He also carved up plans for quick passage in January of a massive public lands bill advocated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and killed efforts to seat Democrat Al Franken as the junior Senator from Minnesota, warning that such action would set a negative tone for the new Congress.
Less successful were Cornyns efforts to block the nomination of Eric Holder to become Obamas attorney general. At
his confirmation hearing, Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general and state Supreme Court judge, repeatedly questioned Holders recommendation to former President Bill Clinton to commute the sentences of members of the Puerto Rican independence group FALN who were in prison for setting off bombs in New York and Chicago.
Given Cornyns background and the fact that he is routinely in the running for the designation as most conservative Senator, it is no wonder that he looks to deflate the Democratic agenda at every turn or that he was named chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2010 election cycle. But recently, Cornyn had to assuage conservative concerns that as NRSC chief his recruiting strategy was drifting too far afield.
There are some people in the Republican base that are a little disgruntled at some of our moderates and I made the point that we have to recruit candidates that fit their states if were going to be competitive and that means blue states and purple states, Cornyn said. And I said Id rather have a Republican that will vote with me 80 percent of the time than a Democrat who will vote with me zero percent of the time. I got some very nice reaction to that.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.