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Posts tagged ‘Reid’

Reid: Senate to Vote on Extending Jobless Benefits.

Image: Reid: Senate to Vote on Extending Jobless Benefits

The Senate will vote next Monday on temporarily extending federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

Reid, D-Nev., told The Associated Press he’s hopeful a bill co-sponsored by Nevada‘s Republican Sen. Dean Heller will be approved by the upper chamber, but he offered no prediction on whether it will pass muster in the House of Representatives.

“I don’t predict anything in the House,” Reid said Monday, describing the Republican-controlled House as a “black hole of legislation.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

But he praised Heller for the bipartisan bill he introduced with U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island. The measure would continue the federal jobless program for three months while a compromise is sought.

“I hope we can get that done,” said Reid, who has often been at odds with the conservative Heller.

“I’m happy to see Dean has joined us,” Reid added. “He’s broken away from the tea party folks who don’t want to do anything.”

When he introduced the bill, Heller said, “Providing a safety net for those in need is one of the most important functions of the federal government. As Nevada’s unemployment rate continues to top the charts nationwide, many families and individuals back home do not know how they are going to meet their basic needs.”

A two-year budget deal reached earlier this month failed to include an extension of jobless benefits for people who have been unemployed longer than six months. About 17,000 Nevadans lost benefits when the program expired Saturday. Nationally, 1.3 million were cut off from receiving unemployment.

Nevada officials estimate 800 Nevadans will lose benefits each week as they exhaust their 26 weeks of state-paid unemployment insurance unless Congress extends the federal program that was enacted in 2008 at the height of the recession when unemployment soared. It allowed the long-term unemployed in hard hit states like Nevada to receive benefits for up to 99 weeks. The duration was cut to 73 weeks last year.

Looking ahead to 2014, Reid said one of his priorities will be addressing the wealth gap between the rich, poor and middle class.

“The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is getting squeezed and it’s just not fair,” said Reid, adding that raising the minimum wage would be another top priority, along with extending jobless benefits.

He said he’s scheduled to appear on a Sunday news show to outline his legislative goals in the midterm election year.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Harry Reid in Hospital ‘As A Precaution’.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to a hospital today after feeling ill, his office said. Tests showed that “everything is normal” though he will remain in the hospital for observation, his office said.

“Senator Reid called me thing morning,” second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin said on the Senate floor. “He sounded good, and we look forward to his speedy recovery.”

Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement that the majority leader, 74, felt ill early this morning “and as a precaution decided to go to the hospital.”

“Tests have been conducted and everything is normal,” Jentleson said. “He is alert, resting and feeling better.”

Jentleson added, “Doctors have asked that he remain in the hospital for observation so he will not be working today.”

Durbin of Illinois said he will act in Reid’s place as the Senate conducts a number of votes today. Reid is a Nevada Democrat

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Wash. Times: Reid Pressured Feds on Visa Applications.

Image: Wash. Times: Reid Pressured Feds on Visa Applications

By Drew MacKenzie

The Obama administration fast-tracked visa applications for two dozen foreign investors of a Las Vegas casino hotel after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his staff intervened, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.

The visas were approved despite Homeland Security officials initially denying the applications due to concerns about “suspicious financial activity” involving some of the Asian applicants.

The companies in the U.S. that will most benefit from the visa approvals have executives who are politically-connected and have been heavy Democratic donors in the past, says the Times.

According to the Times, Reid, a Nevada Democrat, personally put pressure on the top official at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Alejandro Mayorkas, who is President Barack Obama’s current nominee to be the No. 2 Homeland Security official. His appointment is due to be reviewed by the Senate on Wednesday.

The Asian investors behind a major renovation of the SLS Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, previously known as the historic Sahara Casino, are reportedly receiving the expedited EB-5 green card applications.

Although the Times reported that Reid’s staff was involved from the beginning of the applications, Homeland Security officials at first turned down requests by the SLS Hotel for the visas on the grounds that the building failed to meet the normal criteria for expedited review. The Homeland decision issued in December last year stated, “there is no appeal or reconsideration of this decision.”

According to the Times, the interference from Reid’s staff was so fierce that there was even an angry shouting match over the phone involving an immigration official.

“This one is going to be a major headache for us all because Mr. Reid’s office/staff is pushing hard and I just had a long yelling match on the phone,” USCIS Legislative Affairs official Miguel “Mike” Rodriguez warned in an email last year to Homeland Security Department officials.

