April 9, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - With sought-after women voters at stake, Senate Republicans blocked election-year legislation Wednesday aimed at ensuring that female workers receive equal pay for doing the same work as men. A high-profile campaign for the Paycheck Fairness Act, orchestrated by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House, did little to motivate Republicans in a mid-term election year when both parties are seeking women voters. Republican senators blocked the bill on a party-line filibuster, 53-44, with many waging a protest vote over party leaders' refusal to allow amendments.
March 16, 2014 |
This year was always going to be a difficult one for Democrats, as they battle to keep their five-seat majority in the Senate. But in recent months, the political landscape has grown bleaker. Let's start with the basics: Democrats have more seats at risk this year than Republicans do. Of the 36 Senate seats up for election (including three midterm vacancies), 21 are held by Democrats. And seven of those Democratic seats are in Republican-leaning "red states" that Mitt Romney won in 2012: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
March 11, 2014
Re "The president's power grab," Opinion, March 9 President Obama's allies in Congress applauded his promise to legislate from the Oval Office because they share his ideology and consider their own relevance a fair price to pay for advancing it. Their disdain for process comes naturally in a system built to discourage concentrated power; in their view, concentrated power is exactly what society needs. Acquiescing to Obama's impromptu lawmaking, like invoking the "nuclear option" to deprive Senate Republicans of the filibuster for most confirmations, makes tactical sense today but raises obvious questions for tomorrow.
March 4, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid resumed his polemic against the Koch brothers Tuesday, Republicans were quick to respond, noting they are not the only ones with a generous billionaire in their corner. The debate on the Senate floor quickly turned to Tom Steyer, the former San Francisco hedge fund manager who is seizing on the same loose campaign finance laws as Charles and David Koch to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns. Only in the case of Steyer, profiled recently in The Times as the emerging liberal counterweight to the Kochs, the spending is geared toward defeating candidates skeptical of global warming.
January 14, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - A $1-trillion spending bill was headed for swift approval in the House by Wednesday, but legislation to extend unemployment insurance stalled in the Senate amid partisan bickering, dashing hopes for a quick deal to resume jobless benefits. Though negotiations continue, it appears increasingly unlikely that a compromise will be reached quickly to help the more than 1.4 million Americans who have been cut off from their unemployment benefits. An additional 72,000 Americans lose their insurance every week.
December 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate appeared set to approve a budget deal this week after a handful of Republicans announced they would vote to advance the bill, which has deeply divided the party. Their backing, along with that of most Democrats, would be enough to break a tea-party-backed filibuster during a crucial vote Tuesday and boost the package across the 60-vote threshold needed for consideration. Final passage could come as soon as Wednesday. But the sharp Republican divisions over the $85-billion deal, which was approved last week by the House with a robust bipartisan majority, has turned the Senate procedural vote into a high-stakes battle between the Republican tea party wing and establishment conservatives.