Senate Democrats are betting that a week in their home states will persuade Republicans to change their minds on an unemployment-insurance measure that they blocked this week.
Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin said Thursday he plans to bring another extension of the benefits, which expired on Dec. 28, to the floor when the Senate returns after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday break.
“I think it’s important for the Republicans to go home “¦ and explain to the people in their respective states — these Republicans — why they didn’t give these people these benefits because of process,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said. Procedurally, bringing the bill crafted by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., would be possible because Reid filed a motion to reconsider.
In terms of policy, Democrats view the extension as a means to bolster the economy, because the benefits would inject cash into the system and because they believe the safety net catches Americans in need. But the benefits could also serve as a political boon to Democrats, who contrast their desire to help Americans in need with what they cast as a Republican conference overly concerned with Senate procedure.
Reid pointed to a one-year paid-for version of the bill that was blocked this week as an example of what he called a Republican filibuster. But Republicans accurately make the case that Reid blocked them from offering amendments. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week, calling the benefits important, cast blame on Reid for thwarting Republicans’ ability to offer amendments of their choosing.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."