WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate began formal debate Thursday on a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a top presidential priority that conservative Republicans had tried to block in the current lame-duck session of Congress.
However, the chamber moved on to other issues on Thursday night, leaving open the question of when it would vote on ratifying the pact.
(CNN) – Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain sounded off on issues being debated in the lame duck Congressional session during an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Thursday night.
Appearing on CNN's John King, USA Thursday night, McCain had choice words for fellow members of his party that plan to vote in favor of the spending bill that contains Republican earmarks. Calling the bill a "monstrosity and atrocity" Mccain stated, "It is a bipartisan plague, and we have Republican senators who may vote in favor of this atrocity.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a dramatic twist played out on the floor of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid conceded Thursday night he lacked the votes to bring up a nearly $1.1 trillion spending bill designed to fund the federal government for the rest of the current fiscal year.
Reid, D-Nevada, accused Republicans of withdrawing previously pledged support for the bill, and said he would work with the Senate Republican leader to draft a short-term spending measure that would keep the government running beyond Saturday, when the current spending authorization resolution expires.
(CNN)- Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden will undergo surgery for early-stage prostate cancer next week, according to a statement released by his office. The timing of this surgery will possibly cause Sen. Wyden to miss critical votes in the Senate.
"After my annual physical in late November, I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. After reviewing all the options with multiple physicians, I decided to take a proactive approach and have surgery, which will be performed December 20 at Johns Hopkins Hospital by Dr. Alan Partin.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry gave a full-throated defense of earmarks Thursday and criticized some Republicans for seeking them in a pending government-funding bill despite a recent pledge to ban them.
"Some people who speak out against congressionally directed spending or earmarks are people who have more earmarks than others. They're hoping, of course, it will pass and they can go home and do the press events as they've done with the stimulus money that we have gotten back to the states saying, 'Here I am, cut the ribbon, look what I did.' You can't have it both ways," Reid said at a news conference.
Sarasota, Florida (CNN) – Opponents of this year's sweeping health care law challenged its validity in a Florida courtroom Thursday, pressing ahead on a second front with their campaign to reverse it.
Just days after a Virginia judge found unconstitutional a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, a judge in Florida heard another challenge to the law, from lawyers representing the attorneys general of 20 states.
(CNN) - Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, Thursday appeared to backtrack comments he made on CNN's "Parker Spitzer" Wednesday night claiming he'd been told President Obama pressured Democrats to vote for a controversial extension of Bush-era tax cuts, saying not passing them would be "the end of his presidency."
DeFazio's turnaround on the issue comes a few hours after the White House said the President "hasn't said anything remotely close to that." As a follow up, DeFazio is scheduled to appear Thursday on CNN's "Parker Spitzer" at 8 p.m. ET.
Washington (CNN) – Wasting no time taking on his own leadership, Congressman-elect Allen West is already picking a bone with House Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor sending the message: lawmakers should have fewer days off.
Cantor, who will be the second-most-powerful Republican in the House, sets the 2011 Congressional calendar which is then communicated to members.
Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich rallied his supporters Thursday to oppose two major pieces of legislation that Democrats want to pass before the end of the lame-duck Congress.
In an email to the 1.2 million members of his advocacy group American Solutions, Gingrich called the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill "outrageous" because it includes roughly $8 billion in earmarks.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid defended Senate earmarks Thursday, criticizing Republicans who voice opposition to the legislative provisions that direct approved funds to a specific project, but then add their own spending measures to legislation.
"I'll bet if you went to 'h' in the dictionary and found hypocrite, under that would be people who ask for earmarks, but vote against them," Reid said.
The Nevada senator spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill amidst ongoing negotiations over the omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government for another year.