The Times reported that Reid’s staff allegedly urged Homeland Security officials to change their minds on the applications, repeatedly saying that the hotel would lose its potential funding for its renovation if the USCIS didn’t expedite the visas.

Michael Vannozzi, a former top aide to Reid, wrote to Homeland Security, saying, “As you can imagine this project is pretty important to Southern Nevada. It will probably be the only ‘new’ property opening up on the Strip for some time, and if their $300 million senior lending facility from JP Morgan Chase expires because these visas aren’t processed expeditiously, it will be a huge setback for the project and the 8,600 jobs associated with it.”

The EB-5 visa gives permanent residency status, or green cards, to foreign nationals who invest $1 million, or $500,000 in high unemployment areas, creating at least 10 jobs.

The Times noted that Reid’s office and hotel officials did not respond to repeated requests from the newspaper for comment.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Harry Reid: Obamacare ‘Costs Me About $4,500 More’.

Image: Harry Reid: Obamacare 'Costs Me About $4,500 More'

By Sandy Fitzgerald

President Barack Obama may have famously promised his signature healthcare plan would cost consumers less money — but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is proof that it’s often not true.

“Under Obamacare, my insurance costs me about $4,500 more than it did before,” Reid told the Reno Gazette Journal. “Yes, because it is age-related and it wasn’t like that before.”

Reid, while noting that 150 million families get insurance through their employers, “so should all federal employees.”

Reid’s comments came while he denied a CNN story claiming he is the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy coverage through the Obamacare exchanges.

“I followed the Affordable Care Act,” Reid said. “It is the law. The law says that if you have committee staff, leadership staff, they stay where they are. If you have other staff, which is most everyone, they go to the exchanges.”

Reid is worth $2.8 to $6.2 million, according to an  report, so he would not qualify for subsidies that would lower his Obamacare insurance costs.

But his rate hike is an eye-opener after promises made by people like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told Meet the Press last year that “everybody would have lower rates” under Obamacare.

She denied to The Weekly Standard in a later report that she’d made the statement, saying she doesn’t “remember saying that everybody in the country would have a lower premium.”

But a study earlier this year by two members of the American Academy of Actuaries found that tens of millions will see higher insurance costs, reports Forbes, with or without the subsidies — and just like Harry Reid.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dem Sen. Levin Slams Harry Reid Over ‘Nuclear Option’.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin , who was one of three Democrats to vote against the “nuclear option” on filibusters, has attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a Texas newspaper editorial for “poisoning the well” with the Republicans.

“A Washington that needed more compromise and bipartisanship just grew further apart in the bitterest way. All pain, no gain,” the six-term senator said in the Dallas Morning News.

“The filibuster, that Senate tradition, took a solid whack to the knees last week, as Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada finally employed what he and others before him had threatened for years: the ‘nuclear option’.”

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 52-48 to end the requirement that at least 60 votes be needed to advance executivebranch and lower-court nominations. The vote now simply needs a majority of 51-49.

Levin, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, along with two other Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, voted against the change, which does not apply to Supreme Court nominees or legislation.

“What Reid did was shove past more than 200 years of the Senate effectively requiring more than a simple majority to move forward on most business,” says Levin, who has decided not to seek re-election in the 2014 midterm elections, setting the stage for a wide-open race to replace Michigan’s longest-serving senator.

“For nearly four decades, it has required a three-fifths majority, 60 votes, to close off a filibuster. That was the minority party’s chief weapon in fending off the majority. Reid pushed through a simple majority vote to change the Senate’s rules and bar the filibuster for most judicial and other executive branch nominees. Ka-boom.

“One would hope, for his sake, that he carefully considered the consequences almost certain to follow, like a cold beer chasing a shot of hard whiskey.

“At a time when Congress is fundamentally incapable of even basic cooperation, Reid has poisoned the well further, giving Republicans even less reason to work with Democrats.

“Reid will get more nominees through and little else. By going to DEFCON 1, he has imperiled every other item on the Democrats’ wish list.

“Because if you thought the Republicans troublesome before, how about now, when they have nothing to lose? And if you believed a filibuster was the only way to gum up the works, watch the Senate closely through the 2014 midterm elections.

“Surely Reid doesn’t believe Republicans, if they ever reclaim the Senate and White House, will spare Democrats the rod ever again,” Levin writes.

