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November 26, 2015

Posts in "Politics"

November 20, 2015

Domestic Surveillance Re-Emerges in Senate, on the Trail

rand paul

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A debate over domestic surveillance that appeared resolved months ago is getting new life in the Senate — and on the 2016 presidential trail.

Speaking to college students Thursday at George Washington University, presidential hopeful Rand Paul called “bullshit” on the idea there should be expanded screening of phone records in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in France. Full story

November 17, 2015

McConnell Joins Call for Syrian Refugees Admission ‘Pause’

syrian refugees

McConnell and other Republican senators conduct a news conference Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined the calls for a “pause” in Syrian refugees admissions, echoing Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The Kentucky Republican pointed to the influx of Iraqi refugees in his home state indicted on terrorism charges back in 2011. Full story

McCain: Obama Assertion on ISIS ‘Embarrassing’

paris attacks

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain criticized President Barack Obama’s defiant defense of the administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State terror group.

Speaker with reporters Tuesday, the Arizona Republican took umbrage with Obama’s assertion that GOP hawks have failed to offer an alternative plan for fighting the violent extremist groups. He also said building the Arab ground force he envisions is possible as long as Obama pledges to help it take down Syrian President Bashar Assad. Full story

Paris Terror Attacks Give Graham an Opening in 2016 Race

Graham (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has tried in vain to make the GOP presidential race a fight over who has the best plan to crush the Islamic State. But as coordinated terror attacks on Paris dominate headlines, will primary voters finally listen to the South Carolina Republican?

Graham has long pushed for military intervention in Syria, with a substantial ground component. He told CQ Roll Call Monday that he hoped his message would pick up traction, particularly in New Hampshire — host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary and where he will travel this weekend with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain.

Full story

November 11, 2015

The 5 Agencies Ted Cruz Would Cut

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, outlined the five federal agencies he'd cut. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz outlined the five federal agencies he’d cut. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Like a certain Texas Republican before him, Ted Cruz had a bit of an “oops” moment during Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate.

While certainly not as egregious as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s famous faux pas at a 2011 debate when he forgot the third agency he’d like to cut  (“Oops,” Perry said), the junior senator from Texas listed the five agencies he would eliminate — but omitted the Department of Education by counting the Commerce Department twice. Full story

November 9, 2015

Reid Whacks Grassley Over Clinton Emails, Nominees

Reid is firing at Grassley over State Department nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reid is firing at Grassley over State Department nominees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Minority Leader Harry Reid opened the Senate’s week by blasting Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley for a blockade on ambassadors over former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails.

“Many of these foreign service officers are always ready to serve at a moment’s notice in hot spots throughout the world. Hot spots like Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re not partisan. They’re diplomats,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said in a floor speech. “That’s why it’s troubling to see the senior senator from Iowa politicize these promotions.” Full story

November 5, 2015

McCain to Democrats: Do You ‘Give a Damn’ About Servicemembers?

McCain ripped reports of a possible extension in the Iran nuclear deal deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCain gave a biting floor speech about the blockade of the defense spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican defense policy leader in the Senate wondered aloud Thursday if Democrats “don’t give a damn” about military personnel.

During a stem-winding floor speech, Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., asked if his Democratic counterparts were blocking the defense spending bill debate not for procedural reasons — but because they don’t care. Full story

November 2, 2015

Rand Paul Goes Viral, Thanks to Mike Lee

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul’s late-night budget deal filibuster bid picked up an unexpected boost from fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee posted to his Facebook page a clip of the Kentucky presidential hopeful expressing on the Senate floor his opposition to the budget deal, which also suspended the debt limit beyond the 2016 elections.

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

Rubio Refuses to Attack Jeff Sessions at Debate

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., refused to attack Sen. Jeff Sessions at Wednesday's Republican debate (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio refused to attack Sessions at the debate (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jeff Sessions got more time at Wednesday night’s main Republican presidential debate than some of the candidates.

CNBC debate moderator John Harwood asked Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to address the Alabama Republican’s position that high-skilled visas programs hurt American workers, pointing to a recent Wired article that said Rubio wanted to be the savior of the tech industry by increasing the amount of H-1B visas. Full story

October 28, 2015

Florida Newspaper to Rubio: Do Your Job or Resign

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has repeatedly been criticized for missed votes in the Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has repeatedly been criticized for missed votes in the Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the highest-circulation newspapers in Florida is calling on Sen. Marco Rubio to resign because he’s missed many votes while seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

The Sun-Sentinel, based in Broward County, north of Miami, questioned Rubio’s Senate paycheck and Affordable Care Act subsidy, arguing that he’s “ripping us off.” The editorial board noted that other senators running for president, such as Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., have voted far more consistently as they seek the White House. Full story

October 27, 2015

Defense Hawks Fine With Boost in War Account

McCain talks to reporters on Capitol Hill.  (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

McCain talks to reporters on Capitol Hill. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Top Senate defense hawks are satisfied with the increased Pentagon spending in the new budget deal, and several Democrats doubt that section will mean trouble for the sweeping package.

The spending plan, which many senators on Tuesday said they are still reviewing, would boost discretionary spending caps by $50 billion in fiscal 2016 and $30 billion in 2017, with those hikes divided evenly between defense and domestic spending. But it also proposes something Democrats and the Obama administration for months have opposed: About $16 billion more than the $58 billion the White House had requested in 2016 for a Pentagon war account.

Full story

GOP Senators Concerned by ‘Gimmicks’ in Budget Deal

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Scott says he will vote against the deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republican leaders have more work to do to sell their members on a two-year budget deal unveiled late Monday night.

GOP senators highlighted parts of the package meant to offset increased defense and domestic spending as their chief concerns. Their comments were followed by a blistering critique of the deal from the conservative groups Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth. Full story

October 20, 2015

Reid to Koch Brothers: Stay Out of Nevada

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way to a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, October 6, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid makes his way to a news conference after the Oct. 6 Senate policy luncheons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid woke up swinging at familiar foes Tuesday morning: energy magnates Charles and David Koch.

The Nevada Democrat took to the editorial pages of the Las Vegas Sun to decry the Kochs’ criticism of a Nevada natural gas plant proposal earlier this month and their prior promise to spend close to $1 billion in the 2016 election cycle. Full story

October 19, 2015

Rand Paul Muses About President Rubio Bringing Nuclear War

Rand Paul was among the presidential candidates who came to Washington to cast votes against Planned Parenthood, participating in the Voters First candidate forum via remote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul said the U.S. was”lucky” Rubio was not in the White House during the Cold War. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Does Sen. Rand Paul think having Marco Rubio in the Oval Office in an earlier era could have brought about a nuclear war with the Soviet Union?

In a new interview, it sure sounds that way.

“We are really lucky he was never president during the Cold War,” the Kentucky Republican, who, like Rubio, is seeking the GOP nomination for president said in an interview with CNBC posted Monday.

Full story

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