Washington (CNN) - Just hours after Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking debate on a Wall Street reform bill Monday, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin slammed the GOP for refusing to act, saying "the filibusters have to end."
Durbin expressed his frustration during an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, listing effort after effort made by Senate Democrats to include Republicans in the legislative process. But even at this late hour, the Illinois Democrat said he is still open to Republican input.
"I'm willing to listen to any constructive suggestion. What I'm not willing to do is basically say we are going to change and weaken the bill to bring in Republican votes. We want to make sure this bill is strong," Durbin said.
Asked by CNN's Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash to address Republican concerns that the legislation being pushed by Democrats is rife with loopholes, Durbin said the bill would strengthen regulators, and would prevent another case of fraud similar to the allegations of misconduct financial giant Goldman Sachs is currently facing.
Washington (CNN) – A Republican who sits on the Senate Banking Committee defended his party’s lockstep opposition to the current version of the financial regulatory reform bill but said he thinks the GOP and Democrats can ultimately reach agreement on how best to oversee Wall Street.
All 41 Senate Republicans voted against a motion Monday that would have started debate on the financial regulatory reform bill. Speaking on CNN’s John King, USA soon after the vote, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said he hoped his party’s unanimous opposition would facilitate more bipartisan negotiations.
DeMint called the current version of the legislation “another massive bill that doesn’t keep the promises on the label.” And the South Carolina Republican said the current bill doesn’t adequately address the causes of the recent financial crisis but it does, in his view, expand regulation to parts of the financial industry that did not have a role in nearly bringing the economy to a halt in late 2008 and early 2009.
Related: Senate delayed on Wall Street reform
“So, we’re hoping the vote tonight will at least get the Democrats to work with us on fixing the problems and making sure that we just don’t have another overreach of government power without really fixing the problem,” DeMint told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
DeMint added that one of the major points of disagreement has to do with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and how to fix the subprime mortgage market.
“[Democrats] are not allowing us to address it. So, hopefully if we can shake them up like we did tonight and help them see they’re not going to ram this down our throat, then we can get a real bill that the American people can feel good about.”
Washington (CNN) - Sen. John McCain defended his state's controversial immigration law, arguing Monday on the Senate floor that Arizona needed to approve the tough new measure to ensure the safety of its citizens.
"This situation is the worst I've ever seen," declared McCain. "If you don't like the bill - the legislation that the legislature passed and the governor signed in Arizona, then carry out the federal responsibilities, which are to secure the border."
McCain is locked in tough primary battle, and immigration has become a central issue.
He recently released a 10-point plan for the federal government to tighten the Arizona-Mexican border. It calls for the completion of 700 miles of fencing and assigning 3,000 National Guard troops to the region.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans succeeded Monday in blocking the chamber from debating a Wall Street reform bill pushed by Democrats and the Obama administration.
The vote means that senators will continue closed-door negotiations on two proposals passed by Senate committees to be merged into a bill intended to prevent another Wall Street meltdown like the one in 2008 that led to the U.S. recessions.
The Senate's 41-member Republican caucus signaled before the vote it would unanimously oppose the motion to begin debate on the bill, meaning there was no chance it could succeed.
Democrats needed 60 votes to pass the measure, including at least one Republican in addition to the 59 votes in the Democratic caucus.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The full Senate is poised to vote Monday evening on whether to take up Wall Street reform, but key lawmakers still lack a deal to get the debate started.
"Today's vote to begin debate on Wall Street accountability will answer many questions," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday. "It will reveal who believes we need to strengthen oversight on Wall Street and who does not."
However, congressional aides and veterans watchers do not expect Democrats to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster stopping any official debate before lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee negotiate a deal.
Democrats and Republicans still disagree about the way to go about preventing future bailouts, cracking down on risky bets and ensuring consumers have stronger protection.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama, a diehard Chicago White Sox fan, praised the New York Yankees for their dedication to their sport and community on Monday, but couldn't resist taking a few shots at the franchise that last year captured its 27th World Series title.
"It's been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans," Obama told the team at a White House ceremony. "I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that, the Cubs, for example. This is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all, and more often than not, you guys get pretty close. Of course, if I had [Yankees pitcher Mariano] Rivera, I'd get pretty close too."
Obama acknowledged the Yankees superiority in 2009, but warned the current team, which includes a slew of first ballot Hall of Famers, not to grow complacent.
"For a White Sox fan like me, it's painful to watch Mariano's cutter when it's against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side. Although I do remember 2005, people, so don't get too comfortable," Obama said, alluding to the most recent White Sox World Series title.
Obama hosted the Bronx Bombers in the East Room, and singled out first baseman Mark Teixeira, shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada and manager Joe Girardi for their dedication to public service.
"When I lost the Democratic primary for re-election in 2006 in Connecticut, it was the most painful moment - most disappointing moment - of my political career," Lieberman said in an interview set to air on CNN's John King, USA. "Yet as I look back to it, and it sure didn't feel like that then, I feel like I was done a favor."
After losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, Lieberman ran in the general election as an independent, besting Lamont and the Republican challenger in order to hold onto his Senate seat.
Lieberman told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that being an independent has worked to his benefit.
Not being in either party, "I think put me in exactly the position I want to be in at this hyper-partisan, non-productive, divisive time in our politics. And it gives me the latitude to try to be a bridge on a lot of different issues, to make things happen. Or sometimes not to be a bridge. Just to speak out and say what I believe - whether it makes everybody on one party or another happy or not."
(CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced her support Monday for Pennsylvania Republican Tim Burns.
"I'm proud to offer my support to Tim Burns in his campaign to bring real job creation to Pennsylvania's 12th district," Palin said in a post on her Facebook page. The former GOP vice presidential hopeful also pointed to Burns' involvement in the Tea Party movement as a reason for her endorsement.
Burns will face Democrat Mark Critz in a May 18 special election for the House seat held for decades by the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha.
Washington (CNN) - National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (Ret.) apologized Monday for a two-minute joke he told before a pro-Israel think tank last week.
"I wish that I had not made this off the cuff joke at the top of my remarks, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it," Jones said in a statement. "It also distracted from the larger message I carried that day: that the United States commitment to Israel's security is sacrosanct."
The joke, which Jones told in front of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, involved a Taliban fighter who was lost in the desert in Afghanistan and stumbled upon a small store owned by a "Jewish merchant."