Omnibus stalled by nearly 100 House GOP policy riders, Reid says

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By Alexander Bolton – 12/09/14 03:15 PM EST

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that House Republicans are pushing to add nearly 100 different policy riders to the omnibus spending bill, stalling it shortly before Thursday’s deadline.

Reid said he is prepared to vote on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open beyond Dec. 11, when it is scheduled to expire.


“The federal government is going to run out of money in two days. There’s no reason the government should shut down,” he told reporters.
Reid said he would keep the upper chamber in as long as needed to finish its work.

“Maybe we’ll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week. I know that’s tough duty for everybody but we may have to do that,” he said.

“I think that there’s a very, very good chance we’ll be here this weekend,” he added.

Reid said he would be “happy to vote for” a short-term funding measure to keep the government open beyond Dec. 11 if the omnibus isn’t ready in time but expressed hope that would not be necessary.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) gave a presentation to colleagues at a lunch meeting Tuesday detailing some of the policy riders emerging from the House.

“Sen. Mikulski has done a remarkably good job. She did such a good job in the caucus explaining what she’s been through with the nearly 100 riders that she’s had to try to fight off,” Reid said.

They include proposals to overturn the District of Columbia’s legalization of marijuana and to soften the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.

Reid said, however, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) have been negotiating over, will likely not be included in the massive spending bill.

“I don’t think TRIA is going to be in the omnibus,” he said.

If Republicans add language to halt the District of Columbia’s decision to legalize marijuana, Reid said Senate Democrats would have a hard time stripping it out even though he personally opposes what the House is trying to do.

“I have had conversations with the Congresswoman that represents the District and I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do. If they put it in there it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he said.

Other must-pass items include the annual defense authorization bill and a package extending expired tax provisions.

Reid said he would file cloture on the defense bill Tuesday, likely setting up a vote Thursday to end an expected filibuster of the bill. That would slate a final vote for either Thursday or Friday.

The Democratic leader said he would schedule a vote on a one-year extension of tax provisions after dealing with the omnibus and defense legislation.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is pushing for a longer-term tax package that would include a permanent extension of charitable tax breaks.

But Reid sees little chance of passing it.

“I think it’s going to be hard to get any new legislation up. We have stuff we have to work through,” he said.

“Sen. Wyden made a presentation in the caucus today. People know what’s in that charitable donations thing the House has. [If] there’s a way to get it up, we will,” he added.

This story was updated at 6:07 p.m.

MORE GENTLE GIANTS IN ACTION: Three Teens Fatally Shot 22-Year-Old Woman, Say ‘They Just Needed Money for Milk’ for a Baby

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LAS VEGAS – A report released by Metro Police said the victim killed in an apparent random armed robbery on Nov. 11 refused to give the robbers her belongings.

According to the police report, the three suspects followed 22-year-old Laura Ashley McKinney and here friend as they walked home from work along Simmons Street near Vegas and North Rancho drives.

The police report said all of the suspects wore hoodies. However, the man in the red hoodie, reportedly yelled “Hey.” That’s when McKinney and her friend found him holding a gun.

The red-hooded man then said, “You guys have five seconds to give me everything you guys have?”

McKinney’s friend said, as the suspect counting down from five, she immediately reached in her bag to give them her belongings.

The witness said she noticed McKinney wasn’t handing over her belongings.

The man in the hoodie then said, “Oh, you think it’s a game?” and then he shot McKinney, according to the police report.

The witness told police after McKinney was shot she fell to the ground and the suspects ran away, towards townhomes in the 1900 block of Simmons St.

The witness said she knelt down next to McKinney and applied pressure to where McKinney was shot, while also screaming for help. Two others eventually came over.

The arrest report said police said the people who came over to help were instrumental in giving a description of the suspects that they saw running away from the scene to the police.

Officers said on Nov. 21 they received a call from Joseph Abrams who told them they knew an associate by the name of My-Son McNair who wanted to turn himself in for the shooting death of McKinney.

A day later, McNair turned himself in to Metro Police and told them everything that happened — along with how he and his friends initially planned to “rob a drunk leaving a bar,” so that they could get money to buy some milk for his goddaughter.

Nineteen-year-old McNair said he was about 10 feet behind the other suspects when McKinney was shot. He said they all took off and ran into the nearby apartment complex where they ditched their hoodies and jeans, the arrest report said.

