Tag Archives: U.S. Senate

Deedra Abboud announces for Flake’s senate seat

Deedra Abboud, a Phoenix attorney and community activist, on Monday announced that she will seek the 2018 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. The Arizona Republic reports, Democrat Deedra Abboud announces U.S. Senate bid:

Abboud, 45, formally launched her candidacy at a brief event with supporters at the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix.

“The journey that I have decided to take on today is not just for the people who look like me or sound like me, but for all Arizonans,” Abboud told onlookers. “Because we cannot continue to go backwards on this path that weakens our children’s education, strips health care from people who need it the most, locking up and breaking up families, and, once again, empowering big banks that caused the worst housing crisis in Arizona.

“I am with the growing majority of Arizonans who know that anger and resistance can only take us so far,” she added. “We need to unite to move our families forward. We need to unite to move Arizona forward. We need to unite to move America forward.”

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Abboud has been registered to vote as an independent, but a campaign spokesman said she re-registered as a Democrat Monday in advance of filing official candidacy papers.

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Senate showdown over Judge Gorsuch is scheduled for Thursday

The septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is paving the way for the Senate showdown over Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination to come to a head on Thursday. McConnell tees up Thursday Supreme Court showdown:

The Republican leader filed cloture on President Trump’s pick Tuesday evening, setting up an initial vote for Thursday.

McConnell urged Democrats earlier Tuesday to back down from their filibuster threat, saying they could still “do the right thing.”

“History will be watching,” he said from the Senate floor. “And the future of the Senate will hang on their choice.”

Wow. This is exactly the same thing as the serial killer who blames the cops for his murders, “stop me before I kill again!

This is the man who engaged in total obstruction against President Obama, abusing the Senate filibuster rules. McConnell unleashed nearly 500 filibusters and spent years preventing Republicans from working with Democrats, regardless of the substance of a given issue, in pursuit of his goal of denying President Obama a second term. When four seats opened up on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, McConnell said that the court was too large and the seats should not be filled. He convinced his GOP caucus to filibuster any and all nominees to serve on the nation’s second most important court, in perpetuity and without any regard for the qualifications of individual candidates. He did the same with other vacancies in the federal courts, creating a judicial crisis in backlogged cases. Within hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died, McConnell announced that no nominee from President Obama would receive consideration in the Senate, let alone a confirmation hearing and vote. Mitch McConnell is the villain here.

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Money changes everything: GOP Senate approves unqualified Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary

For the first time in American history, a vice president had to vote in the Senate to break a tie on a Cabinet nominee, and Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Donald Trump’s education secretary. With historic tiebreaker from Pence, DeVos confirmed as education secretary:

The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary Tuesday by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Pence casting a historic tiebreaking vote after senators deadlocked over her fitness for the job.

The entire Democratic caucus of 48 senators voted against DeVos, as did two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who said they did not think that DeVos was qualified for the job. The remaining 50 Republicans voted for her, setting up a 50-50 tie that could be broken only with Pence’s vote.

It marked the first time that a vice president’s tiebreaker was needed to confirm a Cabinet secretary, according to Daniel Holt, an assistant historian in the Senate Historical Office. And it was the first time a vice president cast any tiebreaker in the Senate since Richard B. Cheney did so nine years ago.

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(Update) SCOTUS fight is not about qualifications, it is about an illegitimate nomination process

Following up on the previous post, SCOTUS fight is not about qualifications, it is about an illegitimate nomination process, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post today adds, It’s time to make Republicans pay for their supreme hypocrisy:

You want bipartisanship on Supreme Court nominations? Let’s have a consensus moment around Sen. Ted Cruz’s idea that having only eight Supreme Court justices is just fine.

“There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” the Texas Republican said last year when GOP senators were refusing even to give a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee.

