South Dakota Sen. Thune's win breaks 'curse,' defies Trump
Neither South Dakota's “Curse of Karl” nor the invocations of former President Donald Trump weighed on Republican Sen. John Thune this week as he breezed to a historic fourth term that could see him ascend to lead the GOP's Senate caucus. It's a conservative style that has been effective for Thune in deep-red South Dakota, which he has represented in the Senate since 2005. Only one other South Dakota senator has won four terms: Sen. Karl Mundt, whose time in Congress from the 1930s to the 1970s inspired a joke in state political circles known as the “Curse of Karl.”news.yahoo.com
Seven Dems vote for GOP amendment, forcing Democratic scramble
CORRECTION: Seven Democrats voted for the GOP amendment that would extend a cap on the SALT tax deduction. A previous version of this story included incorrect information. Maverick Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Sunday backed a Republican amendment to shield businesses that rely on capital investment from private equity groups from the 15 percent corporate minimum…news.yahoo.com
AR-15s useful to shoot prairie dogs, GOP leader says, as gun talks intensify
Senate Minority Whip John Thune's remarks follow arguments from other Republicans in the weeks after the mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, Tex., and Tulsa that Americans use AR-15s to kill feral pigs, hunt hogs and get rid of raccoons.washingtonpost.com
White House pushes GOP to end blockade of ambassador picks
As President Joe Biden announces two more ambassador nominees, the White House and Democrats are warning that maneuvering by some Senate Republicans to block all but a small fraction of Biden’s diplomatic and other national security appointees is doing serious harm to U.S. diplomatic efforts around the globe.
South Dakota rocked again as a wind turbine plant shuts its doors
John F. Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, said only months ago that those losing fossil fuel jobs in coal and hydraulic fracturing will find they have a better choice in jobs in either the solar industry or as wind turbine technicians.news.yahoo.com
McConnell slams the January 6 commission as 'a purely political exercise' and accuses Democrats of focusing on 'things that occurred in the past'
The GOP resistance to a bipartisan commission devoted to examining the deadly Capitol insurrection imperils a deeper investigation into the siege.news.yahoo.com
Shock of Jan. 6 insurrection devolves into political fight
Pressed to explain his decision, Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana praised his brother as a “hero" and turned his ire on Democrats, calling the commission a “coverup about the failed Biden administration.” Pence's swift pivot to attacking Democrats and defending the former president about a riot that threatened his brother's life is a stark measure of how the horror of Jan. 6 has been reduced from a violent assault on American democracy to a purely political fight. Rather than uniting behind a bipartisan investigation like the ones that followed the 9/11 terror attacks, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or Pearl Harbor, Republicans are calculating they can regain at least partial control of Congress if they put the issue behind them as quickly as possible without antagonizing Trump or his supporters.news.yahoo.com
Republican senators are privately worried the Capitol riot commission will distract them from their midterm campaigns, making it all but doomed in the Senate
GOP Whip John Thune told CNN there was concern among members that a commission "could be weaponized politically" by the Democrats.news.yahoo.com
Biden to propose two-pronged infrastructure package
Psaki added that Mr. Biden will turn to the second part — which includes health care, child care and education — in April. "The president has a plan to fix the infrastructure of our country," Psaki said. "If they want to sit down with Republicans, which they should, the Republicans would work with them on an infrastructure package," Thune said Tuesday. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget committee, has said he is prepared to use reconciliation to move an infrastructure package through the Senate. "My advice to the administration is if you want to do an infrastructure bill, let's do an infrastructure bill," McConnell said.cbsnews.com
Jan. 6 commission stalls, for now, amid partisan dissension
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed for the commission, which would be modeled after the panel that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. “The problem is the scope,” Pelosi said Wednesday. But Republicans swiftly decried the broad latitude that the commission would have to investigate the causes of the insurrection. Senate Republicans cast doubt that there was enough support for the commission. 2 Republican, said he doesn’t think the commission will happen if the legislation isn’t changed.
Lawmakers fear turning 144 cities into "micropolitan" areas
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressmen is urging the federal government not to approve recommendations to remove 144 cities from the designation of metropolitan statistical areas. Reclassifying them as “micropolitan” would put key federal funding at risk, they said. Doing so would reclassify more than a third of the current 392 metro areas as micropolitan statistical areas. In a separate letter to the Office of Management and Budget, Hoeven said the proposal also would hurt micropolitan areas that were on the cusp of becoming metro areas. “If a metropolitan statistical area is redefined as a micropolitan area, it may fall out of the conversation.
Democrats muscle ahead with Biden's health secretary pick
President Joe Bidens pick for health secretary is taking heat for his defense of abortion rights from a tag team of Republicans looking to define him and the new administration as out of the mainstream. Becerra now serves as California’s attorney general and previously represented the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years in the U.S. House. Republicans voiced concern about Becerra’s record in support of abortion rights. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Becerra as attorney general “aggressively crusaded in favor of abortion” and repeatedly inserted California into abortion litigation involving other states. Perceptions changed after Becerra was appointed California attorney general in 2017.