Republicans have blasted the change, which takes away the GOP’s main weapon in blocking executive-branch nominations, saying it’s a Democratic power grab that has dealt a huge blow to the Senate’s institutional integrity.

Levin said he wanted to amend the filibuster rules, like many other senators, because a president, regardless of his party, should be able to get a vote on his or her nominees for executive positions and for district and circuit courts.

“But to change it in the way we changed it . . . means there are no rules except as the majority wants them. It is a very major shift in the very nature of this institution if the majority can do whatever it wants by changing the rules whenever it wants, with a method that has not been used before in this body, to change the very rules of this body.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Debt Stalemate Breeds Frustration; US Heads Toward ‘Dangerous Moment’.

Image: Debt Stalemate Breeds Frustration; US Heads Toward 'Dangerous Moment'

By Todd Beamon

With the U.S. headed toward the “dangerous moment” of default, uncertainty over the government shutdown and debt ceiling continues, after talks to resolve the issues folded Saturday between the Senate’s top two leaders.

Besides keeping some 350,000 federal workers idle for nearly two weeks, the stalemate prompted a GOP prediction that the United States might not make its credit obligations on Thursday. That led president of the World Bank to warn of an international financial “crisis.”

“We are now five days away from a very dangerous moment,” World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim said at the close of the annual World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington. “The closer we get to the deadline, the greater the impact will be for the developing world.”

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada met for 30 minutes on Saturday, with no resolution. Still, “we had a good meeting,” McConnell told reporters. He made no further comment.

No additional talks were scheduled, a McConnell aide told Newsmax, but Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said that the senators would “continue to talk over the weekend.”

“Again, it is very evident that the White House is not going to be involved in negotiations, at least at this point they are not, and that the centerpiece is Reid and McConnell,”Corker told CNN. “So I think all of us want to support those efforts, and hopefully they bear fruit over the weekend.”

McConnell and Reid met for the first time since the partial government shutdown began 12 days ago, idling as many as 350,000 federal employees.

President Obama on Friday rejected the latest proposal from House Republicans to end the furloughs and extend the debt ceiling — and legislators were hoping that McConnell and Reid could come together to end the stalemate.

“Reid and McConnell are talking now, and those discussions continue so I see that as progress,” Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas told The Hill.

“There are a number of different elements,” he said. “The fact that they’re actually talking for the first time represents significant progress.”

Reid, however, insisted on a debt-ceiling bill that would reopen the government, raise its borrowing authority, and increase federal spending beyond the limits imposed by sequestration.

The latter condition drew fire from McConnell.

“We’ve got a $17 trillion debt now,” the Republican senator told Newsmax in an exclusive interview on Friday. “We’ve got a debt that’s as big as our economy, which makes us look a lot like a western European country.

“It’s unacceptable — and the American people oppose raising the debt ceiling unless we do something about the debt,” McConnell added. “That’s our continuing goal here in the Senate.”

The senior legislators met after the Senate Republicans — as McConnell had predicted to Newsmax — defeated Reid’s procedural motion on a “clean” debt-ceiling bill.

The legislation would have raised the nation’s borrowing authority by $1.1 trillion, pushing further talks on the issue until after next year’s congressional elections, without any budget reforms or savings.

“That, of course, isn’t going to pass,” McConnell predicted in the Newsmax interview. “That’ll be defeated overwhelmingly by Republicans.”

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 

After the 53-45 vote, which was along party lines, Reid was unrelenting in his attacks on the GOP. He needed seven Republicans to support his bill.

He charged that Republicans had begun seeking concessions on the president’s healthcare law, but now their core issue was “to divert attention from the fools they’ve made of themselves on Obamacare.

“We need to have compromise, but we are not going to do that until the government reopens and we pay our bills,” Reid warned at a news conference.

Mindful of the Thursday debt-limit deadline, Reid said that he would like to cut a deal “now.”

“When I say ‘now,’ I mean in the next 48 hours,” he said.

Then, Reid and other Senate Democratic leaders went to meet with Obama at the White House.

The session lasted a little more than an hour, and legislators departed without commenting on the meeting. The White House also provided no summary of the meeting.

For his part, Obama accused Republicans of practicing the politics of extortion.

“Manufacturing crises to extract massive concessions isn’t how our democracy works, and we have to stop it,” he said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

Further, Reid attacked a GOP proposal being developed by a bipartisan group of 12 senators headed by Susan Collins of Maine. The plan would extend the debt limit through Jan. 31 and finance the government for six months.

