Entries in Joe Lieberman (8)


Connecticut School Shooting Sparks Assault Weapons Ban Talk

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has opened the subject of gun control and the Second Amendment in the United States.

That debate took center stage on Sunday, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

"The purpose of this bill is to get ... weapons of war off the streets," the longtime Democratic senator said on NBC's Meet The Press.

President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, but the measure expired in 2004.  Feinstein also called for the ban to be renewed in July, after the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman went a step further, suggesting there should be "a national commission on mass violence," following Friday's shooting in his home state.

Lieberman said this commission would investigate the questions being asked about Newtown and come up with ways to try and prevent it from happening again.

"It's time for Democrats, Republicans and independents to say ... the strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence.  But, also, to acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence including mass violence that will happen in our society," Lieberman said today on Fox News Sunday.

Lieberman, an independent, spoke out in favor of reinstating the assault weapons ban, but also talked about "toning down" the violence that he said dominates our entertainment industry.

"The violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and movies now, does cause vulnerable young men, particularly, to be more violent," he said.

Following the Connecticut shooting, it has been reported that the shooter, 20-year old Adam Lanza, was an avid player of violent video games that involved shooting guns.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz agreed that violence found in games and movies is something that needs to be addressed.  But in terms of gun regulation following the Newtown shooting, Chaffetz called current gun rules "stringent" and said "there are prohibitions on lots of guns."

"I'm a conceal carry permit-holder.  I own a Glock 23.  I've got a shotgun.  I'm not the person you need to worry about," Chaffetz said on ABC's This Week.  "But we have to look at the mental health access that these people have."

Chaffetz added that it will take more than government solutions to prevent a shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School from happening again.

In an address following the deadly shooting, President Obama seemed ready to take on the issue of gun control in his second term.

"As a country we have been through this too many times," he said.  "Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theatre in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children."

The statement is a subtle but marked shift for Obama, who has not made gun control a priority during his presidency in spite of at least five major mass shootings that have occurred on his watch -- Binghamton, N.Y. (2009); Fort Hood, Texas (2009); Tucson, Ariz. (2011); Aurora, Colo. (2012); and Oak Creek, Wis. (2012).

As far as the assault weapons ban Feinstein plans to introduce early next year, she said she expected Obama to offer public support for the law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senate Homeland Committee Receives Four Hour Briefing on Benghazi

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Thursday their starting to “fill in some of the blanks” about the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after a closed door briefing, but said the investigation as to what happened during the attack still goes on.
“The Department of Defense did not have personnel or assets close enough to the scene in Benghazi to bring them to the scene of the attack in a timely way so that they could protect American personnel there, particularly, particularly the two SEALs who were killed about 7 hours after the attack started,” he said.
Members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday received a four hour closed-door briefing from representatives from the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency/National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department, one of many briefings they’ve requested to investigate the attack.
Lieberman said the committee is still searching for answers and they hope to issue a report before the end of the year with final conclusions. “We know a lot more than we knew when the investigation started, but our investigation will continue in a very intense, sort of urgent way 'cause we want to get it done before the end of this congress and when we think we’ve got as many facts as we can possibly get, we’ll reach our conclusion and we’ll issue a report.”
Ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, echoed Lieberman’s concerns about the military, citing an Inspector General study conducted in 2009 by the State Department, which recommended greater security in areas afflicted by frequent incidence of political violence.
“While there were physical improvements in security made in Benghazi, those specific recommendations for man traps were not built into the security in Benghazi,” Collins said. “We can’t be certain that they would have protected the compound completely, but they certainly would have slowed the ability of the compound to be overrun.”
Lieberman said it’s really “disconcerting” and “upsetting” to see how easily the terrorists broke through the gates and basically just walked in and set the facility on fire and began to fire at American personnel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lieberman ‘Disappointed’ in Obama’s Comments About Netanyahu

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Wednesday an open mic moment involving President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was “insulting” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “totally unacceptable.”

