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Posts tagged ‘United State Senate’

Dick Morris: Re-Election Worries Fueled McConnell’s Vote on Debt.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted on Wednesday to end debate on a bill to increase the nation’s debt ceiling because “he didn’t want to have a government shutdown or bill stalling in the Senate because of him when he had a general election that was tough,” political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

“But in his mind, the villain is Ted Cruz,” Morris told John Bachman on “America’s Forum.” “The Democrats were perfectly prepared to pass this and let all the Republicans vote against it.

“The American people get more and more sophisticated as each of these things happen — and they realize the debt limit is now just a political football” he added. “In 2011, right after the tea party controlled the House, it became very good because we got a trillion dollars in cuts.

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“Everybody was so scared by the abortive October shutdown that they’re not willing to do it again — and everybody realizes the debt limit is just a symbolic fight that doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

In the run-up to Wednesday’s vote to increase the nation’s borrowing authority, Kentucky Republican McConnell came forward to cast a vote toward ending debate on the bill and sending it to the full Senate floor for a vote.

McConnell’s “aye” vote, along with Minority Whip John Cornyn’s, bucked Cruz’s demand that a 60-vote threshold be in place to end the debate, or to invoke what is called “cloture.”

Ten other Republicans joined McConnell and Cornyn to end Cruz’s filibuster. That final vote was 67-31.

The bill, which suspends the nation’s debt limit through March 15, 2015, later passed the Senate on a 55-43 vote along party lines. It was expected to be quickly signed by President Barack Obama.

Both Cornyn and Cruz are from Texas, and McConnell and Cornyn face tough primary elections this spring against candidates backed by the tea party.

In his Newsmax interview, Morris, who was an aide to President Bill Clinton, said that Republican leaders supported ending debate because “the Senate was a bit chaotic because the Democrats control it, so it was hard for the Republicans to orchestrate.

“Raising the debt limit is unpopular in the United States,” he added. “Borrowing more money without cutting the budget is unpopular.”

Morris explained: “The debt limit is not about borrowing the money for 2013; we’ve already done that. It’s about borrowing the money for ’14 and ’15 and ’16. We haven’t done that yet.

“It’s fully appropriate to make cuts in those out-years, because it’s not a question of the bills coming due. All that’s coming due is your intention to buy it.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

Raul Labrador, House GOP: Immigration Out This Year.


Image: Raul Labrador, House GOP: Immigration Out This Year

 

Conservative Republicans are ruling out any immigration legislation in the House this year, insisting that the GOP should wait until next year when the party might also control the Senate.

House GOP leaders unveiled their broad immigration principles last week that gave hope to advocates and the Obama administration that the first changes in the nation’s laws in three decades might happen in the coming months.

Immigration legislation is one of the top priorities for Obama’s second term.

But several of the conservatives were adamant that the House should do nothing on the issue this year, a midterm election year when the GOP is angling to gain six seats in the Senate and seize majority control. Democrats currently have a 55-45 advantage but are defending more seats, including ones in Republican-leaning states.

“I think it’s a mistake for us to have an internal battle in the Republican Party this year about immigration reform,” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told reporters at a gathering of conservatives. “I think when we take back the Senate in 2014 one of the first things we should do next year after we do certain economic issues, I think we should address the immigration issue.”

Labrador’s comments were noteworthy as he was one of eight House members working on bipartisan immigration legislation last year. He later abandoned the negotiations.

“This is not an issue that’s ready for prime time to move legislatively,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who said Republicans should use the principles to begin a dialogue with Hispanics.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the House should focus on the four bills dealing with security that the Judiciary Committee approved last summer. Absent any action on those bills, Jordan said it would be tough to do any immigration legislation this year.

The definitive statements from the conservatives came as Douglas Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, told a House panel that the comprehensive, Senate-passed immigration bill would have a positive impact on the nation’s finances.

The Senate last June passed a bipartisan bill that would tighten border security, provide enforcement measures and offer a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The measure has stalled in the House where Speaker John Boehner and other leaders have rejected a comprehensive approach in favor of a bill-by-bill process.

Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee that a CBO analysis “found that that legislation would reduce budget deficits and lead to a larger economy and over time lead to higher output per person in this country.”

Specifically, he said additional workers, especially high-skilled, highly educated employees, would increase the nation’s tax revenues.

The House leaders’ broad principles would tighten border and interior security, establish a verification system for employers and legalize some of the 11 million immigrants. It would not provide a special path to citizenship to those living here illegally, though it would give children brought to the country by their parents a shot a citizenship.

Conservatives have said they distrust Obama to enforce any new law, citing his waivers and suspensions of provisions on the health care law.

Boehner said Tuesday that Republicans were discussing “whether we should proceed, if we proceed and how we would proceed. It’s also clear from our members that we believe that securing our borders has to be the first step in this process.”

But he added that conversations are continuing and “no decision’s been made.”

