Senate

Harry Reid is so terrified of losing his majority that he won’t allow Republicans to take part in the legislative process

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been ruling the chamber almost like a dictator. He went nuclear on the filibuster, turning the Senate into a virtual rubber stamp for President Barack Obama’s court nominees, including a controversial pick who wrote a memo justifying extrajudicial killings of American citizens.

But Reid’s suppression of minority rights doesn’t end there. He’s also prevented Senate Republicans from offering perfectly relevant amendments to legislation to protect vulnerable Democrats against votes that could hurt them this fall:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to decide what Senate floor amendments Republicans can offer to guard against “gotcha” votes that could cost Democrats their majority.
[…]
Democrats worry [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell could split their caucus by forcing votes on broad tax policy instead of the basket of expired niche tax provisions the pending bill addresses.

Reid does not want to vote on a proposal to repeal Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, even though the proposal has strong support in the Democratic caucus. That could put him and his colleagues on the slippery slope of reviewing all the tax increases in ObamaCare.

Harry Reid’s dictatorial Senate rule kills Keystone XL

It looks like the Keystone XL oil pipeline is may be dead until next year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republicans in the chamber failed to reach a deal on the Shaheen-Portman energy bill in an advance of an unsuccessful procedural vote earlier this week that could have setup a binding vote on the pipeline:

The failure to reach a deal pushes the issue firmly back into the hands of the administration, which is unlikely to make a decision until at least the end of the year.

The State Department has said it will not complete its review until litigation over the pipeline’s route becomes more clear in Nebraska, a process that could put off an administration decision indefinitely.

 

As a result, the Senate standoff left green groups confident that Keystone would not be approved this year, and that it was dead for the rest of the Obama era.
[…]
Even supporters of Keystone acknowledged Monday’s vote was a blow.

Reid has offered a binding vote on Keystone XL in exchange for enough Republican support to invoke cloture and set the stage for final passage. Republicans, however, wanted votes on amendments to the bill. Reid refused, the latest example of the majority leader blocking GOP-backed amendments for fear that they would pass:

Voters could hand Republicans a Senate majority if Obama rejects Keystone XL

As Democrats struggle to come up with a coherent message on the proposed Keystone XL, voters in five states with potentially competitive Senate race are signaling that President Barack Obama’s decision on the oil pipeline could loom large when they head to the polls this fall.

Vulnerable “Red State” Senate Democrats have been pressuring Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and other leaders to hold a vote on Keystone XL, though the measure could be a pointless, nonbinding statement of support from the chamber. Republicans, however, want the measure brought up as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy bill, a nonstarter for Democratic leadership.

Democrats are in one helluva pickle on Keystone XL. On one hand they have their radical environmentalist base and big money donors like Tom Steyer. On the other, they have vulnerable members running for reelection in states in which there is support for the oil pipeline.

But utterly meaningless on statements of support in the Senate or even a binding resolution may not be enough for Democrats running in competitive Senate races. New polling, conducted by Hickman Analytics for Consumer Energy Alliance, finds that Democrats could face problems if President Obama rejects Keystone XL.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul targets nominee over drones memo, young Millennials offer hope for GOP

— Busy week on Capitol Hill: Republicans will hold a vote on a contempt resolution against disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner as well as hold a vote to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups. The lower-chamber may also vote on a measure to establish a select committee on Benghazi. The Senate, however, is likely to vote on some sort of measure to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the only question of which is whether it’ll be binding or a nonbinding “Sense of the Senate” resolution.

Good and bad fundraising news for Republicans

April 15 wasn’t only the deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns, it was also the last day for federal candidates to send in their campaign contribution disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

This deadline comes and goes without much attention paid by the public. But for those of us who work in politics, we tend channel our inner nerd and spend more time than we’d like to admit digging through the day.

Though it’s important to remember that money doesn’t necessarily translate into electoral success, Republicans, who are looking to take control of the Senate this fall, have to be happy that top-tier candidates outraised vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Alaska and Arkansas:

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor raised $1.22 million — slightly lagging behind his Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, who brought in $1.35 million, according to announcements from the campaigns.

Pryor is also burning through cash more quickly than Cotton, spending more than $1 million – almost as much as he raised – in the same time period. Cotton spent about $860,000.

But Pryor still holds the cash-on-hand advantage. He has $4.4 million in the bank, while Cotton has $2.7 million. Recent polls have also shown Pryor with only a slight edge over Cotton.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich was also outraised by his likely GOP challenger, Dan Sullivan, for the second consecutive quarter. Begich brought in $1.05 million and has $2.8 million in the bank, while Sullivan raised 1.3 million and has just under $2 million on hand, their campaigns announced.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats pledge to allegiance to Harry Reid

With control of the Senate hanging in the balance, some have wondered if that could bring to an end Harry Reid’s (D-NV) leadership of the Democratic conference. Many of his colleagues are already expressing support, according to Politico, regardless of the outcome of the 2014 election.

