(CNN) - Republican and Democratic lawmakers were split Sunday over the trajectory of last-minute efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff, a series of major tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in just after the start of the new year.
While President Barack Obama has called on the Senate to pass legislation that would extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said such action fails to solve the country's deficit problem.
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri now has the Republican challenger she'd hoped for, but the first term senator still faces a serious fight to keep her seat in November.
It appears to be a different story in Michigan, where Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow's re-election prospects after Tuesday's primary continue to look strong against GOP attempts to defeat her in the general election.
(CNN) – It seems national Republicans have found a high profile candidate to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan as she fights for re-election next year.
Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra announced Wednesday that he's filing paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan.
Washington (CNN) – Still swaggering after its recent electoral successes, the Tea Party movement appears to be growing more emboldened as it tries to blaze a path to power.
One new bold move: An activist group is publicly parading a list of lawmakers the group is determined to oust from office.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Daniel Inouye, the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, is the latest signatory to a letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass a health care public option using reconciliation, his office confirmed to CNN.
The letter, penned by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado and co-signed by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, and Sherrod Brown, was released last Tuesday. It now has 23 signatories, all of whom are Democrats. The letter is chiefly promoted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow also signed the letter on Monday, according to her office. Stabenow has long supported a public option and is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. Three other Finance Committee members have signed the letter.
The White House unveiled a health care proposal Monday that does not include a public option.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A moderate Pennsylvania Democrat came out strongly Sunday against the possibility of imposing a cap on medical malpractice damages as part of comprehensive health care reform legislation currently under consideration in Congress.
“I don’t think the way to go is to limit the rights of Americans who are injured by negligent or intentional conduct,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey who is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“A $250,000 cap on damages, in my humble opinion, is insulting to our system of justice,” Casey also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “That is not justice as we have come to understand it.”
In an interview that aired earlier on State of the Union, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain suggested that medical malpractice reform was one area where the GOP should begin to crystallize its own positive health care reform agenda now that Congress is about to begin to process of melding together several health care bills in both chambers.
In a speech before a gathering of the Human Rights Campaign, President Obama reaffirmed his campaign pledge to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gays in the military. But, to the disappointment of some gay rights activists, President Obama failed to specify a timeframe for doing so.
Sunday, on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan both said they supported the president’s plans regarding gays in the military and hate crimes legislation pending in Congress that would protect gays and lesbians.
“The president is putting the priorities in the right place,” Stabenow told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King about Mr. Obama’s support for domestic partnership benefits for all couples, the hate crimes bill, and repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
But both Democrats said they could not support same-sex marriage, an important part of the civil rights agenda for many gays and lesbians.
(CNN) - Bankruptcy for the nation's largest auto companies should not be an option, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow told CNN Sunday.
In an interview with CNN's John King on State of The Union, the Michigan Democrat said she supports the Obama administration's commitment to the auto industry as it tries to formulate a viable business plan to move forward.
"I do not support bankruptcy, certainly as the first, second, or third options," Stabenow said. "I am still very concerned, because… there are 600,000 retirees whose pensions, by the way, would become a federal liability in the worst case scenario in a bankruptcy."
"There are tens of billions of dollars, I've heard upwards of $80 billion in federal requirements, federal dollars that would be needed potentially, if they went into bankruptcy," she continued. It certainly is not my first option. And I know that it's not the first option of the administration."
But Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, also appearing on CNN's State of the Union, said bankruptcy is a possibility for the beleaguered auto companies.
"I do disagree with the government just coming in and taking over a company like this. I think that was heavy-handed," Corker said in reference to the administration's request last week that former GM CEO Rick Wagoner resign his post. "I think that is something that we'll look back on in several years and be very concerned about but I hope they are successful."
In an interview that appeared on CNN's State of The Union earlier Sunday, GM's new CEO Fritz Henderson suggested bankruptcy remains a possibility for his struggling company.
"[Bankruptcy] may very well be the best solution for the company," he said.