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July 5, 2015

Posts in "Uncategorized"

June 30, 2015

Support for Puerto Rican Bankruptcy Builds

Schumer, D-N.Y., talks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, May 5, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Schumer wants Congress to authorize Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Puerto Rico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Puerto Rico’s slide toward Chapter 9 bankruptcy continues to gain momentum; Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday his intention to introduce legislation allowing such a move.

The New York Democrat, along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is bringing to the Senate the companion bill to the measure Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, Democrat Pedro R. Pierluisi, introduced in the House. Full story

May 27, 2015

Trade Votes Play Big in 2016 Politics

Portman took an unusual route to backing the fast-track trade bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Portman took an unusual route to backing the fast-track Trade Promotion Authority bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rob Portman isn’t a bomb thrower. But his pitch last week for an amendment cracking down on countries that artificially weaken their currencies threatened to blow up President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, and exposed a deep split in approaches among Republicans who face the voters in 2016.

A trio of Rust Belt Senate Republicans — Ohio’s Portman, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania — ended up voting for Trade Promotion Authority, backing Obama, Republican leadership and a top priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Full story

May 22, 2015

Currency Amendment Could Derail ‘Fast-Track’ Deal

Portman, R-Ohio, talks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol, May 5, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Portman wants tougher enforcement of currency rules in the proposed trade deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters of the Senate’s “fast-track” trade bill that will be voted on sometime Friday are taking seriously the threat of one amendment they fear will derail the whole thing.

The amendment offered by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would strengthen enforcement against other nations considered to be manipulating their currency, which could tip trade deals in the offender’s favor. Full story

May 13, 2015

Fresh Optimism for Fast-Track Trade Bill (Updated)

McConnell and the White House hope to revive fast-track trade authority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell and the White House hope to revive fast-track trade authority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:09 p.m. | Republican and Democratic leaders say they are close to a deal to revive President Barack Obama’s fast-track trade bill, following a crushing defeat Tuesday. Full story

May 12, 2015

Democrats Filibuster Obama’s Fast-Track Trade Bill (Updated) (Video)

Wyden, left, earlier shepherded fast-track through committee, but balked at advancing it on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wyden, left, earlier shepherded fast-track through committee, but balked at advancing it on the floor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:49 p.m. | The Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s top trade priority Tuesday, with the president’s own party abandoning him en masse. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:56 p.m.
Uncategorized

May 11, 2015

Democrats Push for Trade Sweeteners

GOP leaders may need to add sweeteners on the Senate floor to get enough Democrats to back fast-track trade authority. Finance Chairman Hatch, right, and ranking member Wyden, left, earlier shepherded fast-track through committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

GOP leaders may need to add sweeteners on the Senate floor to get enough Democrats to back fast-track trade authority. Finance Chairman Hatch, right, and ranking member Wyden earlier shepherded TPA through committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are determining what provisions to include in a trade bill that is supported by the White House and the Senate majority, but not many Senate Democrats.

Two bills are expected to be included: TPA, known as fast track, which speeds up consideration of trade deals with Asia and Europe, and TAA, which gives income support and training to workers displaced by international trade.

But Democrats on the fence are demanding sweeteners, and don’t trust they’ll be able to get them after they’ve signed onto the trade agenda. Full story

May 7, 2015

Still No Bourbon Summit Between Obama, McConnell (Video)

McConnell sits behind the Bourbon Barrel of Compromise at the Willard Hotel Feb. 3. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell sits behind the Bourbon Barrel of Compromise at the Willard Hotel Feb. 3. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 51st anniversary of the Congressional Bourbon Resolution came and went with no so-called Bourbon Summit between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Barack Obama.

Rumors of the two sitting down over a snifter of the aged, brown liquor have been brewing for a while, ever since Obama wet the world’s whistle with the idea six months ago after Republicans won big on Election Day.

But according to McConnell spokesman Don Stewart, the two have only had dry, daytime meetings with no summit to speak of.

