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April 19, 2015

Posts in "Mitch McConnell"

April 17, 2015

For Lynch, Next Week Just Might Be the Week

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the end of a week that saw bipartisanship break out all around the Senate, Loretta Lynch remained in limbo.

The Thursday afternoon announcement there would be no further Senate votes for the week guaranteed that the Brooklyn-based U.S. attorney, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be attorney general, would enter another week awaiting Senate confirmation. The contrast was on the president’s mind Friday.

“And I have to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It’s gone too far. Enough,” Obama said at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job. This is embarrassing, a process like this.”

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April 14, 2015

Democrats Rebut McConnell’s Message to States on EPA

Whitehouse led a group of five senators in a letter to 50 governors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A group of Democratic caucus members in the Senate has asked governors to consider the views of other Kentuckians before taking Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s advice on implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The Kentucky Republican has espoused the view that states should consider avoiding developing their own plans for implementing the power standards. But the five senators behind Tuesday’s open letter to the governors point out that the Democratic leadership in McConnell’s home state is moving forward with its own EPA plan.

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Senate’s To-Do List Keeps Getting Longer (Video)

McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell outlined an extremely busy legislative calendar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A debate over Iran may highlight the Senate’s agenda, but it already seems like there might be too much to do.

Sen. Bob Corker’s efforts to get broad support for bipartisan legislation to provide a role for Congress in reviewing a final international agreement with Iran about nuclear weapons appears to have paid dividends. And the Corker legislation seems to be on an expedited path to the floor after a markup set for Tuesday afternoon. Full story

April 13, 2015

Senate Returns to an Immediate ‘Doc Fix’ Deadline

The Senate is facing a post-recess time crunch on the doc fix. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate is facing a post-recess time crunch on the ‘doc fix.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers will already be facing a time crunch when the Senate returns Monday.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been withholding payments to doctors treating Medicare patients to give Congress a window to work through a long-term resolution to the Sustainable Growth Rate problem that sees physicians regularly facing draconian cuts in payment rates without a patch known as a “doc fix.”

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April 6, 2015

McConnell Skeptical of Iran Deal After Leading Freshmen on Middle East Trip

McConnell and several freshmen senators meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan. (Courtesy Royal Hashemite Court)

McConnell and several freshmen senators meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan. (Courtesy Royal Hashemite Court)

Fresh off a trip to the Middle East, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reaffirmed Monday afternoon that his chamber would weigh in legislatively regarding the framework agreement between the United States, Iran and other nations involved in the negotiations.

“Last week I led a Senate delegation to Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Iran’s support of Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Shia militias in Iraq, Houthi insurgents in Yemen — along with its ongoing nuclear ambitions — reveal an ongoing effort to both expand the Iranian sphere of influence throughout the greater Middle East and undermine America’s standing and presence in the region,” McConnell said in a statement. “These issues, along with Iran’s determination to expand its ballistic missile and conventional military capability, are of grave concern to me; moreover, the concerns of our allies and partners were raised throughout our visits.”

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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.”

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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.
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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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