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November 25, 2015

Posts in "Mitch McConnell"

November 9, 2015

Ties to Coats Bind Top Leadership Staffers in Congress

McConnell walks with Soderstrom. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell walks with Soderstrom. (Bill Clark, CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dan Coats wishes he had been able to do more with the all-star staff he assembled more than two decades ago, given the sphere of influence two of them now occupy in the top echelons of Congress.

The Indiana Republican’s staff leader in the early ’90s was Dave Hoppe, who just returned to the Capitol as chief of staff to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. Hoppe in turn hired Sharon Soderstrom for Coats’ team. She’s now chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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November 5, 2015

McCain: White House Win ‘Extremely Difficult’ Without Immigration Action

john mccain

Both of Arizona’s Republican senators support an immigration overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s comments about immigration Sunday, the top two Republicans in Congress have now declared dead the prospects of an overhaul before the 2016 elections.

In the aftermath of 2012, when Latinos made up 10 percent of the electorate and President Barack Obama was re-elected resoundingly, Republican lawmakers and strategists predicted the GOP’s White House ambitions were directly tied to the passage of comprehensive immigration legislation. Many of those voices haven’t changed their tune. Full story

November 1, 2015

Speaker Ryan’s Greatest Hurdle: Congressional Math

Paul Ryan

Ryan should have no problem dealing with Senate Republicans, but problems still remain. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

It’s well-documented that Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s success depends on his ability to work with the Republican Conference’s right flank, but that’s just the half.

For any legislation to advance to the president’s desk, the Wisconsin Republican must also find common ground with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It’s not as much a personality issue as it is congressional math, and that means balancing the desires of conservative hardliners with McConnell’s reality of needing at least six Democratic votes to clear anything for the president’s signature. Full story

October 29, 2015

Roberts, McConnell Announce Crop Insurance Fix

UNITED STATES - MAY 7: Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., listens to testimony during the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on child nutrition programs on Thursday, May 7, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roberts joined GOP leaders on the floor to discuss crop insurance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:57 p.m. | Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts has assurances from his leadership to reverse crop insurance cutbacks in the budget and debt limit deal that’s currently on the Senate floor.

“This commitment is in reference to the obvious need to remedy the language adversely affected our nation’s farmers and ranchers now included in the bipartisan budget act,” the Kansas Republican said Thursday.

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October 28, 2015

With Little Suspense, Budget Deal Heads to the Senate

budget deal

McConnell has insisted the government won’t shut down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:48 p.m. | The 2015 debt limit standoff is on track to end with a whimper.

Other than the days of speeches, it’s probably over. The Senate might not even have to work over the weekend. Full story

October 25, 2015

Ayotte Backs EPA Clean Power Plan

kelly ayotte

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., broke with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday by announcing her support for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky has long relied on coal industry jobs, might be the most fervent opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama. That includes its plan, released Friday, to cut carbon emissions in existing power plants.

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October 20, 2015

Ted Cruz Almost Praised Mitch McConnell

Ted Cruz

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hopes Congressional Republican leadership allows the Ex-Im Bank to stay dead. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be on the verge of earning praise from one of his biggest critics, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by doing one small thing: Nothing.

Earlier this month, Export-Import Bank supporters in the House — mostly Democrats and a minority group of Republicans — used the rarely successful discharge petition to secure a future vote on reauthorization. With it appearing to have enough support in the House, McConnell is one of the few things blocking the bank from coming back to life.  Full story

October 5, 2015

Defense Bill Far From a Sure Thing in the Senate

Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., are at odds over the NDAA (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCain and Reed are at odds over the NDAA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With opposition on the left gaining momentum, the Senate will consider this week the conference report for the annual defense authorization measure.

Democrats haven’t said they’d filibuster, but the White House last week issued a veto threat, only 37 Democrats supported the measure in the House, and the Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., refused to sign off on the conference report. Full story

Trade Deal Announcement Highlights Tobacco Problem (Video) (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hatch is expressing concerns about the TPP agreement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:26 p.m. | Before free trade supporters get too exuberant about the outcome of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, they might want to listen to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch told CQ Roll Call Monday he is “leaning against” supporting the deal, particularly over the exclusion of tobacco from certain protections.

“Although I don’t support tobacco at all, I still think it was essential,” Hatch said. “It’ll cost us some votes. And every vote is essential. And there are other things I am very concerned about. I’ve committed to read the bill, and I will read it, but right now I’m leaning against it.” Full story

September 30, 2015

Senate Sends House Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

UNITED STATES - September 29: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens to a question during a news conference following the weekly Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell is poised to deliver on his “no shutdown” promise. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

For a government funding vote that lagged until fiscal New Year’s Eve, this one was a snoozer.

Senators voted 78-20 to send to the House a measure that would keep the discretionary spigot open through Dec. 11, with the hope that Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill will be able to cut a budget deal with the White House. Full story

September 29, 2015

Deal-Hungry Senate Eager for Boehner’s Halloween Treats (Video)

UNITED STATES - September 22: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., smiles as he jokingly addresses that it will only be himself and Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., at the weekly Senate Democrat news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reid wants a budget deal with Boehner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Senators from both parties want outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, no longer handcuffed by hardliners in his conference, to send over as many treats as he can — with a minimum of tricks — before retiring around Halloween.

Four days after Boehner’s announcement he’ll step down next month, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was touting Tuesday the prospects for a two-year top-line budget deal — and Reid’s wish list for Boehner’s promised “barn cleaning” includes an increase in the federal debt limit.

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Mitch McConnell Is No John Boehner

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unlikely to bow to the outside calls for his resignation. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/File Photo)

McConnell is now the target of ire on the right. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/File Photo)

Despite the anti-Mitch McConnell chatter on talk radio and elsewhere, don’t look for the Senate majority leader to fold like John A. Boehner — at least not for the foreseeable future. The Kentucky Republican is holding quite a few more cards than his counterpart in the House.

The calls for McConnell to step down have come hard and fast since Boehner, R-Ohio, announced last week his own intentions to lay down his gavel.

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September 28, 2015

Senate Acts to Avert Shutdown, More Funding Votes to Come

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has so far made good on his assertion that the government will not shutdown (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell has so far made good on his assertion that the government will not shut down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate moved one step closer Monday night to keeping the government from temporarily shutting down by clearing a procedural hurdle, 77-19.

Monday’s action sets up a vote for final passage sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, absent a time agreement. But legislators need to act fast to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year. Full story

September 25, 2015

Boehner Exit Puts More Pressure on McConnell (Video)

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, participate in the ceremony to sign H.R.203, the "Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act." in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell and Boehner have been longtime partners across the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Grace under pressure. Country and institution before self,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday, describing his impressions of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

McConnell will need plenty of that himself in the weeks and months ahead. With Boehner announcing his plan to resign at the end of October, the Kentucky Republican will be the focus of conservative criticism of Republicans in Washington.

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September 22, 2015

Collins Warns House Against Amending a Clean CR

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Collins says there won’t be time for the House to amend a clean CR. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Susan Collins does not want the House meddling with a clean stopgap spending bill that the Senate will inevitably need to pass.

Officially, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t announced the plan for when Democrats filibuster the continuing resolution that also blocks funding for Planned Parenthood, but there will be just a few days to advance a bill that President Barack Obama might actually sign into law to avoid a government shutdown.

And Collins, R-Maine, said Tuesday after the weekly conference lunch that Republicans across the Rotunda should see the writing on the wall.

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