Entries in Senator (27)


Republican Senator Lends Support to Immigration Reform Bill

Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said Sunday that she will support the immigration reform bill drafted by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” arguing that the legislation provides a “tough but fair way” for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship.

“This is a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem, and so that’s why I’m going to support it,” Ayotte said on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday.

Ayotte’s support adds to the small tally of Republicans currently promoting the bill, including the four Republican senators in the “Gang of Eight.” However, one of the bipartisan group’s members, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has threatened to vote against the bill unless it includes tougher border security provisions.

In an interview on Univision’s Al Punto, Rubio argued that strengthening the border security measures would help “earn our colleagues’ trust” and predicted that his group will find enough votes to exceed the 60 required to prevent a filibuster.

"We'll have a lot more than 60 votes, but we're going to have to work at it," Rubio told Univision's Maria Elena Salinas in an interview that aired Sunday on Al Punto.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday that he is “willing to compromise” on the immigration plan if it includes changes like tougher border measures, and the Kentucky senator suggested he could serve as a “conduit” to House conservatives who currently disagree with the plan proposed in the Senate.

“I am the conduit between conservatives in the House who don’t want a lot of these things and more moderate people in the Senate who do want these things. I want to make the bill work, but see, the thing is, is what they have in the Senate has zero chance of passing in the House.” Paul said on FOX News Sunday. “I’m really trying to make immigration work, but they’re going to have to come to me, and they’re going to have to work with me to make the bill stronger if they want me to vote for it.”

Formal debate on the bill started in the Senate on Friday and is expected to continue through the week.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg Dead at 89

Office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg(NEW YORK) -- Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., the oldest U.S. Senator and the last remaining World War II veteran serving in the senate died on Monday. He was 89.

Lautenberg passed away at 4:02 a.m. on Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell due to complications from viral pneumonia.

Lautenberg was a leader in the Senate with a particular passion for environmental protection, transportation and public health. During his career, Lautenberg had a hand in crafting legislation to curtail drunk driving, including setting the nationwide blood alcohol standard at .08.  He also co-wrote the new GI Bill for the 21st Century, and held the record for number of votes cast by a New Jersey senator.

Lautenberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate in 2014. He is survived by his wife, six children and their spouses, and 13 grandchildren.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Kirk Completes Stair Climb to Capitol on First Day Back in Senate

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., 45 steps awaited him upon his return to the Senate for the first time since his stroke last January.

Kirk slowly climbed the steps to the Capitol, a trip that took about 10 minutes total including three stops – the first to greet Vice President Joe Biden, and then Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

“Welcome back, man,” Biden exclaimed as Kirk ambled up the first few steps.

With Manchin and Biden bracing him, Kirk continued his walk up the Capitol steps, stopping halfway to wave to colleagues from the House and Senate who had lined up along the steps for the monumental walk and more than a hundred people gathered on the plaza.

When Kirk reached the top, the crowd burst into applause and cheers for a man who has spent the past year learning how to walk again.

Kirk took to Twitter shortly after his stair climb to thank those who have supported him.

Last January doctors determined Kirk had suffered an ischemic stroke after finding a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. Kirk underwent surgery to reduce swelling around his brain and has gone through rehabilitation over the past year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck to Run for Office? Probably Not

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Ben Affleck has been an increasingly popular presence in the political realm as of late. Earlier this week, he testified on Capitol Hill about security in the Democratic Republic of Congo and recently his name has come up as a possible contender in the impending Massachusetts special election to fill the seat to be vacated by John Kerry’s appointment as secretary of state.  Affleck, 40, grew up in Cambridge, Mass.

But it turns out running for political office might be a stretch too far for the actor and activist.

In an interview with GQ, Affleck had some pretty harsh words for the American political system, including “toxic,” “poisonous” and “inappropriate” (laced with expletives before them).

“I have gotten myself involved with politics, actually fairly in a pretty deep way, only to find that it really just took the wind out of my sails,” he said. “You know, it was much more interesting from the outside than from the inside.”

It’s worth noting that Affleck appears to dance around the question: “Have you ever had serious considerations” about running for office?

“I have never had a serious conversation. Not really,” he said. “I could tell you but then I can’t say what it is.”

