Ahead of a marquee fight Saturday night between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, Minority Leader Harry Reid talked up the fight on the Senate floor Thursday. Reid, a former amateur middleweight boxer, said the fight would be a “stunning athletic event.” “I’m really excited about this unforgettable fight,” Reid said. “There’s nothing like a championship fight … These fights catch the enthusiasm of sports fans all over the world. The eagerness that I have of watching this fight goes far beyond the sport of boxing or the spectacle of a marquee matchup: I’m thrilled for Nevada. This fight will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.”
When asked Thursday about what action Congress can take in the wake of violence in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed to a few proposals on racial profiling and police cameras, adding that Congress should revisit mandatory minimum sentences. “[Rep. Robert C. Scott] has a safety valve act to allow judges to propose sentences below the mandatory minimums … I served for a long time on the Appropriations Committee … and the judges at the highest level of our judicial system would come in there and say, ‘Give us discretion. Mandatory minimums take the discretion away from the judge. These are just — just not right,’” Pelosi said. “And whether they’d be — wherever they were on the philosophical spectrum, they all agreed mandatory minimums were not the way to go. So I think we should revisit that.”
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner pushed back against critics of House Republicans’ plan to strike down a District of Columbia law aimed at combatting employer discrimination base on reproductive health decisions, saying “We have a number of members who are concerned about this issue and the issue is one of religious liberty,” Boehner said. “This is about conscience protections that the president says he supports but really hasn’t put regulations in place to protect the conscience clause that’s been frankly a part of our laws and statutes for decades and decades.”
With the House set to strike down a District of Columbia law aimed at combatting employer discrimination based on reproductive health decisions, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday lashed out at Republicans, calling the vote “Hobby Lobby on steroids,” referring to Hobby Lobby's refusal to provide contraception health coverage to employees based on religion. “Republicans need to recognize that your own health care choices are not your boss’s business,” Pelosi said. “This is not your boss’s business. How dare they? Especially those who are so anti-government, to all-of-a-sudden have government making decisions about reproductive health.”
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner signaled it is up to the White House to help pass an emerging Trade Promotion Authority bill, amid reports that the House is short of the votes needed to pass the legislation. “One thing is clear: there will be strong Republican support for Trade Promotion Authority,” Boehner said. “Another point you should keep in mind is that every Democrat leader in the House and Senate are opposed to giving the president what he is asking for, and the president needs to step up his game in terms of garnering more support amongst Democrats, especially here in the House.” Boehners remarks come as reported early whip counts indicate he will need Democratic support to pass the trade legislation.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner threw cold water on an emerging Senate Iran bill, saying it was too early to speculate on the legislation while slamming Iran for statements it has made throughout the nuclear negotiating process. “We’ll see if there is an agreement, we’ll see what comes of the Corker bill that comes out of the Senate and then we’ll take it from there, but it’s too early to speculate on whether we can or can’t,” Boehner said, responding to a question about whether Congress could stop a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
Sen. Tom Cotton is insisting on simple majority votes on contentious amendments to legislation to provide congressional review of any final nuclear deal with Iran, apparently stymieing the possibility of moving forward, at least for now. The Arkansas Republican sought to line up a pair of amendments that supportive Democratic senators have said could cause them to remove support for the bill. One of those, sponsored by Cotton, would require Iran to allow inspectors full access to suspicious sites. The other, led by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, would require Tehran to recognize Israel’s right to exist. "I think some of the tactics that are now being deployed are going to make it much more difficult for us to be able to proceed in an orderly way," Foreign Relations ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin said.
President Barack Obama kept his mouth open just a bit too long at a Thursday event promoting literacy and “expanding digital learning” at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library. Speaking with children about overcoming writer’s block, Obama went through a long explanation of how to write effectively before being cut off by the moderator. “And I think you’ve sort of covered everything about that question.” “Ok you think I’ve … no, let’s move it along,” Obama replied jokingly.