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If that argument was good in 2016, why isn’t it valid in 2017? After all, some Republicans were willing to keep the seat vacant indefinitely if Hillary Clinton won the presidential election. “I would much rather have eight Supreme Court justices than a justice who is liberal,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in October:

At a debate on October 10th, Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said flatly, “I would much rather have eight Supreme Court Justices than a [ninth] Justice who is liberal.” A week later, in a radio interview, he made that a “promise,” telling listeners that “we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were President, would put up.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) went further: “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court.”

Yes, Republicans do have a principle on nominations: When the Supreme Court’s philosophical majority might flip, only Republican presidents should be allowed to appoint justices.

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SCOTUS fight is not about qualifications, it is about an illegitimate nomination process

In an embarrassing display of his reality TV show showmanship, President Trump announced his nomination of Appellate Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court in prime time last night.

Trump invited Judge Neil Gorsuch from Denver and Judge Thomas Hardiman from Pittsburgh to Washington, but only one would receive his rose. Trump in Peak Reality-TV Form for Supreme Court Reveal; Trump brings reality TV instincts to White House; Jimmy Kimmel gawks at Trump’s reality TV Supreme Court nomination, does him one better:

“That’s right, he freaking Ryan Seacrest-ed his choice for the Supreme Court,” Kimmel said. “This is like a two-on-one date on The Bachelor.”

“Was that a surprise?” Trump asked. “Was it?” “Well, yeah, you know who it was a surprise for?” Kimmel said. “The guy who drove all the way out from Pittsburgh to not get picked as Supreme Court judge.”

Regardless of what you may think of Judge Neil Gorsuch and Judge Thomas Hardiman, they were entitled to be treated with more dignity and respect than the has-been celebrities on Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice.

The New York Times editorializes today, Neil Gorsuch, the Nominee for a Stolen Seat:

It’s been almost a year since Senate Republicans took an empty Supreme Court seat hostage, discarding a constitutional duty that both parties have honored throughout American history and hobbling an entire branch of government for partisan gain.

President Trump had a great opportunity to repair some of that damage by nominating a moderate candidate for the vacancy, which was created when Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. Instead, he chose Neil Gorsuch, a very conservative judge from the federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit whose jurisprudence and writing style are often compared to those of Justice Scalia.

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In normal times, Judge Gorsuch — a widely respected and, at 49, relatively young judge with a reliably conservative voting record — would be an obvious choice for a Republican president.

These are not normal times.

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Senate begins work to repeal ‘ObamaCare’ and to defund Planned Parenthood through the budget reconciliation process

I warned you about this months ago.  The authoritarian Tea-Publcians intend to use the budget reconciliation process to complete the budget that the last Congress failed to pass as the vehicle for repealing the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamamCare” and to give their wealthy benefactors a massive tax cut. They have also now added defunding Planned Parenthood to the reconciliation bill.

The reason for this is that under the budget reconciliation process, it only requires a simple majority vote and there is no filibuster in the Senate. Eddie Munster’s Monstrous Plan for America (snippet):

POLITICO Tiger Beat on The Potomac, reports Ryan plans to steamroll Democrats with budget tool:

If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list. And Democrats would be utterly defenseless to stop them.

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EddieMunsterRyan peeled back the curtain on his strategy at a news conference last week after a reporter suggested he would struggle to implement his ambitious agenda next year. After all, it was noted, Republicans are certain to lack the 60 votes needed in the Senate to break Democratic filibusters on legislation. So Ryan gave a minitutorial on congressional rules and the bazooka in his pocket for the assembled reporters.

“This is our plan for 2017,” Ryan said, waving a copy of his “Better Way” policy agenda. “Much of this you can do through budget reconciliation.” He explained that key pieces are “fiscal in nature,” meaning they can be moved quickly through a budget maneuver that requires a simple majority in the Senate and House. “This is our game plan for 2017,” Ryan said again to the seemingly unconvinced press.

The New York Times has an explainer piece on The Parliamentary Tactic That Could Obliterate Obamacare.

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