Tag Archive: US Senate

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The New American

Monday, 07 December 2015

Senate Votes to Repeal Much of ObamaCare, Defund Planned Parenthood

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The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would both repeal significant portions of ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood. This marks the first time that chamber of Congress has approved any type of ObamaCare repeal, in contrast to the dozens of such bills passed by the House of Representatives.

“Middle-class Americans continue to call on Washington to build a bridge away from ObamaCare. They want better care. They want real health reform,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “For too long, Democrats did everything to prevent Congress from passing the type of legislation necessary to help these Americans who are hurting. Today, that ends.”

Democrats, of course, controlled the Senate from 2010, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, through 2014 and blocked all attempts at ObamaCare repeal during that period. Even after Republicans took charge, the minority was still able to stall repeal by threatening a filibuster. But the GOP outflanked them this time by using a parliamentary maneuver known as budget reconciliation to bring the bill, already passed by the House, to the floor for a vote. Ironically, this is the same tactic the Democrats, despite possessing a filibuster-proof majority at the time, utilized to ram the ACA through the Senate in late 2009.

The bill passed 52-47, with all Democrats plus two Republicans opposed. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted against the bill because of the amendment defunding Planned Parenthood, which they tried unsuccessfully to get removed. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) missed the vote because he was out campaigning for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.


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Activist Post

Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

US Senate Passes Bill Approving Mandatory Vaccinations for Veterans

mandatory_vaccineBy Janet Phelan

Fundamentally, biological warfare is sneaky. It involves a microbial sucker punch to its intended target, often accomplished in a manner in which the aggressor can claim clean hands, while his victim may suffer or die.

Biological warfare can take a number of forms. The question—how can you get a bacteriological or toxic agent on board without the target being alerted– has been asked and answered. In addition to using humans and animals as vectors, biological warfare agents can be airborne, waterborne, foodborne or put into pharmaceuticals.

Substantial concerns have been voiced concerning the potential for inserting bioweapons into vaccines. Indeed, given the history of known contaminated vaccines, this is hardly a matter of speculation. Polio vaccines have been found to contain cancer. A Merck rotavirus vaccine was found to be contaminated with a pig virus. Another Merck product, the Hepatitis B vaccine, was reported to have been laced with the AIDS virus. In addition, a tetanus vaccine distributed in the Third World was found to contain human chorionic gonadotrophin, an anti-fertility agent known to produce spontaneous abortions.

The correlation between the rise in vaccinations of children and autism has become an urban legend.

A Bill has just passed the US Senate, mandating that the US Department of Veteran Affairs ensure that all veterans receive immunizations (vaccines) per a draconian schedule. At this juncture, active military must receive over a dozen vaccines. This piece of legislation is therefore an effort to extend the vaccine mandate to those who have previously served their country.


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U.S. Senate Seal



Battle lines drawn as legislative fight over labeling looms

Combatants in a national food fight over labeling genetically modified products are gearing up for a showdown in the U.S. Senate, campaign leaders said on Tuesday.

The tactics range from old-fashioned lobbying to modern social media campaigns, and both sides say it is too early to tell who will prevail.

“I feel like we’re in the final battle now,” said David Bronner, a California business owner and leading backer of mandatory labeling for foods made with genetically engineered crops, also known as GMOs.

Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, said in a phone interview he has purchased $250,000 in advertising space in several national publications to identify what GMO critics see as concerns about GMO crops, and to challenge what he called a “smokescreen” promoted by corporations and others who say GMOs and the pesticides used on them are safe.

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breakingtheset breakingtheset·

Published on Jan 23, 2014

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Worst of Congress, Georgism, a Police Abuse Round Up, and Snowden’s Q&A.
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EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on fears by Iraqi officials that the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be gaining enough strength to attack Baghdad. Abby then calls out 6 of the most corrupt and least popular members of congress, going over some of the conflicts of interests and blatant hypocrisy that have come to characterize the 113th Congress. Abby then speaks with Scott Baker, president of Common Ground NYC about the Georgism Philosophy, and how the elimination of all taxes except a land use tax could be applied and sustained. Abby then calls attention to three recent cases of police abuse in the US, including an instance where an officer ruptured a young man’s testicle. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with David Seaman, journalist and host of the David Seaman Hour, going over Edward Snowden’s recent live online Q&A in response to Obama’s speech on the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s global spying apparatus.