Full story

By Matthew Fleming Posted at 11:58 a.m.
Uncategorized

May 6, 2015

After Baltimore Riots, Scott Again Touts Body Cameras, Conservative Ideas

Scott (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Baltimore lifts the curfews used to quell looting and violence prompted by the nation’s latest case of a black man dying under murky circumstances after a run-in with law enforcement, Sen. Tim Scott is again touting his push for body cameras for police — and a host of conservative ideas.

The South Carolina Republican has been promised a hearing on body cameras through a Judiciary subcommittee. Although it’s not scheduled yet, he’s hoping expert testimony will show the best way to implement body camera programs and also address many of the concerns voiced by his colleagues: data retention, privacy issues, disclosure issues and just who should be required to wear them.

Full story

May 5, 2015

Senators Vow to Protect Air Force’s A-10 Fleet

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate defense hawks fired warning shots over the Air Force’s nose on Tuesday over plans to retire the A-10 Warthog, vowing to fund the fleet through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The Air Force, looking to save more than $4 billion over the next few years, has pushed recently to retire the fleet of close-air support aircraft. But without an adequate replacement, Congress is clamoring for answers. Full story

April 27, 2015

DOJ to Probe Baltimore at Maryland Delegation’s Request

Demonstrators face off with Baltimore Police on Monday as a CVS pharmacy burns at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Demonstrators face off with Baltimore Police on Monday as a CVS pharmacy burns at the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated: 8:11 p.m. | Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin said Monday the Justice Department is moving forward with an independent investigation into the death of a Baltimore man who died in police custody that has fueled days of protests and looting in the city.

The Justice Department announced the criminal probe April 21.

Cardin and fellow Maryland Democrat Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told reporters that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan were working closely together to quell the violence and vandalism that has erupted in the city.

As the sun set on Baltimore after an afternoon of police clashes with protesters, the two veteran Maryland lawmakers attempted to put the nationally televised images of violence into perspective.

Full story

Chuck Grassley’s Iowa Advice for Presidential Hopefuls: Show Up

Grassley picks up Nathan Kanas, 4, of California, in the Pork Tent at the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, August 9, 2014. Grassley was campaigning with David Young, Republican candidate for Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grassley picks up Nathan Kanas, 4, of California, on August 9, 2014 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Grassley was campaigning with David Young, Republican candidate for the 3rd District.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s tough to be in two places at once. And if history is any guide, all of the senators running for president will frequently forgo floor votes to be on the trail shaking hands and kissing babies.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, who hasn’t missed a vote since 1993 and represents a state the candidates will call a second home for many months, said in general the candidates shouldn’t be judged too harshly, or at least no more harshly than others who have attempted the tough journey from the Senate to the White House. Full story

April 21, 2015

McConnell Sets Thursday Vote on Loretta Lynch

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell filed cloture Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a Thursday cloture vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general after breaking a logjam over amendments to the human trafficking bill.

The Kentucky Republican’s filing of cloture on Tuesday ends Lynch’s months-long limbo, with the votes for her confirmation seemingly assured but her position held up as a bargaining chip as the parties wrangled over abortion provisions in the trafficking bill. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:26 p.m.
Uncategorized

Amendment Logjam Stalls Lynch Confirmation (Video)

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Loretta Lynch’s confirmation for attorney general remained mired in amendment purgatory on Tuesday afternoon, after a morning full of promise. Full story

Senate Reaches Trafficking Deal, Teeing Up Loretta Lynch Confirmation (Updated) (Video)

McConnell and Cornyn

McConnell, left, announced a deal on the Senate floor during his opening remarks Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:41 a.m. | Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a sex trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks.

“There have been good-faith negotiations to resolve the impasse that has prevented the Senate from moving forward on this bill,” McConnell said Tuesday. “And now, I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this important legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it.”

“As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we’ll move to the president’s nominee for attorney general—hopefully in the next day or so,” he said.

Full story

April 16, 2015

Schumer: McConnell Needs to Learn to ‘Play Ball’

 (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to learn to “play ball” with Democrats instead of trying to roll them, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Thursday in a hallway interview. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 12:32 p.m.
Uncategorized

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