Entries in New Congress (2)


Maine’s Angus King to Caucus With Senate Democrats

US Department of Energy(WASHINGTON) -- Maine’s newly elected Independent senator-elect, Angus King, announced on Wednesday that he’ll caucus with the Democrats, boosting the party’s control to 55 seats, compared with 45 held by Republicans in the new Congress.

“I have decided to affiliate with the Democratic Caucus because doing so will allow me to take independent positions on issues as they arise and at the same time be an effective representative of the people of Maine,” King announced in Congress Wednesday morning.

The senator underscored remaining independent even in caucusing with the Democratic Party. He will be one of two Independents in the Senate, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who also caucuses with the Democrats.

King noted that the decision was “relatively easy” after the Democrats’ victories on Election Day.

“In the situation where one party has a clear majority and effectiveness is an important criteria, affiliating with the majority makes the most sense,” King said. “The majority has more committee slots to fill, has more control over what bills get considered, and more control over the Senate schedule.”

But he left open the door to the possibility of caucusing with the Republicans if, in a new Congress, Republicans were able to take back control of the Senate.

“It would be a question of the majority but also a question of, which I emphasized, on my ability to maintain my independence,” he said.

King won his seat with 55 percent of the vote, replacing the retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., welcomed King into the Democratic caucus, noting that he and the Democratic caucus embrace his independence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Michael Burgess On a Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling: 'I Will Not Go There Willingly Again'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of the many potential hot-button issues the new Congress could face is a vote to raise the debt ceiling, which is currently about $500 million short from the current $14.3 trillion limit. And, there are plenty of Republicans who don’t like the prospect of doing this one bit.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told ABC News that “I have voted for it [to raise the debt limit] in the past and it was one of the worst things I ever did in my life. I will not go there willingly again.”

Burgess, like many of his Republican colleagues, wants to see significant cuts in spending before he makes any vote on raising the debt ceiling. “I think we should use this as an opportunity to really begin to get our arms around the amount of federal spending." Burgess said, “I understand that this is our opportunity to really get some meaningful change in the way this country spends its tax dollars. And the president has to be willing to work with us.”

As for the fate of the president’s health care reform law, Burgess predicted that the January 12 vote in the House to repeal the law entirely will not only succeed but that “the numbers will startle some people.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio