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January 31, 2015

Posts in "Republicans"

January 29, 2015

Capito Fills Out Team

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capito is rounding out her team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has unveiled a raft of senior staff appointments, including Bipartisan Policy Center veteran Ashley Berrang as communications director.

“This extremely talented group is committed to serving West Virginians and taking on the challenges facing our state,” Capito said in a release. “The wealth of knowledge and experience each member of this team brings to the table will serve West Virginia well.” Full story

January 20, 2015

Rand Paul’s Message: ‘Do No Harm’ In Foreign Affairs

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., makes his way through the basement of the Capitol before a vote on the Senate floor, December 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul will have his own response to the State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Possible 2016 contender Sen. Rand Paul says that the foreign policy potion of his own response to Tuesday’s State of the Union address will focus on an old adage from his medical career: “Do no harm.”

“I think one the biggest things about foreign policy is that you should think before you act, and that’s one of the themes that I’ll have tonight is: First, do no harm. As physicians, we’re taught first to do no harm, which means think through,” the Kentucky Republican said. “You have enormous power as a surgeon. Before you cut into someone, make sure you have the right diagnosis. Try not to make mistakes.”

Paul is issuing his own video response, separate from the official message to be delivered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

In an interview in his Washington office ahead of the speech by President Barack Obama, Paul used the potential for additional sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program as an example where Congress should avoid doing such harm. Full story

January 16, 2015

Tony Blair Delivers ‘Churchillian’ Speech to Senate, House GOP

Blair testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blair testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair drew three standing ovations when he addressed the joint House-Senate Republican retreat Thursday with a speech that one lawmaker likened to the oratory of Winston Churchill.

Blair’s speech, which was closed to the public and the media, included a call for America to lead on the world stage rather than to try to be loved there, according to a person in attendance. Rep. Tom Cole said Blair focused on the importance of fighting against extremism around the world at an event said to be well attended by members and staffers alike. Full story

January 15, 2015

Ernst Gives GOP #SOTU Rebuttal a Folksy Feel

State of the Union 2015

Ernst heads to the Senate subway following a vote on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans are going folksy with their choice to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., jointly announced at their retreat Thursday that Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would deliver the Republicans’ rebuttal.

Ernst, who upset former Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa in 2014 as one of the party’s majority-makers, gained notoriety during her campaign for an ad she ran conflating her childhood on the farm castrating pigs with her ability to cut government spending. Full story

At Retreat, GOP Struggles to Find DHS Funding Exit Strategy

Republicans still don’t have an exit strategy that will allow them to fund the Department of Homeland Security while canceling President Barack Obama’s temporary administrative amnesty for millions of immigrants.

The uncertainty over the future of the DHS funding measure — which must be cleared by the end of next month or partially shut down the department — sets up a tension with the message the GOP is seeking to send from their bicameral retreat that they intend to govern responsibly.

“Obviously we want to show the American people that we can function in a very responsible way, with no stop/starts, no government shutdowns; [that] we have the ability to have foresight … to deal with these issues in a manner that show tremendous responsibility,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 1:32 p.m.
Republicans

January 13, 2015

The Tweeting Whip

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Send a tweet to @JohnCornyn, and it turns out you’re actually reaching Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.

The Texas Republican says he uses the account to share what he’s reading or paying attention to with his constituents and other followers (he has more than 63,000). Cornyn’s Twitter account has issued more than 15,000 tweets since the early adopter joined in February 2008, and he’s the highest-ranking member of Congress who is regularly doing the tweeting on his own.

Full story

January 12, 2015

Cornyn: ‘We Learned the Hard Way’

"We have the responsibility to govern," Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“We have the responsibility to govern,” Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the start of the last Congress, John Cornyn wrote an editorial titled “Partial Government Shutdown May Be Needed to Restore Fiscal Sanity.” He’s singing a different tune today.

“I’ve evolved,” the Texas Republican and newly minted Senate majority whip said in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call.

For starters, the memory of the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare instigated by his fellow Texas senator, Ted Cruz, remains fresh. Full story

January 10, 2015

Rand Paul Skipping Joint Republican Retreat

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one of the Senate’s 2016 contenders is bailing on the big House-Senate Republican conference gathering next week in Hershey, Pa.

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul confirmed the Kentucky Republican would not attend the retreat — the first joint gathering of the majorities on both sides of the Rotunda.

Full story

January 8, 2015

Cornyn: Obamacare Repeal Vote Should Wait

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said he hopes his GOP colleagues hold off on a vote to fully repeal Obamacare until after Republicans have shown they can govern.

“I think it’s important that we demonstrate that we can be productive before we have the inevitable fight over repealing Obamacare,” the Texas Republican said in an interview with CQ Roll Call Wednesday. “We are going to have that vote. But my own preference would be we have it after we’ve been able to demonstrate that we can actually get some things done.”

Asked if he would be opposed to an Obamacare repeal amendment being offered to the bill due on the floor next week to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, Cornyn said, “I think that would muddle the message.”

Supporters of the Keystone bill have also said that they would prefer that only relevant amendments be offered.