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Former Republican presidential candidate, Representative Ron Paul (R-Tx), greets convention goers as he walks the floor before the start of the second session of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)   - RTR377A9  

Alexis Levinson

Political Reporter

Ron Paul is not a fan of Janet Yellen, the newly confirmed Chair of the Federal Reserve, but he told The Daily Caller Monday she is nowhere near as flawed as the system she is about to take over.

“She’s worse than average,” the former Texas congressman told The Daily Caller in a phone interview shortly after the Senate voted 56-26 to confirm Yellen’s nomination, “but I don’t dwell on that at all.”

“It was never the chairman himself, herself that’s the problem,” Paul said. “It’s the whole system.”

Paul has been criticizing the central bank for years, calling both for an audit of the Fed and for its total abolition. Paul a long-serving Republican member of Congress and 1988 presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, is a proponent of Austrian Economics, which focuses on the relativity of value and the impossibility of centrally planning a complex and dynamic economy.

“I put a lot of blame on the problems that we have, the booms and the busts and the unemployment and this recession that we can’t get out of –– it’s all due to the monetary system,” Paul said, saying they were “living in this dream world” to assume that one body could set interest rates. “And the head of the Federal Reserve just is the symbolic head of a deeply flawed system that should’ve never been created.”

“I think they’re living a pipe dream and it’s going to soon be very apparent what terrible shape our economy is in,” he said.

Yellen will hasten that revelation, Paul said, explaining that the reason he sees her as “a little bit worse than average” is “because she is probably going to be more excessive in creating money.”

“But what can she do?” Paul said. “They’ve taken the interest rates down to zero, the only tool they have is printing money, creating money out of thin air, so there’s nothing left. And she believes in even doing more of it.”

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The Hill

Lauren Schneiderman

The budget deal worked out by House and Senate negotiators is on the verge of unraveling over the exclusion of federal unemployment benefits, several leading Democrats warned Wednesday.

The lawmakers are outraged by a GOP move to add the Medicare “doc fix” to the package but not a continuation of unemployment benefits — a strategy they say could sink the entire package by scaring away Democratic votes.


Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Sandy Levin (Mich.) said the move creates a “new dynamic” undermining Democratic support for the plan announced Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

“I think it puts at risk the whole bill, and it surely puts at risk my vote,” said Levin, the top Democrat at the House Ways and Means Committee.

Van Hollen echoed that message.

“This does now add a new dynamic that could upset the applecart that could put at risk the budget agreement,” he said.

It’s not clear whether Democrats would sink the first bipartisan budget deal in years over the unemployment insurance (UI) issue. But with GOP leaders intent on leaving town on Friday — and with GOP leaders showing little appetite to extend the benefits before they expire on Dec. 28 — the Democrats’ only real leverage is to threaten to do so.

“Obviously, once the budget passes you don’t have much leverage in terms of votes on things that remain,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday. “That may be the last vehicle.”

Some Democrats on Wednesday morning appeared poised to back the Ryan-Murray budget agreement. But they also cautioned that the addition of the Medicare language without a UI extension could erode that support.

“It’s something we should do, but why wouldn’t we do unemployment insurance if we’re doing that?” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked Wednesday morning after a meeting of her caucus in the Capitol.


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Yahoo News

Bipartisan budget deal sets off some grumbling

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Backers of a narrowly drawn budget deal are selling it as a way to stabilize Congress’ shaky fiscal practices and mute some of the partisan rancor that has helped send lawmakers’ public approval ratings plummeting. But the bipartisan pact doesn’t solve long-term tax and spending issues, leaving liberals and conservatives alike grumbling.

House and Senate floor votes are being sought on the plan announced Tuesday by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, and applauded by the White House, with the aim of securing passage before lawmakers go home for the holidays.