Speaker John A. Boehner — publicly, at least — has more questions than answers on the Export-Import Bank. At his weekly news conference Thursday, the Ohio Republican would not commit to putting a Senate-passed bill up for a vote if the House Financial Services Committee does not advance a bill of their own, but did say there are thousands of jobs on the line that would "disappear pretty quickly" if the Ex-Im Bank were to expire. “I’d support any plan that the chairman can get through his committee, whether it would reform the bank [or] wind it down,” Boehner said of Jeb Hensarling, the House Financial Services Committee chairman. “So I told the chairman he needs to come up with a plan. And, uh — because the risk is, if he does nothing, the Senate is likely to act. And then what?”
Minority Leader Harry Reid again slammed the GOP budget proposal on the Senate floor Wednesday, comparing it to the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal which has killed more than 4,000 people. “The budget is just wrong. It’s also dishonest,” Reid said. “It claims to be balanced. There is no balance in this budget, that’s a word. The budget is no more balanced than the earthquakes they’ve had in Nepal.”
After a 20-6 vote approving a “fast-track” trade deal in committee last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he would bring up the bill for floor consideration “very soon,” later adding that trade and Iran may be the biggest achievements of the 114th Congress. “When we look back on this Congress — with the possible exception of the Iran nuclear issue — putting America back in the trade business, could be the biggest accomplishment of this Congress,” McConnell said. “This is not a Trade Promotion Authority just for Barack Obama — this is a six year deal — it means the next president, whoever that is, can be engaged with the rest of the world in trying to promote American exports, and I think that’s important for our country."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday called the violence that has erupted in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray “regretful,” saying he hopes the criminal investigations conclude quickly. “Obviously our hearts go out to those who’ve been injured and the other activities that have occurred there that are so regretful,” McConnell said. “I hope the investigation into illegal behavior will be concluded soon and those who’ve been engaged in criminal behavior would be promptly pursued and charged."
A complaint filed by two Capitol Visitor Center employees alleging unfair labor practices by their employer is catching the attention of Senate Democrats, who in a letter on Monday pushed for administrators to give preference to contractors who pay a “living wage,” provide benefits and allow for collective bargaining. On Tuesday, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said he would support raising the wage to $15 an hour for Restaurant Associate workers but would not address whether privatization of congressional food services was a mistake. “I’m not going to go into what happened — it happened before I was rules chair — but we do support a living wage for all of the restaurant workers,” Schumer said. "We’ve made that clear to the chairman of the Rules Committee and we hope we can work something out to get that done.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday said the ending of the NFL’s tax exempt status shows how much money the league is making, saying the NFL has bigger issues to handle. “That tax break that they got is $100 million. They’re treating that as if it’s nothing, because they have such problems with other issues, not the least of which is kowtowing to the owners, especially one that has a team here in Washington,” Reid said. “… We know that they have an ongoing crisis with the head injuries, so the National Football League has a lot more problems than the subsidy that they get from taxpayers.”
Reacting to violence in Baltimore that has broken out over the death of Freddie Gray, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday said Gray would not be forgotten, calling on violence to end and for government to invest more in underprivileged areas throughout the country. “A man is dead who should not be dead. His name was Freddie Gray,” Reid said. “This young man’s death is the latest in a series of disturbing and unnecessary deaths of young men of color at the hands of police and vigilantes. To be clear, violence is never acceptable in any regard — it is never an acceptable response … but we should not let the violence perpetrated by a few to become an excuse to ignore the underlying problem: that millions of Americans feel powerless in the face of a system that is rigged against them.”
Even before GOP lawmakers had filed a budget resolution conference report, Senate Democratic Conference Chairman Charles E. Schumer was firing a warning shot about the next step in the process of funding the federal government. “Republicans should be warned right here, right now, Democrats are not going to help you pass appropriations bills that lock-in senseless, automatically triggered cuts that hurt the middle class,” the New York Democrat said. “Instead, we’ll be eager to work with our Republican colleagues to prevent those cuts from taking effect and restoring both defense spending and vital middle class funding in an even way, one dollar for defense, one dollar for the middle class.” Schumer made the statement just after rattling off a list of provisions Democrats oppose in the Republican budget blueprint, after the ink was supposed to have been dry, but before it actually was.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he had no regrets about immigration-related executive actions taken by the Obama administration in November, saying the undocumented immigrant population had to be “reckoned with.” “I believe that the undocumented population in this country, at least half of which has been here more than 10 years, has to be reckoned with. We know they’re here, and they are not priorities for removal,” Johnson said. “I have what is in my judgment as a lawyer a very, very thoughtful opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel that we have the legal discretion to do what we did.”
Two days after Corinthian College announced plans to close its remaining schools, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin laid into the Department of Education for its “unacceptable” response to the closings, while hammering the broader for-profit college industry. “I’m renewing my call to the Department of Education to reach out directly to the thousands of students who’ve been exploited by this Corinthian College. To provide discharge applications to these students and give them clear, upfront information about how transferring their credits to another school, may impact their ability to discharge their loans,” Durbin said. “You see, if you transfer these Corinthian credits — which are of limited value — to some other school, you can’t discharge your loan that you took out at Corinthian.” The Illinois Democrat later slammed the for-profit college industry, listing ongoing investigations into schools while lambasting the Education Department for including these same schools on a list of colleges Corinthian students could transfer to. “How in good faith can they tell these Corinthian students, who just had their college disappear and are sitting on a pile of debt, that these are viable transfer options for their students?” Durbin said. “Why is the U.S. Department of Education not blowing the whistle on this school and every other school that’s exploiting students all across America?”
One day after riots broke out in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin took to the Senate floor, calling Monday’s violence “heartbreaking” while urging protestors to "exercise restraint." "Baltimore is known for its people, its friendliness and its real pride in the strong neighborhoods. That was shaken very badly during the events of yesterday," Cardin said. "What happened to Freddie Gray is something that needs to be fully investigated … and I was pleased that we will have that independent investigation done by the Department of Justice … there were a small number that decided to take to the streets in violence. It was counterproductive to the message.”
Many Kentucky radio listeners will be hearing a familiar voice at the start of coverage of the Run for the Roses. Over an instrumental version of "My Old Kentucky Home," Louisville-based 840 WHAS is featuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introducing the news radio station’s coverage of this year’s 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. “This is Sen. Mitch McConnell. Welcome to one of our commonwealth’s most treasured traditions, filled with colorful pageantry, remarkable speed and stunning surprises. It’s the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown,” McConnell says in the recorded promo. “The Kentucky Derby on NewsRadio 840, WHAS.”
As Nancy Pelosi and John A. Boehner smooched, members spent the remainder of the workweek protecting turtle passwords, choking up over Sam Houston and threatening to drop constituents’ asses.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi extended condolences to the families of two Al Qaida hostages killed in a January strike at her weekly news conference Thursday, calling the deaths “heartbreaking.” “It’s a tragic, terrible, terrible day,” Pelosi said. “There’s no way to say anything less than our thoughts and prayers are with the families, their sacrifice is a big one, the idealism of their family members will always be remembered and that will be part of their legacy, and part of their legacy is for us to do better.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back against an emerging “fast-track” trade deal at her weekly news conference Thursday, calling the legislation a “pothole” and saying Republicans had a responsibility to work with Democrats to develop a better framework. “[If] they have 218 Republican votes … I don’t think they’ll pay too much attention to many of our concerns. I don’t know if they have that,” Pelosi said. “If they don’t have 218 votes, we have a further opportunity to say, ‘Where are some areas that we can come together.’” Sens. Orrin G. Hatch and Ron Wyden along with Rep. Paul D. Ryan negotiated the trade framework, which the Ways and Means Committee marked up earlier today after the Senate Finance Committee approved a similar measure 20-6 on Wednesday.
