(CNN) – A delegation of U.S. senators on a visit to Iraq said they were impressed with the progress the country has made over the past few years, but urged political factions to form a new government soon.
Senators John McCain, R-Arizona, Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, spoke to reporters at a news conference during their visit Saturday.
Vice President Joe Biden also arrived in Iraq Saturday to celeberate the July 4 holiday with U.S. troops.
"Baghdad to us now is a very different city than when we first came here," Lieberman said. "It's thriving, it's clean, there's growth going on, it's great to see."
After an eight-month hiatus from Sunday Morning talk, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks. Despite all the hefty issues floating through the White House, he remains an aficionado of raw politics. Ratcheting up the political noise over Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) apology to BP, Emanuel said Barton’s now retracted words were “not a political gaffe… (but) a philosophy.”
As close as Democrats try to tie all Republicans to Barton’s remarks, that’s how far away Republicans want to get.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “The statement that Representative Barton made was wrong. Absolutely wrong.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky): “I couldn’t disagree with Joe Barton more.”
Coming soon to a campaign trail near you.
In the 62 days since 11 men were killed on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, more than 70 members of the U.S. military were killed in Afghanistan. Taking stock of the war, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Chairwoman, Senate Intelligence Committee) called Afghanistan a “difficult situation.” Sen. Richard Lugar says the question is what’s the mission, …”the President is going to have to redefine the plan.
Amid signs that June may be the deadliest month so far this year in Afghanistan and against the backdrop of a U.N. report saying roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan are up 94 percent in the first four months of this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates blames the media and argues that people are “losing context.” Gates says the plan to begin withdrawing troops in 2011 still stands.
To all Dads, wherever you are this day, Happy Father’s Day.
Washington (CNN) – Echoing President Obama’s Oval Office address to the nation last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, said Sunday that a comprehensive energy bill can be done during this midterm election year. Lieberman added that he hoped the Gulf oil spill would help motivate lawmakers to support the controversial legislation.
Speaking Tuesday, Obama called the Gulf oil disaster "the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now."
Asked about energy legislation Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Lieberman said a bill “does have a chance and it needs to be done.”
Lieberman, one of two principal architects of an energy bill that includes a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, also suggested that support for his bill is about 10 senators shy of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
“There are about 50 senators who want to vote for a strong, comprehensive energy bill that puts a price on carbon pollution,” Lieberman told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “There are about 30 who are set against it and there are 20 undecided. You’ve got to get to 60 to pass anything in the Senate. We need half of the undecided and we can do it.”
The senator added, “And we’ve got to do it. And I hope the spill in the Gulf will motivate us to do it. Because the less we depend on oil, the less chance there is of another environmental disaster like this.”
Asked about a competing bill that does not include a comprehensive cap-and-trade system, Lieberman expressed some openness to a compromise floated by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that would impose a carbon cap only on the energy utilities across the country.
“Yes, I’d like to look at that,” Lieberman said, though he was quick to defend the concept of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions.
Washington (CNN) - A new Congressional cyber security proposal would give the president emergency powers to protect critical private networks under attack, but the bill's sponsors insisted it does not allow the government to take control of any private cyber-network.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, who helped create the legislation, said the president could order a patch or tell a cyber network to stop receiving incoming data from a particular country when critical infrastructure in the private sector such as the electrical grid or financial grid is threatened or attacked. A company that complies with the order would be given immunity from any liability for any consequences of the action.
Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, emphasized the proposal does not allow for any new surveillance authority.
"This isn't a case of the federal government increasing its surveillance of private sector computers nor would it permit the government to take over private networks," said Collins. "It enables the government in concert with the private sector to better protect our nation's cyber assets."
The bipartisan bill announced by Lieberman, Collins and Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Delaware, creates a cyber security center at the Department of Homeland Security and would make the cyber security coordinator at the White House a permanent position, confirmed by the Senate. The position is currently appointed by the president.
Washington (CNN) - Two senators, one a former presidential nominee and the other a previous vice-presidential nominee, weighed in Wednesday on the nation’s current political environment – and their bill to stem global warming and create energy-related jobs.
Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut talked about these and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
The senators discussed their proposal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and setting energy policy for the 21st century during the interview that aired on CNN’s John King, USA.
Senior leaders in the Democratic and Republican parties told CNN that, while the sweeping energy and climate change bill is admirable, it’s unlikely to garner enough Senate votes to pass this year. Both senators told King they disagree.
“Well, we believe that as people see who is supporting this bill, the breadth of the support that it has, the urgency for shifting America's energy dependency, making America more secure, creating millions of jobs, you know, there's a compelling reason to do this bill that has nothing to do with politics,” Kerry said. “It strengthens America.”
Washington (CNN) - Two leading senators on Wednesday introduced a sweeping energy and climate change bill intended to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while reshaping the energy sector for the 21st century.
Sens. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus, said the proposal offered a broad-based approach that would end the nation's dependence on foreign oil while keeping U.S. industry competitive.
The bill addresses a range of energy issues including expanded nuclear power production, incentives for the coal industry to seek cleaner methods, money to develop alternative energy sources and programs to help U.S. industry in the transition to a low-carbon system.
On climate change, the bill seeks escalating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades that match the levels set as goals by the Obama administration and contained in a separate House energy bill passed last year.
Washington (CNN) - Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are working to resurrect long-planned climate change legislation that got knocked off track last month after Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham abandoned plans to participate.
Two Senate sources familiar with the plans confirm that Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Lieberman, I-Connecticut, will likely hold a press conference next week to announce their bill. But Kerry told CNN Thursday that the details of when to unveil it are still being worked out.
One of the sources said that Kerry continued to hold meetings with colleagues, business and environmental leaders and others even after original plans for a bipartisan bill with Graham crumbled.
"We have a bill and we want people to see it," said the source.
Looming large over this legislation is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The broad measure is expected to include proposals to expand both on- and offshore oil drilling.
Sources familiar with the senators' plans say Kerry and Lieberman intend to keep those proposals in their bill, but they understand safety regulations and standards will and should be scrutinized and added to their legislation in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has vowed to filibuster any legislation that includes an expansion of offshore drilling.
Washington (CNN) – As a deadline loomed, the Departments of Defense and Justice Tuesday offered partial cooperation to Congressional requests and subpoenas to get more information for the investigation of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 people dead last November.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been investigating the Fort Hood shootings since a week after the incident. Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and the committee's top Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, sought a number of documents and witnesses as part of their investigation but were "stonewalled" with "foot-dragging" by the Obama administration, Lieberman said earlier this month.
On April 19, Lieberman and Collins issued subpoenas to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that they provide the materials the committee wanted by Monday, or respond by Tuesday explaining why they would not grant the request.
"The purpose of the Committee's investigation of the Fort Hood attack is to answer questions that are critical to our government's ability to counter homegrown terrorism," Lieberman and Collins wrote in a letter accompanying the subpoenas.