Schumer’s shutdown performance sparks unrest in his ranks

California’s two Democratic senators could barely contain their anger after Chuck Schumer cut a deal with Mitch McConnell to reopen the government on Monday — and deal later with the 200,000 Dreamers in their state facing deportation.

“I’m disappointed with a conversation that suggests a false choice: You either fund the government or you take care of these … kids. We can do both,” Sen. Kamala Harris fumed. It would be “foolhardy” to trust McConnell, she said of the majority leader’s promise to take up an immigration bill in the coming weeks.

The Democratic strategy going in was to use their leverage in the government funding fight to help Dreamers, lamented Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “I trust that because the leadership did it this way, that they must know something I don’t,” she said.

The turn of events Monday marked the most serious cracks in the unity Schumer has painstakingly built Continue reading “Schumer’s shutdown performance sparks unrest in his ranks”

Ethics panel opens harassment inquiry into Rep. Pat Meehan

The House Ethics Committee on Monday opened an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), who left the panel two days earlier amid revelations that he settled a misconduct claim filed by a former aide.

The ethics inquiry follows a formal request by Meehan, whose office acknowledged on Saturday that he used his personal office budget to settle the harassment claim, after its existence was reported by The New York Times. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) is stepping into Meehan’s seat on the ethics panel, according to the committee.

The committee’s announcement of a Meehan inquiry cited allegations of harassment as well as his use of his office budget to resolve his former aide’s claim. The congressional Office of Compliance, created to adjudicate harassment claims, maintains a taxpayer-funded account for payment of misconduct settlements — but Meehan and former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) used their office Continue reading “Ethics panel opens harassment inquiry into Rep. Pat Meehan”

Senate Dems’ ‘2020 caucus’ votes against shutdown deal

Senate Democrats’ 2020 caucus united on Monday against the deal to end the government shutdown.

The opposition from the more than half a dozen liberal senators who are seen as potential challengers to President Donald Trump wasn’t unexpected — they had already vowed to oppose any spending bill that didn’t include immediate relief for Dreamers.

But their votes against a three-week government funding bill underscore their alignment with a liberal base that is eager to take a hard line against Trump and quickly rebelled against Senate Democratic leaders’ acceptance of Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s offer to merely hold a vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks.

“I persistently argued that we should keep the government open while we negotiate, but that we need a shorter timeframe – one- to three-day increments – to hold Trump’s and McConnell’s feet to the fire," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in a Continue reading “Senate Dems’ ‘2020 caucus’ votes against shutdown deal”

Liberals livid after deal to end shutdown

Liberal activists are furious with Democratic senators after most of them agreed to reopen the federal government without a firm path to shielding young immigrants from deportation.

As the third day of the shutdown dawned, liberal advocates and immigration groups fired off a joint statement blasting as "unacceptable" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) offer to merely hold a vote on immigration — with no promises for action from the House or White House — in exchange for Democratic votes to reopen the government. But three hours later, Democratic senators agreed to just those terms — sparking anger on the left.

"Millions of people flooded the streets of every major American city to stand up to Trump this weekend," tweeted Leah Greenberg, the co-executive director of the influential activist network Indivisible. "Your constituents want you to fight. How can you possibly not understand that?"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Continue reading “Liberals livid after deal to end shutdown”

Democrats balk at McConnell’s shutdown offer

Washington began its third full day of the federal government shutdown on Monday without any clear plan to dig itself out of its self-inflicted mess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has teed up a vote for noon Monday that would re-open the government through Feb. 8. He pledged Monday on the Senate floor that as long as the government remains open he will proceed to an immigration debate with a "fair" amendment process and a debate that will have a "level playing field." But so far, that doesn’t appear to be enough to persuade Senate Democrats to break the spending impasse.

"The Senate cannot make progress on any of these crucial matters until the government is reopened. We need to move forward, and the first step, the very first step, is ending the shutdown," McConnell said.

Senate moderates working on a compromise are hoping McConnell will delay Continue reading “Democrats balk at McConnell’s shutdown offer”

Graham tees off on Stephen Miller over immigration

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday renewed his criticism of White House aides’ handling of immigration, portraying them as having undercut President Donald Trump’s ability to cut a deal as the government shutdown entered its second day.

Graham singled out White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a pugnacious conservative who has a keen focus on restrictive immigration policy.

"As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years," Graham told reporters as he entered a meeting of more than a dozen senators from both parties who have worked since the shutdown began to carve out space for a compromise.

The South Carolina Republican appeared earlier this month to have forged a détente with Miller, who fought bipartisan attempts at an immigration deal in 2013 as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). But Graham, who Continue reading “Graham tees off on Stephen Miller over immigration”

Senate to vote Monday on plan to reopen government

Party leaders and rank-and-file senators spent all day Sunday haggling over a deal to reopen the government. But Washington’s painful shutdown will nonetheless drag into Day Three.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the chamber would vote on a plan at noon Monday to fund the government through Feb. 8. In an attempted concession to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, McConnell said he would take up legislation to protect some young immigrants from deportation if a deal to address their status is not reached by the time funding expires in early February.

But Democrats were not ready to call it a deal, even as McConnell implored the Senate to vote Sunday night to reopen the government. "The shutdown should stop today," he said.

Schumer said further negotiations were needed and spurned McConnell’s request, pushing a vote until Monday, when hundreds of thousands of federal Continue reading “Senate to vote Monday on plan to reopen government”