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April 28, 2015

Posts in "Republicans"

April 14, 2015

A Busy and Bipartisan Tuesday

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For all the talk of the death of bipartisanship, Tuesday’s busy legislative day in the Senate provided quite the counter-argument.

A little more than a day after returning from a two-week recess, the legislative dam burst, with senators making significant headway on sticky issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, a replacement for the payment formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients and possibly even the confirmation process for Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general. Full story

Watch Live: Senate Committee Debates Iran Nuclear Framework

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets Tuesday to mark up Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation creating a 60-day congressional review period of any nuclear agreement reached between Iran, the United States and five other countries.  Full story

April 7, 2015

Rand Paul Biography: The CQ Profile

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Rand Paul launches his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he aims for nothing less than to transform his party, driven by his belief the GOP must “evolve, adapt or die.”

The son of libertarian folk hero Ron Paul, the former House member from Texas who lost three presidential campaigns, Rand Paul says he represents “a unique brand of conservative constitutionalism that also reaches out to new people” and can draw into the party minorities, liberals and independents.

Full story

April 1, 2015

Meet the New Boss. Not the Same as the Old Boss

Schumer, right, is not like the other Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Relationships are everything in the Senate, and Charles E. Schumer, the presumptive top Democrat in the next Congress, has them down pat.

“Most senators have been there a while. … They do have these strong relationships, and they’re deep relationships, because they spend a lot of time together,” said former Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del. Kaufman spent decades observing the chamber as a top aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., and served alongside Schumer after being appointed to Biden’s Senate seat from 2009 to 2010, after Biden became vice president.

But even in the clubby atmosphere of the Senate, Schumer’s network is particularly deep. Of the 43 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with them, who are not named Schumer, roughly a third were recruited directly by the New Yorker when he ran the party’s campaign arm. Full story

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 26, 2015

Freshman Senator: Pay for Obamacare Replacement With … Obamacare

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: From left, Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., attend a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup in Dirksen Building on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, January 8, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cassidy, center, a freshman senator and Louisiana doctor, has a different spin on replacing Obamacare than most Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bill Cassidy, the freshman senator from Louisiana and a doctor, has been pushing fellow Republicans in his first few months in the Senate to embrace an alternative to Obamacare — one he predicts will insure more people without mandates.

And he even says he has a way to pay for it: Obamacare. Full story

March 10, 2015

‘Good Job, Tom': Fellow Freshmen Republicans Commend Cotton

 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cotton won a subcommittee gavel on the Senate Armed Services Committee shortly after he was sworn into office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As an unapologetic neoconservative hawk, it perhaps came as no surprise to Senate Republicans last week when Arkansas freshman Tom Cotton started circulating his five-paragraph missive to Iran’s leadership.

“We’re all aligned that we do not want a nuclear Iran,” said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he was the first of the 46 Republicans who joined Cotton on the letter. “That’s what this is all about. I applaud his leadership in offering the letter — but we’re all aligned.”

All 11 of Cotton’s fellow Republican freshmen in the Senate signed onto the letter, including fellow military veterans Joni Ernst of Iowa and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Like Cotton, military service played a major role in each of their campaigns.

Fellow freshman Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., praised Cotton’s “leadership and courage,” when asked about his decision to sign. “I think that we’re getting a discussion going that’s very important and I think that the American people are interested in, too. So, [I] fully support him — that’s why I signed onto the letter.”

Another rookie to the chamber, Republican Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, capped his thoughts on the letter with: “So, good job, Tom.” Cassidy, who served with Cotton in the House prior to winning a Senate seat, told CQ Roll Call that the two have a good relationship, but shied away from the suggestion that his colleague stands out as a leader in the freshman class.

“No, I think that everybody has their area of interest … I mean, it’s nothing against [Cotton],” Cassidy said. “Everybody has their area, right? What is your committee? What is your natural interest? He comes from being a war veteran, and so he’s of course naturally interested in the Middle East, so I think it’s natural for him to take an interest in this.”

In a noteworthy move, Cotton was appointed chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee at the start of the 114th Congress. He made waves in January with a speech delivered at the Heritage Foundation blasting the White House’s attempts to negotiate with Iran. The Harvard-educated hawk, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has also proposed curtailing the president’s authority to waive new sanctions against Iran.

“I think his experience as a veteran is a great asset to the United States Senate and to our country,” said Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who also emphasized that Republicans backing the bill are all aligned on Cotton’s message.

The GOP senators who didn’t sign have been clear about where they diverged from Cotton.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine expressed worries about the message that Cotton penned. For one, there were some “technical glitches with the letter,” Collins said. “We vote whether or not to approve or reject a resolution of ratification.”

Another was the tone, which Democrats characterized as gratuitous and brazen. Collins said it was “different than I would have used.” But her chief concern was that the letter seemed to undermine the Senate’s role in giving or withholding consent to the president at this critical stage of the negotiations.

“The best way for me to state my position on Iran was to support [Sen. Bob] Corker’s proposal to make sure that Congress approves any deal President Obama makes with Iran,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. “I believe all of us in the Republican caucus support that, and a growing number of Democrats, too. So, I think what unites us on the Republican side is our feeling that Congress ought to have a say, and I didn’t see a need to say more than that.”

Many on the left have balked at the letter, bashing it as over the top. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called it “beneath the dignity of an institution I revere” and said it “ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President.” Obama accused Republicans of making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners, while his spokesman talked of a “rush to war” by the GOP.

But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, was full of praise Tuesday.

