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

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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.

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Politics November 12, 2016: President-Elect Trump goes to Washington meets with Obama, Ryan, and McConnell

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President-Elect Trump goes to Washington meets with Obama, Ryan, and McConnell

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: NBC News

President-Elect Donald Trump is moving forward having his first official Washington meeting as the nation’s new Commander-in-Chief after an upset victory on Election Day. On Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, Trump went to Washington meeting first with outgoing President Barack Obama in the Oval Office for the traditional transition of power meeting. Then Trump went to Capitol Hill meeting with Republican Congressional leader, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump’s Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence also was busy in Washington meeting with outgoing Vice President Joe Biden and joining Trump at his Congressional meetings. The new First Lady Melania Trump also was busy meeting with outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama to tour the White House residence and join her husband on Capitol Hill for his meetings.

Trump first arrived Thursday morning with some advisors for White House meeting. Trump met with Obama in the Oval Office for 90 minutes much longer than the planned 15-minute meeting. Afterward, the president and the president-elect spoke to reporters. Although they were adversaries just days before, the country’s interests rise above partisan division when it comes to the transfer of presidential powers.

Obama told reporters, “My №1 priority in the next two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful.” Continuing the president said to his successor, “If you succeed, the country succeeds.” Trump, in turn, thanked Obama for the long-running meeting, saying, “The meeting lasted almost for an hour and a half and as far as I’m concerned, it could have gone on for a lot longer.” The president-elect called Obama a “very good man” and expressed, “I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel. I look forward to being with you many, many more times.”

The White House meeting was surprisingly pleasant to consider the past animosity between Obama and Trump dating back to 2011 when Trump joined the birther movement. Then Trump called for Obama to release his long-form birth certificate not believing Obama was a natural-born citizen. Obama paid Trump back at the 2011White House Correspondents dinner. The rhetoric became more heated during the campaign as Trump blamed Obama for the rise of the terrorist group ISIS, while, Obama just called Trump “unfit for the presidency” on the last day of the campaign.

While Trump met with Obama in the Oval Office, the two first ladies, future and present Melania Trump and Michelle Obama met in the White House residence. Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Trump a tour of the residence and they had tea together Yellow Oval Room. They discussed raising children in the White House; the Trump’s have son Barron, ten who will be the only one of Trump’s children to be living in the White House. The Obamas’ daughters Malia and Sasha were 10 and 7 when they moved into the White House in 2009. Michelle also showed Melania the Truman balcony.

The two have they own problems. Although Melania has never criticized Michelle, some of her convention speech closely resembled Michelle’s 2008 speech. Mrs. Obama, however, heavily attacked Trump on the campaign trail especially after the surfacing of his 2005 lewd tape in October. All the issues seem to be put behind the Trumps and Obamas at their transition meetings. Later in the evening, Trump tweeted, “A fantastic day in D.C. Met with President Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania liked Mrs. O a lot!”

After the White House, the Trumps’ along with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence had lunch at the Capitol Hill Club. They then headed off to meet with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Ryan gave Trump a tour of the Capitol building and then met in the Speaker’s office. Ryan took Trump out to his office balcony, which has views of the inauguration spot Trump and Pence will sworn-in, the Washington Monument even Trump’s new Washington hotel. At the meeting, they discussed policy priorities for the new administration and new session of Congress.

Ryan then spoke with reporters with the Trumps and Pence. The speaker expressed, “Donald Trump had one of the most impressive victories we have ever seen and we’re going to turn that victory into progress for the American people, and we are now talking about how we are going to hit the ground running to get this country turned around and make America great again.” While Trump said, “We can’t get started fast enough. And whether its health care or immigration, so many different things, we will be working on them very rapidly.”

Trump and Ryan also shared a complicated relationship throughout the campaign, but now the Speaker has embraced the president-elect fully. Only during the last days of the campaign after the FBI first announced that they were renewing their investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Trump rose in the polls, and Trump supporters in Congress starting threatening Ryan about possibly losing his speakership if Trump loses, did Ryan campaign for the Republican nominee. After Trump won along with the Republicans keeping both Houses of Congress, Ryan has been speaking enthusiastically about the president-elect. Ryan hopes to spearhead the administration’s policies through Congress.

