Politics December 10, 2016: Congress passes spending bill again at the last minute averts government shutdown

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Congress passes spending bill again at the last minute averts government shutdown

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Congress seems to love to create suspense and putting the government on the verge of a shutdown, this time, however, it was the Democrats fault as opposed to the Republicans. With an hour to spare on Friday evening, Dec. 9, 2016, Senate passed a 1.1 trillion stopgap spending bill funding the government until April 28, 2017. The bill passed 63–36 with Democrats representing the dissenting votes. Some Democrats threatened a shutdown over health care benefits for miners. The House passed the bill on Thursday, Dec. 9 with a vote of 326–96.

The legislation marks last major bill of the 114th Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was speaking of his first session helming the Senate on the floor, “This Congress, the Senate has passed nearly 300 bills, and nearly 200 of those are now law. But what really matters isn’t the number of bills passed, it’s what we can achieve on behalf of the American people. And by that standard, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish for our country.

Senate Democrats found were willing to risk a government shutdown over the bill, not including retirement benefits for retired coal miners and only a four-month extension of the health benefits rather than a full year. The problem the miners in Appalachian states receive their termination notice three months in advance, meaning they would receive their letters notifying them of the end of the healthcare in January.

Senators from coal mining states objected with Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia leading the charge. Additionally, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) followed with support. All are facing tough re-elections in the 2018 midterms in states President-elect and Republican Donald Trump won.

Manchin argued to change the bill on the Senate floor, “I rise today fighting for the working men and women that we all use in our commercials. Every one of us goes out and basically tries to attract working men and women to vote for us because we say we’re coming here to fight for you.”

McConnell argued that bill received bipartisan support in the House and since the house left for the end of session Christmas recess the government would shut down. The majority leader expressed on the Senate floor, “While some Senate Democrats may want to delay into a shutdown, House Democrats overwhelmingly rejected that approach.”

The rest of the Democrats including the incoming Minority Leader Charles Schumer, (D-NY) did not want to take a risk and shut down the government. As the midnight deadline neared Schumer indicated, “We’re not going to shut down the government. We’re going to keep it open. We’re going to provide the votes so we don’t shut down.”

Manchin did not have the 41 votes needed to block the bill, but he wanted to delay its passage. Speaking at a press conference, Manchin said, “I don’t think we’re gonna get to the 41 [votes] as of tonight, but we have support to take this fight on.” The tide turned when at 7 p.m. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) abandoned the effort declaring, “We are not going to shut down the government over this issue.” President Barack Obama signed the bill soon after the Senate passed it.

Now negotiations for omnibus spending bills for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year falls into the lap of the incoming President Donald Trump. Trump promised to cut the deficit by getting rid of the “tremendous waste, fraud and abuse.” The new Senate has a busy schedule confirming Trump’s cabinet and a new Supreme Court nominee; they wanted Trump to accept and continuing resolution for the entire year and avoid the 100-day crunch, but he did not want to wait.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Advertisements

Politics November 16, 2016: Senate leadership McConnell re-elected, Democrat Schumer elected, Sanders grabs post

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Senate leadership McConnell re-elected, Democrat Schumer elected, Sanders grabs post

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Getty Images

After the House Republicans had voted on their leadership posts, the Senate had their turn. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, 2016, as predicted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) was re-elected majority leader by acclamation, while New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer was elevated to minority leader, as departing minority leader Sen. Harry Reid’s heir apparent. Vermont Sen. and 2016 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also grabbed his first Senate leader post as Chair of Outreach.

The Republicans retained their leaders in their election for the 115th Congress. In a meeting of the GOP conference on Wednesday morning, McConnell was re-elected “by acclimation by his colleagues with a standing ovation,” as his spokesman Don Stewart told the press. Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) nominated McConnell, while Sen.-elect Todd Young, (R-IN) second the motion, both were instrumental to the GOP maintaining their majority.

McConnell was expected to remain in his post, and there were no surprises in the GOP leadership votes. McConnell, 74 will be serving his second term as majority leader, previously he was minority leader for four terms, and is “Kentucky’s longest-serving senator;” he was first elected in 1984.

All the action was with the Democrats after they shook up their leadership with the retirement of longtime leader Sen. Reid. Reid already named Schumer, his successor, but Wednesday’s vote made that a reality. After the being elected Schumer expressed, “I am going to wake up every single day focused on how Senate Democrats can effectively fight for America’s middle class and those struggling to join it.” While Schumer told reporters, “We are ready to go toe to toe with Republicans.” Although the minority leader acknowledged, “When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch. You can’t ignore it. You need to look it right in the eye and ask why, analyze it and learn from it.”

