Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Politics
3:50 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Kentucky Congressmen Reticent on McConnell-Reid Deal as Moderates Take Lead on Shutdown, Default

Senators Mitch McConnell (l) and Harry Reid (r)

Kentucky Congressmen John Yarmuth and Hal Rogers support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, but the rest of Kentucky's federal delegation are withholding judgment until huddling with GOP House leaders.

The deal struck with Democratic Leader Harry Reid appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate, but could face an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled House.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

National Democrats Dub Mitch McConnell 'Senator Gridlock' Amid Filibuster Fight

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

National Democrats are calling Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "Senator Gridlock" as the Senate considers altering its filibuster rules.

For most of this week, McConnell has been in a sometimes heated exchange with Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada over blocking President Obama's executive nominees.

Democrats are threatening to use so-called 'nuclear option' to break the gridlock, and McConnell has said that will make Reid the worst Senate leader in history if they do so.

"They’re not interested in checks and balances. They’re not interested in advice and consent. They’re not even interested in what this would mean down the road when Republicans are the ones making the nominations," McConnell said earlier this week. "They want the power. They want it now. And they don’t care about the consequences.

Since 2007, Senate statistics show McConnell has used the filibuster 413 times as minority leader. That is almost twice as much as when Democrats held the minority from 1995 to 2001. Update: Since 2007, the Senate has invoked cloture, which requires 60 votes, 413 times. This is not the same as McConnell using the filibuster. 

Democratic Senator Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky says McConnell has led an unprecedented tenure of blocking Senate procedures.

"Mitch McConnell should change his name to Senator Gridlock because he’s the walking, talking embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Washington. And he’s the number one reason for record-breaking levels of obstruction and dysfunction," he says. "Senator McConnell has not only made things worse, but he’s actually embraced his role as the number one problem."

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Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

McConnell Campaign Taunts Liberals Over Filibuster Reform

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

In a message to supporters, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign is bragging after modest filibuster reforms were enacted in the U.S. Senate.

Several progressive groups along with liberal Democrats in the Senate had been pushing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., to go with the "nuclear option" to overhaul the chamber's rules.

But Reid went for much weaker reforms, and the deal negotiated with McConnell speeds up the parliamentary process for new business, motion and debates.

The McConnell camp says that the GOP leader "beat the liberals" who were pushing for more drastic changes.

From Team Mitch:

A group of the Senate's most liberal Senators, fueled by left-wing groups like Move On, have been pushing a dangerous scheme to change the rules of the United States Senate and fundamentally alter the checks and balances of our system.

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Senator Joe Donnelly Wants Consensus on Filibuster Reform

Joe Donnelly
Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., says even though the filibuster has been abused in recent years, his party should seek a consensus with Republicans before changing the chamber's rules.

Critics have complained that the filibuster is too often used to block important votes. Since 2007, the GOP has used the parliamentary tactic to block legislation and nominees an unprecedented 386 times.

In the last weeks of 2012, Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell jousted over whether to restrict filibusters.

Donnelly says the negotiations to address the dysfunction should continue, and that Reid should find a general agreement with the GOP.

"He will be talking with our Republican friends over the next week or two to try to see if there is a consensus that can form, and I am hopeful that can happen," he says.

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Politics
3:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fix the Senate Now Blasts Mitch McConnell's Self-Filibuster

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are targeting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's self-filibuster, saying it underscores the need for reforms.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell challenged Senate Democrats to support his proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the U.S. debt limit unilaterally.

Mr. Obama is asking for the power as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But when Democratic Leader Harry Reid proposed passing the measure by a simple 51-vote majority, McConnell quickly objected.

Instead, he argued, such a controversial decision required a filibuster proof 60 vote majority.

"Mitch McConnell has been the chief opponent of fixing the Senate and reforming the filibuster. And this is a prime example of why the filibuster needs to be fixed," says Melinda Pierce, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club, which is a member of the Fix the Senate Now coalition.

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Politics
1:26 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid Joust Over Filibuster Reform

For the second day in a row, Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had a tense exchange on the Senate floor over filibuster reform.

Observers have decried gridlock in the Senate, especially since the 2010 election and many have pointed to the need to either end or change basic rules on how chamber uses the delay tactic.

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Politics
12:06 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Observers Displeased with Joint McConnell, Reid 60 Minutes Interview

In a joint interview with Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that CBS News described as "exasperating," 60 Minutes took on the gridlock in the U.S. Senate.

The piece noted that the Senate was once the chamber of Congress where deals were made, but that in recent years the ability to find common ground has been lost.

Reid said that compromise is not something the Senate does anyone, highlighting McConnell’s comment after the 2010 mid-terms, where he said that the chief GOP goal was to limit President Obama to one-term.

McConnell added that the Senate has met the president halfway on a number of bills , but acknowledged the difficulty in forging bipartisan measures.

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Politics
11:31 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Norquist Previews McConnell Majority Leader Role

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist predicts Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will use the same tactics that the GOP criticized Democrats for using if he is elevated to majority leader.

McConnell needs either three of four Republican victories this fall depending on the outcome of the presidential race and even with the Todd Akin controversy there's still a "50-50" shot, he believes.

Norquist provides a teaser that could lead to procedural reforms.

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Politics
2:49 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

McConnell Calls Democrats Bluff, Drops Filibuster on Bush Tax Cuts

File photo

In a surprise move, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., challenged Democrats to vote on a bill to end the Bush era tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

For the past week Senate Democrats have been pushing a bill similar to President Obama's plan to extend the tax relief for income only up to $250,000 annually. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised he had enough votes to pass the 50-vote threshold if not for McConnell blocking a procedural vote with a filibuster.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell says the tax hike will hurt job creators, but that he is lifting the filibuster so the American people can see where lawmakers stand.

"The only way to force people to take a stand is to make sure that today’s votes truly count. By setting these votes at a 50-vote threshold, nobody on the other side can hide behind a procedural vote while leaving their views on the actual bill itself a mystery to the people who sent them here," he says.

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