Just hours before a sure-to-fail vote to restore more than $6 billion in funding for military benefits, Senate Democrats and Republicans now appear ready to move the measure forward.
Last week, Democrats had planned a Monday night vote to restore the funding, which was cut as part of December’s budget deal. They assumed Republicans would block the bill because it lacked a spending offset and would increase the national deficit.
But by Monday, just hours ahead of the vote, senior Republican and Democratic Senate aides said that they expected the chamber to easily find the required 60 votes to proceed to a debate on reversing the cuts. The ensuing debate on how to unwind the cuts is likely take up most of the week.
The measure, however, still has to clear several hurdles. Republicans are still balking at the lack of a budget offset, and they plan to push for changes to it as it moves forward.
A senior Republican aide said Republicans felt the veterans issue was too important to let pass an opportunity to move the measure forward. So instead of blocking the bill, the aide said, they’re trying to force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow debate on Republican amendments that would pay for the cost of reversing the pension provision.
Several Senate Republicans have rallied around an idea from New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte that aims to close loopholes to prevent undocumented immigrants from enjoying the child tax credit.
Some senior Democrats like Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, of Michigan have preferred a payfor from New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen that would close offshore tax loopholes.
Either payfor is considered a nonstarter to the opposite political party.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."