Entries in Senate Republicans (6)


Obama to Dine with Second Group of Senate Republicans

Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Look who’s coming for dinner again: Senate Republicans.

On Wednesday, April 10, President Obama will dine with a new group of 12 Republican senators.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., was tasked with organizing the second guest list for dinner, which is still being assembled, Republican aides on Capitol Hill confirm. The location of the dinner is still to be announced.

This second dinner party follows one earlier this month, on March 6, in which President Obama hosted 12 Republican senators at the Jefferson Hotel to break bread.

That first dinner also came among separate meetings on Capitol Hill by President Obama with Senate and House Republicans, widely seen as a presidential “charm offensive” by engaging Republicans after the brutal, partisan battles from the previous months.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not attend the first dinner but said he’s glad President Obama has been engaging his members more.

“I expect the president to talk to various members,” McConnell said after the first dinner. “Frankly, I wish he’d done more of that over the years. We’ve had, all of us, very limited interaction with the president. And he certainly doesn’t have to go through me to call on my members. And I’m sure he will, and I encourage him to do so.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Heads to Capitol Hill for GOP Senate Meeting

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is coming to Capitol Hill next week to meet with Republicans in hopes of making some progress on the budget impasse.

The visit with Senate Republicans, during their weekly lunch meeting on Thursday, March 14, comes when the White House is reaching out to Republicans on the Hill amid the partisan gridlock that has snarled Washington, disrupting functions from passport control at airports to meat inspections.

Obama’s chief of staff requested the meeting, Hill aides confirm.

“Senate Republicans welcome the president to the Capitol.  And I appreciate he took my recommendation to hear from all of my members,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Wednesday.  “We have numerous challenges facing the country and Republicans have offered the president serious solutions to shrink Washington spending and grow the economy.  And we will have an opportunity to discuss them with the president at the lunch.”

Obama last attended a Senate Republican policy lunch on May 25, 2010, Hill aides said.

Over the weekend, Obama made calls to numerous Republican senators, the White House confirmed.  And on Wednesday evening at the White House, the president will dine with a select and small group of GOP senators.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Dems: Payroll Passage Is Not a Guarantee in the Senate Yet

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democratic leadership cautioned Thursday afternoon that they are not breathing a collective sigh of relief just yet over the payroll tax deal.

At a late afternoon press conference, Senate Democrats waved the red flag, indicating that they believe the votes are not there for the deal to pass yet in the Senate.  They pointed their fingers at Republicans in the Senate who are “withholding their support” of the bill, as it was negotiated late Wednesday night by the conference committee.

Not one Senate Republican on the payroll conference committee has signed off on the agreement, objecting because they believe they were shut out of the final negotiations on the agreement.

“Senate Republicans are MIA,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.

“This is a bipartisan agreement with good things for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.  “I send a simple message to my Republican colleagues: Let’s get this done as quickly as possible.”

“You have a situation where for once the House Republicans are negotiating a responsible package and standing by it, but the Senate Republican leadership seems to be linking arms with the far right,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY., said.

The next step is for both houses of Congress to pass the agreement, starting with the House of Representatives.  Reid said after the House votes on Friday, the Senate will vote on the bill, likely Friday afternoon.  The bill needs 60 votes to get through the Senate, meaning it can only pass with Republican support.

But Republican support in the Senate isn’t the only thing Reid should worry about.  Two Democratic Senators have already announced their intention to vote against the bill Friday.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA., announced on the Senate floor Friday afternoon that he’ll vote against the payroll tax deal because of debt, and urged his congressional colleagues to “stop digging.”

“I will be voting against the conference report when it comes to the floor of this body tomorrow,” Warner said.  “The payroll tax cut that’s been proposed isn’t being paid for.  It will add $100 billion to the debt.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WVA., also announced on the Senate floor Friday afternoon that the deal will not get his vote.

“I voted for the idea the first time around because I thought as it was proposed to me that it might protect more jobs or save jobs, but I don’t think that we have seen much evidence that that’s happened,” Manchin said.  “So I decided to stop throwing good money after bad and stop jeopardizing Social Security.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Calls Obama’s Trade Policy 'Schizophrenic'

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans continued to press the White House Tuesday to send to Congress the trade deals for South Korea, Columbia and Panama, criticizing President Obama’s trade policy as “schizophrenic.”