Compounding a series of dark days for Capitol Police, a bolt of lightning struck a post on the south side of the Hill this week while an officer was stationed inside. Monday night’s storm carried torrential rain, cannon shots of thunder and quarter-sized hail through the Washington-metro area. A 14-second video captured as the storm trekked across Capitol Hill shows a crack of lightning fracturing the sky and electrifying a security kiosk near the south door of the building.
Shortly before advancing Loretta Lynch’s attorney general nomination Thursday, Sen. Claire McCaskill slammed the delay on the confirmation vote on the floor, calling out Republicans for practicing base politics aimed at “the cheap seats.” “[It] doesn’t get any uglier than this,” McCaskill said, a former prosecutor herself. “It is beyond depressing. It’s disgusting … She is a prosecutor’s prosecutor. She’s prosecuted more terrorists than almost anyone on the planet.” The Senate voted to cut off a filibuster on the nomination, 66-34, and later confirmed Lynch, 56-43.
When asked Thursday about a Politico report on Rep. Bill Shuster’s relationship with a top aviation lobbyist, Speaker John A. Boehner said he would not comment on the Pennsylvania Republican's relationship with anyone, but said he is “comfortable” with ethics protocols to prevent conflicts of interest between members and lobbyists. “I’m also very comfortable that proper procedures were put in place to avoid a public or professional conflict of interest,” Boehner said.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Speaker John A. Boehner did not commit to holding floor debate or a vote on a White House-submitted Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group and instead slammed the administration’s AUMF for restricting President Barack Obama’s ability to defeat ISIS. “I don’t know why we’d want to give him less authorization than he has today,” he said. In December, Boehner said the White House should submit an ISIS AUMF before subsequently hammering the proposal in February for “tying” Obama’s hands. Earlier this week a House Democrat and Republican sent a letter to Boehner calling for the House to take action on the proposal.
Speaker John A. Boehner expressed his condolences to the families of two al-Qaida hostages killed in a January strike at his weekly news conference Thursday, saying the House would wait for the White House review of the incident before taking additional oversight measures. “I’m sure that the House Armed Services Committee and or the Intelligence Committee will look at this, but my guess is we’ll wait for to see what the review board develops and then take a look at that, to make sure that this kind of occurrence does not happen again while we work to protect American lives,” Boehner said.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “hoped” to move a Trade Promotion Authority bill through the Senate ahead of the Memorial Day recess, less than 24 hours after the Senate Finance Committee approved the legislation, 20-6. The bill would enable the president to bring a negotiated trade agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Lawmakers would not be able to amend the trade pact.
President Barack Obama said Thursday he has ordered a full review of the January operation that killed two hostages held by al-Qaida at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In an eight-minute address to reporters, Obama said it is “a cruel and bitter truth” that in the “fog of war … mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes, can occur.” “I profoundly regret what happened,” he said.
In an impromptu hallway conversation with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, Rep. Tony Cárdenas did not confirm nor deny reports that his district director was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury about using staffers to conduct campaign work. “I don’t know more than what you guys have been trying to say in the press,” Cárdenas said during the two-minute conversation. When CQ Roll Call posited that Cárdenas must know why his staffer was subpoenaed, Cárdenas said he didn’t. “No. I am not able to confirm any of that,” he said.
In testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing Tuesday, State Department Inspector General Steve A. Linick told the committee that along with needing better communication about potential criminal activity by department officials, he also needed an independent computer network. Linick said while there was no indication of State Department personnel looking into sensitive files on his computer, the possibility existed due to the shared network. Linick highlighted the sensitivity pertaining to investigation materials on whistleblowers as one example. “They’re not open, but if an administrator wanted to — and again, we don’t have evidence of this — if an administrator wanted to, he or she could come on to our system,” Linick said. “They come on to our system as it is with security patching and all, for legitimate reasons."
