Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday dismissed a Republican request to hold a House-Senate meeting to discuss the Department of Homeland Security spending bill as a “charade,” even though just a few years ago, he hailed these kinds of meetings as a tool that has been used successfully by Congress for more than two centuries.
Republicans are seeking a conference to sort out the differences between the House bill, which would defund President Barack Obama’s immigration plans, and the Senate bill, which is silent on Obama’s new program.Read More »
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration is still willing to give Russia several more days to abide by a ceasefire in and around Ukraine that was supposed to take effect on Feb. 15, but has failed miserably so far.
Even in the run-up to the ceasefire, the State Department was complaining that Russia and pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine did not appear to be living up to the ceasefire, which was agreed by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.
Read More »
Conservative Republicans were scrambling on Monday morning to prevent House Democrats from using an obscure rule allowing them to call up and pass their preferred Department of Homeland Security bill — one that funds President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Due to the way House rules are set out, House Democrats may have a chance this week to call up a “clean” DHS bill that doesn’t touch Obama’s immigration plan, and have it pass if just a few dozen Republicans support it. That could happen soon after the Senate votes later today against a House-Senate conference to work out their differences on the DHS bill.
Read More »
The Congressional Budget Office this week told the Senate that passing legislation to permanently defund President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration would increase annual budget deficits, by about $6.3 billion over the next decade.
That’s about $630 million per year, a price the GOP seems willing to pay to end a policy they say is illegal and would let millions of illegal immigrants stay and work in the United States.Read More »
House Republicans on Friday pulled legislation from the floor that Republicans were hoping could be an improvement to the federal No Child Left Behind law, but instead has faced criticism from conservative Republicans.
The Student Success Act was aimed at giving states more control over education, and giving the federal government less of a say over educational choices.Read More »
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.
Read More »
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.
Read More »
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 »