The Senate passed a full-year Department of Homeland Security funding bill Friday morning, but it was already being ignored by House Republicans who were moving ahead with a three-week funding bill.
In a 68-31 vote, the Senate passed a DHS funding bill for the rest of fiscal year 2015, one that doesn’t block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Removing the immigration language was the only way the bill could move ahead, as Democrats opposed that language and blocked the bill several times over the last few weeks.Read More »
More than a dozen House Democrats have proposed legislation that would give the Justice Department the authority to investigate deaths at the hands of police officers, and to punish those officers as if they were any other citizen involved in murder or manslaughter.
The Police Accountability Act, from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), is a response to recent deaths that have prompted civil rights investigations at the Justice Department, but failed to result in any federal charges. Just this week, it was reported that the department would not find any violations against Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown in Missouri.
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The Department of Homeland Security is telling its employees that if a shutdown occurs this weekend, counseling will be made available to anyone who might be furloughed.
“[W]e will provide you with the timely and relevant information you need to address every stage of this process, up to and including – only if necessary – a DHS furlough,” DHS Chief Information Office Luke McCormack told his state in a memo obtained by Government Executive.
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The Senate will vote Friday morning a clean Department of Homeland Security spending bill, sending the bill to the House just half a day before DHS funding is scheduled to run out.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agreed to quickly move the DHS bill to the Senate floor, and they acted on that agreement early Thursday evening.Read More »
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Thursday warned his Republican colleagues that House leaders appeared to be preparing to accept the Senate’s plan for funding the Department of Homeland Security, one that doesn’t stop President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Republicans were expected to meet at 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss how to react to the Senate’s pending decision to pass the “clean” DHS bill.Read More »
Republicans in the House and Senate vowed Thursday to find some way to moderate or stop the Federal Communications Commission’s now-approved plan to regulate the Internet.
In the past, Republicans have passed legislation to stop what they see as regulatory overreach, and that’s an option the GOP could consider in the coming weeks. But for now, they said only that they’d be looking at some way to blunt the impact of the FCC’s new rule.Read More »
President Barack Obama’s nomination to be the next attorney general was advanced Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, setting up Loretta Lynch for a confirmation vote by the full Senate in the coming days.
The committee approved Lynch in a 12-8 vote, after several weeks in which Republican opponents of the nomination said she should be opposed because she supports Obama’s executive action on immigration. Three GOP members voted for her, allowing her to be approved out of the committee — Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
During her nomination hearing in January, Lynch told the committee that she believes the legal analysis backing that action is “reasonable.”
“It seems to be a reasonable discussion of legal precedent, the relevant statute, congressional actions, along with the enforcement discretion of the agency,” she said. “And I don’t see any reason to doubt the reasonableness of those views.”
Many senators also noted that Lynch evaded questions about whether the president’s powers are limited in any way. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Lynch dodged those questions, and that Republicans should not be surprised if Lynch backs even more radical actions from Obama.
“I came into the hearing with high hopes,” Cruz said. “I must say, however, that the answers Ms. Lynch gave in this hearing room in my judgment render her unsuitable for the position of the chief law enforcement officer for this nation.”
Other Republicans cited her defense of Obama’s immigration move as a reason to oppose her.
“I would vote no on this nomination and ask colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). “Every day we allow the president to erode and destroy the powers of Congress, we are allowing the president to erode and destroy the voice and the rights of the people we represent.”
But other Republicans defended her by saying Lynch is qualified for the job and that any president deserves to choose his Cabinet officials, within reason. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was one of those who said he’d vote for her, and noted that he received a letter from lynch on Wednesday in which she pledged to live by any final court decision related to Obama’s immigration action.
A federal court has blocked the administration from implementing key parts of that decision, and when asked two questions about whether she would follow the court’s ruling, she said, “The answer to both of your questions is yes.”
Read Lynch’s letter to GOP senators below:Read More »
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned again on Thursday that the House has no choice but to pass a clean Department of Homeland Security spending bill that will soon be approved by the Senate, and said doing anything else would make House Republicans responsible for shutting down DHS.
The Senate is expected to approve a plain-vanilla DHS spending bill on Thursday, one that doesn’t include language to defund President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Senate GOP leaders agreed to take out that language after Democrats demanded it for weeks.Read More »
Less than a month after President Barack Obama proposed new taxes on college savings plans, the Republican-led House struck back by passing a bipartisan bill to further enhance these savings plans for millions of Americans.
So-called “529″ college savings plans were highlighted by Obama in his State of the Union speech, in which he proposed that these plans should be taxed more to make sure “the wealthy pay their fair share.”Read More »
The Senate overwhelmingly agreed Wednesday to move ahead with a plan to pass a Department of Homeland Security spending bill that leaves President Barack Obama’s immigration plan intact.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday gave up their fight to tie the two issues together, and said they’d proceed with a bill that Democrats have been demanding for the last several weeks.Read More »
House Republicans on Wednesday had to postpone a hearing on the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to approve sweeping new Internet regulations, after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler refused to show up.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the FCC’s controversial new rule. Wheeler said last week that he wouldn’t show up to answer questions about what’s in the proposed rule, which so far hasn’t been made public, and that he’d prefer to after the rule is approved.Read More »
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday declined to say what he thinks about a Senate plan to concede to Democrats on immigration and funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and dodged questions about whether his position as House Speaker is in jeopardy if he calls for a House vote on that plan.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday caved to Democratic demands to hold a vote on a DHS funding bill, and a separate vote to defund Obama’s action. Republicans had linked the two issues in an effort to force Democrats to accept the defunding language.
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The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday asked Congress for a 6 percent increase to the EPA’s budget, in order to help build a “solid path for sustainable economic growth.”
Republicans have spent the last several years arguing that various EPA rules are cutting into U.S. economic growth, and preventing a full recovery from the Great Recession. But in prepared remarks before a House committee Wednesday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy argued that the EPA’s clean air and clean water rules are actually helping the U.S. economy.Read More »
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is demanding to know if the Department of Homeland Security is following a court injunction by delaying the implementation of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, after DHS and President Barack Obama hinted that officials might still be working on the program behind the scenes.
“Your comments and the president’s comments raise serious questions about the administration’s intent to comply with the law and abide by the most basic rules of our American system of government,” Cruz wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.Read More »
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Tuesday that Senate GOP leaders were making a major error by agreeing to pass a “clean” Department of Homeland Security bill that doesn’t defund President Barack Obama’s immigration plans.
“Leadership’s current plan – to pass clean DHS funding and separate legislation barring executive amnesty – is a mistake,” Cruz said. “Congress is obliged to use every constitutional check and balance we have to rein in President Obama’s lawlessness, and that includes both our confirmation authority over nominees and the power of the purse.”Read More »
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) slammed President Barack Obama’s decision on Tuesday to veto legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and said Obama’s move will make it harder for the U.S. to create jobs.
“The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment,” Boehner said. “It’s embarrassing when Russia and China are plowing ahead on two massive pipelines and we can’t get this one no-brainer of a project off the ground.”Read More »