Adding a repeal to any bill would effectively act as a poison pill for Democrats and the White House — and a pure repeal is certain to fall short of the 60 votes necessary to end a filibuster. But Republicans have pledged to try and repeal it anyway.

To that end, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., earlier told CQ Roll Call there will at least be a vote on proceeding to a bill repealing the law.

Cornyn predicted the King v. Burwell case that will be argued before the Supreme Court in March will end up going a long way towards undoing the law.

The court will decide whether the law allows people participating in the federally run health care exchange to get subsidies. A decision denying the subsidies would significantly undermine the law.

“What I expect is that the Supreme Court is going to render a body blow to Obamacare from which I don’t think it will ever recover,” Cornyn said.

He also said there may be bipartisanship on some of the much smaller Affordable Care Act rollbacks, such as a bill that passed the House 412 to 0 on opening day that would encourage the hiring of veterans by exempting them from counting toward the employer mandate under Obamacare.

“So I think there are going to be some parts of repealing Obamacare that are going to be consensus, bipartisan items,” Cornyn said.

Some of those bills with bipartisan backers face opposition from the White House. That’s true in the case of a measure that would define full time employment as 40 hours per week for the purposes of the Affordable Care Act.

“Our goal is simple. We want to protect part-time workers from having their hours reduced and their paychecks cut because of the definition in this law,” said lead Senate sponsor Susan Collins, R-Maine.

That bill faces a White House veto threat and received a fairly ugly CBO score saying it would boost the deficit, result in more people uninsured and on Medicaid and potentially reduce, not increase, the number of hours worked by full-time workers.

Ahead of a House vote, the Office of Management and Budget said “it would significantly increase the deficit, reduce the number of Americans with employer-based health insurance coverage, and create incentives for employers to shift their employees to part-time work — causing the problem it intends to solve.”

And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Democrats would seek to block efforts to roll back the health care law, financial services reform or tampering with access to the Internet.

“Any attempt to erode protections for working American families — the dismantling of Dodd-Frank, the weakening of net neutrality rules, or the Republicans’ never-ending quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act — will be met with swift and unified Democratic opposition,” Reid said in a statement read on the floor by Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

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

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January 3, 2015

First African-American Elected to Senate by Popular Vote Dies (Updated)

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 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:13 p.m. |  Trailblazing former Sen. Edward W. Brooke has died, the Boston Globe reported Saturday. He was 95. Funeral Services are scheduled for Saturday at the National Cathedral.

The Massachusetts Republican was the first African-American to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction and the first to be elected by popular vote, serving in the chamber from 1967 to 1979. It would be more than a decade before the election of the next black senator: Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 7:22 p.m.
Republicans

January 2, 2015

Democrats Call on GOP to Keep CBO’s Elmendorf

Schumer, D-N.Y. speaks at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, on what went wrong for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections and what they must do to succeed in 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schumer warned Republicans against “any effort to politicize” the Congressional Budget Office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer and five other Senate Democrats raised concerns in a letter Friday that Republican leaders will replace the current Congressional Budget Office director as part of an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“We strongly object to any effort to politicize this important office,” the letter said. “Appointing a new CBO Director on the basis of ideology would fundamentally compromise the integrity of an institution that has served as a trusted scorekeeper.” Full story

December 22, 2014

Senator Calls on White House to Host Showing of Pulled Sony Film

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vitter wants the White House to hold a screening of the Sony film “The Interview.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One senator wants President Barack Obama to invite members of Congress to the White House for a screening of “The Interview.”

That’s the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy from Sony Pictures Entertainment that the studio pulled after a hacking which the FBI says North Korea is responsible for. The movie plot centers on an effort to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

In a Dec. 19 letter to Obama, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said the president should host an event to show the movie when the 114th Congress convenes in January.

Full story

December 18, 2014

Rand Paul on Cuba: Open Trade a Better Way to Fight Communism

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul said opening up Cuba could be more effective than an embargo. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul says President Barack Obama should expect to face thousands of riders on next year’s spending bills.

“I say we put not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of instructions to the president on how it should be spent,” the Kentucky Republican said Thursday. “That’s the power of the purse. Now, some have been disappointed we haven’t used it so far, but we haven’t controlled the Senate, so we haven’t been able to do it.” Full story

December 14, 2014

How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

Ted Cruz

Eleven Republicans sided with Ted Cruz on all three key votes on the ‘cromnibus.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful.

Let’s break down the three votes — on filibustering the $1.1 trillion package, on Cruz’s point of order aimed at targeting the president’s immigration action, and final passage. Full story

December 12, 2014

Sen. Thad Cochran’s Wife Dies at 73

From the archives: Rose and Thad Coahran at the "Gourmet Gala." (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

From the archives: Rose and Thad Cochran at the “Gourmet Gala” in 2004. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rose Clayton Cochran, wife of Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, died Friday morning after a long battle with dementia, Cochran’s office announced. She was 73.

She battled dementia for years, but had been moved to hospice care in Mississippi in the past two weeks, her daughter, Kate Cochran, said in a Facebook post. Sen. Cochran was at her bedside at the time of her death, but will return to Washington, D.C., to vote on the government funding bill, the Clarion-Ledger reported. Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 2:26 p.m.
Republicans

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