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July 6, 2015

Posts in "Mitch McConnell"

July 1, 2015

McConnell Once Wanted Reagan on $10 Bill, Now Says Replacing Hamilton Is ‘Terrible Idea’

McConnell says taking Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill is a "terrible idea."(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell says taking Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill to make way for a woman is a “terrible idea.” In 2004, he talked up doing the same to make room for Ronald Reagan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Ronald Reagan died, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with the Republican president.

But McConnell slammed the Treasury Department’s plan to replace Hamilton to make room for a woman when asked about it Tuesday.

“A really bad idea, which is not to say that some woman or women in American history shouldn’t be honored, but the last person who ought to be removed from currency is the person who basically founded the American banking system and created the financial system for the United States, Alexander Hamilton,” McConnell said in a local TV interview.

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June 29, 2015

In Washington, Ted Cruz’s ‘Truth’ Will Make Him More Enemies

A new book by Ted Cruz slams a number of his colleagues in what he calls the "Washington cartel." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new book by Cruz — “A Time For Truth” — slams a number of his colleagues in what he calls the “Washington cartel.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When their presidential bids failed, senators as liberal as Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and as conservative as Barry Goldwater of Arizona returned to Capitol Hill and had productive — if not legendary — careers.

But Sen. Ted Cruz’s new book is the latest indication he has no plan to be a member of such a club if his run for the White House doesn’t go as planned. He is running against what he’s taken to calling a “Washington cartel.”

As to be expected from a senator who has openly sought to undermine GOP leadership, “A Time for Truth” does not pull punches, leading off with anecdotes about one of the more bizarre sequences of events in recent Senate history: the day the clerk’s microphone was turned off for a crucial vote on raising the debt limit.

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June 23, 2015

McConnell: Move Kentucky’s Jefferson Davis Statue to a Museum (Video)

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy and a Mississippi senator, has a prime spot in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rather than wait for outside pressure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the statue of Jefferson Davis prominently displayed in Kentucky’s state capitol should be moved to a museum — but he wasn’t quite ready to propose moving the Jefferson Davis statue out of the U.S. Capitol.

The Kentucky Republican noted Davis’ sole link to the Bluegrass State is he was born there, but then moved to Mississippi and went on to become the president of the Confederate States of America.

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June 19, 2015

McConnell Pledges 20-Week Abortion Ban Vote

McConnell pledged to hold a vote on a 20-week abortion ban bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell pledged to hold a vote on a 20-week abortion ban bill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Sandwiched between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew he wouldn’t be the star.

“I was just hoping somebody might actually recognize me with all these presidential candidates up here,” the Kentucky Republican said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference.

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June 8, 2015

McConnell: Only ‘Local Boots on the Ground’ Fighting in Iraq

McConnell doesn't support sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell doesn’t support sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says despite the failings of the Iraqi army, he won’t be among those calling for a return of U.S. troops to the battlefield.

“I think all we can do at this point is provide the kind of training that should’ve been done on an ongoing basis for the Iraqi military, which especially seems to be throwing down its weapons and running,” McConnell told WGTK radio in Louisville.

“This is a country that’s a pretty big mess, and it could’ve been avoided, at least in Iraq, with a … residual force. That didn’t happen, and now we’re left with trying to help as best we can,” the Kentucky Republican said. “But, in the end, the boots on the ground there are going to have to be local boots on the ground, not ours, to engage in combat to take these areas of Iraq back.”

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June 4, 2015

McConnell Puts Squeeze on New Obama Federal Judges

McConnell talked to Hugh Hewitt about Republicans limiting the confirmations of Obama's judicial nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell talked to Hugh Hewitt about Republicans limiting the confirmations of Obama’s judicial nominees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama shouldn’t be too optimistic about getting a lot of federal appeals court judges confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked for an update on the judicial confirmation process in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, and the Kentucky Republican made clear that so far the GOP-led Senate has focused its confirmation efforts on a particular variety of federal judge.

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McConnell: Myanmar Must ‘Assume Responsibility’ for the Rohingya

McConnell says Myanmar (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell says the Rohingya are the responsibility of Myanmar. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the government of Myanmar needs to address the human-rights crisis involving the Rohingya.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said he and others want the country, also called Burma, to successfully complete an open election process, free of favoritism by the state-run media and with broad access to voting. McConnell said he met recently with the speaker of the country’s parliament, Shwe Mann, and expressed his concerns directly about a variety of issues, including the plight of Rohingya Muslims, a minority group of which many members have fled to boats.

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June 3, 2015

Democrats Push McConnell on Ex-Im, Highway Bill Extensions

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Emboldened by their victory in the debate over surveillance powers, Senate Democrats are hoping to push Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on other high-profile items facing a time crunch, starting with a bipartisan reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which the Kentucky Republican opposes but the GOP’s business wing supports. The bank charter expires at the end of this month.

A day after the Senate cleared and President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, following a lapse in the Patriot Act’s surveillance powers, Democratic senators expressed hope McConnell would avoid similar deadline-busting crises such as the Export-Import Bank and an extension of the Highway Trust Fund. Full story

June 2, 2015

Rubio: Next President Will Have to Restore Intelligence Powers

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul and Rubio represented opposite sides in the NSA surveillance debate, although both voted to filibuster the USA Freedom Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the next president will have to reverse damage done to the national security apparatus by the USA Freedom Act.

The Florida Republican and presidential candidate was one of the 32 senators to vote against the bill to overhaul the National Security Agency’s Patriot Act-era intelligence collection programs, which easily passed. He was in a group of lawmakers, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said the bill could make America less secure. And he was one of just 14 who voted to filibuster the bill earlier Tuesday, along with fellow presidential candidates Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.

But Rubio’s position was, on policy grounds, the polar opposite of Paul’s.