President-Elect Trump capped his day in Washington by meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Trumps and Pence met with the Senate leader in his Capitol office. Pence had to leave after 20-minutes to make his meeting with his predecessor Vice President Joe Biden. After the meeting, McConnell told reporters, “It was a first-class meeting.” McConnell stressed that they discussed “issues that we obviously agree on” and told the press the President-Elect wants “get going early, and so do we.”

After the meeting, Trump told the press, “A lot of really great priorities. People will be very, very happy. Well, we have a lot. We’re looking very strongly at immigration, we’re going to look at the borders, very importantly, we’re looking very strongly at health care and we’re looking at jobs. Big league jobs.” President-Elect Trump continued, explaining, “Quite frankly we can’t get started fast enough… whether it’s on healthcare or immigration so many different things. We’re going to lower taxes, so many different things we are going to be working on.”

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 July 7, 2016: McConnell wants the FBI to release Clinton’s interview

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McConnell wants the FBI to release Clinton’s interview

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (3rd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) listen during a news briefing July 6, 2016 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Senate GOPs held a weekly policy luncheon to discuss Republican agenda.Ê (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 06: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (3rd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) listen during a news briefing July 6, 2016 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Senate GOPs held a weekly policy luncheon to discuss Republican agenda.Ê (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A day after FBI Director James B. Comey announced that the FBI would not be prosecuting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling for the FBI to release Clinton’s interview. On Wednesday, July 7, 2016, McConnell joined Republican leaders’ chorus criticizing the FBI for deciding not to prosecute Clinton for using a private email server during her tenure and risking national security.

McConnell requested the FBI release Clinton’s interview transcript during his weekly press briefing. The majority leader said, “It’s pretty clear … that the American people would like to see what Hillary Clinton said to the FBI.” McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) believe Clinton might have perjured herself. The FBI conducted the three-hour interview with Clinton on Saturday, July 2.

Politics May 31, 2016: McConnell, Trump drafting Rubio to run for re-election to Florida Senate seat

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McConnell, Trump drafting Rubio to run for re-election to Florida Senate seat

May 31, 2016, 1:18 PM MST
Republican leaders are urging Marco Rubio to run for re-election for his Senate seat from Florida in attempt to maintain control of the Senate come November, May 31, 2016
Republican leaders are urging Marco Rubio to run for re-election for his Senate seat from Florida in attempt to maintain control of the Senate come November, May 31, 2016
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

McConnell, Trump drafting Rubio to run for re-election to Florida Senate seat

May 31, 2016

Politics December 19, 2015: Congress passes omnibus spending and tax break bills averts government shutdown

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Congress passes omnibus spending and tax break bills averts government shutdown

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, December 19, 2015, 7:22 AM MST

Congress passed a sweeping omnibus spending bill and tax breaks bill with bipartisan support funding the government for the next year, ending any talk of a government shutdown until then, Dec. 18, 2015
Congress passed a sweeping omnibus spending bill and tax breaks bill with bipartisan support funding the government for the next year, ending any talk of a government shutdown until then, Dec. 18, 2015
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Politics December 11, 2015: Congress close to reaching spending bill deal averts government shutdown again

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Congress close to reaching spending bill deal averts government shutdown again 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, December 11, 2015, 7:42 PM MST

Congress passed a short-term spending bill giving them another five days to pass the 2016 omnibus-spending bill; Senate leaders want to unveil the bill on Monday, but House leaders believe it will take longer, Dec. 11, 2015
Congress passed a short-term spending bill giving them another five days to pass the 2016 omnibus-spending bill; Senate leaders want to unveil the bill on Monday, but House leaders believe it will take longer, Dec. 11, 2015
Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Politics October 30, 2015: Senate passes budget deal in night session, sends it to Obama to sign

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Senate passes budget deal in night session, sends it to Obama to sign

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, October 30, 2015, 8:19 AM MST