“To me, it’s insulting to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is obviously an ally of both France and the United States,” Lieberman said during an interview with conservative radio host Sean Hannity. “It’s totally unacceptable, totally offensive.”

Lieberman was reacting to an open mic moment at the G-20 meetings last week in France, where Obama and Sarkozy discussed Netanyahu, thinking a microphone was turned off.

“I can’t see him anymore, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy said in French.

“You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,” President Obama replied, according to reports.

While admitting that Sarkozy’s comments calling Netanyahu a “liar” were worse, Lieberman said he is disappointed in President Obama’s reaction.

“I was disappointed by President Obama’s response because I wish he had, in some measure, come to the defense of Bibi Netanyahu,” Lieberman said.

The White House has declined to comment on the exchange.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Odd-Couple Coburn & Lieberman's Medicare Plan: Raise Medicare Age to 67

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senators Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., have introduced a bipartisan proposal to overhaul one of the most politically sensitive issues today: Medicare, which they estimate would cut $600 billion from the deficit over 10 years.

“We can't balance our budget without dealing with mandatory spending programs like Medicare,” Lieberman said Tuesday. “We can't save Medicare as we know it. We can only save Medicare if we change it.”

The proposal increases the eligibility age for Medicare, gradually rising to 67 from 65 starting in 2014, and would require seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs.  Most of the savings within the plan would come from an increase in premiums paid by seniors. The plan would require higher-income Americans to pay more for their share of Medicare Part A, B and D.  For Parts B and D, wealthier Americans will be asked to pay a hundred percent of premium cost.

“Our plan contains some strong medicine, but that's what it will take to keep Medicare alive,” Lieberman said. “We believe our plan administers the medicine in a fair way. It asks just about everyone to give something to help preserve Medicare, but it asks wealthier Americans to give more than those who have less.”

The odd-couple both pointed to areas where they each had to negotiate when pairing up for this proposal.  Lieberman, who once had wanted a one-percent cap on people making over $250,000 a year to be part of the proposal, gave that up. Coburn allowed wealthier beneficiaries to absorb more of the costs.

The battle over what changes to make to Medicare is a key debate in the ongoing debt negotiations, as health care for the elderly is one of the largest drivers in government spending. Democrats have said that they will not support any overhaul of Medicare that includes cutting benefits to seniors.

The two senators acknowledged themselves that there is just about something for everyone to dislike about their plan.  And they were right.

Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate made clear that this is something that they will not support.

“I thought it was a bad idea,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Tuesday.  “We should not be cutting benefits now.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the proposal is “unacceptable.”

So what’s next for this proposal then? Senators Coburn and Lieberman said that they hope they can get a few moresenators to sign onto the plan, and hope that eventually it will be part of the ultimate agreement on the debt ceiling.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Movement to Draft Keith Olbermann for Senate Taking Shape

Photo Courtesy - MSNBC-TV(PHILADELPHIA) -- Senator Keith Olbermann?

The liberal that liberals love to love is being goaded by at least one group of activists to make a run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut that will be left open by Independent Joe Lieberman when he retires in two years.

Olbermann announced on his Countdown show last Friday that he was immediately parting ways with MSNBC but gave no reason for the split. It was later revealed that Olbermann and the channel had been arranging his departure for weeks, ostensibly over contract issues, although the takeover of parent company NBC by Comcast has been mentioned as a factor.

While delivering politically-charged diatribes against conservatives, Olbermann has never discussed getting involved in public service. In fact, he says all he wants to do now is work on his on blog, Baseball Nerd.

Yet liberal activists attending a conference in Pennsylvania over the weekend are attempting to draft Olbermann to run for Lieberman's soon-to-be vacant seat.

A blogger named Stranded Wind wrote that said that Olbermann "used to live in Connecticut and could easily return and establish residency." The movement is expected to gain steam on social networking sites.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debt Looms Large on Senators' Minds

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. and Kent Conrad, D-N.D. told ABC News they want to hear President Obama talk about solving the nation's growing debt problem when he speaks to the nation on Tuesday in his State of the Union address.