Fighting Biden virus aid, GOP rekindles Obama-era strategy
Americans are experiencing flickers of optimism at the one-year anniversary of the deadly outbreak as more people are vaccinated. But new strains of the virus and a still shaky economy could unleash another devastating cycle of infections, lockdowns and deaths. Biden and Democrats warn that now is not the time to let up on aid, and that it's better to risk doing too much than too little. McConnell expressed similar optimism last spring when he hit “pause” on new spending after approval of the initial round of aid. GOP Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said by the time they're done they hope to turn public opinion around.
Fighting Biden virus aid, GOP rekindles Obama-era strategy
AdIt’s a tested strategy but comes at an uncertain, volatile time for the nation. Americans are experiencing flickers of optimism at the one-year anniversary of the deadly outbreak as more people are vaccinated. But new strains of the virus and a still shaky economy could unleash another devastating cycle of infections, lockdowns and deaths. Biden and the Democrats backing him warn that now is not the time to let up on aid — better to risk doing too much, than too little. GOP Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said by the time they're done they hope to turn public opinion around.
GOP takes aim at Biden's health care pick on abortion rights
President Joe Bidens pick for health secretary is taking heat for his defense of abortion rights from a tag team of Republicans looking to define him and the new administration as out of the mainstream. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s pick for health secretary is taking heat from Republicans for his actions in support of abortion rights. By a show of force, they're trying to deny a president who supports abortion rights his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services with the coronavirus pandemic still untamed. Becerra, 63, was a reliable Democratic vote for abortion rights during more than 20 years representing a Los Angeles-area district in the U.S. House. She disagrees with his support for abortion rights but finds common ground elsewhere.
Trump rages at top Republicans even as advisors urge him to focus attacks on Biden, Democrats
CNBC had asked which Republicans Trump intended to target during midterm primaries after the former president said he plans to back several primary contenders who support his Make America Great Again agenda. Advisors have told Trump that many Republican voters, who have been polled by the former president's strategists, do not want to see an all-out war in the GOP. Instead, they would rather see Trump focus his attacks on Biden and top Democrats. Gaetz has called for the ouster of Republican House leader Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., after she voted to impeach Trump. The South Dakota Republican voted with Trump over 90% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight data.cnbc.com
Scott takes over GOP Senate fundraising as corporations pull plug on contributions
“Rick Scott is a disgrace who is more concerned about winning a presidential primary in four years than stopping further acts of violence,” American Bridge said. “Someone who so casually puts innocent lives at risk for his own personal ambitions has no business being in one of the top leadership positions in his party.”sun-sentinel.com
Trump meets with GOP allies with eye on challenging count of electoral votes
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, himself a former Republican congressman, confirmed the gathering on Twitter. The 538 members of the Electoral College from all 50 states and the District of Columbia met December 14 to count the electoral votes, formalizing Mr. Biden's victory. If the two chambers agree to accept the objection, the contested state's electoral votes are tossed out. Additionally, because Democrats control the House, it is highly unlikely the lower chamber would vote to toss out a state's electoral votes. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, an ally of Mr. Trump, said challenging the votes would "probably do more harm than good."cbsnews.com
Trump approves two-day stopgap funding to avert shutdown as spending talks continue
Washington — President Trump has signed a continuing resolution that will extend government funding through Sunday to allow negotiations over a government spending measure and a coronavirus relief bill to continue. Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday there would be no vote on the spending measure or the relief bill on Saturday. Lawmakers also wish to append a coronavirus relief bill to this omnibus measure, and congressional leaders are still negotiating that deal. The need to pass a relief bill is just as urgent as an overarching government spending bill. Meanwhile, top lawmakers have insisted for days that they are nearing a deal on a relief bill, even as time is running out to come to an agreement.cbsnews.com
Here's who is likely to get a second stimulus check under the latest relief package
Americans may be getting a second stimulus payment for Christmas after all, although lawmakers are still negotiating the details of a new multi-billion relief package. That's about half of the $1,200 maximum stimulus per person provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The good news is that new stimulus payments will be available for dependents, including adult dependents such as college students, according to the Washington Post. As for who's getting a check, as of now, lawmakers are basing eligibility on the same income standards established in the CARES Act. That legislative package, passed at the end of March, provided full $1,200 payments to individuals earning less than $75,000 and $2,400 for married couples making less than $150,000.cnbc.com
Congress working on two-day funding extension hours before government shutdown
Ahead of the midnight Friday deadline to pass a spending bill, the House introduced a two-day stopgap bill to keep the government running. Leaders on Capitol Hill have said for days they are close to a deal on a $900 billion relief proposal that would accompany a $1.4 trillion spending bill. While bipartisan House officials including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., backed the temporary funding bill, the Senate will pose bigger problems. If lawmakers can approve a spending bill before Monday, the damage from a lapse in federal funding would be limited. Only hours earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. described an agreement as imminent.cnbc.com