Entries in Democrat (32)


Ex-Senator from Nebraska to Run Again, Report Says

Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democrat Bob Kerrey, a former senator from Nebraska, has made a reversal and decided to run for office again, The Washington Post reports.

His decision is good news for Democrats, who feared losing the seat being vacated by Ben Nelson.  Kerrey, who was a senator from 1989 to 2001, said in early February that he wouldn’t run because it wouldn’t be right for his family.

Kerrey, 68, has told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada of his plans, the Post reported.  Reid’s office didn’t confirm the call to ABC News.

A former governor and a presidential candidate, Kerrey has faced criticism from Republicans that his real home is New York City, not the redder Nebraska.  He moved to New York to lead the New School (until 2010) after leaving the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrat and GOP Payroll Tax Plans Defeated in Senate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Both the Democrat and Republican payroll tax cut plans were defeated in the Senate Thursday night.

The Democrats’ proposal was defeated by a vote of 51-49. One lone Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted with the Democrats.

Immediately after, the Republican plan went down too, by a vote of 20-78, with Sens. John McCain of Arizona and John Kerry of Massachusetts abstaining.

Each plan needed 60 votes in the Senate to move ahead, and both fell far short of that threshold.

While the defeat of both plans came as no surprise, more than half of the Senate Republican conference defected on its own bill. Democrats will almost surely jump on this statistic for political gain in the days ahead, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement suggested Thursday evening.

“Republicans spent this week trying to convince us that they support middle-class tax cuts, but tonight a majority of Senate Republicans voted against their own bill -- calling into question whether they support middle-class tax cuts at all,” Reid said. “I hope Republicans will decide that the economic security of hard-working Americans is more important than protecting the wealthiest one percent.”

One Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, and one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia argued earlier Thursday that they would not vote for either the Democratic or the Republican version of the bill because both would harm Social Security.

“I would actually say even the political vote is to vote against this so that you’re for Social Security,” Manchin said on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.

With the defeat of both bills, aides say both parties will sit down and start to hammer out a compromise. Both sides say that the Senate will not go home for Christmas without passing a payroll tax cut extension for next year. The disagreement is over how to get there and pay for it.

The Senate has adjourned until 2 p.m. Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anthony Weiner Telling Friends He Plans to Resign

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Embattled New York Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner is telling friends he will resign his seat in Congress, ABC News has learned, bowing to growing demands that he step down because of his sexting scandal.

A source said Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Wednesday night while they were at a White House picnic to inform them he would resign Thursday.

The married congressman's career began unraveling last month when a now infamous photo of a man's crotch ended up on his public Twitter feed. After days of awkward denials and claims he had been hacked, Weiner admitted not only to sending that picture, but also to exchanging explicit messages and photos with several women online.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Weiner said at a press conference on June 6. "The picture was of me, and I sent it."

Just two days after the press conference, ABC News learned that Weiner and wife Huma Abedin -- a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- are expecting the couple’s first child.

"I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this," Weiner said at the press conference, days before news surfaced of his wife’s pregnancy.

On Monday, the U.S. House approved Weiner's request for a temporary leave of absence. A day earlier, the Congressman said he was "seeking treatment" for an undisclosed condition at an unknown location outside New York.

His resignation comes amid mounting pressure from leaders of both political parties.

President Obama echoed the sentiments of a number of top Democrats this week when he told NBC’s Today, "If it was me, I would resign."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined his counterpart, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., this week in calling for Weiner’s resignation.

Earlier this month, the Congressman admitted to accidentally sending a lewd photo to a woman, Seattle college student Gennette Cordova, who was following him on Twitter.

At his June 6 press conference, Weiner said he had "inappropriate" electronic relationships with six women over three years. One of those women, 26-year-old Meagan Broussard of Texas, provided ABC News with dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages, and cell phone call logs that she said chronicled a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly evolved for more than a month. Weiner confirmed that Broussard was one of the women with whom he sexted.

Since the controversial photo popped up last month, other pictures were exposed, including one of the Congressman posing in a mirror at the members-only House gym, and another purported to be a nude photograph of Weiner's genitalia.

Police in New Castle, Del., investigated Weiner's online communication with a 17-year-old Delaware girl, but the lawyer for the girl's family said there was nothing salacious or inappropriate in the tweets. The girl, whose identity has been confirmed by ABC News but is being withheld due to her age, has commented publicly on Twitter that she had been in direct contact with the congressman. Through a spokesperson, Weiner admitted that he exchanged messages with the girl but added "his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent."