Schumer, 66 has served in the Senate since 1998, and he was in the House representing Brooklyn and Queens for 18 years before that. In 2006, Reid tapped Schumer to be the party’s number three in the Senate as vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, a position her served for ten years. When Reid announced his retirement in 2015, he made it clear he wanted Schumer to succeed him as Senate Democratic leader.

Overshadowing Schumer’s election was the addition of Sanders to the enlarged leadership team. The popular Sanders will be the outreach chairman, a newly created post within the ranks. Senate Democrats were pressured to add the formerly independent Senator to their leadership ranks after his historic run for the Democratic nomination, with a still very loyal supporter base.

After his appointment, Sanders spoke to reporters, telling them he has a “heavy responsibility to help shape the priorities of the United States government. I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires.” Sanders will also retain his post as the senior minority member of the Budget Committee.

Otherwise, in the Democratic ranks, Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill) remains minority whip. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new assistant Democratic leader, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) moves up to chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI) becomes Democratic Conference secretary, the fourth ranking in leadership, and Joe Manchin (D-WV) takes over as vice chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

The Democrats enlarged their team from seven to 10 posts. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) now moved up to newly titled posts of vice chairs of the Senate Democratic Conference. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) position title changed from chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to just chair of the Steering Committee.

Additionally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA ) becomes the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, while longtime-Judiciary member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) moves to the Appropriations Committee.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics November 8, 2016: Clinton and Trump make closing arguments at last rallies of 2016 campaign

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Clinton and Trump make closing arguments at last rallies of 2016 campaign

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Chicago Tribune

After more two years, the 2016 presidential campaign is ending. Late Monday evening, Nov. 7, 2016, into the early hours of Tuesday, Nov. 8, Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton made their final cases to the American voters at their last rallies of the campaign cycle. The candidates held a marathon number of rallies during the last days of the campaign hoping to persuade voters in battleground states that they should be the next president. Clinton ended on a positive note, Trump a more negative tone as both candidates remained close in polls that showed conflicting results entering Election Day.

Clinton made her final rally in the ever more critical battleground state of North Carolina. Clinton spoke to 6,000 supporters at the rally held at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where she had a little help from some famous friends, singers Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga, who also performed. Clinton hoped to appeal to millennials to help put her over the edge.

Clinton alluded to Bon Jovi’s performance and biggest hit in her remarks. Clinton expressed,
“Well, I got to tell you this is sure worth staying you up for. And you know between now and the time that the poll closes tomorrow, we’re going to be living on a prayer.” Clinton, who ran a campaign made of attacks mostly on her opponent wanted to strike a more positive tone at the end of her historic campaign. The Democratic nominee wanted to contrast herself from Trump’s “dark and divisive vision for America.”

Clinton called on voters, “Tomorrow, we face the test of our time. So if you believe America thrives when the middle class thrives, then you have to vote… If you believe we should make the biggest investment in new jobs since WWII … you have to vote. For the last words of her campaign, Clinton concluded, “If you believe we need more fairness in our economy… If you believe in science … If you believe we need to reform our criminal justice system … If you believe we need to do more to support working families … Let’s go vote North Carolina!”

Earlier in the evening, Clinton “held her biggest rally of the cycle in Pennsylvania” accompanied by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, her husband former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea. Clinton hosted 20,000 supporters at Independence Hall in Philadelphia where Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi performed. Clinton is keeping up with her positive message ending, apologized for the campaign’s nastiness, saying, “I regret deeply how angry the tone of the campaign became.” The Democratic nominee pointed out the negative words coming from her opponent’s campaign. Clinton then asked supporters, “Let’s show tomorrow there will be no question about the outcome of this election!”

Obama gave a resounding endorsement passing the torch to his former Secretary of State. The President expressed, “We now have the chance to elect a 45th president who will build on our progress who will finish the job … who is smart, who is steady and who is tested. She will work, she will deliver. She won’t just tweet.” Obama asked voters “America, I am betting on you one more time.” The president a notorious and energetic campaigner, who loves the game, has been a top surrogate for Clinton making arguments in Florida and Michigan. While the First Lady who has been Clinton’s campaign secret weapon told the crowd, “We are one day away from once again from making history… This election is on us. It is in our hands. If we get out and vote tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will win.”

Meanwhile, Trump held his last of a marathon of rallies in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Midwest state has not voted Republican since 1988, but Trump’s popularity with blue-collar workers has put the state in play. Trump’s simple but full rally contrasted with the caravan of celebrities that have performed concerts and campaigned for Clinton in the final for Trump it has always been the been the supporters who have stuffed his rallies in record number that have been the most important, as the nominee himself is a one-man band. Trump had “enthusiastic crowds in his final swing state rallies in “Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan.”

