Senate

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Rand Paul: I'm Going to Let Patriot Act Expire

His move tomorrow means bulk collection of data will likely halt temporarily

(Newser) - It's all but guaranteed now: The NSA's authorization to collect telephone data on Americans is going to end tomorrow—at least for a few days. That became clear when Rand Paul told Politico that he will block an extension the Patriot Act as well as progress on a... More »

Senator Marries Aide a Year After Denying Affair

Kay Webber a common sight on Thad Cochran's taxpayer-funded trips

(Newser) - Thad Cochran's camp batted down rumors last year of a romance between the senator and longtime aide Kay Webber, the New York Times reports, amid criticism that Webber had joined Cochran on 28 taxpayer-funded trips to 45 countries costing more than $150,000. Now, in a one-sentence statement, his... More »

Surveillance Programs in Jeopardy After Senate Drama

After reform measure fails, Rand Paul blocks Patriot Act extensions

(Newser) - Things got dramatic in the wee hours last night in the Senate, the result being that the Patriot Act—and, specifically, the government's ability to collect bulk surveillance—is now "on life support," reports Politico . Once again, Rand Paul is at the center of things, with Paul... More »

This Guy Used an Emoticon on the Senate Floor

And slammed the GOP in the process

(Newser) - What do Republicans plan to do if the Supreme Court strikes a big blow to the Affordable Care Act? In the words, er, meme, of Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, that would be a bunch of characters (some of them difficult to reproduce) that form an emoticon known as the "... More »

Senate Dems Strike Blow to Obama in Trade Vote

President doesn't get votes needed to move forward on Trans-Pacific Partnership

(Newser) - Senate Democrats have struck down a measure that would have helped President Obama settle a trade pact with Asian countries, the New York Times reports. Sixty votes were needed to pass a measure to launch debate on Obama's "trade promotion authority"—but it was blocked thanks to... More »

98-1: Senate OKs Bill to Review Any Iran Deal

Lone holdout is White House critic Tom Cotton

(Newser) - The Senate overwhelmingly backed legislation today that would let Congress review and possibly reject any final deal with Tehran. The vote was 98-1 for the bill that would give Congress a say on what could be a historic accord that the United States and five other nations are trying to... More »

Senate Will Finally Take Up Loretta Lynch Nomination

Parties reach deal on unrelated bill that was holding things up

(Newser) - She got nominated in November , and the Senate will finally get around to considering Loretta Lynch for the post of attorney general this week. Lynch got caught up in a partisan fight unrelated to her nomination that didn't get resolved until today, reports the Wall Street Journal . But once... More »

'Milestone' Doc Fix Sails Through Senate

Medicare reform passes 92-8, Obama expected to sign

(Newser) - The "doc fix" bill that passed the House last month has now earned the Senate's stamp of approval. The bill—which includes changes to how Medicare pays doctors and extends the Children's Health Insurance Program until 2017—passed with a 92-8 vote yesterday, hours before doctors were... More »

Senate Passes GOP Budget at 3:28am

50-plus amendments passed in all-night 'vote-a-rama'

(Newser) - The Senate powered through an 18-hour session that ended at 3:28am this morning, giving a yea or nay to more than 50 amendments in a "vote-a-rama" marathon and, in a 52-46 vote, approving a budget that looks to pave the way for dumping ObamaCare, Reuters reports. Not one... More »

Kansas Might Make It Easier to Prosecute Teachers

Educators may soon be on the hook for using 'harmful materials' in lesson plans

(Newser) - Kansas Democrats said they were caught "unprepared" by a discussion on a controversial bill, and now it's too late to make any amendments before it goes to a final vote. Senate Bill 56 would make it easier to prosecute teachers and school administrators in Kansas who use "... More »

Senate Hits Wall as Dems Block DHS Funding

Mitch McConnell edges toward new plan against immigration order

(Newser) - Funding for Homeland Security teetered closer to the proverbial cliff today as Senate Democrats again stalled a bill to fund the US agency—but a compromise may be in the works. Senators voted nearly down the middle, 47 for and 46 against, on a measure that needed 60 votes to... More »

Veto No. 3? Senate Passes Keystone

Obama has said he won't sign, and Senate is short of override threshold

(Newser) - It looks like President Obama will be dusting off his "veto pen " for just the third time in his presidency: The Senate today voted to build the Keystone oil pipeline by a vote of 62-36, reports the Hill . And while nine Democrats joined Republicans in favor of the... More »

Senate: Climate Change Is Real, but Not Humans' Fault

Votes reject measures that say people are causing environmental devastation

(Newser) - Even though Republicans have acknowledged that climate change does indeed exist (and the Pentagon has called it a military threat ), GOPers still don't want to commit to stating it's humans who actually cause it. On Wednesday the Senate voted down two measures that say just that—and... More »

There's a Senator in Charge of Stocking a Candy Desk

Pat Toomey hopes his Mars bars and Peeps will keep bipartisan battles at bay

(Newser) - It's said you can catch more flies with honey—or, in Capitol Hill's case, with a desk full of Twizzlers, Three Musketeers, and Milky Ways. Sen. Pat Toomey is the latest honcho to take the helm of the "Candy Desk," currently located in the back row... More »

On Deck for GOP in 2015: A Long Series of Showdowns

Republican leaders to face immigration, debt ceiling, Medicare issues

(Newser) - John Boehner and Mitch McConnell penned a Wall Street Journal editorial in November that promised they would prove wrong "the skeptics [who] say nothing will be accomplished in the next two years." But even with both House and Senate firmly under GOP control when Congress convenes tomorrow , the... More »

NYT: Obama Must Prosecute CIA Torture

'Looking forward' no excuse for lack of accountability: editorial

(Newser) - The Senate report on CIA torture has revealed both despicable acts and a "fabricat(ed) legal foundation" for them, and it's time for those responsible to be held accountable, the New York Times editorial board writes. "No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in... More »

Senate Sends $1.1T Spending Bill to Obama

Would fund government, minus Homeland Security, through September

(Newser) - A $1.1 trillion spending bill is on its way to President Barack Obama for his signature. The Senate voted 56-40 yesterday for the long-term funding bill, the main item left on Congress' year-end agenda. The measure provides money for nearly the entire government through the Sept. 30 end of... More »

Senate Averts Shutdown, Confirms Obama Nominees

Vote on longer-term spending bill due early next week

(Newser) - Their power ebbing, Senate Democrats launched a last-minute drive today to confirm roughly 20 of President Obama's nominees, and several Republicans blamed Tea Party-backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for creating an opening for the outgoing majority party to exploit. Lawmakers took a break from their intrigue long enough to... More »

Torture Report's Footnotes Alone Are Frightening

One detainee may have been simply in 'wrong place at wrong time'

(Newser) - If you don't have time to read the 528-page summary of the Senate's findings on interrogation techniques , you can get a sense of its revelations just by reading the footnotes, Vocativ reports. The site offers material from just the first 200 of the report's 38,000 footnotes:... More »

Torture Report: The 13 Key Techniques

Waterboarding, 180-hour sleep deprivation among them

(Newser) - The Senate's newly released report on "enhanced interrogation" points to 13 different techniques used against detainees. They appear in a Justice Department memo to the CIA from May 2005, and the AP recounts them:
  1. Abdominal Slap: The interrogator slaps the detainee's belly with the back of his
... More »

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