But skepticism surfaced in both the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and leading deficit hawk, panned the new deal in an interview Wednesday, saying it fails to address core issues of wasteful spending in Washington. He said it was probably “the best” that Ryan and Murray could get at this time. But said he was disappointed in its failure to address core fiscal issues such as duplication and wasteful spending in Washington.

The agreement, among other things, seeks to restore $63 billion in automatic spending cuts affecting programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon. The deal to ease those cuts for two years is aimed less at chipping away at the nation’s $17 trillion national debt than it is at trying to help a dysfunctional Capitol stop lurching from crisis to crisis. It would set the stage for action in January on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the budget year that began in October.

The measure unveiled by Ryan, R-Wis., and Murray, D-Wash., blends $85 billion in spending cuts and revenue from new and extended fees — but no taxes or cuts to Medicare beneficiaries — to replace a significant amount of the mandated cuts to agency budgets over the coming two years.

The package would raise the Transportation Security Administration fee on a typical nonstop, round-trip airline ticket from $5 to $10; require newly hired federal workers to contribute 1.3 percentage points more of their salaries toward their pensions; and trim cost-of-living adjustments to the pensions of military retirees under the age of 62. Hospitals and other health care providers would have to absorb two additional years of a 2-percentage-point cut in their Medicare reimbursements.

The plan doesn’t attempt to resuscitate earlier attempts at an accommodation that would have traded tax hikes for structural curbs to ever-growing benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security. But it would at least bring some stability on the budget to an institution — Congress — whose approval ratings are in the gutter.

“Our deal puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back … harmful cuts to education, medical research, infrastructure investments and defense jobs for the next two years,” Murray said.

Ryan is set to pitch the measure to skeptical conservatives at a closed-door GOP meeting on Wednesday. Democrats are set to discuss it as well, but the measure won an immediate endorsement from President Barack Obama if only tepid approval from top Capitol Hill Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee.

“Tonight’s agreement represents a step toward enacting a budget for the American people and preventing further manufactured crises that only harm our economy, destroy jobs and weaken our middle class,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“This agreement makes sure that we don’t have a government shutdown scenario in January. It makes sure that we don’t have another government shutdown scenario in October,” Ryan said. “It makes sure that we don’t lurch from crisis to crisis.”


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TPM Livewire

House Budget Dem: If There’s A Medicare Payment Fix Vote, Let’s See Unemployment Insurance Too


AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

House Democrats are urging lawmakers to include a vote on unemployment insurance alongside a budget deal if Republican lawmakers insist on including a short-term fix to the Medicare payment system as well.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, standing along side Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), said Republican lawmakers have begun pushing to include a Sustainable Growth Rate fix (often called a short term doc fix that addresses a Medicare payment problem) alongside the budget proposal introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA).

Physicians who treat patients under Medicare are scheduled to take a huge pay cut in the new year if Congress doesn’t enact this “doc fix.” Many lawmakers have expressed support for reversing the pay cuts baked into current law should, but such a fix is costly.


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Filibuster change clears path for Obama climate regs crackdown

Getty Images

Green groups might be the biggest winners from Senate Democrats’ decision to gut the minority party’s filibuster rights on nominations. Their top priority — President Obama’s second-term regulations on climate change — is likely to have a better shot at surviving legal challenges once Obama’s nominees are confirmed for the crucial U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Melinda Pierce, a policy expert for the Sierra Club, said the addition of Obama’s three nominees would be an “improvement” to the D.C. Circuit, which is second only to the Supreme Court in influence and power. “But filling up all 11 seats, a full panel is an improvement to the current situation in the court,” Pierce said. “And we hope these additions will ensure that the climate regulations are upheld.” Pierce also defended the three nominees — Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Nina Pillard — saying they “are by no means activists.” The decision by Senate Democrats to end the filibuster on judicial and administration nominees was decried by Republicans, who described it as a “power grab” aimed at loosening the checks on presidential power. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday said it was “clear” that Democrats were triggering the “nuclear option” to advance Obama’s agenda.