Trump told his supporters, “We don’t need, we don’t need Jay Z or Beyonce. We don’t need Jon Bon Jovi. We don’t need Lady Gaga. All we need is great ideas to make America great again. That’s all that we need.” Despite a close race with Clinton slightly ahead in some polls, Trump remained optimistic telling his audience at a earlier rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, “I think we’re going to blow them out tomorrow in a lot of different ways, blow them out. No way.” In Michigan he told his supporters, “This is not the sound of a second place finisher, that I can tell you.”

Trump had what was supposed to be his campaign finale rally also earlier in the evening. Trump held a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire with his family, his three eldest children, who were his biggest campaign surrogates and his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his wife Karen as well friend and most loyal and “ardent” surrogate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. There were no celebrities present other than the candidate, but there were laser beams and a fog machine show and 12,000 loyal supporters from the battleground state. There Trump thanked his children, “I heard about the surrogates going all over for Hillary Clinton but I had my family I had the best surrogates of all.”

Trump’s final last minute rally in Michigan, started with a large crowd but as the early morning wore on the crowds dispersed. Trump remained negative to the end, as he needed to be to fight his opponent who has been acting as the incumbent backed a president with a renewed popularity. The GOP nominee declared, “Hillary is the face of failure. She’s the face of failed foreign policy.” Trump’s running mate, Pence gave the same warning earlier in the day at a stop in Minnesota, arguing, “In one day the American people can put an end to decades of Clinton corruption. You here in Minnesota can close the history books on the Clintons once and for all.”

As the outsider, Trump concluded with that message going to the core of what his campaign has always been about those on the outside of the political establishment. The nominee expressed, “The corrupt politicians and their special interests have ruled over this country for a very long time. Today is our Independence day. Today the American working class is going to strike back, finally.”

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert inpresidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics June 23, 2016: House Democrats hold sit-in protesting over gun control pledge no bill no break

EXAMINER ARTICLES

Examiner_Articles

POLITICS

House Democrats hold sit-in protesting over gun control pledge no bill no break

By Bonnie K. Goodman

June 23, 2016 9:43 AM MST
Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday and demanded a vote on gun control legislation.

Play
Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday and demanded a vote on gun control legislation.
on.aol.com

Politics December 18, 2015: Sanders campaign spied on Clinton DNC blocks access to voter database

EXAMINER ARTICLES

Examiner_Articles

POLITICS

Sanders campaign spied on Clinton DNC blocks access to voter database

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, December 18, 2015, 12:25 PM MST

Bernie Sanders campaign accessed Hilary Clinton's private voter data in a security breach, that now has Sanders campaign blocked from the DNC's voter database, and the staffer at the center fired, Dec. 18, 2015
Bernie Sanders campaign accessed Hilary Clinton’s private voter data in a security breach; that now has Sanders campaign blocked from the DNC’s voter database, and the staffer at the center fired, Dec. 18, 2015
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Politics March 19, 2015: GOP budget blueprints advance in the House, Senate with Democratic opposition

GOP budget blueprints advance in the House, Senate with Democratic opposition

March 19, 2015

The House Budget Committee advanced the House budget blueprint on Thursday, March 19, 2015, that the new committee Tom Price, (R-GA) introduced on Monday, March 16, with cuts across the board that will balance the budget within nine years…

Politics March 9, 2015: Conservatives planning coup to oust Boehner as Democrats promise to protect him

Conservatives planning coup to oust Boehner as Democrats promise to protect him

March 9, 2015

Tea Party Conservative Republican Representatives are angry at Speaker of the House John Boehner, (R-OH) and are looking to oust him from his post. A report published by Politico on March 3, 2015 revealed that Boehner worked with House…

Politics March 5, 2015: McConnell caves again to Democrats delaying Iran nuclear weapons deal bill vote

McConnell caves again to Democrats delaying Iran nuclear weapons deal bill vote

March 5, 2015

After Democratic pressure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-OH has decided on Thursday afternoon, March 5, 2015 to delay the vote of The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Originally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address…

Politics March 4, 2015: Boehner defies Republicans House passes clean DHS funding bill

Boehner defies Republicans House passes clean DHS funding bill

March 4, 2015
Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH defied the majority of his Republican caucus and put the Senate’s “clean” $40 billion Department of Homeland Security funding bill to a vote on Tuesday afternoon…

Politics March 3, 2015: Netanyahu’s success Congress address argues against bad Iran deal, Obama scoffs

