Mitch McConnell fights for dirty water, political time-wasting

President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Oval Office, Aug. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news or

Fun times.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats defeated an attempt by Republicans to kill—of all things—a Clean Water Rule. Because, you know, overreach by the Obama administration in trying to make our water clean. 

The rule, which was finalized in June and which clarifies what water bodies get the protections of the landmark Clean Water Act, restored safeguards for streams and wetlands that lacked clear protection.
The Senate voted on a motion to take up a bill sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) that would have killed the rule. As the White House pointed out in threatening a presidential veto of the bill, it would also “require the agencies to define [protected waters] in a manner inconsistent with the [Act] as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in more confusion, uncertainty, and inconsistency,” and would “result in higher drinking water treatment costs, increased contamination of fish and

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Mitch McConnell pressured to go nuclear on filibuster

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell turns to Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX after speaking to reporters after the Republican party policy luncheon in the Capitol in Washington September 16, 2014.  At left is Sen. John Barasso, R-WY. The U.S. House of Represe

This is fun.

Frustrated with Democrats blocking their agenda, a cadre of upstart Republicans is pushing to revamp the Senate’s rule book to make it harder for the opposition to keep key legislation from coming to the floor.
But the move pits the maverick conservatives against the party’s “old bulls”—such as Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain—who argue the changes would erode key rights of the minority and undermine how the Senate was designed to work. Many of the upstarts have never been in the minority, but veteran Republicans are wary of taking bold action now that could haunt them if they ever lose control of the chamber. […]

“I think it’s appropriate to be able to debate a bill without having to have a 60-vote margin,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “I think when they originally put the rules in place, it was a mistake not to have

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Reid warns McConnell about breaking budget deal

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (L) and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stand together during a ceremony to present Golf legend Jack Nicklaus with the Congressional Gold Medal “in recognition of his many contributions to the game of golf and his

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bringing up—for the third time—a defense authorization bill that Democrats have already blocked twice and have vowed to block again, continuing his leadership strategy of repeating his failures over and over and over, maybe to keep the Senate from actually doing anything? That’s Sen. Harry Reid’s opinion, and he says that the Democrats will oppose the bill again, because McConnell is trying to force it outside of the full appropriations process.

Reid said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was “wasting the Senate’s time” by repeatedly filing procedural motions to move forward with the defense bill that “he knows will fail.” […]
McConnell sought to pressure Democrats Wednesday, saying that with a budget deal reached they should let the legislation move forward. […]

But Democrats, including Reid, are voicing concerns about moving a stand-alone defense spending bill. 

The Nevada Democrat

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Budget deal done, now comes the big fight

President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Oval Office, Aug. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news or

The Senate stayed up late to pass the budget and debt ceiling deal, a last minute bit of campaigning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) notwithstanding. Paul’s promised filibuster was a flop, and the bill passed but with substantial Republican opposition.

Thirty-five Republicans opposed the deal, including Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who are facing tough reelection battles in blue-leaning states next year.
The legislation clears the calendar of major fiscal fights, including funding the government, until after the 2016 elections that will see Republicans defending 24 Senate seats.

Actually, the legislation doesn’t do that at all, and the 35 Republican senators and the 167 House Republicans who voted against this deal means that there will be an ongoing fight. Because it doesn’t fund the government until 2016—it sets overall spending levels, not actually providing the funding authorizations for all the government agencies, and certainly doesn’t

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Reid to McConnell: We’re not done negotiating

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R) sit at the same table during the beginning of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on campaign finance reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing   (UNITED STATES) - RTR3S0VP

The budget and debt ceiling deal working its way through Congress will prevent a debt ceiling crisis and take a key hostage away from Republicans. But what it doesn’t do is continue funding the government past December 11, when the current spending authorization expires. It sets general spending levels for government, but it doesn’t make specific authorizations for spending or actually appropriate the money for programs. Considering how the Republicans have been approaching spending bills, larding them up with noxious policy riders to undo many of President Obama’s accomplishments, there could still be a shutdown at the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under pressure from House Republicans who continue to point the finger at him for the failure of their extreme policies, approached Minority Leader Harry Reid this week, trying to leverage this budget deal into a larger spending agreement.

Would Democrats agree to relax their

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Rand Paul, Ted Cruz to campaign for presidency, destruction of country, from Senate floor

U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) (L) and Rand Paul (R-KY) (R) talk to reporters as they arrive to speak at the Tea Party Patriots 'Exempt America from Obamacare' rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan E

It’s now up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (and Democrats) to pass the budget and debt ceiling deal that keeps the nation from defaulting on our debts next Tuesday, when we bump up against the current ceiling. He’s got some challenges from his hardliners, but mostly from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who smells a great fundraising opportunity here for his presidential campaign.

He’s got to do something to try to stay relevant in this campaign, so he started what he’s calling a filibuster . . . at Fox News. Of course. And of course, like all of Paul’s gab fests, this is not a filibuster. A filibuster stops a bill from proceeding. This bill will proceed, although thanks to Paul’s promise to demagogue it, that

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Congressional nihilists, and Paul Ryan, trash budget deal but are unlikely to kill it

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) pauses as he speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTS5DA3

Paul Ryan wants you to know he doesn’t like this deal.

Congressional conservatives are not happy that outgoing House Speaker John Boehner negotiated away all their favorite hostages until 2017 in the newly announced budget deal. They’re trashing the deal in both the House and the Senate, though their opposition doesn’t seem large or organized enough to derail the package.
On the Senate side, it’s all Boehner’s fault.

Asked about the tentative agreement after the briefing, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions replied: “My knees quiver at the sound.”
In an interview, Sessions expressed frustration that outgoing Speaker John Boehner was hammering out the deal just days before he plans to give up the gavel for good. “What does Boehner got to do with it?” said an exasperated Sessions, the former top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “I’m worried about how fast it’s moving. I see no reason for

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