Hours after announcing a deal to vote on an anti-human trafficking measure and Loretta Lynch’s attorney general nomination, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid issued a stark warning to Republicans over offering “germane” amendments to the trafficking bill at his weekly news conference Tuesday, saying GOP amendments could “stall” consideration of the legislation. “Although we have an agreement on the legislation, we’re not out of the woods yet and that’s an understatement,” Reid said. “A final vote on the agreement [could] still be stalled by the Republicans because they can’t get over offering a bunch of amendments, most of which, as I’ve seen them, are not germane. Now we’re not going to be filibustering any of their amendments, but we’re not going to be rushed into not having a good debate on these amendments, some of which are very egregious.”
When asked Tuesday about conflicting reports over Iran’s nuclear weapon breakout time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “withheld judgement” while touting again the Corker-Menendez bill, giving Congress a review period for any nuclear deal reached with Iran. “Apparently for the next three months or so, we’re going to have a lot of interpretations from both the Iranians and from the administration about what the deal does or doesn’t do,” McConnell said. “But in the end we’re going to have the deal, and the administration will have to provide us all the details in order to get the deal approved. And I’m going to withhold judgement.”
At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said legislation on cybersecurity, “fast-track” trade authority, Iran and a rewrite of No Child Left Behind would be next on the Senate agenda after the chamber votes on an anti-human trafficking bill and Loretta Lynch’s attorney general nomination. McConnell declined to specify when and how the Senate would debate the items. “I’m not going to lay out the order, but I’ve already listed the bills that are out of committee on a bipartisan basis, and those would be candidates for consideration between now and the Memorial Day break,” McConnell said.
The district director for sophomore Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas notified the House Thursday that she’s been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury conducting an investigation in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Gabriela Marquez, who heads operations in the Los Angeles congressman’s Panorama City office, issued the formal notice in accordance with House rules and staff in the congressman’s Washington, D.C., office confirmed the April 13 communication, but did not provide further details. Sources in California tell CQ Roll Call the FBI spent a few hours interviewing Marquez in her California home roughly three weeks ago, asking questions about whether staffers in Cárdenas’ office worked on campaign-related activities while being paid for official office time.
Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a human-trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks. “There have been good-faith negotiations to resolve the impasse that has prevented the Senate from moving forward on this bill,” McConnell said. “And now, I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this important legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it.” “As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we’ll move to the president’s nominee for attorney general—hopefully in the next day or so,” he said.
Lawmakers shook off the rust of a two-week recess recalling trips to McDonald’s, playing their favorite Disney ringtones and counting to seven.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday simultaneously slammed the Iraq War while defending Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2002 vote authorizing military action in Iraq, saying the former senator and secretary of State’s vote should not disqualify her from becoming president. “I mean [the Iraq War] was wrong all around,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “Having said it, that was then, this is now, we go forward. And I do not think that the vote that Hillary Clinton took on that, nor did I think the vote that John Kerry took on it, disqualified him from being a candidate for president.” Pelosi’s remarks come on the heels of comments last week by Lincoln Chafee, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, who said nobody “should be president of the United States that made that mistake.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Wednesday gyrocopter landing at the Capitol “stunning” at her weekly news conference Thursday, deferring to the investigators when asked about specifics and saying lawmakers “certainly need answers." “We have to subject what we do the the harshest scrutiny as to how does this enable people to enjoy fine employment, legislate in the Capitol, but nonetheless ensure their safety,” Pelosi said. The gyrocopter incident followed a suicide at the West Terrace of the Capitol that occurred over the weekend.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised House Democrats at her weekly news conference Thursday for initially opposing an Iran nuclear bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, linking congressional opposition to a compromise later reached by Corker and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In expressing her support for the compromise bill, Pelosi also called the legislation “innocuous,” saying, “I don’t think we need any legislation." “It’s much different from the original Corker bill, … Congress can always act,” Pelosi said. “But the Corker bill in the form that it was, was harmful. I don’t think it’s as harmful now.”