Further tamping down any optimism for legislation this year was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told reporters that differences between the Senate’s comprehensive approach and the House’s piecemeal strategy were an “irresolvable conflict.”

“I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place,” McConnell told reporters.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Obama’s New DHS Chief: Amnesty for Illegals ‘Matter of National Security’.


Image: Obama's New DHS Chief: Amnesty for Illegals 'Matter of National Security'

The new Homeland Security secretary says an earned path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally is a matter of national security.

It was the first time Jeh Johnson, who had little experience with immigration policy before he was appointed, had outlined his approach on the subject.

The Defense Department’s former top lawyer, who worked on U.S. drone policies and helped end the Pentagon’s ban on gays in the military, said offering a path to citizenship would encourage such immigrants “to come out of the shadow, to be accountable, to participate in the American experience.”

In his speech last week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Johnson said the vast majority of immigrants here illegally have been in the country for more than 10 years and offering a path to citizenship is “a matter (of) who we are as Americans.”

Johnson was sworn in as the fourth Homeland Security secretary late last year. While he has been making visits to the Mexican border and meeting with immigration enforcement officials, he had yet to give specifics on his immigration views until this speech.

Johnson was considered well-versed in matters of security, but many questioned his credentials on immigration.

During his Senate confirmation hearing last year, Johnson listed “common-sense immigration reform” among the top priorities of the department but did not provide any details.

Johnson’s brief remarks on immigration mirror those of his predecessor and President Barack Obama.

Obama and congressional Democrats have long pushed for a sweeping immigration bill that would, among other things, create a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally who don’t pose a threat to national security or public safety. Last year, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill that also included a provision to nearly double the size of the Border Patrol.

Republicans have objected to allowing immigrants to gain citizenship before the border is secured.

Johnson did not address how he planned to direct immigration enforcement efforts.

In the absence of viable immigration legislation in Congress, Obama has approved a series of policy directives that largely have shielded various groups of immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, announced shortly before the 2012 presidential election, is the most significant and allows many young immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a work permit and a two-year reprieve from deportation.

Republican lawmakers have decried the programs as back-door amnesty and have asked Johnson to commit to enforcing immigration laws as they exist, including deporting immigrants in the country illegally.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

House Defunds Obamacare, Keeps Government Open.


Image: House Defunds Obamacare, Keeps Government Open

Speaker of the House John Boehner is cheered on Sept. 20 after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would prevent a government shutdown while crippling Obamacare.
The House of Representatives voted to finance the federal government through mid-December and choke off funding for President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, setting up a showdown with the Senate and the White House.The Republican-controlled House on Friday passed, 230-189, a stopgap measure to fund government operations after current authority expires Sept. 30. The bill preserves across-the-board spending cuts at an annual rate of $986.3 billion and permanently defunds the Affordable Care Act.”The fight to delay Obamacare doesn’t end next week. It keeps going on until we get it,” Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and his party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, told reporters today in Washington.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

The spending measure now will be sent to the Senate where it will pass without defunding the healthcare law, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said yesterday. Obama administration officials said the president would veto the House bill if sent to him by Congress.

If the Obama administration and lawmakers can’t agree on the stopgap funding, most, though not all, operations would come to a halt in less than two weeks. Republicans are using the stopgap spending bill as a vehicle to try to choke off funds for the health program the party has opposed since 2009.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican and chief Senate opponent of the health law, said he’s willing to do “everything necessary and anything possible,” including holding a filibuster, to block action on the spending measure as a way to end funding for the healthcare law.

The Senate is expected to start considering the legislation on Sept. 23 with goal of finishing by Sept. 26.

Procedural Tactic

Democratic leaders are considering a procedural tactic that would put Cruz and his allies in an awkward spot and upend their efforts.

Under Senate rules, they could have a simple majority vote that would strip the healthcare defunding language once they end debate on the House measure.

House Republicans haven’t decided how to proceed once the Senate passes the measure after stripping it of the healthcare language.

If House Speaker John Boehner allows the Senate bill to proceed, he would need enough Democratic votes to join Republicans to pass it and avoid a government shutdown.

House Republican leaders also could decide to continue revising the measure and send the amended version back to the Senate for a vote, complicating the process and raising the risk of a shutdown as time runs out.

Debt Ceiling

The House spending measure also includes a provision directing the Treasury on how to prioritize payments if the debt ceiling is breached.

House Republicans said today they’d start working next week on legislation to raise the nation’s debt limit, attach a one-year delay in the health law, make cuts to entitlement programs, and include approval for the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The next 10 days are very important for our country,” said Rep. Tim Graves, a Georgia Republican, who has pushed for defunding the healthcare law.

Ryan said the measures Republicans will attach would reduce the U.S. budget deficit in the long term.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

The legislation will look “at debt over the long term and that is what matters the most,” Ryan told reporters today.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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