Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

Posts in "Policy"

August 28, 2015

Inviting Fight With China, Rubio Says Disputed Islands Belong to Japan

Rubio has been outlining his policy views in early primary and caucus states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio has been outlining his policy views in early primary and caucus states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio said bluntly Friday the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea belong to Japan.

The Chinese government “has unilaterally declared an ‘air defense identification zone’ over international waters and the Senkaku Islands, which are the territory of our ally Japan. In the South China Sea, Beijing has dispatched ships and planes, moved oil rigs and even constructed artificial islands in an attempt to strengthen its position militarily,” the Republican presidential hopeful said during a broader speech in South Carolina about U.S.-China relations.

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Tom Carper Brings Count of Iran Deal Supporters to 30

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 27: Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., speaks during the Senate Democrats' news conference to urge Speaker Boehner bring the fully funded DHS bill up for a vote in the House on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Carper announced his Iran deal support in a Delaware newspaper. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

And then there were 30.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., became the 30th member of the Senate Democratic caucus to endorse the Iran deal late Thursday night.

Carper made his endorsement of the international nuclear agreement with Iran about nuclear development in an opinion piece prepared for publication Friday in The News Journal of Delaware.

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August 27, 2015

Senator Criticizes ‘Systemic Issues’ in State Dept. Email Management

State Department Email

Perdue is critical of “systemic issues” in the State Department’s handling of email. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the State Department’s congressional overseers is expressing fresh concerns about federal data security after this week’s inspector general report about the use of private email at the embassy in Japan.

“Recent data breaches of U.S. cyber networks should prompt all government officials to strengthen communication security,” Sen. David Perdue said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “This Inspector General report indicates systemic issues across the State Department, specifically in email communications.”

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August 26, 2015

Rubio: GOP Needs 60 Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Rubio held a town hall Wednesday in Londonderry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio held a town hall Wednesday in Londonderry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio sounds rather bearish on repealing Obamacare anytime soon, even if he or another Republican becomes president.

Outlining his economic and foreign policy visions at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, the Floridian said upending the 2010 health care overhaul law would take the support of a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 senators.

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As Prospects of Derailing Iran Deal Dim, Corker Eyes Next Step

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Corker says there will be more legislation after the Iran disapproval vote. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker is home in Tennessee, but he said Wednesday he’s been on the phone a lot about Iran — particularly with moderate Democrats.

The Republican said his role is to answer questions and foster debate, while making the case against the P 5+1 agreement to restrict the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. But, with the number of Democratic caucus members backing the Iran deal at 29 and expected to increase, Corker’s also looking ahead to other legislation in response.

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August 25, 2015

Patty Murray Joins in Supporting the Iran Deal

Could Murray help avert another government shutdown? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Murray has become the 29th Democratic Conference member to back the Iran deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The one member of the Senate Democratic leadership who had yet to announce a position on the Iran deal is supporting it.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Tuesday in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call ahead of release that she would be joining with Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois in lining up in favor of the international agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear development.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is the lone Democratic leader on the other side.

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August 24, 2015

‘Moneyball’ for the Power Grid: Reid Says Metrics Key

UNITED STATES - MAY 4: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, a native of Nevada, at Nationals Park in Washington before the game against Philadelphia on Friday, May 4, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reid compared utility companies ignoring renewable energy to a baseball team benching Harper. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid kicked off his annual clean energy summit Monday in Las Vegas by comparing utility companies that undervalue renewable power to an ill-managed baseball team.

“Nevada and electric utilities should learn from ‘Moneyball.’ Just as Major League Baseball was stuck in the past, electric utilities continue to rely upon business models from past centuries. Companies you will hear today are developing new energy technologies and services of which Thomas Edison never dreamed,” the Nevada Democrat said. “This challenge should begin by properly valuing rooftop solar, properly valuing energy efficiency and properly valuing other distributed sources of clean energy. Ignoring these resources or treating them as a burden makes as much sense as the Washington Nationals benching Bryce Harper.”

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August 20, 2015

Senator Warns Defense Secretary of Blockade Over Gitmo

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Roberts and Moran have been against transferring Gitmo detainees to Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is gearing up for another fight over relocating detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that has Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter making calls.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., spoke with Carter Thursday and reiterated his intent to use procedural tools in the Senate to block the transfer of detainees from the naval base at Gitmo to sites on the mainland of the United States, particularly the prison facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

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What Ted Cruz Thinks About Manned Spaceflight

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 9: Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) poses for a selfie with a supporter after the town hall meeting with Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. The campaign event was part of The Cruz Country bus tour through the South. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz took a selfie with a supporter after the town hall in Huntsville. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Sen. Ted Cruz took questions at a campaign town hall in Huntsville, Ala., on his bus tour of SEC country last week, a boy scout from the area raised his hand. But the Texas Republican called for the last question before his staff could get the presidential candidate’s attention.

So CQ Roll Call approached the young man and his parents later that evening to ask what was on his mind. Nine-year-old Paul Byrd wanted to know what Cruz thought about the future of manned spaceflight. It was a good question, particularly in the northern Alabama city that is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

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August 18, 2015

Rhode Island Senators Join Ranks of Iran Deal Supporters

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reed announced his support for the Iran deal on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after a Senate Democrat announced his opposition to the Iran deal, two more have come out in support.

Rhode Island Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse came together Tuesday to announce that they would support the agreement. Reed, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, is the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee.

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Democrats to McConnell: Start Budget Talks Now

Reid and McConnell Democratic agenda

Democrats want Republicans to agree to budget talks now rather than wait until a government shutdown showdown. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats have united to say Republican leaders should not wait until after Labor Day to get going on budget talks.

“With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period — just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year — to begin talks on a path forward,” wrote the entire Democratic Conference in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis.”

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August 17, 2015

McConnell Praises Efforts to Fight Heroin Epidemic

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell is praising new funds to fight heroin abuse in Kentucky and elsewhere. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is starting the week with praise for the White House’s drug czar.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy on Monday formally announced that it would be providing $2.5 million in funding for a new Heroin Response strategy to fight opioid abuse in five identified High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, including Appalachia.

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August 13, 2015

McCain: ‘Shameful’ to Limit Arlington Cemetery Expansion for Bus Facility

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

McCain wants the Army to maximize the number of graves at Arlington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

John McCain is pushing hard to quash the idea of building a bus maintenance facility on property the Arizona Republican would rather see set aside for an expansion of the adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.

In a letter to Army Secretary John M. McHugh, the Senate Armed Services chairman criticized the Virginia Department of Transportation and local government for wanting to build the maintenance facility on the site.

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Rubio Demands Documentation for ‘Political’ Human Trafficking Report

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio remains the administration’s biggest critic on Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio Thursday morning called the State Department’s upgrade of Cuba’s human trafficking status an “embarrassment,” and requested documentation into the decision that senators on both sides of the aisle have called political.

The Florida Republican, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, urged Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter to reconsider the upgrade from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List, because “Over the past year, Cuba has done almost nothing to combat human trafficking.” Full story

Thune Wants GOP Senators Touting Productivity

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Thune, left, says the August recess message is that a GOP majority matters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators were sent home for August recess with a pocket card printed with a simple message.

“When Republicans took control of the Senate, we promised to get the Senate working again,” the card reads. “We are keeping our promise.”

The card lists an assortment of legislation passed in the Senate, from long-term highway and education reauthorizations to the anti-human trafficking bill. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, leads the operation that produces the materials for the August recess.

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