In a back-and-forth with reporters Thursday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the White House “has concerns” about the leadership of DEA chief Michele Leonhart, two days after lawmakers grilled officials at a House Oversight on a Justice Department report detailing the DEA’s history of sexual misconduct. “At this point, we are — we do have concerns about what’s been reported by the Office of Inspector General, we do have high expectations for those who serve this government and serve the American people and we do believe it’s important for the Department of Justice to do as they’re doing, following through on some reforms to address those concerns,” Earnest said. When pressed whether Leonhart has lived up to those expectations, Earnest replied, “I think I’ve said all I have to say about this subject.”
A Senate Finance hearing on U.S. tariff policy was disrupted Thursday not by protestors, but by one Republican’s Disney-themed ringtone. In the middle of questioning Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sen. Pat Roberts found himself in a unique predicament when his cellphone rang to the tune of “Let It Go,” the theme song to the popular 2013 movie “Frozen." The Kansas Republican didn’t miss a beat, telling the committee, “just let it go."
On the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy paid tribute to the 16th president Wednesday on the House floor, noting Lincoln was a member of the House of Representatives before he became "one of our greatest statesmen.” “At 7:22 this morning, 150 years ago, we lost one of the greatest leaders of our nation, President Abraham Lincoln,” McCarthy said. “As we remember Lincoln as one of the greatest American leaders and the truest embodiment of American principles, our country still feels the mark of his great presence today.”
Four staffers for ex-Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., have been issued grand jury subpoenas as part of an investigation into their former boss's improper spending. As the House convened after a two-week recess Tuesday, the clerk read each staffer's letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, notifying him they had been served with a grand jury subpoena for testimony by United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. House rules stipulate that an employee of the House must notify the speaker if he or she receives a subpoena.
After weeks of negotiations, the White House now appears poised to sign the Corker-Melendez Iran bill after it passed through a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup on a 19-0 vote. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama “would be willing to sign” compromise legislation, but cautioned the bill would need to go through markup — Earnest was asked about the bill ahead of a Tuesday afternoon hearing. “We’ve gone from a piece of legislation that the president would veto to a piece of legislation that’s undergone substantial revision, such that it is now in a form of a compromise that the president would be willing to sign,” Earnest said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “laughable” to think Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton represented a “change” from President Barack Obama at his weekly news conference Tuesday, saying she “represents the views” and was a part of the Obama administration and its policies. “If the American public is happy with where we are at home … and if they’re comfortable with America’s current position of influence around the world, then maybe Secretary Clinton will win,” McConnell said. As for the Republican presidential nominees? “We’ve got a great bunch,” McConnell added.
Ahead of a midnight deadline to fund payments to doctors treating Medicare patients, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the Senate to pass a House-passed fix to the sustainable growth rate payment formula despite concerns from conservatives that the legislation adds to the deficit. “On something like 17 occasions, we’ve gone through these so-called short-term fixes, under which we have largely whacked providers far beyond what I think was appropriate. So yeah, I think like any large bill it’s a mixed bag in some respects, but I think on the whole it’s a bill well-worth supporting. We also need to pass it today and I think most of our members understand that.” The Senate may vote on the House-passed bill tonight.
Amid speculation over whether Sen. Patty Murray will challenge Sen. Richard J. Durbin for minority whip in the 115th Congress, Minority Leader Harry Reid brushed aside the issue and pivoted to praising the Senate leadership team. “Leadership positions … will be determined after the first of the year — toward the end of next year,” Reid said. “I’m so happy, proud of, in admiration of my three leaders that have been with me during basically my entire tenure. There’s never been a better leadership team in the history of the country as far as leading the caucus.” Reid has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer to succeed him as the Senate's Democratic leader.
With the Senate set to continue sitting on Loretta Lynch's nomination to be attorney general, Minority Leader Harry Reid affirmed at his weekly news conference Tuesday that she would be confirmed to head the Justice Department. “Loretta Lynch will get confirmed,” Reid said. "We’re not going to let this one be held up, and we have ways of handling this.” Republicans and Democrats are at odds over an abortion rider in a human trafficking bill, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said would be considered before Lynch’s nomination is taken up on the Senate floor.