“Am I happy? I’d like to be president of the United States.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview with the New Republic.
“Am I happy? I’d like to be president of the United States.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview with the New Republic.
“It’s a little bit like going from the National League to the American League. It’s still politics. But the rules are a little bit different.”
— Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), quoted by the Boston Globe, on moving from the House to the Senate.
Several Republican senators are “talking discreetly about how to advance a bill in the Senate to ban abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization,” the New York Times reports.
“A similar ban passed the House last month, and Senate Democrats quickly pronounced it doomed to fail in their chamber. It is almost certain to be defeated there, and even if it were not, President Obama would veto it. But backers of the ban are eager to bring to the floor of the Senate the same impassioned debate over abortion that has been taking place in state legislatures around the country.”
“Plans under discussion among the staff members of a handful of Republican senators and anti-abortion groups would involve bringing the measure up for a vote, probably as part of debate over a spending measure, sometime after Congress returns from its August recess. Because of the Senate’s porous rules for introducing amendments, people on both sides of the issue say they believe a vote is more than likely if the legislation comes together.”
The relationship between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “is going to be awkward in the coming months,” The Hill reports.
“McConnell finds himself increasingly constrained by both his new primary challenger and McCain’s expanded deal-making role with Democrats… McCain is interested in being a major player in the talks later this year when Congress must pass legislation to continue government funding and raise the national debt limit.”
GOP senators say that McConnell “is in danger of looking weak” if McCain again seizes the leadership reins as he did to broker a deal to avert the “nuclear option” on President Obama’s executive nominees.
“You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness”
— Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, in an interview with David Brody, recounting advice he gave to his son.
The aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) with a pro-Confederate past has resigned from the senator’s office, USA Today reports.
Said new media director Jack Hunter: “I’ve long been a conservative, and years go, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one. But there’s a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I’ve also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant world view, through the lens of which I know look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment.”
Paul told an audience in Louisville that Hunter had become a “distraction,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
The Senate’s agreement “to approve President Obama’s nominees and avoid the ‘nuclear option‘ will expire later this week after senators are expected to vote in two new members to the National Labor Relations Board. That’s the last part of the deal that expedited seven of Obama’s picks, with the president agreeing to choose two NLRB nominees to satisfy Republicans,” Politico reports.
“But there’s already a queue forming of new Obama nominees, and Republicans aren’t about to lay down and let this group go through.”
“Is this what happens when the Senate GOP’s top two leaders — McConnell and John Cornyn — are in an election cycle? Is there tension because some Republicans believe McConnell and Cornyn are so concerned about their own re-elections that they no longer look out for the best interests of the party? It’s never easy being in leadership and being vulnerable to re-election, because it creates this exact concern: confused priorities or the PERCEPTION that their priorities are out of whack.”
Senate Republicans “grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans,” Roll Call reports.
McConnell’s tone in the meeting “implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called ‘bullshit’ loud enough for the room to hear… The heated exchange underscored the ‘buyer’s remorse’ among some Republicans, especially leaders.”
“It’s shaping up to be an unpleasant 2014 for Democrats in the U.S. Senate,” Time reports.
“Republicans need a net swing of six seats to regain the majority in 2014. That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t as hard as it appears. Democratic seats in South Dakota and West Virginia… appear certain to swing to the GOP. Republicans need to win three of four remaining competitive states with vulnerable incumbents — Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska — to take the Senate. President Barack Obama lost all four states in 2012… Even the confidence with which many top Democrats have spoken of retaining the Senate has waned in recent days.”
“On Tuesday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid backed off a threat to utilize the so-called nuclear option to curtail the filibuster after weeks of escalating rhetoric. One reason may have been that Democrats knew they could soon find themselves in the minority instead of the majority, and thus becoming the victim, instead of the beneficiary, of Reid’s threatened reforms.”
Smart Politics: Will Democrats run a candidate in every Senate race?
First Read: “First, it was a pure-and-simple victory for Democrats and the Obama administration, which needed functioning heads for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board. In particular, getting Richard Cordray to lead the CFPB — no longer being a recess appointee — helps locks in that agency. That’s a big deal. Second, we can’t understate the role that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) played in reaching the agreement. It’s been one of the more underreported stories of 2013, but McCain the dealmaker is back. And third, the 71-29 cloture vote on Cordray’s nomination highlighted a split between the Senate GOP’s old guard and new guard.”
Jonathan Chait: “Republicans threatened to change the Senate’s rules in 2005 to stop
Democrats from filibustering their judges, and it succeeded — Democrats
agreed to let pretty much any judges through with a majority vote. Once
again the majority party forced the minority into a total capitulation.
There is a lesson here, and it’s not that the Senate is a wonderfully
congenial place whose rules must not be touched.”
Markos Moulitsas: “True, today’s deal preserved the existing filibuster rule, but it really didn’t. Democrats established that they could bust through any filibuster with a simple majority anytime they wanted. Sure, it’s still a process to do so, full of blustery threats and hyperbolic doomsaying, but it’s a process.”
Wonk Wire: The threat of the nuclear option is the nuclear option.
Senators have reached a tentative deal on averting the constitutional showdown over confirming President Obama’s agency nominations, the Washington Post reports.
Said Majority Leader Harry Reid: “We may have a way forward on this, I feel fairly confident.”
A senior Democratic Senate aide tells Roll Call that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “is freelancing outside of
GOP leadership in trying to stop his party from leading a filibuster
that might prompt Reid to act on his threat to change the Senate
filibuster rules by a simple majority vote.”
“The Senate inched closer to an eleventh-hour deal late Monday night in a bid to avert an unprecedented maneuver to change the chamber’s rules governing presidential appointees, with nearly all 100 senators spending more than three hours huddled in a rare bipartisan, closed-door caucus,” the Washington Post reports.
The New York Times reports senators “were confident that an agreement could be reached Tuesday to defuse the tense partisan standoff, though no deal had been struck in the closed session that went well into the night.”
However, Roll Call said senators “left without much optimism that an agreement would be reached by Tuesday
Wonk Wire: Late night meeting produces no deal.
Roll Call: “If you had to pick a single event that brought Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the brink of using the “nuclear option” for executive branch nominees, look no further than Valentine’s Day.”
“The Nevada Democrat’s plan to pressure Republicans on their various filibuster attempts has its roots in the nomination of former Nebraska GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary. After that floor fight, senior Democrats began telegraphing, as early as March, their intentions to force a floor showdown.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “plans to use some procedural trickery Monday night — and it could get some senators arrested,” National Journal reports.
“In an effort to get all senators to the Senate chamber at 5:30 p.m., the Nevada Democrat is going to employ a rarely used procedure called a live quorum. Reid wants all the senators back to the Capitol to discuss potential rule changes to the filibuster… If it doesn’t work, however, that’s where things get dicey. The Senate can then direct the sergeant at arms to compel — or even arrest–senators to bring them to the floor.”
Sources tell CNN that Reid and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “engaged in quiet negotiations over the weekend and got close to averting
the so-called nuclear option over a dispute surrounding President
Obama’s nominees, but they failed to seal the deal.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he and Republicans are trying to strike a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to avoid his threat of triggering the “nuclear option” and would either allow up-or-down votes on seven contentious nominees or at least find “replacements” for those nominees, Politico reports.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that filibuster reform is needed in Congress because it has a lower approval rating that North Korea, The Hill reports.
Said Reid: “Is there anyone out there in the real world that believes that what’s going on in Congress of the United States is good? Our approval rating is lower than North Korea’s.”
The Fix: Is Reid bluffing?
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
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