Once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party and one of the House Democrats' most popular members, many considered Weiner a leading candidate for mayor of New York City.

A poll earlier this month by local news network New York 1 and Marist College found 56 percent of registered voters in New York's 9th congressional district believed Weiner should stay in office. Thirty-three percent said at the time that Weiner should immediately resign, while 12 percent were undecided.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Biden Already Setting the Stage for 2016 White House Run?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Apparently looking far off into the future, Vice President Joe Biden is considering his job options, whether the Democratic ticket wins or loses in 2012.

A source told the website Politico that Biden brought up the subject of a possible run for the White House in 2016 during a dinner with major Democratic donors last week in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He suggested that existing political conditions as well as his own health would be deciding factors in a decision to seek the presidency.  Biden will be 70 in 2016.

While Biden might be jumping the gun a bit, some names have already been floated as possible Democratic contenders including Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Biden sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and again in 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democrat Manchin Doesn't Think Obama is Showing Leadership in Shutdown Standoff

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With under 30 hours left before the government will shut down if both parties cannot agree on a budget deal, one Democratic senator is blaming President Obama for ineffective leadership.

“Is the President showing enough leadership?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin Thursday.

“Ah, it’s a different form of leadership,” Manchin replied.

“What do you mean?”

“You know I’m not going to criticize,” Manchin said, before adding, “It’s not what I’m used to and it’s not what I've seen to be effective from my vantage point.”

“Is it working?” Karl asked.

“It doesn’t seem to be working because I think the President’s the only one who looks at all 50 states,” Manchin replied. “There’s not going to be a delegate or congressperson or senator that’s going to see all 50 states the way one person sees it. I’m going to look at what’s good for West Virginia and what hurts West Virginia more if you do this or that and I’m going to defend it, as I’m responsible to do and as I’m expected to do. And everyone else the same.”

“There’s one person who can say wait a minute, this is what’s good for all America,” Manchin continued. “This is who we are as Americans. These are our values as Americans and this is where we draw the line. And the public will speak. They’ll have a chance to speak at the next election. But frankly I don’t care and I’m not worried about the next election.  If we don’t get our financial house in order...our next generation isn’t going to have a chance.”

Manchin Thursday said that if the government shuts down he will return his salary to the U.S. Treasury, calling on the president, the vice president, and other members of Congress to do the same.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senator Pledges to Give Up Salary During Shutdown

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Senator Joe Manchin pledged Thursday to return his salary to the Treasury if the government shuts down this week -- and he wants his fellow members of Congress, the president, and the vice president to follow suit. 

“The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the president, vice president or any member of Congress -- Republican or Democrat --thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down,” Manchin wrote in a letter to colleagues Thursday. “Some in Washington will deride this as an empty gesture. To those naysayers, I say that the American people expect more of us. They expect us to lead by example and share their pain until a budget resolution is reached that reflects our values and priorities as a country.”

Republicans aren’t too impressed. The National Republican Senatorial Committee accused Manchin -- who is up for re-election next year -- of “pure political posturing.”

“This is nothing short of pure political posturing by multi-millionaire Joe Manchin to cover up for the fact that he and his fellow Washington Democrats have failed to do their jobs,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democratic Rep. Engel to Obama: ‘Talk to Congress’

engel[dot]house[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s decision to use military force in Libya has been met with bipartisan blowback, with even some of the president’s allies criticizing him for not consulting with members of Congress more extensively.

On ABC’s “Top Line” Thursday, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel -- who has voiced support for the president’s actions -- said the president may be acting beyond his constitutional responsibilities if the U.S. continues to lead operations beyond “the first week or so.”

Asked if the president is acting within his authority, Engel, D-N.Y., said: “I think he has if we get out in a fairly quickly way. I think if this is something that's prolonged and we are around for weeks and months, then I think not. But everything that the president has indicated to me is that we expect to be in and out very quickly.”

Engel, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he’s concerned that a mission that started out well-defined might grow “murky” now that the initial objective of imposing a no-fly zone has been achieved.

“I think it sort of takes on a life of its own, unfortunately,” Engel added. “I think we're limited to the fact that, No. 1, we want to protect civilians in that was extensively the reason we went in, and I think that was a good reason for going in.”

