Entries in Senate Democrats (3)


2012 Could Be Key for Female Senate Dems

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- 2010 was not a great year for women in Congress.  Although the midterm elections in that cycle saw a historic victory for the GOP, their 60-seat victory led to the first decrease in female representation in Congress in 30 years.

In 2012, however, things could look much different for women.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C., in December, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared that 2012 would be a “historic year” for women in the United States Senate.

On Thursday, Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, a political action committee (PAC) that supports pro-choice, female Democratic candidates for office, echoed Murray’s message.

“2012 is a historic year for EMILY’s List,” Schriock told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing in Washington, D.C.

2012 already marks a historic year for women.  There are seven female senators who are up for re-election in this cycle -- the greatest number ever in the Senate.  Six of those senators are Democrats, while one -- Olympia Snowe of Maine -- is a Republican.

On the challenger side of Senate races, there are five Democratic women candidates currently endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  EMILY’s List is also currently endorsing five female challengers in Senate races, in addition to the six incumbent Democratic senators.

There are four female Republican candidates running in Senate races in addition to Snowe.

Nineteen Senate seats held by Democrats were contested going into the 2010 midterms.  Democrats lost six of those seats, narrowing their majority from a filibuster-proof 60 seats to 53 seats vs. the Republicans’ 47 seats.

This cycle, Democrats will have less wiggle room because of their smaller majority.  Raising the stakes even more is the fact that a greater number of their seats will be in contention.  Twenty-three Senate seats currently occupied by Democrats will be up for re-election in 2012.  A little more than a quarter of those seats are represented by women.

The stakes are high for Republicans, as well.  They need at least four seats in order to win the majority in the Senate.  However, they do have a mathematical advantage: Only 10 Republican senators are up for re-election in this cycle.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Medicare, Senate Dems Say They Won’t Accept a 'Mini' Ryan Plan

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Democratic leadership came out Tuesday and reaffirmed that Medicare cuts should not be on the table during the debt ceiling discussions.

“Seniors can't afford it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said following Tuesday’s policy luncheons. “The vast majority of the American people, including most Republicans, do not support changing Medicare as we know it, that piece of legislation that came from the House.”

“That” piece of legislation would be the Paul Ryan plan, “The Path to Prosperity,” which cuts the budget deficit by roughly $5 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Ryan plan completely overturns the new healthcare law and proposes a major reform to Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid would switch to a block grant system, meaning the federal government would allocate money to states, giving them more flexibility in how they tailor their programs for the poor. Currently, the federal government matches every dollar that states spend on Medicaid, and the formula varies from state to state.

On Tuesday, Senator Schumer, D-N.Y., said it is not acceptable to Democrats to even accept a “mini” Ryan plan.

“The Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it must be taken off the table, but Republicans should know that we will not support any mini version plan of ‘Ryan’ either,” Schumer said. “We want to make our position on Medicare perfectly clear.  No matter what we do in these debt-limit talks, we must preserve the program in its current form, and we will not allow cuts to seniors' benefits."

Schumer said that does not mean that Democrats do not want to do anything about Medicare -- he said they will continue to look for waste, fraud, duplication and inefficiency in the system to find savings.

On Tuesday, the Republicans, after their own policy luncheon, said that Democrats are using “scare-tactics and half truths” to try to “scare seniors” about Medicare “and use half-truths about our efforts as Republicans to give people more choices when it comes to Medicare and help strengthen and secure Medicare, not just for those currently on Medicare, but for future generations.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Planned Parenthood Cuts Draw Filibuster Threat from Senate Dems 

plannedparenthood dot org(WASHINGTON) -- The debate over policy riders -- amendments to the budget bill that impose significant changes to government priorities -- may force a shutdown, even if both sides agree on a final number of overall cuts.

Senate Democrats Thursday reiterated a pledge to filibuster any budget deal that includes a rider eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The dangerous, ideological cuts that passed through the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told a cheering crowd of Planned Parenthood supporters dressed in pink at a rally outside the capitol.

“Forty-one Senators signed a letter opposing cuts to Planned Parenthood… We got it in writing! That’s why elections have consequences,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has spearheaded the coalition of 39 Senate Democrats and independents Sanders and Lieberman. 

Three Republican senators -- Murkowski, Collins and Brown -- have also said the Planned Parenthood rider, which guts $363 million in family planning grants, goes too far.

“We’re going to win this battle, easily,” said New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

But many Republicans have signaled they’re not willing to compromise on the riders, some of which would block EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, defund the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and gut the health care reform law.

One rider prohibits funds for new TSA employees; another would zero out subsidies for PBS and NPR. Some riders even mandate foreign policy objectives, blocking NASA from collaborating with China and banning foreign aid to Saudi Arabia.

"A bill without riders will not be passing the House," a senior House Republican aide close to the negotiations told ABC News. "And fewer riders would mean more cuts," he added, when asked if Republicans would be willing to bargain on some of the more controversial items.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio