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- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
Posts in "Marco Rubio"
July 10, 2014
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voiced concerns Thursday about a Mexican judge’s decision to return Afghanistan war veteran Andrew Tahmooressi to jail for breaking Mexico’s strict gun laws.
“I am very dismayed by the judicial order to continue detaining Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi in Mexico,” Rubio said. “Sgt. Tahmooressi has been languishing in a Mexican prison long enough.”
Tahmooressi is from South Florida, according to Rubio’s office.
“My office met with Sgt. Tahmooressi’s mother in Florida last week and has been in contact with the family from the start of this ordeal,” Rubio continued. “We remain committed to doing whatever we can to assist them during this difficult time.”
Rubio also called on action from President Barack Obama to help secure Tahmooressi’s release. Full story
March 6, 2014
Some Senate Republicans said the upcoming aid package for Ukraine could draw an amendment adding sanctions on Iran, although others cautioned against that approach.
“It could be,” Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said when asked if such an amendment would come up. “I am sure there will be some interest.” Full story
November 6, 2013
When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning about a case involving prayers at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., the potential implications for Congress rang through the packed chamber.
The case pits the town against members of the public who contested the overwhelmingly Christian bent — with frequent direct reference to Jesus Christ as the savior — of the town board’s opening proceedings.
Speaking for the federal government, Deputy Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn argued against some of the prayer opponents’ positions. At one point, he specifically referenced a concern about a potential ruling that children could be unduly coerced by hearing prayers at legislative sessions.
“We think the other elements that the respondents have pointed to for coercion are ones that trouble us because they are things that have analogs in our history. So, for example, they point to the presence of children. But, of course, on the Senate floor are the Senate pages, who are all high-school juniors,” Gershengorn said. “And as the reply brief points out, there are often children in the galleries at state legislatures being acknowledged.”
August 13, 2013
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a crowd at a health care forum in Kentucky on Tuesday that while he does not like the president’s health care law, shutting down the government over funding it “will not stop” it from existing.
“I’m for stopping Obamacare, but shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare,” McConnell told the audience at Baptist Health Corbin, according to a WYMT-TV reporter at the event.
Several conservative senators — including Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida — have said the GOP should not vote to fund the government unless they can stop money from flowing to Obamacare. Of course, the effort is likely to go nowhere, given that the Democratic-controlled Senate would never approve such a measure and President Barack Obama certainly would never sign it into law. Full story
August 5, 2013
Thirty-four senators are concerned an upcoming Supreme Court case could affect one of the Senate’s long-standing traditions — the daily Senate prayer.
On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., led the filing of an amicus brief in a case involving the town of Greece, N.Y., where the local board’s monthly meetings begin with a prayer (as do the meetings of the House and Senate).
“The Court of Appeals’ decision was flawed in its interpretation of the founders’ intention for religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement. “America was founded on the ideal that Americans have the right to practice or not practice any religion, not that public forums should be free from religious expression or limited to court-approved prayer.”
The senators argue that “the practices that the court found unacceptable generally reflect the practice of legislative prayer in Congress.”
July 31, 2013
Updated 4:25 p.m. | The Senate will have one more fiscal standoff before leaving for the August recess in what will be an early test of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to hold the line on spending this fall.
It’s been a rough road for the Transportation-HUD spending bill that’s the vehicle for that debate.
Missouri Republican Roy Blunt criticized the decision by Majority Leader Harry Reid to move the THUD bill first, rather than starting with a bill like the Military Construction-VA measure, on which Democrats and Republicans could more easily agree.
“I believe if I’d have been the majority leader, I would have picked one of the bills that Republicans are more in line with Democrats on because … the House and Senate number[s] are fairly close together. This is not one of them,” Blunt said. “That’s a decision that the majority leader makes and he may have been looking for a fight, and if he was, he may have gotten one.”
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of both the Budget Committee and the Subcommittee on Transportation-HUD, has run point for Democrats. “I know there are those in the Republican leadership that are working very hard now to not allow this bill to be finished,” Murray said Wednesday. “We are hoping that our Republican colleagues will join us tomorrow to make sure that we are making the right investments, that we are not managing by crisis, but doing the job that we were sent here to do.”
McConnell announced Wednesday morning on the Senate floor that he was encouraging opposition to the bill, which should come as no surprise since the Kentucky Republican has voted against the measure in committee, where he has maintained his seat.
July 23, 2013
Visions of the Republican Party literally crossed paths in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday evening.
On one side, current and former lawmakers gathered in Statuary Hall to fete former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. On the other, members and senators gathered with the party’s conservative base to discuss the legislative agenda for the future.
The irony wasn’t lost on the tea party organizers, including Scottie Hughes of TPNN.com.
“Within a few feet of each other, under the same roof of the U.S. Capitol, there were two differing visions for Republicans, one for the future and the other rooted in the past. The fact that we had an overflowing room with dozens of Senators and members says a lot about the future of the tea party and conservatism,” Hughes said. “Bob Dole may not like the fact we’re around and vibrant, but we are here and here to stay.”
July 17, 2013
Updated 5:05 p.m. | Both the nomination for the next Labor secretary and a bipartisan agreement to avoid the “nuclear option” remain on track, barely.
The minimum of 60 senators voted to cut off debate on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Thomas E. Perez to be Labor secretary, after it became clear some Republicans had qualms about including Perez in the deal struck Tuesday to get seven presidential nominees confirmed. The vote shows how tenuous the agreement to move executive branch nominations might be.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gave a floor speech earlier Wednesday afternoon encouraging fellow GOP senators to take an act that would blow up the bipartisan deal to avert the “nuclear option” on executive branch nominations.
“If just one more Republican Senator had voted against cutting off debate, we could have stopped nomination of Obama labor nominee #surrender,” Rubio tweeted after the vote closed.
June 13, 2013
The Democratic members of the Senate’s immigration “gang of eight” headed down Pennsylvania Avenue for a White House meeting, but public work on their bill — and the key issue of border security — will wait until next week.
In the meantime, negotiations are under way to try to thread the needle on border security, to come up with a specific plan that will win Republican votes and maintain Democratic support.
“We are trying to set achievable goals that [Democrats] can support,” Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a GOP member of the gang of eight, told reporters.
McCain explained that what’s under discussion would be somewhat different from a border security amendment already filed by Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas.
The amendment “would define ways that can assure them that we can achieve 90 percent effective operational control of the border, that we have sufficient funds devoted to it, and that we have sufficient other measures taken to ensure that we have border security and still keep in the parameters of what the Democrats can support,” he said.
June 9, 2013
Sen. Kelly Ayotte announced Sunday that she will back the bipartisan immigration overhaul — giving it a boost as it heads to the Senate floor this week.
The New Hampshire Republican has been a pivotal vote before in the Senate — her support for the Violence Against Women Act last year helped get it through the Senate. And earlier this year, Ayotte’s decision to oppose a bipartisan background check amendment helped doom that measure.
Ayotte’s decision isn’t necessarily a surprise, however — she has close relationships with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., two of the four Republican members of the group of eight senators who wrote the bill.
Democratic leaders have predicted they will muster 51 or 52 Democratic votes for the bill — meaning they will need to get eight or nine Republicans to end a certain filibuster attempt. Ayotte’s support gets them tantalizingly close to that number. But the bill’s authors hope to get closer to 70 votes to give the bill a boost in the GOP-controlled House, where prospects for a comprehensive measure granting a path to citizenship are far less sanguine.
Alex Conant, a spokesman for Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, was quick to highlight a portion of Ayotte’s statement noting that she planned to “support strengthening the legislation’s border security measures even further.”
Rubio is a member of the “gang of eight” who has pushed for tighter security provisions, in part to help gain more Republican votes for the final Senate bill.
Her statement follows:
May 28, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he thinks there will be no trouble getting the all-important 60 votes for the immigration overhaul.
“I think we have 60 votes. Remember, we start out at 55 Democrats. I think the most I’ll lose is two or three. Let’s say I wind up with 52 Democrats,” Reid told the Nevada TV program “To the Point.”
“I only need eight Republicans, and I already have four, so that should be pretty easy,” the Nevada Democrat said in reference to the four GOP senators in the “gang of eight” that drafted the bill. He may very well pick up the vote of his Republican junior colleague from his home state, Dean Heller, as well.
As reported by the Las Vegas Sun, Reid was asked about the vote-counting during the interview, after Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey told Univision last week that supporters didn’t yet have the 60 votes that will no doubt be needed to overcome an anticipated filibuster on the Senate floor.
May 21, 2013
The Finance Committee isn’t the only place in the Senate to watch for news about the ongoing controversy over selective review of conservative groups by the IRS.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, convened an oversight hearing Tuesday morning to review the IRS situation, one day after sending a lengthy letter seeking information and documents from outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.
But, the Senate being the Senate, there’s also a good shot of seeing the IRS matter surface as part of the floor debate on the farm bill. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., has already filed an amendment to block funding of the IRS for implementing the 2010 health care overhaul.
May 13, 2013
For Sen. Marco Rubio, multiple congressional investigations are not enough. The Florida Republican upped the ante on the IRS this afternoon, filing an amendment to an unrelated water resources bill to provide criminal penalties for similar acts in the future.
Rubio’s amendment would amend federal criminal law to provide for up to five years in prison for IRS employees found to engage in conduct that violates First Amendment protections of “political speech and political expression.”
Earlier in the day, Rubio had sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew demanding that acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resign from his post. The amendment and matching legislation are identical to a House bill unveiled Monday by Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio.