When word came of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's decision to retire, various observers and Democratic constituencies quickly emerged with their choices for his successor as the party's Senate leader.
There were those who touted Patty Murray of Washington, the proven problem-solver and veteran legislator who has worked her way up the ladder of Senate succession. Others talked up Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who in just two years has emerged as a star in the caucus and who has also joined the leadership in a junior role.
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:07 pm
Harry Reid, the wily Democratic Senate leader, was likely — once again — to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in 2016.
Few, though, would have bet the house against Reid — a sharp-elbowed campaigner — especially in a presidential year when demography will favor Democrats in a state where almost 3 in 10 people are Hispanic.
"Do you really want to go up against Harry Reid?" said one national GOP operative, pointing out Reid's bare-knuckles style of campaigning.
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 4:45 pm
Longtime Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, 75, who announced Friday he would not run for re-election in 2016, isn't exactly known for his charisma on Capitol Hill. But he has become known as someone who will always put up a fight.
That toughness can be seen throughout his life and political career. It was an essential quality during his hardscrabble childhood and time in the boxing ring. And it's what he later brought to fighting organized crime in Nevada and, more recently, taking off his gloves against the Tea Party Republicans.
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:58 pm
Harry Reid's exit could have ignited a scramble to fill the power vacuum among Senate Democrats.
But the Nevada senator is doing his best to avoid what he called a "knock-down, drag-out fight" by endorsing Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat better known as Chuck, who has been Reid's top lieutenant for years.
"He will be elected to replace me in 22 months," Reid told KNPR about Schumer. "One reason that will happen is because I want him to be my replacement."
Reid called Schumer "a brilliant man" and "a tremendous asset."
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:04 pm
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has announced that he won't seek re-election in 2016, says he is backing Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate's No. 3 Democrat, to succeed him in the leadership position.
"He [Schumer] will be elected to replace me in 22 months," he told Nevada Public Radio. "One reason that will happen is because I want him to be my replacement."
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:58 pm
They said it couldn't be done. And for more than a decade they were right.
But on Thursday, staring at a deadline that could have disrupted health care to millions of seniors, the House got something done.
It voted to fix the flawed formula for compensating doctors who provide services to patients under Medicare. But this time it wasn't just a patch for a few months or years — like the ones Congress has done 17 times since 2003.
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 1:32 am
Indiana business owners who object to same-sex couples will now have a legal right to deny them services after Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.
The legislation, approved by Indiana's GOP-controlled House and Senate, prevents state and local governments from "substantially burdening" a person's exercise of religion unless a compelling governmental interest can be proved.
Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 1:24 pm
Every year about this time, after a Washington winter of inactivity, I notice my pants have grown a little tighter. Years ago, I resolved to address this by cutting back on burritos and beer.
But the (ever more abundant) flesh is weak. And burritos are soooo tasty. So instead, every spring I simply let out my waistband a bit, while promising to redouble my dieting efforts next year. I call this, "The belt fix."
Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has stepped out of a federal prison in Alabama and now goes to a halfway house to complete a 2013 sentence for spending hundreds of thousands in campaign money on personal items.
WLS in Chicago reports: "The Jackson entourage, consisting of his father, Reverend Jesse Jackson; his wife, Sandi Jackson; and the former congressman's two children, arrived at Maxwell Air Force Base around 4:15 a.m. Thursday."
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:01 pm
Updated at 4:50 p.m. E.T.
For millions of cash-strapped consumers, short-term loans offer the means to cover purchases or pressing needs. But these deals, typically called payday loans, also pack triple-digit interest rates — and critics say that borrowers often end up trapped in a cycle of high-cost debt as a result.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 10:11 am
Updated at 12:10 p.m. E.T.
Doctors who treat Medicare patients will face a huge cut, 21 percent, if Congress doesn't act by the end of the month. This isn't a new problem. While Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill agree that the formula that pays doctors who treat Medicare patients has long been broken, over the years they've been unable to pass more than temporary patches.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 10:44 am
Just after midnight Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz scooped his own big announcement by about 10 hours. Ahead of a planned speech, he posted the news of his presidential bid on Twitter.
"I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!" he tweeted.
The tweet, which included a 30-second video, was retweeted more than 3,000 times in 30 minutes. Cruz's announcement generated 5.7 million interactions (likes, posts, comments and shares) Monday on Facebook. And during his planned speech at Liberty University, his staff live tweeted lines from the speech on his account.
Senate Republican Dan Coats of Indiana announced Tuesday — probably surprising no one — that he would not seek another term in 2016. Although he has been a stalwart Republican through a turbulent generation in Washington, Coats seems less at home in the hyper-partisan world of Congress today.
While Coats, 71, said his decision was strictly personal and age-related, he did refer to the "terribly dysfunctional Senate" in an interview with the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 5:43 am
The U.S. Supreme Court called a district court ruling that upheld Alabama's redistricting plan, which overloaded some districts with black Democrats, "legally erroneous." In a 5-to-4 ruling, the justices rejected the ruling and sent it back to the lower court.
Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:20 pm
The Supreme Court hears a challenge Wednesday to Obama administration rules aimed at limiting the amount of mercury and other hazardous pollutants emitted from coal- and oil-fired utility plants. The regulations are being challenged by major industry groups like the National Mining Association and more than 20 states.
The regulations have been in the works for nearly two decades. Work on them began in the Clinton administration, got derailed in the George W. Bush administration, and then were revived and adopted in the Obama administration.