Among  those openly backing Reid to serve again as the party’s leader are Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor — three of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year:

“Absolutely,” Sen. Mary Landrieu, a vulnerable Louisiana Democrat facing voters this fall, said when asked if she would back Reid as leader no matter the outcome of the November elections. “We all share in success, we all share in the failures; we’re a team. But Harry Reid has tremendous respect of members of our caucus. … I don’t believe that he would be challenged in our party for leadership until he’s ready to step aside.”
[…]
“Yeah,” Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, another Democrat facing a tough race, said when asked if he’d back Reid again. “It’s up to him on whether he wants to do it.”

“Harry Reid is our leader, and I certainly do support Harry,” said Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). “And I have a huge race going on right now, and I will be victorious. And I will be back next year. And we can talk all about that then.”

Other potentially vulnerable Senate Democrats weren’t so willing to express support for Reid. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) hedged on the question, telling Politico he’s worried about their own political survival, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wouldn’t comment.

Harry Reid lies about saying Obamacare horror stories are lies

Harry Reid

So, there are two really absurd things Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on Wednesday. First, during a press conference, he defended the Obama administration’s extension of Obamacare open enrollment period, telling reporters that Americans don’t know how to use the Internet.

Back on February 26, Reid ranted from the Senate floor about Obamacare horror stories that were being told by Republicans and in issue ads produced by Americans for Prosperity, saying in no uncertain terms that they were “untrue” and “lies.”

“Despite all that good news, there are plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they are being told all over America,” said Reid, according to the Congressional Record. “We heard about the evils of ObamaCare, about the lives it is ruining in the Republican stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnets, the Koch brothers.”

“But those tales turned out to be just that — tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies, distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements,” he added.

These astonishing comments were seized upon by Republicans, who are hoping to take control of the chamber this fall. The Washington Free Beacon put together a video highlighting clips of local news stories from all 50 states in which ordinary people told their Obamacare horror stories.

But in remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, aimed at Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Reid denied that he ever said Obamacare horror stories were lies.

Harry Reid has completely lost his mind

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may be losing his mind as he desperately clings to his party’s majority in the chamber. The usual partisan bickering is to be expected, but this isn’t the norm, even for an election year.

First, Reid took aim at Charles and David Koch on the Senate floor last month, part of a targeted strategy to take Americans attention off of the still-stale economy and Obamacare. He called them “evil” and “un-American,” claiming that “Republicans are addicted to Koch.”

Americans have responded with a yawn. A George Washington University Battleground Poll found that 52% of Americans have never heard of the Koch brothers, while just 25% have heard of them. Oh, and the details aren’t likely to bring a smile to Reid’s face.

“One in four respondents, 25%, had a strong or somewhat negative view of the brothers, while 13% had a strong or somewhat favorable view,” USA Today reported. “The GW poll also tested Reid’s favorability: 24% have a strong or somewhat favorable view; 35% have a strong or somewhat unfavorable view, and 25% say they have never heard of the Nevada Democrat.”

Democrats upset with Nate Silver over 2014 Senate projections

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is pushing back against Nate Silver’s projections in key races this fall that could decide control of the chamber. The party’s campaign arm issued a memo yesterday in which it highlighted where the election guru has come up short in the past:

“Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote in a memo Monday. “In some cases, more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits.”

In 2012, Cecil noted, Silver incorrectly predicted Republican candidates would win in Montana and North Dakota, where Democrats ultimately triumphed.

“In fact, in August of 2012, Silver forecasted a 61 percent likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority,” Cecil added. “Three months later, Democrats went on to win 55 seats.”

The DSCC, of course, ignores Silver’s October 2012 projection, in which he wrote, “[t]he FiveThirtyEight forecast model now gives Republicans just about a 16 percent chance of winning control of the Senate.”

Today in Liberty: CNN stoops to a new low, our insurance salesman-in-chief

“The proverb warns that ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you.’ But maybe you should if it prevents you from feeding yourself.” — Thomas Szasz

— CNN apparently now run by Alex Jones: CNN has been following the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 almost nonstop for several days now, seeing it as ratings gold. But the cable network’s coverage, which had already jumped the shark, fell to a new low last night when host Don Lemon asked panelists “is it preposterous” to think a black hole caused the plane to crash? CNN is still relevant, they said. Give it a chance, they said. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

— Insurance Salesman-in-Chief: The presidency used to be considered a prestigious office with heavy influence and gravitas. But the influence of the office has been reduced to appearances on radio and television talk shows as President Obama tries to sell his healthcare law to a skeptical public, the latest of which will be a live interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The appearances are targeted to reach a certain audience and it’s probably a smart strategy to get a message to the crowd they’re trying to reach. At the same time, however, it’s just sad to see a president reduced to being a cheap insurance salesman. Well, that and a college basketball expert.


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