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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On a party-line vote, "the House Judiciary Committee defeated a Democratic effort Tuesday to obtain any information the Justice Department has on possible conflicts, ethical violations or improper connections to Russia by President Donald Trump and his associates. The committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, opposed the resolution, even as he acknowledged the Justice Department hasn’t acted on his own request for a briefing on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election and potential ties to the Trump campaign." He said he'll be sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting him to pursue "all legitimate investigative leads" into those matters.
"President Donald Trump won’t sign a revised travel ban on Wednesday as had been anticipated, two senior administration officials confirmed. One of the officials indicated that the delay was due to the busy news cycle, and that when Trump does sign the revised order, he wanted it to get plenty of attention."
Near the end of his speech Tuesday, Donald Trump made a firm proclamation affirming his support for NATO. "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump said. However, he continued on, "our partners must meet their financial obligations."
In his address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump called on the two chambers "to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare." The entire section of Republican members of Congress united in a standing ovation, while Democrats sat silently, with some even giving a thumbs down to the cameras. At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was shown shaking her head in disapproval. While Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, he failed to give any specifics, though he did say those with preexisting conditions should have access to care and give flexibility back to the states.