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December 16, 2021

Senate Approves $770B Defense Bill

The $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed through the Senate on Wednesday and is now headed to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

The measure passed with a resounding 88-11.

“Our nation faces an enormous range of security challenges, and it is more important than ever that we provide our military men and women with the support they need to keep America safe,” said Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) ahead of the vote.

“To that end, this bill makes great progress,” Reed said. “It addresses a broad range of pressing issues, from strategic competition with China and Russia, to disruptive technologies like hypersonics, AI and quantum computing, to modernizing our ships, aircraft and vehicles.”

Seven Democrats, three Republicans, and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) opposed the measure.

The NDAA initially passed 89-10, but Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was allowed to switch his vote to oppose it after the fact.

“I know defense isn’t Biden’s top priority, but we showed it is a bipartisan priority in this Congress,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK), the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

The defense deal also includes a troop pay raise of 2.7%.


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Senate passes annual defense bill authorizing $770 billion in Pentagon funding

October 23, 2021

Reps clash once again in a shouting match on the Senate floor: ‘you’re a joke’

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) got into a verbal altercation with Jan. 6 committee members Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) over Black Lives Matter and a bizarre conspiracy theory about Jewish space lasers.

Greene approached the others shortly before the House began voting on a resolution to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for defying subpoenas. She asked Raskin if he would investigate violence at Black Lives Matter protests.

“Like with Kyle Rittenhouse who went and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters?” Raskin replied. “I’m sure there will be an opportunity for us to get to that.”

“This is a joke,” Greene said in a raised voice. “Why don’t you investigate something people actually care about?”

Cheney then told Greene that she was “a joke.” Cheney said Greene should be focusing on Jewish space lasers, a reference to a conspiracy theory Greene previously promoted on Facebook, blaming “space lasers” controlled by a powerful Jewish family for starting wildfires in California. 

“I never said that! You’re done. You’re a joke!” Greene reportedly yelled at Cheney. “Why don’t you go investigate something that matters to the American people?”

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‘You’re a joke’: Marjorie Taylor Greene clashes with Democrats over Jewish space lasers and alleged pro-Trump killer

October 14, 2021

Mitch McConnell feels GOP wrath

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) received severe backlash from his GOP cohorts last week after he helped Democrats raise the debt limit again, and strategists say it was a wake-up call.

Senate aides and GOP strategists say the minority leader’s reputation took some damage last week when he agreed to a two-month increase of the debt ceiling after insisting for weeks that Democrats would have to do it on their own.

“I think this was a crisis entirely of McConnell’s making when he decided to announce the caucus’s position this summer,” said one anonymous Senate Republican aide. “He created drama and thought it would go a lot differently than he expected and then he blinked.”

“He put his caucus into a tough position,” the aide added. “He prides himself on protecting the caucus from tough votes and that obviously took a major blow.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) publicly criticized McConnell last week.

“I believe Democratic Leader Schumer was on the verge of surrendering, and then, unfortunately … Republicans blinked. I think that was a mistake,” Cruz said.

This situation is likely to make McConnell’s job harder, especially given the public criticisms from former President Trump.

“This puts McConnell in a box canyon where he has to be tough and fight the debt limit,” said GOP strategist Brian Darling. “He lost face during that debate, and now he’s going to have to step up and actually be tougher on the second go on the debt limit and force Democrats to use reconciliation.”

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McConnell gets GOP wake-up call

October 8, 2021

Watch: Chuck Schumer elicits groans with ill-timed rant on Senate floor

On Thursday night, 11 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats to end the debate on the deal to extend the debt ceiling until December. They’d reached a bipartisan agreement to avoid an economic catastrophe and were milling about on the Senate floor, talking amongst themselves. And at that moment, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) decided to launch into a rant against the Republicans.

“Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work,” Schumer said. “Despite immense opposition from Leader McConnell and members of his conference, our caucus held together and we pulled our country back from the cliff’s edge that Republicans tried to push us over.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. VA), who has pushed for bipartisanship, was visibly displeased with Schumer’s remarks. Video footage shows him shake his head and put his head in his hands. Eventually, about halfway through Schumer’s four-minute speech, Manchin gets up and walks away.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate at this time,” Manchin later told reporters. “We have to de-weaponize. You can’t be playing politics. None of us can — on both sides,” Manchin said. “Civility is gone.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who voted to end the filibuster and pass the measure, said he confronted Schumer after his comments.

“I thought it was totally out of line,” Thune said. “I just thought it was an incredibly partisan speech after we had just helped him solve a problem.”

“I let him have it,” he added.

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Chuck Schumer picked the wrong moment to go on a partisan rant

October 8, 2021

GOP ‘surprised and disappointed’ with McConnell over Dem deal

Some Senate GOP members are taking issue with the debit-limit deal announced Thursday between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Several Senate Republicans were “surprised and disappointed” when they learned the deal’s details, sources said.

According to The Hill, one Republican senator said, “you could hear a pin drop,” as McConnell shared the particulars of the plan.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) shed some light on why the agreement caught his colleagues by surprise. A group of 46 Senate Republicans sent Schumer a letter in August saying, “we will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, whether that increase comes through a stand-alone bill, a continuing resolution, or any other vehicle.”

“I think they feel like maybe we could have pushed it a little longer,” Cramer said. “The problem is the Republican members feel like we’re blinking and blinking a little earlier than might be necessary.”

A minimum of 10 Republicans would need to vote for the motion to pass and pave the way to raise the debt limit by $480 billion, enough to last until Dec. 3.

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GOP disappointment with McConnell deal could delay vote

September 24, 2021

Schumer announces ‘framework’ deal, but Democrats have ‘no idea’ what he’s talking about

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced a deal between the Senate, House, and White House on a “framework” for paying for the $3.5 trillion social spending package. However, several Senate Democrats said they hadn’t seen any such framework.

Schumer said the deal was a “menu of options” for Democrats to pay for the eventual bill.

According to The Hill: “several Democrats — including key votes, members of leadership and senators on the panel responsible for coming up with the bill’s funding sources — said they hadn’t yet seen the framework and didn’t know what’s in it.”

Sen. Mark Warner (VA), a member of the Finance panel, said he didn’t have the “foggiest idea” of what was in the framework. “I’m almost as anxious to get that information as you are,” he added.

“No, I haven’t seen it,” Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (VT) said he had “no idea” what was in the framework.

Michigan’s Sen. Debbie Stabenow went so far as to say that there was no agreement.

“We don’t have an agreement. We basically on [the] Finance Committee have gone through a list of things and what they would raise,” she said.

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Democrats surprised, caught off guard by ‘framework’ deal

September 9, 2021

Conflicting info on $3.5T infrastructure bill from Pelosi, White House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki both provided comments on the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday, but their information seems to conflict.

When asked about negotiations over the measure’s budget size, Psaki said it “is going to be paid for.”

“This is going to be paid for. That is something the president is committed to, something Senator Manchin has called for as well. The real choice right now is whether you’re going to lower costs for people in this country on elder care, child care, cost of college or whether you’re going to allow the wealthiest Americans and corporations to continue to pay the tax rates that are hardly fair moving forward,” Psaki said during a press briefing.

Earlier in the day, Pelosi said that amount was “maybe” half.

“We will pay for more than half maybe all of the legislation,” Pelosi said. “We will be taking some responsibility to pay for what is in there. So the cost for the future will be much lower than any 3.5.”

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Psaki vs Pelosi: White House says $3.5B package ‘will be paid for,’ speaker suggests otherwise

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