Washington, DC (CNN) - As one of a shrinking number of moderate Senate Republicans willing to vote across party lines, Susan Collins is accustomed to enormous attention being paid to many of the votes she casts. After all, her yeas or nays often determine whether key legislation lives or dies.
On Thursday, senators are expected to once again turn their attention to a vote by the junior senator from Maine. This time, though, it's not because the outcome of a bill is in question, but because Collins will cast her 5,000th consecutive vote, a streak she's kept alive since taking office in 1997.FULL STORY
(CNN) – Two members of Congress on Sunday questioned the gender makeup of the Secret Service, speculating whether the recent scandal in Colombia could have been avoided if the agency had more women on its payroll.
“I can't help but wonder if there'd been more women as part of that detail, if this ever would have happened,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said on ABC’s “This Week.”
(CNN) – For the second week in a row, Republicans called for the downsizing of federal regulations in the private sector.
“We Republicans say, enough is enough,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in the GOP weekly address Saturday. “America needs a ‘time out’ from the regulations that discourage job creation and hurt our economy.”
(CNN) – Three key Republican senators said Monday they oppose a proposal by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, to arm rebels in Libya fighting Moammar Gadhafi. They had mixed thoughts on whether the United States should be involved in imposing a no-fly zone in that country to protect protestors from attacks by Libyan war planes.
“I would not suggest either of those courses for the moment,” said Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee who indicated U.S. involvement could lead to war.
A couple of sources gave me a heads up that moderate Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is considered such a crucial vote on the Defense bill, Vice President Joe Biden called her this morning to lobby her. Collins supports repealing the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy. She was the only Republican to vote with Democrats in committee to approve the language in the bill that allows the repeal, after a Pentagon review is complete and military leaders sign off. But she is signaling that Tuesday's procedural vote, she is sticking with her party.
CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett caught up with Collins outside the Senate chamber just now and asked her about the call, and she was really surprised we knew about it.
Here's how the conversation went:
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.
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan meets Thursday with Sen. Arlen Specter. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images) . (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
(Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET)
Washington (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan received critical cover from moderate Republicans on Thursday on two issues likely to dominate her upcoming confirmation hearings: gays in the military and judicial experience.
Kagan has been strongly criticized by GOP leaders for her efforts to block military recruiters from Harvard University during her time as the school's law school dean because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The policy, opposed by President Barack Obama, prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.
Top Republicans have also highlighted the fact that Kagan has never served as a federal judge, something that distinguishes her from all nine current members of the high court.
If party moderates break from the GOP leadership on these issues, it dramatically increases Kagan's chances of overcoming a possible filibuster and winning confirmation as the country's 112th Supreme Court justice.
Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown - who broke the Democrats' 60-member filibuster-proof majority by winning the late Ted Kennedy's seat in January - said after meeting with Kagan that he is satisfied she supports members of the military.
"It was the first question I actually asked her because, having been in the military, I had concerns about [her] position at Harvard," Brown said.
"It was very clear to me, after we spoke about it at length, that she is supportive of the men and women who are fighting to protect us and very supportive of the military as a whole. I do not feel that her judicial philosophy will not hurt the men and women who are serving."
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.
Washington (CNN) – A top GOP Senator promised Thursday to subpoena the Obama administration if they fail to provide information sought in a Congressional investigation into last November's mass shooting at Fort Hood.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the Obama administration is "stonewalling" their investigation.
Both Collins and Sen. Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the committee, have been trying since November to obtain information from the Justice and Defense Departments about the shooting rampage, in which Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people.
"It makes you wonder if the White House doesn't want to hear what we're going to find about inadequate information sharing between the FBI and DoD, information that had it been shared might have prevented this tragedy," Collins said on CNN's "John King USA."
Though the administration has provided some details about the shooting, officials have said that turning over more information could compromise their case against Hasan.
Washington (CNN) - The Department of Homeland Security has more contractors working for it than full-time employees, a situation two members of Congress said Tuesday was "unacceptable, untenable and unsustainable."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and ranking Republican Susan Collins said they were "astounded" to learn there are more than 200,000 contractor employees at the department.
The civilian work force of Homeland Security numbers 188,000, according to an estimate provided to the senators by Homeland Security.
In a letter sent Tuesday to the agency's Secretary Janet Napolitano, Lieberman and Collins said the figure "raises the question of whether DHS itself is in charge of its programs and policies, or whether it inappropriately has ceded core decisions to contractors."