For those hoping for a Ben Affleck vs. Scott Brown showdown this summer, don’t abandon all hope yet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Late Sen. Inouye to Lie in State in Capitol Rotunda

Daniel K. Inouye, Senator for Hawaii(WASHINGTON) -- The late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a source with knowledge of plans tells ABC News. It is one of the highest honors Congress can bestow on an individual.

There is no date set for this rare honor yet, Hill sources say.

On Tuesday, one day after his passing, Sen. Inouye’s desk in the U.S. Senate was draped in a black cloth, Hawaiian ceremonial kukui nut beads and adorned with a vase full of white roses in tribute.

The day started with a moment of silence for the senator and the Senate Chaplain Barry Black prayed for the “beauty of his well-lived life.”

That life and remembrances – from the serious to the lighthearted – from senators on both sides of the political aisle monopolized most of the Senate floor time Tuesday. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., spoke about how Inouye never seemed to break a sweat, literally. When others at an extremely hot outside event were dripping in sweat, Inouye was cool as a cucumber, Durbin recalled.

“He says, you know, ‘the Asian religions are very important in my life, and they believe that mind over matter can achieve great things, and can I visualize myself sitting in a deep freeze now. I’m not hot at all.’ I thought this man is amazing in so many different ways what he has done with his life.”

Many described the late senator as humble, some noting that he didn’t even hang pictures of himself nor his accomplishments over the years in his Senate office – a rarity among Senate personalities and egos.

“He was exactly the opposite of all the caricature pictures people have of Congress today, and particularly about the rabid partisanship and personal incivility,” Sen. Lieberman, I-Conn., said, “Dan was a great gentleman, and the most civil of people, the kindest and most decent of people.”

Senate Minority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., said he was “never drawn to fanfare,” which always made him a “different kind of senator.”

“Dan’s quiet demeanor and strict adherence to an older code of honor and professionalism made him a stranger to controversy throughout his many decades in public office,” McConnell said, “He was the kind of man, the kind of public servant, in other words, that America has always been grateful to have. Especially in her darkest hours, men who lead by example and expect nothing in return.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., praised Inouye’s career before he even came to Congress, calling his military service “the stuff of legend here in the Senate and throughout the country.”

Inouye was a decorated war hero who lost his arm in battle. In 2000 Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Europe in World War II.

“While he and I often found ourselves on different sides when it came to issues, I always knew him to be a man of principle and decency,” Hatch said, “and I never doubted his commitment to the people of his state and to doing what he believed was right.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recalled that Monday Inouye’s last word was "aloha,” meaning hello, goodbye and I love you.

“It’s with a heavy heart that those of us who love Senator Inouye say aloha to a great man, a legend of the Senate and his final dying word, Mr. President, was ‘aloha.’ It didn’t mean goodbye. It meant 'I love you.' And Senator Inouye, I love you.”

Inouye was 88 years old when he died. He had been in office since Hawaii became a state in 1959. He became Hawaii’s senator in 1962, three years after the state joined the United States. He was the longest-serving sitting senator and the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Daniel Inouye Hospitalized at Walter Reed

Daniel K. Inouye, Senator for Hawaii(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Daniel Inouye, the longest-serving sitting U.S. Senator, has been hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, to regulate his oxygen intake, his office confirms Monday afternoon.

“For the most part, I am OK,” Sen. Inouye, D-Hawaii, said in a paper statement issued to ABC News, “However, I am currently working with my doctors to regulate my oxygen intake. Much to my frustration, while undergoing this process, I have to remain in the hospital for my own safety and to allow the necessary observation.”

On Thursday the 88 year-old senator was admitted to George Washington hospital, where he remained thru Sunday. He was then transferred to Walter Reed, just outside of Washington, DC.

Inouye said he hopes to be back on Capitol Hill as soon as doctors will allow.

Recently he has been seen using oxygen on the floor of the Senate and has been spotted also using a wheelchair at times.

Inouye’s office explained that in the late 1960′s, he was misdiagnosed with lung cancer and had a sizable portion of his left lung removed. After living with this his whole life, his office says about nine months ago his doctors recommended he begin using an oxygen supplement.

Also at the advice of his doctors, the Senator sometimes uses a wheelchair in order to preserve his knees.

“After 50 years of walking the marble floors of the Capitol complex, the marble has taken its toll and he has been advised to avoid long walks on hard surfaces,” a spokesperson says.