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US politics: when nuclear deterrence fails

The ‘nuclear’ option of banning the filibuster has to be judged against how irradiated the atmosphere in Washington already is


The endurance of John F Kennedy’s memory, when that of other US presidents has faded, is only partially explained by the manner of his death, of a charismatic leader cut down in his prime and the thought of what might have been. Kennedy carried with him the hopes of a generation, but the mood of America then has few parallels today. It was optimistic, internationalist and, by today’s standards, illiberal. Had he lived, what JFK might have done on civil rights, the defining struggle of his decade, is a matter of debate. He lacked Lyndon Johnson’s understanding as a southerner or his sense of urgency. Public opinion at the time thought JFK was pushing too hard, too fast.

Like Kennedy, Barack Obama also started out as a genuinely inspirational president. His list of achievements, however, must all be qualified: on the one hand, the withdrawal from Iraq and what will become a partial pullout from Afghanistan; on the other, a commander in chief who has ordered more drone strikes than any other, and presided over the most intrusive internet and telephone surveillance operation ever. Mr Obama’s liberalism is directional. Step out of the allotted vectors of progressive action and this president turns out to be flawed in his own ways. The Affordable Care Act is a huge achievement – if they can actually get it to work. But Mr Obama’s White House can not be understood without factoring in the conservative forces determined at all costs to stop this administration from working.

The right’s horror towards Senate Democrats‘ move this week to end the filibuster for most nominations by presidents must, for instance, be weighed against the frequency with which that wrecking ball has recently been swung by Republicans. As the Senate majority leader Harry Reid said, half of all the filibusters in the history of the republic occurred in the last five years. Further, 20 of the 23 district court nominees filibustered in the history of America were nominated by Mr Obama. Were they so unfit for office? Patently no. Were Republicans in the Senate so intent on obstructing everything that emanates from this presidency? Patently yes. So the “nuclear” option of banning the filibuster has to be judged against how irradiated the atmosphere in Washington already is.


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With the filibuster nuked, bring on the liberal judges


11/22/13 02:00 PM
President Barack Obama walks out after making a statement about the U.S. Senate's efforts to confirm his Administration's nominees while in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, in Washington on Nov. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama walks out after making a statement about the U.S. Senate’s efforts to confirm his Administration’s nominees while in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, in Washington on Nov. 21, 2013.

Larry Downing/Reuters

Be bold, Mr. President! That’s the message from liberal advocacy groups pushing for more progressive judges now that Senate Democrats have nuked the filibuster for judicial nominations.


“We certainly think there is a need for professional diversity on the federal bench,” says Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice. “There are only a handful of lawyers who have been appointed who have backgrounds in legal services, criminal defense, public interest, or civil rights.”


When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, liberal legal groups, which have been struggling to replicate the success of the conservative legal movement in placing their heroes on the federal bench, saw an opportunity to even the score. But Republican embrace of the filibuster meant that some of the most promising liberal legal minds Obama chose – picks like Goodwin Liu, whose nomination to the federal bench was filibustered into oblivion – never had a chance. Republicans warned that abolishing the filibuster would lead to more judges in the vein of Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas on the bench. Now liberals are hoping Obama starts nominating picks who look like their progressive counterparts.


“You need to have a sample of people who have actually interacted with real human beings, who have represented them when they’ve been accused of a crime, when they’ve been victims of discrimination, and actually understand what the issues are in some of those cases,” says Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society. “The administration has certainly nominated a number of people with that background, but we’d love to see more.”


Indeed, Obama has nominated the most diverse slate of candidates to the federal bench in history. But the GOP’s frequent use of the filibuster meant that when making its choices, the White House had to take into careful consideration candidates who had a fighting chance of making it to 60 votes in the Senate. A large portion of Obama nominees come from private practice or from roles as government attorneys or prosecutors, according to an AFJ analysis. More than three times as many Obama Circuit Court nominees have been prosecutors as public defenders; for the District courts it’s more than twice as many.


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Obama: GOP Filibusters Look to ‘Re-Fight’ Last Election, Not His Nominees



President Barack Obama showed his support for a move by Senate Democrats making it harder to block his nominees, citing repeated “abuse” of such tactics that are targeting his administration rather than the nominees themselves.  (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama showed his support for a move by Senate Democrats making it harder to block his nominees, citing repeated “abuse” of such tactics that are targeting his administration rather than the nominees themselves. (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

…..Obama said that the “unprecedented pattern of obstruction” in Congress has “escalated” too far, and that Americans can no longer “keep falling prey to Washington politics.” He pointed out that the while the majority of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees were confirmed, the majority of his own nominees have been obstructed.


He pointed out that when his nominees have been confirmed, there is very little dissent – indicated that the moves to block them were not based on substance but rather on pure politics.


“In each of these cases it’s not been that they opposed the person,” said Obama. “It was simply because they oppose the policies that the American people voted for in the last election.”


He said it was more about the GOP looking to “re-fight the results of an election.”


While pointing out that “neither party has been blameless for these tactics,” he said there is a block of Republicans in Congress that is running on a platform against government, only to become elected government officials dedicated to making “government not work as often as possible.”


“The gears of government have to work,” said Obama.



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Tom C. Korologos: The Senate Goes Nuclear, Fallout to Come

The Constitution is chock-full of provisions to protect minority rights. Harry Reid thinks he knows better.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer after a news conference Thursday about changing Senate rules.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Classical Greeks called it “ochlocracy.” Alexis de Tocqueville referred to the “tyranny of the majority.” James Madison warned of “the Superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” Someone else said, “It’s like two foxes and a hen voting on what to have for dinner.”

Now “nuclear option” has found its way into popular discourse about majority rule—thanks to Senate Democrats who on Thursday broke the filibuster rule and ended the traditional supermajority of 60 votes needed to confirm judicial and executive-branch nominees. In leading the charge, Majority Leader Harry Reid erased 225 years of precedent and altered the soul of the U.S. Senate.

Welcome to a Senate that no longer is “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Welcome to a Senate that has now formally completed the polarization of the two parties. Uncharted waters lie ahead.

The Founding Fathers, taking note of various definitions regarding so-called majority rule, made it very clear when they drafted the Constitution that its operating principle would not be majority rule, but rather protection of the rights of the minority.

To that end, the Constitution is chock-full of requirements to protect the minority. The original premise of the American system is checks and balances. Three branches of government—legislative, executive and judicial, in that order—are the subject of the first three Articles of the Constitution. Each limits the power of the others. Consider:


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Harry Reid asks, ‘What would you have done?’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, after the Democrat majority in the Senate pushed through a major rules change, one that curbs the power of the Republican minority to block President Barack Obama's nominations for high-level judgeships and cabinet and agency officials. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just called to ask a perfectly fair question about my column criticizing the Democrats’ filibuster rules change: “What would you have done?”

This is, of course, the sort of problem that actual lawmakers have to wrestle with and that armchair pundits can excuse themselves from addressing.  As the Nevada Democrat saw matters, he had no choice. “They were mocking me,” he said. “They were mocking us.” By blocking all three of President Obama’s nominees to the  federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – all four, actually, including one who gave up after languishing for two years — “They kind of dared us to do it,” Reid said.

Senate Republicans’ behavior with respect to Obama’s judicial nominees has been outrageous.  Certainly, Democrats during their time in the minority behaved badly in confirming, or refusing to confirm, Republican nominees, but in nowhere near the numbers of Republicans.  As Reid noted, there have been 23 filibusters of district court nominees total — 20 during the last 4 1/2 years.


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Harry Reid’s Filibuster Gamble

The U.S. Senate finally took action today to diminish the effects of political polarization. It was pretty much a party-line vote.

With 50 Democrats (and two independents) voting in favor and all 45 Republicans (and three Democrats) opposed, the Senate opted to eliminate the filibuster for executive appointments and most judicial nominations. It’s a sensible change, as far as it goes. The question is: How far will it go? The filibuster remains available for legislation and Supreme Court nominees. But it’s questionable how long even that tradition can last.

The filibuster, intended as a protection of minority rights, has become instead a tool to obstruct majority rule. Reasonable minds — some of them even in the Senate — can disagree about where protection stops and obstruction begins. But there can be little doubt about what happened in recent weeks, when Republicans used it to prevent three qualified nominees from taking the bench in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans complained that President Barack Obama’s appointments would shift the ideology on the court. Well, yes, that’s one of his prerogatives, isn’t it?

