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Friday, December 15, 2017
Senate
Trump

While We Are Distracted By Tweets, Trump Is Building A Corporate State

The destructive toll of Donald Trump’s presidency is beginning to emerge, foreshadowing what’s likely to come as the White House and congressional Republicans begin to reverse, repeal, and replace federal laws and regulations. While Trump’s red-state supporters may be cheering now, they’ll soon feel the consequences.

February 7, 2017
DeVos appointed lobbyists at Department of Education

Confirmed: Pence’s Unprecedented Tie-Breaking Vote Gives DeVos The Edge

President Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the Senate, but only after Vice President Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her. The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a president’s Cabinet nominee, came after two Republicans joined with 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos.

February 7, 2017
Gorsuch, Trump

Democrats Question Independence Of Trump Supreme Court Nominee

Democrats have expressed worry that Gorsuch could act as a rubber stamp for the Republican president’s policies on a nine-seat Supreme Court poised to revert to a conservative majority. With four liberals and four conservatives now on the court, Gorsuch’s confirmation would restore the conservative majority that had existed for decades until the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia.

February 7, 2017
Rick Scott

Rick Scott Figures Some Dictators Aren’t So Bad — If They’ve Got Money

Governor Rick Scott recently warned Florida’s seaports that they could lose critical state funding if they make any shipping deals with Cuba. He later told reporters: “I don’t believe any port in our state, none of them, should be doing business with a brutal dictator.” These would be stirring words if they didn’t reek with hypocrisy.

February 7, 2017
Trump EPA nominee Scott Pruitt

EPA Employees Protest Trump’s Nominee To Head Agency

Over 400 former EPA staff members sent a letter to the U.S. Senate asking its members to reject the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the agency’s new administrator, saying “he has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws.”

February 6, 2017
Planned Parenthood rally, women protesters

Rightward Turn By Supreme Court Will Greatly Affect Women

A Trump court could conceivably outlaw abortion altogether, which would take us into new political (and medical) terrain. You doubt that would happen? Let’s hope you’re right. But the tides of ultraconservative authoritarianism are rising, and those high waters will change the landscape, especially for women.

February 3, 2017
Congress, Trump, Obamacare

The Senate Must Light The Way

Our light, illuminating a separate branch of government, is not yet extinguished. Under the Dome, Congress is scurrying to find its place in the presidential matrix. As disempowered as minority Democrats are, Republicans are wandering the wilderness, too. The establishment lost the election. In politics, which operates on a thousand personal bonds, Donald Trump is an unknown.

February 3, 2017
Russia

Third Congressional Panel Opens Probe Into Russia Election Meddling

The latest inquiry, a bipartisan effort to be led by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, also will explore allegations that similar Kremlin operations are occurring overseas. “Our goal is simple. To the fullest extent possible, we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy,” Graham and Whitehouse said in a joint statement.

February 3, 2017
Gorsuch, Republicans, Senate, Democrats, Obstruction

It’s Time For Outrageous Obstruction Against Gorsuch

Republicans have spent decades weaponizing the Supreme Court as a political tool and are on the brink of a payoff that Trump’s creditors never could have imagined. But they also did something dangerous: They proved there is no price for creative obstruction. Democrats need to understand they have the people on their side. And to keep them there, they have to be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous obstruction. Our democracy depends on it.

February 3, 2017
Gorsuch, Gun Lobby

Neil Gorsuch Is Supremely Qualified, And Must Not Be Confirmed

Gorsuch, unfortunately, must be sacrificed on the altar of obscene partisanship erected by the Republicans in recent years. Temper tantrums designed to undermine the Constitution for naked political purposes cannot be rewarded. Our government cannot survive the short-term games-playing that has replaced fidelity to the intent of the founders’ work in forming this once-great nation.

February 2, 2017

Watch: Al Franken Dismantles Sessions’ Dubious Civil Rights Record

The Minnesota senator slammed Republicans for attempting to recast their colleague as a voting rights champion. “I know Senator Sessions. We served together since I joined this body… and I know his record on voting rights,” Franken bellowed. “He’s no champion of voting rights.”

February 2, 2017
Democrats, Supreme Court

Remember These Numbers When Republicans Accuse Democrats Of Obstruction

The Senate should have seated Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and then turned to Trump’s nominees as vacancies occurred. Never forget that Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have stolen an open seat that would have tilted the court’s balance away from a right-wing majority.

February 1, 2017
Pruitt, EPA

Senate Delays Committee Vote On Trump EPA Pick After Democrats Boycott

The boycott in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee delayed the transition to a new administrator for the agency. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, said he could not support Pruitt, a Republican and the attorney general of Oklahoma, because he “denies the sum of empirical science and the urgency to act on climate change.”

February 1, 2017
Senate Republicans

Republicans Suspend Committee Rules, Approve Mnuchin and Price Without Democrats

Democrats stayed away from the meeting for a second day running, which under the committee’s rules normally would have prevented the votes from taking place. But Republicans voted to suspend the rule that had required at least one Democrat to be present for business to be conducted, sending the nominations to the full Senate for a vote.

February 1, 2017
Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court, Trump

Trump Picks Anti-Choice Federal Judge For Supreme Court

Judge Gorsuch, despite a reportedly mild-mannered temperament, is known for his anti-choice and anti-LGBT stances, pro-employer rulings in labor disputes, anti-regulatory attitudes, dismissal of scientific expertise, and pro-police bias in brutality cases, according to statements from public interest groups issued after the announcement.

February 1, 2017
Labor Department, Trickle down economics

Delayed Again: Senate Postpones Hearing For Labor Nominee Puzder

The U.S. Senate panel tasked with vetting Andrew Puzder to head the Labor Department has postponed its tentative plans to hold his confirmation hearing yet again, a move that some political strategists say could signal trouble for the fast-food executive.

January 31, 2017
kayfabe

Trump Treating Supreme Court Pick Like An Episode Of ‘The Apprentice’

A source involved in the selection process said Trump has made his choice between two conservative U.S. appeals court judges — Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman. Adding an element of drama to what is normally a sober announcement, CNN said both finalists, Gorsuch and Hardiman, had been brought to Washington ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

January 31, 2017
Elaine Chao

Senate Approves Chao To Lead Transportation Department

The Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm Elaine Chao as head of the U.S. Transportation Department, which overseas aviation, vehicle, train, and pipeline safety. Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary, will face key decisions on how to regulate the growing use of drones and automakers’ plans to offer self-driving cars.

January 31, 2017
Mnuchin Treasure Secretary

Democrats Boycott, Delay Committee Vote On Mnuchin And Price

Senate Democrats said they were postponing the vote because they wanted more information on Price’s stock trades in an Australian medical company and needed more details on reports that Mnuchin’s former bank, OneWest, used automated “robo-signings” of foreclosure documents, which contradicted statements the nominees had made to senators.

January 31, 2017
Mulvaney will enforce federal layoffs

Trump’s Billionaire Cabinet Keep Omitting Millions From Ethics Forms

President Trump’s cabinet is worth a combined $14 billion, and they are catching flack in recent weeks for confessing an inability to keep track of their vast sums of wealth. Private bankers who work with the ultra rich say that if they had a dollar for every time a client forgot about a million, they would be, well, almost as rich as their clients.

January 27, 2017
Rick Perry, Energy Department, Oops

Oops! Rick Perry Regrets Calling For Energy Department’s Elimination

“After being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,” the former Texas governor said in his opening remarks during his confirmation hearing. Perry’s proposal to get rid of the Energy Department caused what has become known as his “oops” moment during a 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate.

January 19, 2017
DeVos

DeVos Confirmation Hearing: Guns, Charters, And ‘Potential Grizzlies’

While Republicans for the most part used their allotted five-minute questioning periods to praise DeVos or ask questions that didn’t challenge the nominee, Democrats tried to portray her as both inexperienced and inflexibly ideological. In one devastating exchange, Murphy forced DeVos to admit that she would, in theory, support guns in schools.

January 18, 2017
CIA, Russia

Trump’s CIA Nominee Includes Russia In List Of ‘Global Challenges’

Diverging from Trump’s stated aim of seeking closer ties with Russia, Pompeo said that Russia is “asserting itself aggressively” by invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and “doing nearly nothing” to destroy Islamic State.

January 12, 2017
Rex Tillerson

Tillerson Ducks Queries On Exxon’s Climate Record, Lobbying In Senate Hearing

During the hearings, Tillerson repeatedly said that he and Exxon did not lobby Congress about sanctions against Russia implemented in 2014. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bob Menendez then confronted Tillerson with lobbying documents that showed Exxon opposed the sanctions and paid Washington-based lobbyists to oppose the legislation.

January 12, 2017
Cory Booker, Sessions

Cory Booker Chooses His Moment

Booker was free to speak out against Sessions in any other forum, including on the Senate floor when the nomination comes for a vote. But he made the unprecedented choice to do so during the Sessions nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

January 12, 2017