Washington (CNN) - British Prime Minister David Cameron has offered to meet with four U.S. senators Tuesday to discuss the 2009 release of a Libyan man convicted of playing a role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
"The prime minister recognizes the huge strength of feeling on this issue and has immense sympathy for the families - American, British and others - affected by the Lockerbie atrocity," said Martin Longden, the press secretary at the British Embassy. "The PM has personally asked to rearrange his program in Washington to enable him to meet with the four senators and discuss their concerns directly."
It was not immediately clear if the four senators from New Jersey and New York - Robert Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer - would be able to accept Cameron's invitation to meet with him at the British ambassador's residence in Washington Tuesday evening.
Sens. Cornyn and Menendez sparred Sunday over what Democrats inherited in January 2009. (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) – With the midterm elections less than five full months away, the man in charge of the GOP’s election effort in the Senate issued a sharp rejoinder Sunday to an oft-repeated message from national Democrats.
In the 17 months since President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Democratic leaders have frequently said Obama and Capitol Hill Democrats “inherited” a mess on several fronts left behind by the Bush administration acting in league with House and Senate Republicans.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, suggested it’s time for Democrats to take responsibility for controlling the levers of government.
“Well, I’m waiting for this administration to take responsibility for the job it volunteered for and our Democratic colleagues who are in the majority [in the House and the Senate] and who run the show in Congress,” Cornyn told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
Challenged by Crowley on the frequent Democratic contention that Obama has “inherited” a difficult set of circumstances from his predecessor, Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his party is trying to put the present situation in the proper context.
Washington (CNN) - The man responsible for electing more Democrats to the U.S. Senate believes that his party's roster of candidates will win in November because Republican candidates are either "poster childs" for failed policies or "fringe candidates."
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, is Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On Thursday at the headquarters for the Democratic National Committee he spoke with reporters about the results of a round of primaries on Tuesday.
"You've got two types of crops of candidates, Republican candidates, on the ballot this fall," Menendez said.
"You have the establishment candidates – like Roy Blunt, Rob Portman, Dan Coats. You know, when we talk about outsourcing, when we talk about economic policies that were promoted and taking us back to those times that created the circumstances we're in now, lack of regulatory oversight – boy, they're the poster childs for it."
Blunt is the Republican congressman hoping to become Missouri's next senator, Portman is the former Bush administration official hoping to represent Ohio in the Senate, and Republican Coats – a former senator – hopes to reclaim that job for Indiana.
Menendez added, what he called, a second group of Republicans running in the general election.
"And then the fringe candidates, who not only take us back to those failed economic policies, but who like privatizing Social Security, eliminating Medicare and putting radioactive waste in Yucca Mountain."
Washington (CNN) - On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of New Jersey heard a case brought by Tea party activists and conservatives hoping to oust New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez from his job.
The state's highest court heard arguments from the New Jersey Tea Party Patriots, and other conservative groups, on whether or not voters can recall the Democratic senator, who has two years left in his term. Among those participating in the case is Richard Luzzi, President of the Morristown Tea Party and a Republican candidate for Congress.
The activists cite Menendez's votes for the recently passed health care law, and his support of government spending, as reasons to recall him.
"By recalling Senator Menendez we are saying No to insane spending that has brought our state and our nation to the brink of bankruptcy," a website for Recall NJ states.
Their arguments must clear a big hurdle: do voters in a state have the right to recall a federal elected official?
Washington (CNN) – The senator responsible for promoting Democrats in senate races nationwide said the Republican Party is "cannibalizing" its moderates.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, reacted to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to abandon the Republican senate primary and launch an independent bid. Menendez is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"This is an example of what's happening in the Republican Party across the country where they're cannibalizing each other," Menendez told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King in an interview that aired on CNN's John King, USA.
Crist's decision essentially launched a three-way general election race pitting him against former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio – expected to become the Republican nominee - and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.
Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has scheduled a late afternoon vote Monday to move ahead with a Senate financial reform bill, but Republicans warn they are not prepared to launch debate on the measure.
Leading lawmakers from both parties making the rounds of Sunday political talk shows said a deal is close on a reform bill, but top-ranking Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was among those saying he didn't expect debate to proceed on Monday.
"We don't have a bipartisan compromise yet," McConnell said on "FOX News Sunday." "But I think there's a good chance that we're going to get it."
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Charles Schumer announced Sunday that several major airlines have promised not to charge passengers for carry-on baggage.
Schumer, D-New York, said he personally contacted officials at American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines and US Airways, and secured commitments from all five companies.
Two weeks ago, local carrier Spirit Airlines became the first in the United States to propose charging passengers $45 to store luggage in overhead bins.
"In the last week we have gained tremendous momentum in our effort to keep carry-on bags free," said Schumer. "We have begun to put the brakes on runaway and out-of-control airline fees. I am pleased some of the major carriers have responded to our efforts and have agreed not to charge for something that has always been free."
On Wednesday, Schumer introduced a bill that would amend the tax code to eliminate a loophole that he and four other senators say allows airlines to avoid taxes on certain fees. That effort came a day after two other senators put forward a bill that would change how the Federal Aviation Administration regulates carry-on baggage fees.
Washington (CNN) - In a tense moment during hearings on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred with Sen. Robert Menendez over whether the United States had halted pro-democracy programs in Cuba.
U.S.-Cuban relations have become tenser in the aftermath of the December imprisonment of a U.S. citizen and government contractor, Alan Gross.
"For some reason, it seems to me, when it comes to Cuba, the recent actions by the regime to arrest an American citizen have totally frozen our actions," Menendez, D-New Jersey, said at a Senate Foreign Relations budget hearing with Clinton.
"Are we going to have a permanent freeze on having entities that are trying to create peaceful change for civil society inside of Cuba? Is that the policy of the State Department?"
Clinton denied a freeze was in force, but said there is "an intense review" under way.
"We are very supportive of the work that we believe should be done to support those people of conscience inside Cuba. We are trying to figure out the best ways to effective in doing that," Clinton said.