December 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Jeh Johnson as the next secretary of Homeland Security on Monday, capping a smooth approval process for the high-profile post. The former Pentagon general counsel will take office this week after a 78-16 vote, succeeding Janet Napolitano, who left in September to become president of the University of California system. An array of former officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, including all three former department secretaries, endorsed Johnson.
December 10, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted 57-41 on Tuesday to confirm Rep. Mel Watt to head the agency overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ending a long battle by President Obama to install a regulator open to more aggressive action to help struggling homeowners. Watt, a longtime Democratic congressman from North Carolina, will replace Edward J. DeMarco as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. President Obama nominated Watt in May. "He's the right person to protect Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day, and he'll be the right regulator to make sure the kind of crisis we just went through never happens again," Obama said.
December 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate on Monday agreed to extend by another decade a ban on plastic guns that can evade traditional security screening, after an effort to include stronger limits was rejected. The renewed Undetectable Firearms Act, which is due to expire at midnight, now goes to President Obama for his signature. First passed in 1988 and signed by President Reagan, the law requires that plastic guns contain enough metal to set off a metal detector or appear in X-ray scanners.
December 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Mitch McConnell isn't the only Republican Senate leader who must contend with a noteworthy primary challenge. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, will face a conservative challenger in Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), who submitted paperwork late Monday for the March primary. Stockman, who returned to Congress this year after serving a single term in the 1990s, had been planning to run for reelection. An aide filed the application just 15 minutes before the close of the state filing period, the Houston Chronicle reported.
November 22, 2013 |
It's no surprise that Republicans in the Senate are unhappy with the Democrats' historic decision Thursday to eliminate the filibuster for most confirmations of presidential nominees. But if the GOP were to retaliate by finding other ways to slow or sabotage action on nominations or legislation, it would be not only irresponsible but self-defeating. Even Republicans who in the past have cooperated with Democrats are warning that Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to trigger the so-called nuclear option will poison the atmosphere in the Senate and replace collegiality with the sort of hyper-polarization that has paralyzed the House.
November 21, 2013 |
He did it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , once a defender of Senate tradition, triggered the so-called nuclear option Thursday by pushing through a rule change to allow the confirmation of most presidential nominees by a simple majority. The final straw was the Republicans' filibustering of three of President Obama's nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on the transparent pretext that the court was underworked and should have fewer members.