In November the Senator was taken to Walter Reed after a fall in his apartment and was treated for a minor cut to the back of his head.

Inouye, who served in World War II and was awarded a Medal of Honor for his service, was first elected to the Senate in 1963. He’ll mark 50 years in the body Jan. 3.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Move the Fiscal Cliff Deadline Up, Senator Proposes

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- In order to make a strong economic showing to consumers and markets the week before Christmas, one senator Wednesday proposed that Congress should move up its deadline to get a deal to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
“I propose let's really conscientiously work hard to make sure that we have a framework that we could vote on by the weekend of December 16,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said from the floor of the Senate Wednesday afternoon. “Let's have a strong economy closing of the week before Christmas.”
The White House and Congress’ hard deadline is to come to a deal by Jan. 1 in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, the $6 trillion in tax increases that will hit all working Americans and $1.2 trillion in deep spending cuts.
Moving the deadline earlier, to Dec. 16, Mikulski argued, would bring “an enormous sense of boosting consumer confidence” nine days before Christmas.
“I think it's a disaster for our demonstration of our ability to govern, and I think it's a disaster for our standing in the world. We need to show that we can govern ourselves,” Mikulski said, “Think about what a signal this would be to middle-class people on Main Street and also the people on Wall Street. Because business would have certainty, we would have consumer confidence and we could have a new self-confidence about ourselves that we could govern.”
Mikulski’s pie-in-the-sky call for an earlier deadline may be a little hard to reach around Capitol Hill, best known for pushing deal making to the last second of most deadlines.
The House of Representatives target adjournment date for the holidays is Dec. 14. The Senate does not have a target adjournment, and say they will stay in session as long as it takes to get a deal.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Sen. George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Nominee, Dies at 90

The McGovern family(NEW YORK) -- ABC News has confirmed that former Democratic Sen. George McGovern, of South Dakota, has died. He was 90 years old.

McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential bid to Richard Nixon, worked as a U.S. Senator from 1963 to 1981. He also served as the director of the Food for Peace Program, the chairman for the Select Committee on Unmet Basic Needs and the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agencies and the United Nations Global Ambassador on World Hunger.

The former senator passed away at approximately 5:15 a.m. on Sunday at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His family said in a statement:

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer.”

The family is requesting that donations be made to support Feeding South Dakota in lieu of flowers here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Politician: Don’t Pay Teachers More

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HUNTSVILLE, Ala.) -- An Alabama state senator just made himself an enemy of the state’s nearly 50,000 teachers.

“It’s a biblical principle: If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach,” State Sen. Shadrack McGill, a Republican, said at a prayer breakfast earlier this week.

McGill’s comments were in response to a question about a legislative pay hike that raised his salary as a part-time legislator to $49,500.

“It’s absolutely astounding that a legislator believes that a part-time legislator ought to make twice the money of a full-time teacher,” David Stout, a spokesperson for the Alabama Education Association, told ABC News. “He seems completely out of touch.”

McGill told ABC News affiliate WAAY that his comments were taken out of context.

“The point that I was trying to make in the speech is simply that … things ought to be in balance,” he said. “I believe God made everything to be in balance. He weighed the Earth and the valley and the mountains and the hills on a scale to keep them in balance because he knew he was going to be spinning it real fast, so that’s the gist of it.”

McGill did not return ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio



Maine Senator Susan Collins Engaged This Week

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- A wedding is in the works for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

On Sunday, the 59-year-old senator became engaged for the first time to Thomas Daffron, chief operating officer of Jefferson Consulting Group, a lobbyist firm in Washington, D.C.

While a date has not been set and the senator will have to juggle Congress' summer recess schedule, a “small, private” ceremony is being planned in Maine this summer, Collin’s Senate office says.

“Senator Collins and Mr. Daffron are very happy and they look forward to celebrating this wonderful occasion with their families,” said Kevin Kelley, spokesman for Senator Collins, said in a statement.

Daffron also has been involved in Republican politics for a long time and has served as chief of staff to former Republican senators Bill Cohen of Maine and Fred Thompson of Tennessee. He served as chief of staff to Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and was the national campaign manager for the presidential campaign of Elizabeth Dole.

Collins and Daffron first met in the 70′s while they both worked  for then Sen. Bill Cohen, where Collins worked as a legislative assistant.  They remained friends through the years and started dating a few years ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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