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McConnell Goes Down Swinging, Hard, on Freedom Act (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are frequently told to hold their noses and vote for something, to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was having none of that Tuesday.

Minutes before being rebuked by the chamber, which shot down his preferred amendments to the USA Freedom Act and then overwhelmingly passed it, 67-32, the Kentucky Republican went to great lengths to spell out just how bad a bill it was. Full story

McConnell and Reid Feud: ‘He Doesn’t Get to Schedule the Senate Anymore’ (Video)

Reid and McConnell traded barbs Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid and McConnell traded barbs Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate’s leaders traded unusually harsh and personal words on the floor Tuesday afternoon, just before a clear majority rejected Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s arguments against an overhaul of lapsed Patriot Act surveillance authorities.

“As my good friend, the majority leader, frequently reminded me over the last few years, the majority leader always gets the last word,” the Kentucky Republican said during the exchange. “And look, his fundamental complaint is he doesn’t get to schedule the Senate anymore and he wanted to kill the president’s trade bill, and so he didn’t like the fact that we moved to the trade bill early enough before the opposition to it might become more severe.”

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Reid Keeps Filibuster in Pocket, Says McCain Is Wasting His Time With Defense Bill (Video)

McCain is adamant that the defense policy bill should be bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCain is adamant that the defense policy bill should be bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., thinks Armed Services Chairman John McCain is going to be wasting his time managing the defense authorization bill on the floor over the next few weeks.

While Reid said Tuesday he and his caucus would not stand in the way of starting debate on the bill, he stopped short of saying Democrats would not filibuster it on the floor.

“I like [McCain] very much. He’s opinionated. I am once in a while,” Reid said. “When he first saw what they had done to the defense authorization bill [funding structure], he went sky-high, ‘How can they do this? It’s wrong!’ Now he’s joining with them in doing this. I think that until they do something with getting rid of sequestration, it’s a gesture in futility what they’re doing.”

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Senate Clears USA Freedom Act After Ending Rand Paul Filibuster (Updated)

McConnell belatedly succeeded in overcoming Paul's opposition to any Patriot Act extension. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell helped cut off Paul’s filibuster but voted against the USA Freedom Act after the Senate rejected his amendments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:09 p.m. | The Senate passed an overhaul of Patriot Act surveillance provisions Tuesday after rejecting the pleas of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and putting an end to Rand Paul’s filibuster.

The Senate voted 67-32 to clear the USA Freedom Act — the bill resurrecting and revising the lapsed Patriot Act surveillance authorities — to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

The vote capped a multi-week drama that had brought the Senate to a standstill and pitted the two Kentucky Republicans against each other, the White House and the House and led to a short-term expiration of Patriot Act authorities the administration said were critical to the intelligence community.

The National Security Agency will have up to six more months to collect bulk phone metadata before that program must be converted to a system of expedited queries of telecom companies for individual records.

The Senate rejected a package of amendments proposed by Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., who has been a consistent skeptic of the House-passed bill along with Paul’s fellow Kentucky Republican, McConnell.

McConnell and Burr sought to extend the transition period to a full year, wanted to require a certification that the telecom companies would be able to deliver the information sought by the National Security Agency, and wanted to nix an amicus process for the secret FISA court.

The tweaks, however minor — as they’ve been billed by Senate Republicans leadership — had been considered poison pills by the House, and were all easily rejected by the Senate in a humbling defeat for the majority leader.

McConnell, meanwhile, just before the vote announced he would oppose the USA Freedom Act. He said it was unwise to take away a tool for fighting terrorists at a time of rising threats, and said the public agreed with him.

“Sixty-one percent say ‘I’m not concerned about my privacy, I’m concerned about my security,'” McConnell said.

He fumed that the bill amounted to a resounding victory for Edward Snowden and for terrorists plotting new attacks.

But House leaders and the White House had strongly urged the Senate to reject any amendments and simply clear the bill to the president’s desk.

Once signed, the NSA will be able to restart its bulk phone metadata collection, a process the administration has said could take up to a full day.

Earlier the Senate voted 83-14 vote to end Paul’s filibuster and limit debate.

Here’s the list of the 14 senators who voted to filibuster the USA Freedom Act:

Related:

Senate Odd Couple — Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul — Won’t Split Despite NSA Rift

McCarthy to Senate: Pass USA Freedom Act ‘as Quickly as Possible’

Angry John McCain Calls Rand Paul ‘the Worst’

Senate Advances Patriot Act Overhaul, but Too Late to Foil Rand Paul

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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June 1, 2015

Senate Odd Couple Won’t Split — Despite NSA Rift (Video)

Rand Paul helped Mitch McConnell win reelection, and McConnell has returned the favor by endorsing him for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul helped McConnell win re-election, and McConnell has returned the favor by endorsing him for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The icy rift over the Patriot Act between one of the Senate’s oddest couples — Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul — isn’t about to break up their political alliance.

The split has brought the Senate to a halt and led to ugly infighting among Senate Republicans on the floor Sunday night, as Paul forced expiration of Patriot Act authorities.

But the Kentucky duo’s relationship is deeper than what happens on the Senate floor.

Full story

May 31, 2015

Senate Advances Patriot Act Overhaul, but Too Late to Foil Rand Paul (Updated)

Rand Paul arrives at the U.S. Capitol to block any Patriot Act extension Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rand Paul arrives at the Capitol determined to block any Patriot Act extension Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:52 p.m. | The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance the USA Freedom Act Sunday evening, but too late to prevent Sen. Rand Paul from being able to force a short-term expiration of Patriot Act surveillance authorities at midnight.

The vote came after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threw in the towel on advancing any short-term extensions of the Patriot Act authorities under the continuing objections of Paul, the fellow Kentuckian he has endorsed for the presidency. Full story

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