score for a veterans’ health care overhaul continues to stall progress weeks after separate bills blitzed through the House and Senate.

“That’s really a big problem and we know they are not legitimate,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the conference committee, said of the CBO estimates.

Last month the CBO estimated the cost of a bill passed by the Senate to be $50 billion a year, mostly because the bill would allow veterans to seek care from private health care providers if the have an unreasonable wait time or live more than 40 miles, a provision that would last two years. Full story

July 7, 2014

McCain: Cut Aid to Countries Fueling Immigration Crisis

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McCain wants to cut aid to countries fueling the immigration crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A GOP architect of the Senate’s immigration plan is calling for at least threatening to cut aid to Central American countries that don’t take steps to stop the flow of unaccompanied migrant children to the United States.

“We should tell these countries in Central America that no more aid, no more assistance, no nothing until they stop this from happening,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told KFYI radio in Phoenix.

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June 24, 2014

VA Conference Committee Hopes for Quick Deal Despite High Price Tag

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House and Senate negotiators hope for a quick deal to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs although they have yet to resolve whether to offset a potentially enormous pricetag or add to the deficit.

More than two dozen members of the House and Senate met in a rare conference committee Tuesday to begin resolving each chambers’ proposals to address the VA health care scandal.

It was the first time in 15 years that members met in a joint committee regarding VA legislation, which Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said “shows how severe the problems facing the VA are and how serious members are about fixing them.” Full story

June 11, 2014

Senate Passes Emergency VA Bill at Warp Speed

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate had a rare burst of productivity Wednesday, passing a bipartisan bill aimed at tackling the VA health care scandal at warp speed.

The Senate backed the compromise Veterans Affairs package, 93-3, sending it to the House after leaders in both parties responded to the national outcry over tens of thousands of veterans stuck waiting months for health care.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., led negotiations on the bipartisan agreement to get veterans access to outside medical providers and provide emergency funds for doctors, nurse and facilities with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

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June 4, 2014

Senators Again Push FCC to End NFL Blackouts

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Blumenthal wants the FCC to end NFL blackouts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two senators are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to quickly bring an end to blackouts of National Football League games and other sporting events on local TV stations.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., are keeping up their push on the matter, since the comment period for a proposed rule ran out in March.

“Now that the comment deadline has long passed, we urge the Commission to move forward expeditiously on eliminating the sports blackout rule (SBR). We believe that the rule unfairly harms consumers by insulating the NFL from market realities and punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations,” the senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Full story

June 2, 2014

VA Bills Face Familiar Senate Gauntlet (Video)

The Senate’s efforts to address the scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs could run headlong into the chamber’s usual gridlock and partisan politics.

While there has been a bipartisan clamor for action in the wake of the scandal that has already led to the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki, Democrats and Republicans are drafting separate bills and the usual Senate suspects — fights over money and amendments — could spell trouble.

A senior Democratic aide said Monday that a broad package of emergency authorizations for the VA, authored by Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernard Sanders, may not reach the Senate floor for a couple of weeks, with the chamber expected to turn its attention next week to a student loan refinancing bill.

The Vermont independent’s package would authorize 27 new VA medical facilities and the hiring of doctors and nurses to reduce wait times, among numerous other steps.

Republicans led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are readying a rival bill that would focus on giving veterans waiting for care a private health care option.

The Senate could move more quickly on enhanced firing authority for senior VA personnel, but there’s an ongoing dispute over whether due process protections should be added to the bill that passed the House last month with 390 votes.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., renewed his call for quick action Monday on WFLA radio in Orlando.

“So what can we do about it? I think the most important thing we can do right now, immediately, is bring some level of accountability to the VA. Right now, the VA secretary or the new secretary, whenever we have one in place, if you identify some sort of senior executive who isn’t doing their job — say running a VA hospital — you can’t fire them. You have no power to go in and just fire them,” Rubio said.

The bill Sanders is introducing this week includes civil service protections absent from the House bill.

President Barack Obama signaled last week that fixing the immediate management concerns would be the first priority in remedying the now widely apparent deficiencies at the VA.

“Before we start spending more money, our first job is let’s take care of some basic management issues that I think can be fixed,” Obama said.

Obama did, however, indicate that he’s likely to ask Congress for more money, whether it be for doctors and nurses or other improvements to limit wait times.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday the Senate should act quickly.

“We must not allow any service member, past or present, to simply fall through the cracks,” he said on the Senate floor. “Now that the Senate has returned from its state work period, we should pass Sen. Sanders’ bill as soon as possible, ensuring that our veterans get the care they deserve.”

But Sanders won’t have the only proposal debated this week. McCain is set to lead a contingent of Republicans Tuesday in unveiling their own plan for giving veterans access to private health care options outside the VA system. Reid also highlighted provisions in the Sanders bill that would give veterans stuck on wait lists and mired in the claims backlog access to private hospitals, military care and community health centers.

Reid sought to put Republicans on defense as skinflints. When the Nevada Democrat opened the floor after the weeklong Memorial Day recess, he recalled how Republicans derailed an earlier veterans health overhaul introduced by Sanders.

That bill fell apart on a budget point of order for busting budget caps. The primary offset would have been claimed savings from winding down the war in Afghanistan.

“Taking care of our nation’s wounded veterans does cost money, but it’s money well spent,” Reid said, likely setting up a debate over offsets.

“Republicans didn’t worry about busting the budget when they initially sent our troops, by the hundreds of thousands, to Iraq on a credit card,” he continued. “Republicans ignore the true cost of democracy. The lives and well-being of the brave men and women who fight to protect our way of life is part of the cost of our democracy.

“Instead, Republicans focus on the monetary cost only, the dollar bills, because any money going to our veterans is one less dollar going to billionaires and corporations in unnecessary tax cuts,” he added, reprising a familiar refrain.

Another opportunity for the Senate to debate veterans’ health care policy could come in June, when it could debate the Military Construction-VA appropriations bill.

Under one plan under consideration, individual spending bills could be packaged together into “minibus” measures. The Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to have provided leadership with six bills to pick from by the time spending bill season arrives on the floor.

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

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