Washington (CNN) – Centrist Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined her GOP colleagues Wednesday in questioning the role Susan Rice – the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations – played in the days following a deadly attack at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Collins, speaking after a meeting with Rice on Capitol Hill, said Rice was playing a political role when she appeared on television to explain the attack that left four Americans dead stemmed from protests of an anti-Islam video. That video now appears not to have been a factor in the Benghazi attack.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, joined other lawmakers Tuesday in expressing concern about how much time had passed before the FBI got word out that former CIA Director David Petraeus was associated with an FBI investigation.
Meeting with reporters after a private meeting with Maine's senator-elect Angus King, Collins said "It does seem like there was an inordinate amount of time that passed. But we really don't have facts yet to reach any kind of conclusion."
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."