Netanyahu’s success Congress address argues against bad Iran deal, Obama scoffs

March 3, 2015
According to the audience in the House of Representatives’ chamber on the Capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s third Address to a Joint Session of Congress was a roaring success bound to put pressure on President Barack…

Politics March 1, 2015: Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war March 1, 2015

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on his trip to the United States on Sunday, March 1, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH argued about Netanyahu’s upcoming Joint…

Politics February 28, 2015: Congress passes one week DHS funding but talk of coup to oust Boehner as speaker

Congress passes one week DHS funding but talk of coup to oust Boehner as speaker February 28, 2015

Congress may have come at the 11th hour with a one-week funding continuing resolution stopgap spending bill for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before the midnight deadline on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, but it may have caused lasting damage…

Politics February 27, 2015: Senate passes clean DHS bill House bill faces problems DHS shutdown possible

Senate passes clean DHS bill House bill faces problems DHS shutdown possible February 27, 2015

The Senate has done their end to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not shutdown at midnight, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Friday morning the Senate passed two bills, one clean $40 billion DHS funding bill that passed…

Politics February 27, 2015: Senate to vote on clean DHS bill House opts for stopgap bill to avert shutdown

Senate to vote on clean DHS bill House opts for stopgap bill to avert shutdown February 27, 2015

Republicans in the Senate and House still cannot agree on the best bill to avert a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shutdown. The only thing they agree upon is they will pass bills preventing its shutdown on Friday, Feb. 27…

Politics February 26, 2015: Obama’s revenge chooses Netanyahu bashing Susan Rice to speak at AIPAC

Obama’s revenge chooses Netanyahu bashing Susan Rice to speak at AIPAC February 26, 2015

President Barack Obama has filled his slate of speakers for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference on March 1-3, 2015 he has decided to send national security adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power as…

Politics February 25, 2015: Netanyahu refuses private meeting with Senate Democrats during US visit

Netanyahu refuses private meeting with Senate Democrats during US visit February 25, 2015

Turnabout is fair play; late Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA invitation for a private meeting when he addresses Congress on March 3. News of…

Politics February 25, 2015: Senate advances DHS funding bill unclear if House will follow as Boehner balks

Senate advances DHS funding bill unclear if House will follow as Boehner balks February 25, 2015

Senate Republicans and Democrats have resolved their differences regarding the $40 billion bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2015 they overwhelmingly voted 98 to 2 in favor of advancing the bill to…

Politics February 24, 2015: McConnell caves in offers Democrats clean DHS funding bill to avoid shutdown

McConnell caves in offers Democrats clean DHS funding bill to avoid shutdown February 24, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acquiesced to the Democrats demands on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 24, 2015, and is offering them a clean bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of the 2015 fiscal year. McConnell…

Politics February 23, 2015: McConnell offers Senate Democrats DHS funding bill compromise to avert shutdown

McConnell offers Senate Democrats DHS funding bill compromise to avert shutdown February 23, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY offered Senate Democrats an olive branch for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) $40 billion funding bill on Monday, Feb. 23, 2014. McConnell will separate the bill from the amendments repealing President…

Politics February 23, 2015: Senate Democrats vote down DHS funding for 4th time Obama warns against shutdown

Senate Democrats vote down DHS funding for 4th time Obama warns against shutdown February 23, 2015

The clock is ticking for Congress to pass a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before the Feb. 27, 2015 deadline, but still Senate Democrats are not willing to move to push the $40 billion spending bill beyond…

Politics December 13, 2014: Senate passes $1.1 trillion spending bill after Ted Cruz forced Saturday session

Senate passes $1.1 trillion spending bill after Ted Cruz forced Saturday session

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After being pushed into a rare Saturday session on Dec. 13, 2014, the Senate passed with a vote of 56 to 40 the large 1.1 trillion-dollar CRomnibus spending bill for the rest of the 2015 fiscal year, late…READ MORE

Politics December 11, 2014: Government shutdown averted: House passes spending bill after Democrats, Pelosi protest

Shutdown averted: House passes spending bill after Democrats, Pelosi protest

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A government shutdown was just averted as the House of Representatives voted Thursday evening, Dec. 11, 2014 with just a few hours left to the midnight deadline to pass a 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill called CRomnibus with…READ MORE

Politics November 7, 2014: Gillespie concedes to Warner in Virginia Senate race, Examiner called it wrong

Politics November 5, 2014: Republicans take control of the Senate win 52 seats in 2014 midterm elections

Politics November 4, 2014: 2014 midterm elections results: Democrats or GOP take control of the Senate?