Tag Archives: Senate

Trump must release his tax returns or be barred from state’s 2020 election ballot, Illinois senate votes

Trump must release his tax returns or be barred from state’s 2020 election ballot, Illinois senate votesDonald Trump will have to release five years of tax returns if he wants appear on the Illinois 2020 presidential ballot, the state's senate has ruled. The bill, which still requires approval by the Prairie State's House of Representatives, comes amid a growing row in Washington over Mr Trump’s unprecedented refusal to make publicly available his income tax returns. The US Treasury ignored a congressional deadline to release the documents earlier this week. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed the request by the House ways and means committee was “politically motivated”. Mr Trump himself has claimed that he cannot release his tax returns because they are under audit, although technically there is nothing preventing him from doing so. In Illinois, the bill would need to be signed into law by Democratic governor Jay Robert Pritzjer, if it passes through the House which is also controlled by Mr Trump's political rivals. Mr Pritzjer is yet to take a public stance on the issue. Tony Munoz, the state senator who sponsored the bill said: “If you want to run for vice president or president of the United States, hey, what’s wrong with providing your tax returns for the past five years?” The veteran Democrat added: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about anything. That’s how I see it.”But the move drew complaints from Republicans in the senate. “This is, quite frankly, with all due respect to the sponsor, an embarrassing waste of the senate’s time,” said Dale Righter. “This is being pushed by a far-leftist organisation from the city of Chicago that wants to be able to get up and chirp about the president of the United States."Ilinois is not the only state where legislation to codify standard practices surrounding tax disclosures for presidential candidates is being advanced. The Washington state senate last month approved legislation that would legally require all presidential candidates to release the last five years of their personal tax returns in order to have their names featured on both primary and general voting ballots.New Jersey has also advanced a similar bill to the state’s general assembly that would force candidates to disclose their recent tax returns.



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U.S. Senate leader McConnell notes Republican worries over Cain serving on Fed

U.S. Senate leader McConnell notes Republican worries over Cain serving on FedWASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday withheld comment on whether he would support Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, saying that he would wait to see "who is actually nominated." Speaking to reporters in his Senate office, McConnell also was asked about some fellow Republican senators who have said they would not vote to confirm Cain, a former fast food industry executive and presidential candidate, if he is nominated. McConnell responded: "I do think that there are two obviously critical components to making a nomination. …



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Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate – and American government

Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate – and American governmentThe majority leader cares only for winning, not rules or democracy itself. He is doing more damage than Trump * The Hill to Die On: Trump and a Republican dumpster fireDonald Trump speaks to the press alongside Mitch McConnell. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesNo person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.Yes, Donald Trump has debased and defiled the presidency. He has launched blistering attacks on Democrats, on judges he disagrees with, journalists who criticize him and the intelligence community.But McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.Last Wednesday he used his Republican majority to cut the time for debating Trump’s court appointees from 30 hours to two – thereby enabling Republicans to ram through even more Trump judges.McConnell doesn’t give a fig about the Senate, or about democracy. He cares only about winning. On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections he famously declared that his top priority was for Barack Obama “to be a one-term president”.Between 2009 and 2013, McConnell’s Senate Republicans blocked 79 Obama nominees. In the entire history of the United States until that point, only 68 presidential nominees had been blocked.> McConnell’s long game is destroying what was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative bodyThis unprecedented use of the filibuster finally led Senate Democrats in 2013 to change the rules on some presidential nominees (but not the supreme court), to require simple majorities.In response, McConnell fumed that “breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American”. If so, McConnell is about as un-American as they come. Once back in control of the Senate he buried Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the supreme court by refusing even to hold hearings.Then, in 2017, McConnell and his Republicans changed the rules again, ending the use of the filibuster even for supreme court nominees and clearing the way for Senate confirmation of Trump’s Neil Gorsuch.Step by step, McConnell has sacrificed the Senate as an institution to partisan political victories.There is a vast difference between winning at politics by playing according to the norms of our democracy, and winning by subverting those norms.To Abraham Lincoln, democracy was a covenant linking past and future. Political institutions, in his view, were “the legacy bequeathed to us”.On the eve of the Senate’s final vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, the late John McCain returned to Washington from his home in Arizona, where he was being treated for brain cancer, to cast the deciding vote against repeal.> In a small town where people don’t lock their doors or windows, the first thief can effortlessly get into anyone’s houseKnowing he would be criticized by other Republicans, McCain noted that over his career he had known senators who seriously disagreed with each other but nonetheless knew “they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively”.In words that have even greater relevance today, McCain added that “it is our responsibility to preserve that, even when it requires us to do something less satisfying than ‘winning’.”Political success should never be measured solely by partisan victories. It must also be judged by the institutional legacy passed onward. The purpose of political leadership is not merely to win. It is to serve.In any social or political system it’s always possible to extract benefits by being among the first to break widely accepted norms. In a small town where people don’t lock their doors or windows, the first thief can effortlessly get into anyone’s house. But once broken, the system is never the same. Everyone has to buy locks. Trust deteriorates.Those, like Mitch McConnell, who break institutional norms for selfish or partisan gains are bequeathing future generations a weakened democracy.The difference between winning at politics by playing according to the norms and rules of our democracy, and winning by subverting them, could not be greater. Political victories that undermine the integrity of our system are net losses for society.Great athletes play by the rules because the rules make the game. Unprincipled athletes cheat or change the rules in order to win. Their victories ultimately destroy the game.In terms of shaping the federal courts, McConnell has played “the long game”, which, incidentally, is the title of his 2016 memoir. Decades from now, McConnell will still be shaping the nation through judges he rammed through the Senate.But McConnell’s long game is destroying what was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative body.He is longest-serving leader of Senate Republicans in history but Mitch McConnell is no leader. He is the epitome of unprincipled power. History will not treat him kindly. * Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. He is also a columnist for Guardian US