It also would have delayed for two years a medical-device tax that helps finance Obamacare, and it would subject millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance to stronger income verification.

Reid dismissed the Collins proposal, charging that the continuing resolution — or CR — treated reopening the government as a “concession,” CNN reports.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the Hill, “I admire Sen. Collins’s intent, but her six-month CR presents too many problems.”

But Collins called the reactions unfortunate, adding in a statement that negotiations “were constructive and give me hope that a bipartisan solution to reopen government and prevent default is within our reach.”

Lawmakers in both parties said they were watching for the reaction to the political uncertainty by the financial markets when they reopen on Monday.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana, who is backed by the tea party, predicted that there was “definitely a chance that we’re going to go past the deadline” set by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew for Congress to raise the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing authority.

Lew has said that the United States would run out of adequate cash to pay all the country’s bills as early as Thursday without a debt-cap increase.

And the Saturday developments led World Bank chief Kim to warn that the United States was headed toward peril as the deadline loomed.

“If this comes to pass, it could be a disastrous event for the developing world — and that, in turn, will greatly hurt the developed economies as well,” he said. “I urge U.S. policymakers to avert this crisis.”

It goes without saying, however, that the watchword on Capitol Hill was frustration, as members of both parties from both chambers lashed out at one another over the continued stalemate.

“The president is a pathetic leader,” charged a clearly troubled Sen. Lindsey Graham,according to Politico. “He’s only engaged in the last couple of days. Every time you get close to getting a deal over here with our Democratic friends, they move the ball because some poll comes out.

“Our friends in the House apparently can’t muster the votes to send something over here to open up the government,” Graham charged. “So it’s dysfunction at every level.

“You can blame us [Republicans], we’ve overplayed our hand, that’s for damn sure,” Graham said. “But their response, where the president and [Reid] basically shutting everybody out — and when you try to negotiate, they keep changing the terms of the deal … it’s very frustrating.

“This is a very frustrated Lindsey Graham,” the senator added. “Which is a very dangerous thing.”

Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas told Fox News that “honest talk is exactly what we need.”

He challenged Democrats to “stop the dishonesty. Harry Reid is saying that there’s a bunch of firebrands and radicals in the House that have hijacked the party. That’s not the case.

“The hijacking has been the U.S. Senate by left-wing radicals who want to keep spending grandchildren’s money without any consequences,” Gohmert said.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the defeated Reid proposal would have handed Democrats a “blank check” without any spending controls.

“No one wants the nation to default on its debt. I certainly don’t,” Hatch said in a statement. “A debt-limit increase must include government reforms that address the root cause of America’s nearly $17 trillion debt — namely, our entitlement programs.

“To expect a $1.1 trillion blank check is to ignore the severe challenges our nation faces unless we get our debt under control,” he said.

And Sen. James Inhofe said: “If we allow the nation to continue on its current path, it will only lead to economic destruction. Raising the debt ceiling without any common-sense solutions to reign in the federal government would be irresponsible and reckless.”

“The President has already increased the debt limit five times since coming to office,” the Oklahoma Republican’s statement said. “Federal spending is continuing to spiral out of control, and if we do nothing to reign it in, our national debt will skyrocket to $25 trillion in the next decade.

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 

“Even the President agrees with those numbers,” he added. “We cannot allow this to happen.”

The Associated Press and Reuters also contributed to this report.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Reid: Boehner’s Job ‘Not as Important as Our Country’.

Image: Reid: Boehner's Job 'Not as Important as Our Country'

House Speaker John Boehner is worrying more about his job than about the American people as the federal government remains shuttered, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

“The speaker has to be more concerned about his country than he is about his job,” Reid said on CNN.

And that’s just one example of the finger-pointing that continues into Day 4 of the federal-government shutdown.

Still, while House Republicans have worked on several bills to fund parts of the government such as national parks, the National Institutes of Health, and other essential operations, Reid refused to take a look at them.

The government should be funded all at once, not in bits and pieces, Reid said. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto piecemeal actions.

The effort to pick and choose which services to fund during the shutdown got Reid in hot water on Wednesday.

Asked by CNN why the Senate wouldn’t approve a bill to open the National Institutes of Health — which is forced to turn away cancer patients for clinical trials during the shutdown — even if just one child is helped, Reid replied, “Why would we want to do that?”