The filibuster is a world-class source of frustration. Its most famous service was in the cause of delaying civil rights to American blacks. Yet the filibuster is also emblematic of a Senate culture that, by design and evolution, has afforded the minority party far more power than it is permitted in the House of Representatives.


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Washington Bureau

  • Published: October 16, 2013 10:39 PM

    Updated: October 17, 2013 10:05 AM

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he wouldn't try to block the Senate agreement. “There’s nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days. The outcome will be the same,” Cruz said. “Once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he wouldn’t try to block the Senate agreement. “There’s nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days. The outcome will be the same,” Cruz said. “Once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people.”J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — It might be time for Ted Cruz to get a dog.

Because as the saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, that’s what you do. And by the time Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare finally crashed to a halt Wednesday, the Texas senator had precious few friends left.

The government shutdown alienated colleagues in both parties. It generated fresh animosity toward the tea party and a flurry of recriminations toward Cruz. Voter support for the Republican Party plunged.

And the health care law survived unscathed.

“This is a terrible deal,” Cruz said moments before the deal to reopen the government sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support. He blamed the defeat on colleagues who lacked the political courage to stand with him.

“The outcome could have been different,” he said. “Imagine a world in which Senate Republicans united to support House Republicans.”

Cruz willed himself to the center of the fight. For months, he predicted that Democrats would cave if Republicans stood together to strip funding from the health care law. He dramatized the cause with a 21-hour overnight Senate speech, soaring to unusual prominence for a freshman senator. He refrained from using the risk of a catastrophic default on U.S. debt as leverage. Still, the defeat was so resounding that it left his political future in doubt.

The vast majority of his colleagues repudiated his tactics. Some accused him of promoting himself more than any attainable goals or the health of his party.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, called the last few weeks an “agonizing odyssey.”

“This has been one of the most shameful chapters I’ve seen here,” he said, lamenting damage to the GOP for little gain. “We’re in a hole. We have to dig out. We weren’t going to defund Obamacare, and we weren’t going to keep the government shut down.”

About the only praise flowing toward Cruz on Wednesday pertained to his decision not to stand in the way of the deal Senate leaders hatched.

“At some point, when you’ve reached the end of the road, to then make life miserable for no reason, with absolutely no outcome in sight — then the pendulum swings,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Cruz maintained that he never had any intention of allowing default, though he hadn’t made that clear until he stepped in front of TV cameras, right at the same moment Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had taken to the Senate floor to unveil the eleventh-hour deal he’s struck with Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“There’s nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days. The outcome will be the same,” Cruz said, adding that “once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people.”

Cruz and his aides insisted the fight actually paid off. The flaws of Obamacare are now a topic of daily conversation in Washington and across the country, they argued.


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WASHINGTON — By an overwhelming vote, the Senate passed a budget compromise Wednesday night that would temporarily reopen federal agencies and allow the Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the nation’s bills, averting the possibility of a default that could have seriously damaged the economy.

The legislation now goes to the House, which was expected to follow suit later Wednesday night. Federal agencies could begin reopening in the morning, although full operation in some cases could take longer.

The vote, 81 to 18, approved an agreement negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It ends a political standoff that shut down federal programs for 16 days and led to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal workers.


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Government shutdown: Bill to reopen agencies heads to Obama






WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval Wednesday night to a budget compromise that would temporarily reopen federal agencies and allow the Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the nation’s bills, averting the possibility of a default that could have seriously damaged the economy.

The 285-144 vote in the House followed an overwhelming vote in the Senate on the agreement negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end a tense political standoff that shut down federal programs for 16 days and led to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

The deal makes no significant changes in President Obama’s healthcare law, which Republicans, particularly in the House, had previously demanded. Democrats provided the additional votes needed to pass the bill in the Republican-led House.

FULL COVERAGE: The U.S. government shutdown




House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), speaking earlier to his rank-and-file, said the party lost the battle but would live to fight another day. But the compromise was welcomed by moderates who had questioned the Republican strategy of using a must-pass spending bill as leverage to force changes to the Affordable Care Act.


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