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July 7, 2015

Posts in "Republicans"

July 7, 2015

Senators Running for President Defend the Filibuster

Cruz and Rubio are among those who oppose eliminating the filibuster to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz and Rubio are among those who oppose eliminating the filibuster to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If using the nuclear option to repeal Obamacare becomes a GOP litmus test, then the Republican senators running for president will have a problem.

Both Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt some variation of no way, no how to the idea of ending the 60-vote threshold for filibusters of legislation.

Full story

June 24, 2015

NRSC Chairman Evolves on Mississippi Flag (Updated)

Wicker has changed his stance on his state's flag. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wicker has changed his stance on his state’s flag. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:20 a.m. | GOP Sen. Roger Wicker now says his home state of Mississippi should change its flag.

“After reflection and prayer, I now believe our state flag should be put in a museum and replaced by one that is more unifying to all Mississippians,” Wicker said in a statement. Full story

June 23, 2015

Senators Unveil 6-Year Transportation Bill

Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have unveiled a new six-year surface transportation reauthorization costing more than a quarter-trillion dollars, but it’s still unclear how the Senate would pay for it.

The bill would place a new priority on funding streams for off-system bridges as well as a new grant program for projects of strategic and national significance. According to summary materials obtained by CQ Roll Call, it would provide for increased focus on backlogs related to the Interstate Highway System and the National Highway System. Full story

Cruz: Kill Ex-Im Before Voting for Trade Promotion Authority

Ted Cruz announced his bid for president at Liberty University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz has imposed new conditions on voting for the trade legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The effort to get “fast-track” trade authority for President Barack Obama has lost the support of one of the Republicans who could benefit from the powers if he became president in 2017.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Tuesday the process by which the Trade Promotion Authority measure advanced through the House meant he could not support it without new assurances about winding down the authorization for the Export-Import Bank, claiming Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, must have made some kind of backroom deal with Democrats about the bank.

Full story

June 2, 2015

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

May 27, 2015

Rand Paul Blasts Critics in the ‘Eye Roll’ Caucus (Video)

Paul hit back at his critics in a missive to campaign supporters Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul hit back at his critics Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

In his latest fundraising message, Sen. Rand Paul is calling out an “eye roll” caucus of senators who are against his efforts to upend Patriot Act surveillance programs.

“If I’m going to slug it out Sunday with the spy state apologists, I’m going to need all the help and support I can get,” the Kentucky Republican wrote Wednesday. “Unfortunately, it seems the President, the senior senator from Arizona and other members of the ‘eye roll’ caucus who can’t stand any mention of the Bill of Rights are all operating out of the same playbook.”

Full story

May 14, 2015

Mr. Cruz? Mr. Cruz? Presidential Contenders’ Missed Votes Pile Up

Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call Graphic

Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call Graphic

At least five senators are running, or thinking about running, for president. That means absences in the Senate are piling up. Full story

May 11, 2015

Senators See Bipartisan Momentum for Criminal Justice Overhaul

Proposals to overhaul the criminal justice system are piling up in Grassley's committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Proposals to overhaul the criminal justice system are piling up in Grassley’s committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators’ plans for an overhaul of the criminal justice system are piling up in the Judiciary Committee — and the latest spate of officer-involved tragedies could give them a boost.

While many bills touching all aspects of criminal justice sit idly by, recent movement in the committee shows change could be coming. One bill seeks to review the entire criminal justice system, while another approved last month addresses recidivism; and a subcommittee is set to review body cameras for police officers.

But even as senators speak of change and bills pop up in the hopper, America can expect a slower, more measured response from the Senate.

Full story

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

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