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2020 Vision: Warren calls for end to filibuster in Senate

2020 Vision: Warren calls for end to filibuster in SenateSen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Friday endorsed eliminating the legislative filibuster in the Senate if Democrats take the White House.



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Less debate time for Trump picks after Senate rules change

Less debate time for Trump picks after Senate rules changeWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's Senate GOP allies, frustrated by delays in confirming dozens of lower-profile nominees, rammed through a rules change Wednesday that cuts back debate on most of his picks.



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Green New Deal: Senate defeats proposal as Democrats unite in protest

Green New Deal: Senate defeats proposal as Democrats unite in protestNon-binding proposal spearheaded by progressives aims to reduce greenhouse gases and lessen social inequity The US Senate defeated a motion to take up the Green New Deal, the non-binding proposal spearheaded by progressive Democratic lawmakers to radically reduce greenhouse gases and try to lessen social inequity. Republican leaders in the Senate had scheduled Tuesday’s vote in an effort to turn the proposal into a wedge issue in the 2020 elections, hoping to force Democrats on the record about their support – or opposition – for a proposal that is popular among the Democratic base but has been criticized by many conservatives. Democrats called the efforts by the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell a “sham”, and 43 of them voted “present” rather than casting an up-or-down vote. Lawmakers ultimately voted 57-0 against the proposal. Three Democrats and independent senator Angus King of Maine ultimately joined all 53 Republicans in opposing the plan. The Green New Deal aims to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and calls for the US to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal. It also urges national healthcare coverage and job guarantees, high-quality education and affordable housing, as well as “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States” to be energy-efficient. The proposal has broad support among Democratic activists, and all six of the 2020 presidential contenders serving in the Senate have signed on as cosponsors, putting it at the forefront of the party’s sprawling primary race. Republicans say the plan would devastate the economy and lead to a huge tax increase. They call it more evidence of the creep of “socialism” in the Democratic party, along with “Medicare for All” and a sweeping elections reform package that would allow public financing of congressional campaigns. McConnell said the proposal “might sound like a neat idea in places like San Francisco or New York” but would result in communities across the country being “absolutely crushed”. He argued the deal would “kill off entire domestic industries” and eliminate millions of jobs. Donald Trump also weighed in against the plan, which the White House called “job crushing”. At a luncheon with Senate Republicans, Trump urged lawmakers to keep the Green New Deal alive as an issue to use against Democrats. Mike Lee, a Republican senator from Utah, called the Green New Deal “ridiculous” and displayed pictures of dinosaurs, cartoon characters and babies as he derided the plan. He said he was treating it “with the seriousness it deserves”. Democrats derided the GOP moves and said they carried their own political risk by mocking an issue – climate change – that a growing number of Americans care deeply about. Climate change, they said, is deadly serious, citing floods in the midwest, wildfires in the west and hurricanes in the south. “Climate change is not a joke,” said Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and the resolution’s lead Senate author. “Mocking it is shameful.” “The GOP’s climate delaying is costing us lives [and is] destroying communities,” congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the plan’s sponsor in the House, tweeted. The GOP’s climate delaying is costing us lives + destroying communities.Iowa, Nebraska & many in the Midwest are catastrophically flooded right now, in one of the 1st major climate change disasters of 2019.A #GreenNewDeal urges us to pursue a plan on the scale of the problem. t.co/dWXe44hxWX— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 26, 2019 Ocasio-Cortez also said she had encouraged fellow Democrats to vote present, and questioned Republicans’ reluctance to schedule major hearings on the effects of climate change. Separately, speaking at a hearing of the House financial services committee on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez sharply criticized the suggestion that concerns about the environment were “elitist” and condemned past inaction. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids of the South Bronx, which are suffering from the highest rates of child asthma in the country,” she said. “This is about our lives, and this should not be partisan,” she added. “Science should not be partisan.” By Tuesday evening, the clip of her comments had been shared thousands of times. Watch every second of this… @AOC is so incredibly spot on. pic.twitter.com/ESP4dC5TTo— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) March 27, 2019 The New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, one of a half-dozen senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said Republicans treat climate change “as a game” and said Democrats “will not fall for this stunt”. Slowing climate change “should be our nation’s moonshot” in the 21st century, Gillibrand argued. “We don’t know if we can get to net-zero carbon emissions in 10 years, but why not try?” she said at a rally before the Senate vote.



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Boeing Readies 737 Max Software Update as Senate Probes Crashes

Boeing Readies 737 Max Software Update as Senate Probes CrashesWhile investigators are still piecing together what caused an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 to fall out of the sky this month, senators in Washington zeroed in on a controversial safety feature on the plane. Across the U.S. in Renton, Washington, where the plane is made, Boeing hosted news media as well as 200 pilots and industry officials to detail software changes it intends to submit to the Federal Aviation Administration for final approval this week. The company also defended its aircraft-certification process and safety oversight.



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After Mueller report, Senate moves to investigate the Russia probe Trump called an 'illegal takedown'

After Mueller report, Senate moves to investigate the Russia probe Trump called an 'illegal takedown'Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham plans to investigate possible Justice and FBI abuses in probing Donald Trump's presidential campaign



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Schumer to Reintroduce Bill Naming Senate Building after McCain

Schumer to Reintroduce Bill Naming Senate Building after McCainSenator Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that he plans to reintroduce a bill that would rename the Russell Senate Office Building after the late senator John McCain, amid a rekindled public feud between President Trump and the McCain family."I look forward to soon re-introducing my legislation re-naming the Russell Senate Building after American hero, Senator John McCain," the Senate minority leader wrote in a tweet Wednesday.Schumer's announcement came after Trump said Tuesday at the White House that, "I was never a fan of John McCain, and I never will be."McCain passed away from brain cancer at 81 years of age last August. The Arizona Republican's daughter, Meghan McCain, has vehemently defended her father from Trump's attacks, saying Monday that the president's focus on her father is a sign of his "pathetic life."Trump's beef with McCain, who lost the presidential election to Barack Obama in 2008, stretches back to the 2016 campaign season, when he criticized McCain for being captured and suffering for more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at the time of McCain. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”Trump's frustration with McCain was aggravated by the senator's dramatic eleventh-hour vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act in July 2017. The senator "told us hours before that he was going to repeal and replace," Trump said Tuesday. "And then for some reason — I think I understand the reason — he ended up" voting against.“We’ll be talking about the best way to honor Sen. McCain,” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said of Schumer's proposal.