Lieberman said he wants Obama's speech to "deal with the biggest long-term threat to America's strength and our economy and that is the debt.  And I hope the President will really be hands on and say he's willing to take political risks if we are, to get America's books back in balance for the sake of our children and grandchildren."

Sen. Conrad explained why the country's debt is so difficult to address.

"The American people say: don't touch Social Security, don't touch Medicare, don't cut defense.  That's 84 percent of the federal budget.  If you can't touch 84 percent of the federal budget -- and, by the way, they also don't want to touch revenue.  You're down to 16 percent of the budget, at a time where we're borrowing forty cents of every dollar they spend," Conrad said.

"There needs to be leadership to help the American people understand how serious this problem is and that it's going to take a lot more than cutting foreign aid and taxing the rich," Conrad explained.  "You're not going to solve the issue that way."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, on the other hand, told ABC News that she was less concerned with the content of Obama's speech and more concerned with his follow-through on helping businesses.

"Will he really get his regulatory commissions to cut back on the regulations that are hurting the growth of business?  Will he agree to some changes in the Obamacare which is keeping people from hiring?  I can tell you, I'm all over my state.  That's what I hear," Hutchison said.  "They're not going to hire people if they are looking at these big fines and big expenses in the health care bill."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Analysts: Rapidly Changing Senate Landscape Favors GOP in 2012

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The 112th Congress isn't even three weeks old yet, but already the focus is turning to the 2012 elections as a slew of key senators announce their plans.

A source told ABC News Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who caucuses with the Democrats, will announce Wednesday afternoon that he will retire.  On Tuesday, Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota said he will retire, the first Senate Democrat to decide not to run for re-election, but surely not the last.  Meanwhile, on the Republican side Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas said last week that she will leave, but Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana has said he will seek re-election.

It all makes for a rapidly changing 2012 landscape with control of the Senate up for grabs.

In the aftermath of Conrad's announcement, Republicans sounded even more confident that they can wrestle the Senate from Democratic hands 22 months from now.  Just last fall, Republican John Hoeven easily won North Dakota's other Senate seat which had been held by Democrat Byron Dorgan, who also chose to retire.

"With yet a second member of the Senate Democrat caucus preparing for retirement within a 24 hour period, all of us are left to wonder how many more Democrats may follow in their footsteps," said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh.

In all, a whopping 23 Senate seats currently held by Democrats will be decided by voters in two years.  By contrast, only 10 Republican seats are in play.  After the midterm "shellacking" that saw the GOP win control of the House of Representatives, Senate Democrats appear to have cause for concern.

The Democrats' majority in the upper chamber of Congress has already shrunk from 59 seats to 53, including two independents: Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders.  That means the GOP only needs to win four seats to wrest control of the Senate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lieberman, Conrad Retiring. Who's Next?

Photo Courtesy - Lieberman dot Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senator Joe Lieberman called Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday to tell him he is not running for re-election in 2012. That's actually good news for Democrats. Although the independent Lieberman is a member of the Democratic caucus, his decision to retire makes it easier for Democrats to hang on to his Connecticut Senate seat.

If Lieberman had run, he would have almost certainly run as an independent. That would have meant a three-way race, giving Republicans their best -- and perhaps only -- shot at winning the seat in a state President Obama won in a 22-point landslide in 2008. Now Connecticut Democrats will have a chance to unite behind a single candidate.

The day's other retirement, however, is terrible news for Democrats. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., would have faced a tough re-election campaign, but he would have been, by far, the best chance for Democrats to hang on to the seat. North Dakota is a solidly Republican state that went for John McCain in 2008 and last year elected Republican John Hoeven to the Senate with 76 percent of the vote.

A Lieberman aide says that the Senator will formally announce his decision on Wednesday by quoting the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio