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April 2, 2015

Posts in "Mitch McConnell"

March 31, 2015

10 Things We Learned From the Vote-a-Rama

vote-a-rama

Toomey got attention for changing his vote during last week’s vote-a-rama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the vote-a-rama in the rearview mirror, it’s worth taking stock of what the 15-plus hours of nonbinding votes on dozens of amendments said about the 2016 presidential election, how vulnerable senators voted and what issues might now come to the fore. Full story

March 27, 2015

McConnell Praises ‘Son of Searchlight’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had no shortage of battles with his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid of Nevada over the years, but when the minority leader announced his retirement Friday, the Kentucky Republican offered kind words.

“Nothing has ever come easily to this son of Searchlight. Underestimated often, his distinctive grit and determined focus nevertheless saw him through many challenges,” McConnell said in a statement. “They continue to make him a formidable opponent today.”

Full story

March 26, 2015

Loretta Lynch: From ‘Back of the Bus’ to ‘Sacrificial Lamb’

Jackson Lee, right, . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jackson Lee, far right, alleges Lynch’s race and sex have delayed a Senate vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Adopting rhetoric similar to Illinois Senator and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin’s “back of the bus” comment that drew the ire of Republicans, about a dozen women congregated outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday to protest the delay on confirming Loretta Lynch.

The group, visiting Capitol Hill as part of the Black Women’s Roundtable 2015 National Women of Power Summit, allege Lynch’s race and sex impacted the Kentucky Republican’s timetable for voting on the nomination and used the upcoming Easter holiday to inject religion into their plea. Full story

March 17, 2015

McConnell’s Dreams of New Senate Dashed for Now (Video)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s best-laid plans for a Senate renaissance have so far fallen flat — and the gridlock is starting to wear on his conference.

Republican Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, who faces a serious re-election challenge in 2016, says his own conference shoulders responsibility for the lack of productivity.

Kirk spoke with reporters in the Capitol Tuesday, not long after a vote to limit debate on what had started as a bipartisan bill to combat sex trafficking fell a few votes short of the 60 needed amid an ongoing dispute over the GOP’s insertion of an anti-abortion funding provision.
Full story

March 15, 2015

A New Delay for Loretta Lynch? (Video)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that he doesn’t plan on turning the Senate’s attention to the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general until resolving a stalemate over anti-human trafficking legislation.

The human trafficking debate was supposed to be the bipartisan one, with the bill having already won unanimous support in the Judiciary Committee, but it has since been beguiled by a fight over whether to apply language barring the use of funds for abortion.

“I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” McConnell said of the Lynch nomination on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Full story

March 9, 2015

Senate Schedule Changed After Iran Vote Delay

senate

The Senate schedule this week had a late change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the House out of town this week, the Senate will be the focal point on Capitol Hill, and there’s no shortage of activity ahead.

In a sign of how the Senate operates, the schedule has already changed. Full story

March 5, 2015

Senate Democrats Press McConnell to Schedule Lynch Confirmation Vote (Updated)

RY 28: U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Democrats are ramping up pressure in the Senate to approve Lynch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:23 p.m. | Frustrated with the pace of Loretta Lynch’s confirmation process, Senate Democrats are ramping up pressure on Republicans to schedule floor consideration of the president’s pick to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

They are circulating a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying the nomination of the Brooklyn-based U.S. attorney to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer has already been pending for 117 days and it should be called up swiftly. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters that the entire Democratic caucus had signed on.

Full story

March 4, 2015

McConnell Discourages States From Crafting Clean Power Plans

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is suggesting states shouldn’t act on their own to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean power plans.

In an opinion piece in Wednesday’s Lexington Herald-Leader, the Kentucky Republican offers advice for governors and other state officials.

“Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class. Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits — when the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and when, without your support, it won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism,” McConnell wrote.

Full story

March 3, 2015

McConnell’s Turn to Iran Legislation Surprises Democrats (Video) (Updated)

Updated 7:21 p.m. | In between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress and Netanyahu’s meeting with Senate leaders, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced plans to move full speed ahead with legislation to give Congress a say in any potential nuclear deal with Iran.

Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced the details of a bipartisan bill Feb. 27 that would require the Obama administration to transmit any agreement from the international P5+1 talks to Capitol Hill for a 60-day review period. Full story

February 26, 2015

McConnell’s Move to Avert Shutdown Cheers Vulnerable Senators Up in 2016

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell wants to end the DHS funding fight ASAP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is always looking ahead to the next election.

And as much as the Kentucky Republican’s move to go ahead with a clean bill funding the Department of Homeland Security drew the ire of the conservative base, others including those on the ballot and vulnerable in 2016 said it was important to resolve the issue and get on with the GOP agenda.

Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk, who is running for re-election in the generally blue state of Illinois, said Tuesday that GOP senators should tell the House Republicans who are against advancing the appropriations bill without riders in opposition to President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration that “this is the way the Senate demands this go.”

Full story

February 23, 2015

McConnell Offers Plan to Break DHS Logjam

Updated 7 p.m. | Just days from a shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun to pivot toward a new strategy to separate funding for the Department of Homeland Security from the GOP’s plan to roll back President Barack Obama’s immigration actions.

The Kentucky Republican offered a standalone bill focused on the 2014 immigration actions alone after Democrats for the fourth time filibustered the House-passed DHS bill, this time on a 47-46 vote, 13 shy of the 60 needed to advance.

“It isn’t tied to DHS funding. It removes their excuse,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. Full story

Senate Democrats Show Limits of GOP Spending Strategy

Reid and McConnell Democratic agenda

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Republican leaders seized control of the Senate, they quickly targeted must-pass appropriations bills — not shutdown showdowns — as their best tool for reining in the Obama White House.

Two months into the 114th Congress, they have run smack into the limits of that strategy.

The immigration fight that has stalemated the fiscal 2015 Homeland Security spending bill, leaving the department days away from a possible shutdown, makes clear the high hurdles that remain for getting bills to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Even worse for Republicans, Senate Democrats found a strategy that has left the GOP feuding with itself over who needs to make the next move.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Full story

February 13, 2015

GOP Senators Also Pushing to Nuke Filibusters, Says House Lawmaker

Mo Brooks, R-Ala., speaks during a news conference with House and Senate members on immigration on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Brooks said GOP senators are also asking McConnell to change the filibuster rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House conservatives are increasingly pushing the Senate to “go nuclear” and change filibuster rules so that a Department of Homeland Security funding bill blocking the president’s executive action on immigration can move forward. But according to one GOP lawmaker member, it’s not just the House pushing for that change.

Alabama Republican Mo Brooks told CQ Roll Call Friday that he had spoken to senators supportive of changing the filibuster rules. Full story

February 3, 2015

Ferrier Takes Helm of Senate Republican Communications Center

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ferrier is returning to the Senate after less than a year in the private sector. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The post-employment “cooling off” period didn’t even have time to expire before Antonia Ferrier found her way back to the Senate as part of the new Republican majority.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office announced Tuesday morning that the Kentucky Republican was bringing in Ferrier as as the new staff director of the Senate Republican Communications Center, replacing the departing John Ashbrook. It’s one of a series of moves as the GOP media and speechwriting operation reloads about a month into life as the majority.

Full story

January 23, 2015

McConnell Shows He’s the Boss

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The honeymoon may be over for Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican’s open-process experiment took a turn Thursday night when the newly minted majority leader showed his patience has its limits, as he forced a series of votes to table Democratic amendments and refused to allow their sponsors a minute to explain them.

Full story

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