Posted tagged ‘Harry Reid’

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Stalls in Senate

December 9, 2010

Republicans have blocked a repeal of the ban on openly gays in the military, potentially ending any possibilty for overturning the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ policy anytime soon.

From The New York Times:

In a blaze of unusual bipartisan fury, a military policy bill that would repeal the ban on gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the military stalled in the Senate on Thursday, severely diminishing the chances of ending the Clinton-era policy this year.

On a vote of 57 to 40, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, found himself 3 votes short of the 60 needed to clear a procedural hurdle that would have opened the way for passage of the measure.

President Obama Signs Health Care Bill

March 23, 2010

As you may have heard, President Obama signed the expanded health care bill into law this morning. The law expands health insurance coverage for more than 32 million Americans.

I have a feeling that this is going to continue to be a heated debate across the United States for days, weeks and months to come. So…what do you think? Is the health care bill a good thing? A bad thing?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Obama affixed his curlicue signature, almost letter by letter, to the measure, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, surrounded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and a raft of other lawmakers who spent the past year on a legislative roller-coaster ride trying to pass it. Aides said he would pass out the 20 pens he used as mementoes.

The ceremony included two special guests: Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who had been a driving force for health care legislation before his death last year, and Connie Anderson, the sister of Natoma Canfield, the Ohio cancer survivor whose struggle to pay skyrocketing health insurance premiums became a touchstone of Mr. Obama’s campaign to overhaul the system.

Mr. Kennedy’s son, Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, was also there, carrying a gift for the president: a copy of a bill his father introduced in 1970 to provide national health insurance. On it, the younger Mr. Kennedy had written a personal message to Mr. Obama.

From ABC News:

Republicans across the country are specifically challenging the mandate in the health care bill that requires every individual to have health insurance, charging that it is unconstitutional.

The individual mandate is an “unprecedented overreach by the federal government forcing individual citizens to buy a good or a service for no other reason then they happen to be alive or a person,” Republican governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty said today on “Good Morning America.”

Pawlenty said he sent a letter to Minnesota’s Democratic attorney general arguing against the constitutionality of the mandate.

Al Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Seat

June 30, 2009

“I deserve good things, I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with.”

Once mentioned by Stuart Smalley (aka Al Franken) back in his Saturday Night Live days.

Now, he finally been certified as the winner of the Minnesota’s long-running Senate race.

From the Associated Press:

The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling.

Justices said Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to assume office. With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibusters.

Coleman hasn’t ruled out seeking federal court intervention.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the earliest Franken would be seated is next week because the Senate is out of session for the July 4 holiday.

Franken, a former Saturday Night Live star making the leap from life as a left-wing author and radio talker to the Senate, planned a news conference later Tuesday and didn’t immediately comment.

Coleman’s campaign didn’t immediately return a call for comment. Nor did Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose signature is required on the election certificate Franken needs to be seated.

Pawlenty, a Republican, has said he would sign the certificate if ordered to do so by the court. The court’s ruling stopped short of explicitly ordering the governor to sign the document, saying only that Franken was “entitled” to it.

Tentative Stimulus Deal Reached

February 6, 2009

Amid major new job losses and the latest bank failure, key senators and the White House reached tentative agreement today on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan.

From MSNBC:

Senate Democrats were now mulling the compromise, which would cap the package at $780 billion. The package had grown to $937 billion after senators added to it, and Obama has said he’d accept a deal around $800 billion.

“There’s a proposal that is sufficiently flushed out that we can have a caucus and discuss it,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. “This is a proposal that involves many of the interested parties.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the $780 billion proposal breaks down this way: 42 percent is for tax cuts and 58 percent is new spending.

A spokesman for Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that “Senator Reid needs to talk with his caucus before we can announce a deal.”

The breakthrough came after a bipartisan team of senators worked to lower the cost, reducing the overall package to $780 billion, NBC News reported.

Blagojevich to Fill Obama’s Senate Seat With Roland Burris

December 30, 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is expected to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

From MSNBC:

The governor has scheduled a 3 p.m. ET news conference Tuesday, but his spokesman Lucio Guerrero declined to tell the Associated Press what the governor plans to discuss.

Blagojevich has been under pressure to step aside or resign since his arrest earlier this month on federal corruption charges. He’s accused of trying to sell Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has warned Blagojevich that Senate Democrats will not seat anyone the governor appoints. Lawmakers in Springfield are considering whether to proceed with plans to impeach him.

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse

December 11, 2008

Bad news for the auto industry. A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.

From the Associated Press:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “terribly disappointed” about the demise of an emerging bipartisan deal to rescue Detroit’s Big Three.

He spoke shortly after Republicans left a closed-door meeting where they balked at giving the automakers federal aid unless their powerful union agreed to slash wages next year to bring them into line with those of Japanese carmakers.

Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, a strong bailout supporter, said the UAW was willing to make the cuts — but not until 2011.

Reid was working to set a swift test vote on the measure Thursday night, but it was just a formality. The bill was virtually certain to fail to reach the 60-vote threshold it would need to clear to advance.

Reid called the bill’s collapse “a loss for the country,” adding “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”

The implosion followed an unprecedented marathon set of talks at the Capitol among labor, the auto industry and lawmakers who bargained into the night in efforts to salvage the auto bailout at a time of soaring job losses and widespread economic turmoil.

“In the midst of already deep and troubling economic times, we are about to add to that by walking away,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman who led negotiations on the package.

Auto Industry CEOs Flew Private Jets to Ask for Bailout Money

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers are lashing out at the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler today for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money. Seriously. Do executives even think before they do things? It’s like calling the kettle black. And you think you deserve the money?

From CNN:

“There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses,” Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

“It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

The executives — Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM — were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.

An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to “raise their hand if they flew here commercial.”

“Let the record show, no hands went up,” Sherman said. “Second, I’m going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up.”

The executives did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.