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Emergency-Declaration Rebuke Splits Senate GOP

Emergency-Declaration Rebuke Splits Senate GOPOn Thursday afternoon, twelve Republican senators — nearly a fifth of the GOP caucus — joined Senate Democrats to pass a resolution terminating the national emergency declared by President Trump last month in an effort to unilaterally appropriate funds for construction of his long-promised border wall. The 59–41 vote was a rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump, who will now issue the first veto of his presidency in order to preserve the emergency declaration.The Senate GOP dissenters — Lamar Alexander, Roy Blunt, Susan Collins, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Roger Wicker— ran the ideological gamut from conservative to moderate. Most argued that the president was operating outside the rule of law, while some simply called the emergency declaration an executive overreach that Congress had a duty to stop.“Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway,” read a statement from Alexander, who plans to retire after three terms representing Tennessee rather than seek reelection next year. “The problem with this is that after a Revolutionary War against a king, our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom.”Collins, the moderate from Maine who is the only senator facing a 2020 reelection campaign among the twelve Republicans to vote for the resolution, argued in a floor speech that Trump’s declaration failed to pass the longstanding five-part test of a genuine emergency: “necessary, sudden, urgent, unforeseen, and not permanent.”“This is a vote for the Constitution and for the balance of powers that is at its core. For the Executive Branch to override a law passed by Congress would make it the ultimate power rather than a balancing power,” said Romney, who took a hard-line stance against illegal immigration during his 2012 presidential campaign, in a statement. “This is not a vote against border security. In fact, I agree that a physical barrier is urgently needed to help ease the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, and the administration already has $ 4.5 billion available within existing authority to fund a barrier—even without an emergency declaration.”Romney’s fellow Utahn, Mike Lee, thought Trump’s declaration was legal under the 1976 National Emergencies Act and was willing to uphold it if the law could be changed to curb the power it gives the executive. When a deal to pass Lee’s Article One Act, which would have satisfied his concerns, fell through, he decided to vote “no.”Two of the more surprising votes against terminating the national emergency were those cast by Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, both of whom face reelection in 2020. Tillis had been expressing disapproval of the emergency declaration for weeks, while Sasse has generally voiced more public criticism of President Trump than any other Republican in the Senate.Sasse said in a statement that the National Emergencies Act (NEA) is “overly broad and I want to fix it, but at present Nancy Pelosi doesn't, so I am therefore voting against her politically motivated resolution. As a constitutional conservative, I believe that the NEA currently on the books should be narrowed considerably. That’s why I’m an original sponsor of Senator Lee's legislation, and it is why I have repeatedly gone to the White House to seek support for NEA reform.” On Wednesday, Pelosi shot down any deal to pass Lee’s bill and uphold Trump’s emergency declaration.Republican senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who voted to uphold the emergency, spoke for the vast majority of Senate Republicans when he took the floor to argue that there is a genuine emergency on the Southern border and that President Trump’s declaration was both legal and proper. “Since last October, Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 260,000 illegal aliens at the border, a surge of 90 percent — almost double —from the previous year,” he said. “He [Trump] is only exercising the statutory authority delegated to him by us. By this very body, the United States Congress. More than half of the $ 8.1 billion the president is using to build the wall and secure the border comes from non-emergency statutes passed by Congress.”While Cotton said he respects colleagues who worry about a slippery slope, he dismissed that objection because Congress has “not delegated to the executive the power to confiscate guns, close power plants, or any of the other common entrants in the parade of horribles on the slippery slope. That’s the difference between lawful and lawless government, and it’s the case here.”“If you want to see lawless executive action, by the way, you can look instead to the last administration,” Cotton added. “President Obama purported to give millions of illegal aliens legal status and work permits in clear violation of statutes passed by Congress. Strange how I don’t recall the self-styled ‘Resistance’ manning the ramparts and rushing to the Ninth Circuit back then. In fact, I only recall congressional fanboys of a president using the ‘pen and phone’ to encroach on our constitutional prerogatives.”In 2014, when the House voted to rescind President Obama’s DACA program for illegal immigrants who arrived as minors, only four Democrats joined most Republicans to rebuke what many said was an unconstitutional action. Democrats controlled the Senate at the time, and Majority Leader Harry Reid never brought the legislation opposing DACA up for a vote.



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