“He clearly took the initiative on that, yes,” Cornyn said, when asked if he was impressed with Cotton’s leadership. “I think, given his background, he’s a great new member … of the Armed Services Committee.”

Related:

Democrats Blast Cotton, GOP Over Open Letter to Iran

Senate Schedule Changed After Iran Vote Delay

7 Democrats Said to Back New Iran Sanctions Bill

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

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By Hannah Hess Posted at 8:53 p.m.
Iran, Republicans

Edward Brooke Honored at Funeral Service

Brooke, second from right, stands for the presentation of the colors during his Congressional Gold Medal ceremony along with Obama and Senate Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brooke, second from right, stands for the presentation of the colors during his Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, along with Obama and Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell on Oct. 28, 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Edward W. Brooke, the first African-American senator elected by popular vote, was honored at a funeral service Tuesday as a trailblazer, a remarkable legislator and an inspiration to future generations.

Lawmakers, dignitaries and family members gathered at the National Cathedral in D.C. to pay tribute to the Massachusetts Republican, who died on Jan. 3 at the age of 95. Brooke, a World War II veteran, was buried at Arlington Cemetery. He was born in the District of Columbia on Oct. 26, 1919. Full story

March 9, 2015

Republicans Not Rushing to Criticize Menendez

Kirk says reports of indictment could be "politically motivated" leak by the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kirk says reports of indictment could be a “politically motivated” leak by the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk became the latest Republican to suggest reports of corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez are the result of “politically motivated” leaks by the Justice Department.

Echoing speculation from Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Kirk told reporters Monday night that timing of the news about a pending indictment for the New Jersey Democrat could be related to efforts by Menendez to rally support within his party for an Iran sanctions bill.

Full story

February 26, 2015

Strong Leaving the Senate, Heading to Wisconsin for Walker

Strong is leaving Thune's office to work for Walker's political operation. (Tom Williams/CQ Eoll Call)

Strong is leaving Thune’s office to work for Walker’s political operation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s political operation has lured one of the top Republican communicators in the Senate away from the chamber.

Walker’s bringing on AshLee Strong, the spokeswoman for the Senate Republican Conference, as national press secretary to be based in Madison, a Walker aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call. She has worked for Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., for more than four years, most recently as senior communications director and chief spokesperson, and is departing the Senate after the Republicans regained the majority.

“AshLee has been a trusted advisor of mine for several years so this is bittersweet for me. I’m sad to see her go but this is a tremendous opportunity for her,” Thune said in a statement. “She’s one of the smartest communicators out there and Gov. Walker is fortunate to have her on his team.”

Full story

February 24, 2015

Corker, Menendez on Bipartisan Campaign to End Modern-Day Slavery

 Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has a red X pin, symbol for the End It Movement, applied by aide Tara DiJulio, before a news conference in the Capitol on the introduction of the "End Modern Slavery Initiative Act," February 24, 2015. Ranking Member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., also attended. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Corker has a red X from the anti-slavery END IT movement pinned to his lapel by aide Tara DiJulio Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are pushing for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to rally behind an international effort to raise $1.5 billion to end slavery around the globe.

On Monday, Chairman Bob Corker posted a photo of himself alongside National Football League star Peyton Manning and Todd Helton, another former University of Tennessee signal-caller, each of the three men proudly sporting on the back of their hands the symbol of the anti-slavery END IT movement: a large red X. Full story

Watch Live: John Kerry Testifies Before Senate Foreign Relations

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the first time in the 114th Congress on the State Department’s fiscal 2016 budget request. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Full story

February 12, 2015

Senate GOP Pamphlet Touts Continued Fight on DHS Spending

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are being sent home for recess with a message touting their persistence on funding homeland security while blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

“Dems voted three times to filibuster House-passed DHS funding bill,” says a tri-fold card of talking points distributed to GOP senators. “Blocking debate on a bill like this is exactly the kind of gridlock voters rejected in the election.”

The pamphlet, shared with CQ Roll Call by a GOP source, suggests Republicans have yet to give up on winning the public relations argument over funding the Department of Homeland Security, with less than a week left to act when the Senate returns from the Presidents Day recess.

Full story

February 9, 2015

Republicans Want to Send Message to SCOTUS on Obamacare

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Barrasso is leading the Senate GOP effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans want to send a message to the Supreme Court that it’s OK to undermine Obamacare.

They keep asking the Obama administration what it plans to do if the Supreme Court upends health insurance subsidies in the King v. Burwell case. It’s a hypothetical question the administration has been reluctant to entertain, leading the GOP to undertake an effort to craft a resolution.

Part of the reason is that Republicans want to try to signal to potentially wavering justices that there would be a path to minimal disruption should the court invalidate tax credits for millions of people in states that didn’t create their own health insurance exchanges.

South Dakota Republican John Thune, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said there is a lot of discussion along those lines.

Full story

February 3, 2015

Lobster and Ham on the Menu for Bipartisan Senate Luncheon (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:23 p.m. | On Wednesday, senators will gather for a most unusual bipartisan Senate lunch.

Senators will gather in the Russell Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room for a feast featuring Maine lobster and Virginia ham, a source familiar with the menu told CQ Roll Call. Not surprisingly, Republican Susan Collins of Maine is behind the lobster salad and Democrat Mark Warner will bring the ham.

Collins, in hosting, will provide Maine-themed offerings including Maine blueberry pie and Gifford’s ice cream. There will also be chips sourced from Maine potatoes, according to her office.

The New York Times first reported on the plan for the lunch coming to fruition, saying it was put together by Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 in the Democratic leadership structure. Sources confirmed the lunch plan.

Full story

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