The Senate passed the two-year budget and debt ceiling bill, but more than half of the Republicans voted against it, the bill needs to be signed by President Barack Obama before Nov. 3, when the country reaches its borrowing limit, Oct. 30, 2015
The Senate passed the two-year budget and debt ceiling bill, but more than half of the Republicans voted against it, the bill needs to be signed by President Barack Obama on Nov. 3, when the country reaches its borrowing limit, Oct. 30, 2015
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Politics June 2, 2015: Senate votes for Patriot Act reform bill the USA Freedom Act Obama lauds passage

Senate votes for Patriot Act reform bill the USA Freedom Act Obama lauds passage

June 2, 2015

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to overhaul the Patriot Act approximately 40 hours after three of the programs expired. On Tuesday afternoon, June 2, 2015 the Senate passed the USA Freedom Act with a vote of 67 to 32. The bill…

Politics May 31, 2015: Senate advances Patriot Act reform bill Rand Paul wins NSA programs expire

Senate advances Patriot Act reform bill Rand Paul wins NSA programs expire

May 31, 2015

Just as three aspects of the National Security Agency’s data collection program part of the Patriot are set to expire at midnight, the Senate voted to advance the reform bill, the USA Freedom Act on Sunday afternoon, May…

Politics May 26, 2015: Senate fails to extend Patriot Act NSA surveillance program begins shutting down

Senate fails to extend Patriot Act NSA surveillance program begins shutting down

May 26, 2015

The National Security Agency began shutting down their telephone data surveillance program, as the Senate failed to advance the two-month USA Patriot Act extension and the House’s reform bill the USA Freedom Act. The extension and…

Politics May 26, 2015: Obama victory Senate passes fast track trade bill sends it to House

Obama victory Senate passes fast track trade bill sends it to House

May 26, 2015
The Senate moved one-step closer to giving President Barack Obama the authority to fast track trade deals. Friday evening, May 22, 2015 the Senate passed the six-year fast track trade bill, the Trade Promotion Authority Act (TPA…

Politics May 21, 2015: Rand Paul filibusters for 10 hrs against Patriot Act, McConnell schedules vote

Rand Paul filibusters for 10 hrs against Patriot Act, McConnell schedules vote

May 21, 2015

Kentucky Senator and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul could not break his own 2013 filibuster record, but he tried. On Wednesday afternoon May 20, 2015 at 1:18 p.m. Paul took to the Senate floor to give…

Politics May 18, 2015: Senate moves toward passing fast track trade bill

Senate moves toward passing fast track trade bill

May 18, 2015

After agreeing to a compromise earlier last week, the Senate passed two bills moving forward on the fast track trade, trade promotion authority (TPA) bill. On Thursday, May 14, 2015, the Senate voted 78 to 20 on a customs and…

Politics March 29, 2015: Boehner, McConnell backing up Israel PM Netanyahu on Iran nuclear deal sanctions

Boehner, McConnell backing up Israel PM Netanyahu on Iran nuclear deal sanctions

March 29, 2015

Details are emerging about the Iran nuclear weapons deal that is in its final stages of negotiations for the framework deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking out against the deal, that is even “worse” than he…

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: Senate fails to pass Keystone XL Pipeline override vote Obama’s veto stands

Senate fails to pass Keystone XL Pipeline override vote Obama’s veto stands

March 4, 2015

The Senate just barely failed in their bid to override President Barack Obama’s veto on the $8 billion bill to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline. In a vote held Wednesday afternoon, March 4, 2015 the Senate voted on…

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 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 February 16, 2015: Boehner willing to let DHS funding expire to force Democrats on immigration

Boehner willing to let DHS funding expire to force Democrats on immigration February 16, 2015

Although the Republican leadership promised not government shut downs, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH let it be known on his Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 appearance on Fox News Sunday that he is willing to let…

Politics February 12, 2015: House passes Keystone Pipeline bill not enough votes to override Obama’s veto

House passes Keystone Pipeline bill not enough votes to override Obama’s veto February 12, 2015

In a bipartisan vote of 270-152, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Keystone XL pipeline bill on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 11, 2015, still President Barack Obama has promised to veto the bill. Although, 29 Democrats…