His remark ignited outrage. According to Fox News, the National Republican Senatorial Committee asked, “How out of touch and heartless can Senate Democrats be?”

Reid claims his remark was taken out of context and was meant to reiterate the fact that piecemeal funding isn’t the way to go.

It’s not the first time Reid has created a stir. He recently referred to the tea party as “anarchists.” Rather than backpedal, Reid stood firm.

“Why in the world wouldn’t I use the term anarchy? That’s what they are. They’re anarchists,” he said.

“There’s no better description I can make,” he said. “They’re not blowing up buildings and they’re not killing people. But they’re throwing much monkey wrenches in the wheels of government.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Reid: ‘We Don’t Have the Votes’ for Gun Control Bill.

Image: Reid: 'We Don't Have the Votes' for Gun Control Bill

By Todd Beamon

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday he lacked the votes to bring gun-control legislation to the Senate floor for a vote.

“We’re going to move this up as quickly as we can, but we’ve got to have the votes first,” the Nevada Democrat told The Hill. “We don’t have the votes. I hope we get them, but we don’t have them now.”

Reid’s comments came in the wake of the slaying of 12 people in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, a former Navy reservist who was an information technology employee with a defense contractor, was killed at the scene. The FBI said on Tuesday that he entered the Navy Yard armed with a shotgun.

Alexis, whom authorities said had an arrest record, had been hearing voices and was being treated by Veterans Affairs for mental problems in the weeks before the shooting rampage, FBI officials said.

He was not, however, stripped of his security clearance, the FBI said.

The mass shooting was the deadliest on a military installation in the United States since the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

Reid on Tuesday called for expanded background checks to prevent people with mental illness from obtaining guns.

“Background checks,” he said, according to The Hill. “We want to stop people who have mental illness from buying a gun. We want to stop people who are felons from being able to purchase a gun.”

An amendment sponsored by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to expand background checks fell six votes of advancing in April.

Democrats have since shelved gun-violence legislation, The Hill reports.

Some lawmakers, however, have discussed moving a bill narrowly tailored to focus on mental illness, according to The Hill, but Reid said it was not practical to separate it from expanded background checks.

When asked if it’s possible to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining firearms, Reid responded: “No, you can’t. You have to have background checks.”

“I’ve talked to people consistently — and the thing that bothers me is the number of Republicans who say, ‘Yeah, we know you’re right, but we can’t do anything about it,'” Reid said, referring to the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Harry Reid Says That Tea Party ‘Anarchists have taken over’ in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday said “anarchists” have taken over CongressReid said Tea Party Republicans are preventing progress on an energy efficiency bill by offering amendments on ObamaCare and other unrelated issues.

harry-reid-calls-tea-party-anarchists“We’re diverted totally from what this bill is about. Why? Because the anarchists have taken over,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “They’ve taken over the House and now they’ve taken over the Senate.

“People who don’t believe in government — and that’s what the Tea Party is all about — are winning, and that’s a shame.”

On Wednesday, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said he would prevent votes on lawmakers’ amendments to the energy bill until he’s assured he’ll get a vote on his amendment, which would require some congressional and executive branch staff to enroll in the ObamaCare health exchanges.

“It’s defund ObamaCare, and I guess as the fiscal year comes to and end that’s what it’s all about,” Reid said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also introduced an ObamaCare-related amendment that would delay the individual health insurance mandate for one year, and codify the Obama administration’s one-year delay of requirements that employers provide insurance.

“Let’s delay ObamaCare mandates for families right now,” McConnell said. “Then let’s work together to repeal the bill.”

The Senate is working on S. 1392, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. This bill is meant to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Reid said he hoped he and McConnell could work out a deal to allow votes on germane amendments later in the day. source – The Hill.

by NTEB News Desk

Reid Sets Wednesday Senate Test Vote on Syria.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a test vote for Wednesday on a resolution requested by President Barack Obama to authorize military strikes against Syria.

Reid said the Senate will vote on whether to begin consideration of a bipartisan use-of-force resolution, which will need 60 votes to clear anticipated procedural roadblocks.

At this point, it is uncertain if the measure will attract such backing.

In urging support, Reid said, “Sitting on the sidelines isn’t what made the United States of America the greatest nation in the world in years past and … sitting on the sidelines won’t make us a better nation tomorrow.”


© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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