McNair said he then hopped on a bus at Lake Mead Boulevard and Simmons Street. When he returned to his goddaughter’s home, one of the other men involved in the shooting was there and he still had one of the victim’s wallets.

McNair said the wallet just had some change in it. That was the last time he claimed he saw the wallet.

A second suspect, Daivion Moore, 19, was arrested on Nov. 26.

Both Moore and McNair were booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

They face charges of murder with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery.

A third suspect, known as “Man-Man,” remains on-the-run, according to police.

He’s described as a black man between the ages of 17 and 20, weighs 120-140 pounds and is between 5’2” to 5’5” tall.

Anyone who has any information on the identity or whereabouts of “Man-Man”, or anyone who has information about the shooting, is urged to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section at 702-828-3521, or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.


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Revolt against Reid

By Steven Dennis and Humberto Sanchez
Posted at 9:27 a.m. today

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters Thursday she would not vote for Sen. Harry Reid as the Democratic leader as the party heads into the minority.

“I will not,” she responded when asked whether she will vote for the Nevada Democrat.

Her comments came as she was entering the Old Senate Chamber, where Democrats are holding their leadership elections.

She did not respond to reporters when asked why, but she has criticized Reid over the years for not doing more to reach agreements with Republicans.

Several other Democrats ran from Reid on the campaign trail, but no Democrat has emerged to challenge his leadership.

On Wednesday night, sources said Reid might add Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to his leadership team. Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland had urged senators to back Warren as a potential successor to Reid.


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An offer by congressional Republicans to work on immigration reform in January was flatly rejected by President Barack Obama, reports said Friday

By Cathy Burke

An offer by congressional Republicans to work on immigration reform in January was flatly rejected by President Barack Obama, reports said Friday.

At a post-midterm election lunch and meeting that lasted two hours, House Speaker John Boehner warned Obama not to take executive action to stem deportations or allow a flood of new immigrants to enter the country, the Washington Examiner reports.

“The speaker warned that unilateral action by the president on executive amnesty will erase any chances of doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground,” a spokesman told the newspaper.

Instead, Boehner asked Obama to let Republicans work on reforming and modernizing immigration early in the new session, Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso told Reuters.

According to Reuters, an unnamed congressional source said Vice President Joe Biden asked Boehner how long he needed to pass a bill: “Feb. 15? March 15?” The source said Obama was visibly irritated and stopped Biden.

But a Democratic congressional source disputed that account, telling the news service, “At no time did the President cut off the Vice President.” The source described Obama as “courteous and firm” during the immigration discussion.

Afterward, Maryland Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer told CNN Obama’s right to move ahead with immigration reform, saying: “Families are being wrenched apart, children are being left without a parent or parents, and that is unacceptable. But he also made it very clear that if the Congress acted, that would be the law, that would be the preferable option that he wants.”

Reuters said the lunch with congressional leaders was “somber and slightly uncomfortable during a brief 4-minute photo op,” with Obama squeezed between Boehner and Nevada Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, who’ll give up his title as Senate majority leader in the new Congress because of the wave of Republicans who’ve swept Democrats from power.

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Corrupt politician works feverishly to implement agenda

By Alexander Bolton

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to confirm 50 of President Obama’s nominees and move an omnibus spending bill in a last hurrah before Democrats give up power in the Senate.

The nominees are part of a packed lame-duck schedule that Reid is furiously planning and that will be a topic at Friday’s White House lunch meeting between Obama and congressional leaders.

Reid also wants to move a package of expiring tax provisions, the annual Defense Department authorization bill and an extension of a tax moratorium on Internet purchases in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That will be a challenge not only because of the tight schedule, but because of expected clashes between Democrats over what should be prioritized before Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) takes over the Senate’s agenda in January.

For example, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is about to lose his chairmanship, is pushing for consideration of a bill reforming the National Security Agency despite opposition from other Democrats.

One of the most pressing needs from the administration’s point of view is getting the Senate to confirm as many as 38 State Department nominees, but Reid will have to be judicious given the priorities fighting for precious floor time in the Senate.

Senate Democrats last year killed the Senate filibuster for most nominees, but it still takes up hours of floor time to move a nominee if there is a single objection.

Advocacy groups are pressing the leader to move judicial nominees as quickly as he can, knowing it will be much harder to move them when McConnell takes over.

“There are 16 [district court] nominees on the floor, and there are eight more district court nominees in committee, and the expectation is that all of them can and should be confirmed before the end of the year,” said Michelle Schwartz, director of justice programs at the Alliance for Justice.