“This schizophrenic trade policy is doing nothing but hurting American workers and undermining our recovery,” U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Under no circumstance should these trade agreements be held up.”

The Obama administration has indicated that they will not submit legislation on these trade agreements until a deal is reached on the TAA -- the Trade Adjustment Assistance, a now-retired jobs program for laid-off workers.

“At a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work, they actually want to hold off on these known job-creating agreements in exchange for a green light to spend more money," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It's astonishing.”

Republicans are calling for these two issues -- the trade deals and the TAA -- to be dealt with “separately and independently,” in order to move ahead with the long-stalled trade deals.

Republicans warned that time is of the essence, suggesting that as the 2012 campaign season picks up the desire and ability to tackle these trade agreements will decrease even more.

Republicans have also vowed to hold up any confirmation for the president’s nominee for commerce secretary, John Bryson, until the president submits the trade agreements.

“Until the President submits both agreements to Congress for approval and commits to signing implementing legislation into law, we will use all the tools at our disposal to force action, including withholding support for any nominee for Commerce Secretary and any trade-related nominees,” the letter submitted in March wrote to the Senate majority leader, signed by 44 Republicans.

Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Republicans are more focused on next year’s election -- and not actually creating jobs in the United States.

“My friends on the other side of the aisle are more interested in jobs in Colombia, Korea and Panama than they are here in the United States. That's obvious,” Reid said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya: Senate Republicans Divided on US Involvement 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Competing groups of Republican senators have introduced resolutions aiming either to boost or curtail the U.S. role in Libya, a sign of how divided Congress is on the military operations there.

One motion, introduced by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the powerful top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, would authorize U.S. forces to operate inside Libya in an effort to keep the situation there from deteriorating into a stalemate between strongman Moammar Gadhafi and the rebels.

"Rather than playing a support role within NATO, America should be leading," McCain said at an Armed Services panel hearing April 7. "Our military should be actively engaged in degrading Gadhafi's forces in the field, which could significantly increase the pressure on his regime and the odds that it will crack."

But fellow GOP Sens. John Ensign of Nevada and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas disagree. Indeed, they argue, the United States has no vital interest in Libya.

They have introduced a resolution to declare that there is no vital U.S. interest in Libya, that Congress has not authorized military power in the region and that NATO and Arab nations that do have a vital interest in the region should increase their military and financial contributions to the effort in Libya.

Ensign said, "I believe that the Senate needs to pass this resolution declaring that our country has no vital interest in Libya so that we can get our servicemen and women out of there once and for all."

The Obama administration is likely to disagree with both measures.

The administration, reluctant to get involved in the conflict in the first place, has stressed it would only do so with international backing. McCain's resolution authorizing the use of ground forces could be at odds with the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, which specifically prohibits an occupying force in the country.

And the administration has argued that Libya is of strategic interest to the United States. Privately, administration officials worry that if Gadhafi were to win out against the rebels, it would cast a chill on the so-called Arab Spring movement that has toppled dictators throughout the Middle East.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP to Block All Senate Bills Other than Government Funding, Tax Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fed up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s focus on issues such as food safety, Senate Republicans on Wednesday said they will block all legislation until lawmakers have figured out a way to fund the government and prevent the Bush tax cuts from expiring.

In a letter to Reid signed by all 42 members of the Republican caucus, the GOP senators said, “We write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.  With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”

But thus far, one month after the mid-term elections, Reid has devoted the Senate’s lame-duck session to a sweeping food safety bill, while stating that he also plans to hold votes on other issues such as repealing the military’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy, passing the DREAM Act to grant legal status to young illegal immigrants who serve in the military or go to college, and ratifying the START nuclear treaty with Russia.

Meanwhile, government funding will run out on Friday unless lawmakers pass another continuing resolution to prevent a federal shutdown.  The House Wednesday will take up a continuing resolution to extend government funding for two weeks to give Congress more time to figure out a longer-term solution.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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