mitch-mcconnell

McConnell-backed tax treaties sail through Senate, despite Paul
Paul said McConnell ‘sabotaged’ efforts to put privacy protections into treaties with Spain, Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over tax treaties package saying that McConnell had ‘sabotaged’ his effort for privacy protection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate ratified three tax treaties with Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland on Wednesday, joining a fourth pact with Spain that won approval a day earlier.

The votes were lopsided as no more than three senators opposed each of the deals, which update rules aimed at reducing taxes on multinational companies operating in both the U.S. and treaty partner nations.

Letters in Amy McGrath campaign launch video were postmarked the same day
Three-minute video announcing challenge to McConnell was titled ‘The Letter’ about her own unanswered plea

The campaign launch video for Amy McGrath included four Kentuckians writing letters to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Screenshot)

Kentucky Senate candidate Amy McGrath’s three-minute campaign launch  video retells her personal story of getting no answer to letters to members of Congress, then features four Kentuckians writing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for help with personal crises.

The video implies that McConnell never responded, but it appears the letters were sent Tuesday, the same day that McGrath announced her bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge him. 

Kentucky Senate: Seriously, are we doing this again?
Amy McGrath is giving Democrats hope. They should know better

Amy McGrath is running for Senate in Kentucky, hoping to topple Mitch McConnell. But the fundamentals of the state make it a difficult task for her. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — I understand Democrats’ frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as their desire to send him into retirement in the 2020 elections. But once again Democrats have gotten ahead of themselves in their optimism that they can defeat the Kentucky Republican.

Six years ago, Democrats and many in the national media gushed about the prospects of Alison Lundergan Grimes against McConnell. Grimes was young, articulate and personable, and she was the state’s sitting secretary of state.

Harry Reid in winter: Still grappling, and dabbling, in politics
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 81

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential race and baseball in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Harry Reid might have retired from the Senate in 2017 and started battling cancer a year later, but the former Senate Democratic leader doesn’t seem to be the retiring type, especially when it comes to Nevada politics.

“I’m a political junkie, to say the least,” he tells our own Niels Lesniewski in a wide-ranging interview in Las Vegas that we’ve excerpted for this edition of the Political Theater podcast.

Amy McGrath will try to deny Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell another term
Former Marine pilot drew national attention in failed 2018 bid against Rep. Andy Barr

Amy McGrath addresses supporters in Richmond, Kentucky, after her loss to Rep. Andy Barr in 2018. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful 2018 House campaign attracted national attention, will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky Senate seat, she announced Tuesday.

The highly anticipated announcement keys up what is likely to be one of the most closely watched and well-funded matchups of the 2020 congressional campaign cycle, although even Democratic supporters have acknowledged that McGrath faces long odds to unseat one of the most powerful members of the GOP.

Congress returns to pressure to get spending deals done
Key to budget deal is agreement between Pelosi and Trump, GOP senator says

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby had hoped to start marking up fiscal 2020 spending bills after the July Fourth recess, but that looks unlikely now. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With only a month to go before the August recess and three months until the end of the fiscal year, House leaders will not bring the two remaining fiscal 2020 appropriations bills — Homeland Security and Legislative Branch — to the floor due to divisions within the Democratic caucus over those bills and diminishing floor time.

Some Democrats are opposed to an inflation adjustment to lawmaker salaries, as allowed in the Legislative Branch bill. Other Democrats are opposed to immigration and border funding provisions in the Homeland Security bill.

Both parties scored political points in war powers debate
Senate debate was feisty, fierce and principled — and transparently tailored for partisan effect

An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., spiced up debate on the annual Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Senate’s debate last week on presidential war powers was substantive, serious and passionate — with the added benefit of enabling each party to score some political points.

The debate pertained to whether and how to hem in President Donald Trump’s authority to attack Iran amid heightened tensions in the Middle East that spiked this month when Iran shot down a U.S. drone and Trump pulled up just short of launching a counterattack.

McConnell waiting on House and White House deal on spending caps
Without an agreement on limits, Senate appropriators don’t know how much they have to spend, majority leader says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is waiting for a final agreement on spending limits, which hinders Senate action on spending bills. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Thursday that the Senate won’t set its own discretionary spending level and proceed with appropriations markups until a universal caps agreement is reached between House Democrats and the Trump administration.

“I support getting some kind of deal that can tell us how much we can spend so we can go forward,” McConnell said. “The two key players in any caps deal are the speaker and the president. If they can agree on how much we can spend, then we are not spinning our wheels.”

House passes election security measure requiring cybersecurity safeguards, paper ballots
Republicans, in split with Democrats, call it federal overreach and are pushing their own proposals

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an event with House and Senate Democrats on Thursday before a House vote on the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed an election security measure Thursday that would require voting systems to use backup paper ballots in federal contests, while also mandating improvements to the higher-tech side of the polls.

The full chamber voted 225-184 to send the bill to the Senate where it faces stiff opposition from Republicans. House Democrats fast-tracked the bill to the floor after it cleared the Administration Committee by a party-line vote. 

Perfect attendance? Not for Democratic presidential hopefuls
Members of Congress running for president have already been missing votes

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are among the Democratic presidential candidates who may have a schedule crunch between votes and the debates this week.  Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Any time a member of Congress runs for president, there is a tension between voting on Capitol Hill and campaigning on the trail. It’s still relatively early in the 2020 cycle, but the seven senators and four House members running are already racking up absences. 

All of the sitting lawmakers who are seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination have already missed votes, some more than others. And with the first of the party’s presidential debates taking place on Wednesday and Thursday in Miami, several of them are likely to miss more votes this week.