There are a total of 24 judicial nominees on the executive calendar. Although there are seven circuit court vacancies, none of the pending nominees are for those seats.

Another wild card is that Obama is expected to nominate a candidate to replace Attorney General Eric Holder soon. This could trigger another time consuming fight, particularly if the president picks a controversial nominee.

Reid’s top lame-duck priority is to move a new bill to fund the government.

A senior Democratic aide said the Senate Appropriations Committee fully expects to pass an omnibus spending package that would run the government through September 2015 and asserted there is no talk of moving a short-term funding measure that would let the new Senate GOP majority renegotiate spending levels early next years.

“There’s no talk whatsoever about a short-term CR [continuing resolution],” the aide said in reference to a continuing resolution.

The House, however, will also have a say in whether Congress moves an omnibus spending package, a yearlong stopgap funding measure or a short-term continuing resolution.

It’s possible that Republicans will agree to a longer-term spending bill that would stick to the spending caps included in the two-year budget deal worked out by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) after the government shutdown.

That would put off a new fight over spending until the 2016 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

House Republicans are debating internally over what their best strategy is.

“We’ll be talking with members all next week about what can and should get done — or not — in the lame duck,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (Ohio).

McConnell has signaled to GOP colleagues that he wants to start his reign as majority leader in 2015 with a clean slate.

He wants to avoid a messy fight over spending levels at the beginning of next year, which could derail one of his top priorities, passing a budget.

But he faces internal challenges as well.

Conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), two Tea Party favorites, have vowed to object to any legislation that could be postponed until next year.

“By any measure, deliberately planning to reconvene the Senate in a lame-duck session to address major new legislation would subvert the will of the American people, lessen accountability, and do lasting damage to the dignity and integrity of this body’s proceedings,” they wrote in a letter to Reid.


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By Eliana Johnson
November 7, 2014 4:02 PM

The lame duck session hasn’t yet convened, but its first major battle — over how best to thwart the executive action on immigration the president is expected to issue in the coming months — is already underway. Conservatives are pushing to include a measure attempting to deny the government the funds it needs to administer the amnesty in a must-pass spending bill, the so-called continuing resolution. That would include the funds to issue green cards and work permits.

National Review Online obtained a copy of a letter that Arizona congressman Matt Salmon is circulating to his colleagues to generate support for such a move. It is addressed to representatives Hal Rogers and Nita Lowey, who lead the House Appropriations Committee:

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Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey,

As the House continues to deliberate and draft appropriations legislation before the current continuing resolution expires on December 12, 2014, we write to encourage you to include language that would prohibit funding for the President’s reported intentions to create work permits and green cards for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.

There are currently millions of undocumented immigrants living within our borders. Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a procurement request for 34 million work permits and green cards over the next five years. President Obama has spoken publicly and privately about his intentions to use executive action to create these work permits for those who are here illegally. This would be in direct violation of U.S. law. As you know, the Congress has the power of the purse and should use it as a tool to prevent the President from implementing policies that are contrary to our laws and the desire of the American people.

We respectfully request that as you work to finalize the year-end funding legislation that language be included in all relevant appropriations legislation for FY 2015 to prohibit the use of funds by the administration for the implementation of current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits and green cards outside of the scope prescribed by Congress. We thank you for your efforts with this legislation and for your consideration of this important request.


Matt Salmon

Member of Congress

Senator Harry Reid is sure to oppose a continuing resolution with this restriction, and even if it got past the Senate, President Obama would almost certainly veto it. That raises the specter of a government shutdown, the prospect of which is not going over well with House leadership. According to a leadership aide, leaders will consult with members about how best to respond to an executive amnesty “in a way that keeps the government open.” One of the options cited by the aide is including the forthcoming amnesty in the lawsuit that House speaker John Boehner is filing against President Obama for taking unilateral actions that he considers executive overreach.

Some Republicans are already strategizing about how to avoid the blame for a shutdown: One Senate aide says a preemptive move to prevent an amnesty or a move in the immediate wake of one will put the onus on the president. Others think there’s no way for Republicans to avoid looking like obstructionists.

Salmon, according to an aide, plans to send his letter to Rogers and Lowey on Monday. (He is currently out of the country on a congressional delegation.) Though the Salmon aide says the congressman is more concerned with “discouraging the president” from issuing an amnesty than with persuading GOP leaders, that may be the battle he and the other signatories of the letter must win first.