“The other hand -- and the big question that is really kind of left out there as the game is played -- is what happens to Gadhafi? Is part of the mission regime change? To get rid of him? That's a little murky. That's a little unclear.”

“It seems to me that if we go in and we prevent him with a no-fly zone which I and others have called for, if we prevent him from murdering his own people do we just leave him kind of lying there so that when we pull out he can move back in? That really troubles me a bit.”

The president should better define the nation’s mission, Engel said. That means having to ask Congress for approval “at some point.”

“I think the president, as I said, as this goes down should speak to the American people. I know he already has. Also I think he needs to come to Congress and talk to Congress. I think that Congress could give him a stamp of approval for doing this. Congress obviously has powers that we take very seriously.”

“And as I said, if it's just something that's going to last a few weeks, then I think the president acted properly. But if it's something that we feel is going to be bogging us down for weeks and months then I think the president has to at that point come to Congress.”

Engel also said GOP criticism of the president has been largely disingenuous.

“Right now we should all rally around the president. It really is disheartening for me to see my Republican colleagues criticize the president and say he waited too long, or he shouldn't have gone, or he's out of the country. Whatever they can think of to criticize him, they do it. But when President Bush was leading the war in Iraq they kept saying that everyone should rally around the president in time of war.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Unpaid Taxes on Plane Could Be Damaging to McCaskill's Brand

Office of Sen. Claire McCaskill(ST. LOUIS) -- Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill has made fighting government waste, pork barrel spending, and corruption the focus of her entire political persona.

In Senate floor speeches she often cites her history as a Missouri state auditor, lists government accountability as one of her top issues and has led the charge to change senate rules to be more transparent.

That's why her admission that she may have improperly charged taxpayers for a flight to a political event on her private plane could be particularly troubling to her brand. McCaskill is up for reelection in 2012 and facing a likely tough campaign.

She quickly repaid about $88,000 to taxpayers for all her flights on the plane, when she was asked about them by Politico earlier this month. But the resulting review of her plane unearthed something more troubling. McCaskill admitted Monday she had failed to pay four years of taxes on the plane -- $287,000 worth.

In a conference call with reporters McCaskill said she will get rid of the plane.

She said there was never a bill for the property tax sent by the state or county because, in an oversight, she had never reported to the county that the plane was being kept in St. Louis.  The plane is owned by a Delaware corporation set up by her husband, the businessman Joe Shepard.

"I know better. As an auditor, I should have checked the documentation. I should have been asking the questions. I shouldn't have assumed that someone was doing it," McCaskill said Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Democratic Florida Congressman Denies Sexual Harassment Charges

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Democratic congressman is denying accusations that he repeatedly sexually harassed an employee over the course of two years, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “lie. He vowed he will be vindicated and will win a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Rep. Alcee Hastings issued a statement declaring his innocence Monday afternoon after Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates government corruption, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer, a female employee who says she was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Hastings, a 10-term Democrat from Florida, said in a statement Monday afternoon.  “In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’”

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, according to Judicial Watch, when Hastings was chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.  The commission is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as is its former staff director, Fred Turner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Another Democrat Departs the Senate: Daniel Akaka Not Seeking Re-Election

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, will not seek re-election, he announced Wednesday.

"After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012," Akaka said in a statement Wednesday night. "As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii. In 2006, the people of Hawaii gave me an opportunity to continue my service in the United States Senate and I fully intend to serve the last two years of my term in office."

"At the end of this term, I will have served almost 22 years in the United States Senate and, prior to that, more than 13 years in the United States House of Representatives," he said. "I am proud of my accomplishments and my incredible staff in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. They have exemplified the true meaning of being a public servant.  They have worked tirelessly and without their dedication and loyalty, I could not have accomplished all that I did."

"Millie and I will return to Hawaii at the end of this Congress and spend time with our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I would also like to spend time documenting my life and career, and serving as a mentor to future political leaders.  I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha, never forgetting my humble beginnings, and it is my hope that they, too, will continue this tradition. We must never forget that we, as political leaders, work for the people of Hawaii and not the special interests."

Akaka becomes the fifth Democratic senator to decide not to run for re-election in 2012, joining a group that already includes Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Jim Webb of Virginia.

A whopping 23 Democratic-held Senate seats are up for re-election in 2012, complicating Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the upper chamber of Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio