WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won't be the only member of his family facing Nevada's voters in 2010 now that his son is officially joining the state's gubernatorial campaign.
Rory Reid, 47, will kick off his campaign for Nevada's top job at a rally in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening. Currently serving his second term as Commissioner for Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, the younger Reid says he expects to make the election one about ideas and policies, not his family ties.
"Nobody has asked me who my father is. I think people want to go back to work. They want to know they have a secure future here in our state," Reid recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The senior Reid is already facing a tough re-election campaign, with recent polls showing him lagging behind several potential Republican opponents. A Mason-Dixon poll released Tuesday indicated just 38 percent of Nevadans approve of the senator's job performance, while 50 percent disapprove.
A spokesman for the Republican Governors Association said the GOP was delighted by news of Rory Reid's candidacy.
"Harry Reid doesn't do many favors for Republicans, but we could not have asked for a better present than having two Reids on the ballot instead of just one," RGA's Mike Schrimpf said in a Wednesday statement. Reid's candidacy is expected to clear the Democratic field so that he can focus on the general election, while Nevada's embattled Republican governor, Jim Gibbons, faces a likely primary challenge
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate voted Wednesday to prohibit federal funding for Amtrak unless it allows licensed gun owners to transport their weapons on the passenger trains by next year.
The measure, an amendment to the Transportation and Housing Appropriations bill, passed 68-30.
The House passed its version of that appropriations bill in July. It did not include a provision to allow guns on Amtrak.
The Senate legislation says Amtrak would lose federal subsidies if it prohibits passengers from bringing their guns on board under security
restrictions similar to those imposed on airlines.
(CNN) – House Democratic leaders and some members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition might be happy with a deal that allows health care reform legislation to move forward, but some of their fellow Democrats remain skeptical and others openly reject the proposal.
"I cringe at the word 'deal.' It sounds back room," said Rep. Lois Capps, a member of the liberal New Democrat Coalition/Caucus who has also been that group's liaison during the ongoing negotiations.
Capps said she and other progressives on the House Energy & Commerce Committee need to look at the details of the plan before getting behind it.
Another member of the Energy and Commerce Committee who is also part of the Blue Dog Coalition, Rep. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, is one of the three Blue Dog Democrats on that panel who did not sign onto the agreement.
"It was not a conscious split. If we were doing it as a group, the easiest thing for us all to do is to say yes or no. But that wasn't what it was about," Melancon told reporters off the House floor. "We all have to deal with our own politics, our own constituency. We just happen to be labeled by the press as the 'Blue Dog coalition.' If you poll the Blue Dog coalition individually and separately, you'll find that not everybody is on the same page and there is no position collectively."
Democrats spent much of the week tweaking the climate change and energy bill in order to secure the support of wavering colleagues, with the alterations being placed in a 301-page amendment which was added to a nearly 1,200 page bill. Such legislative horsetrading is commonplace, but what upset the Republicans was that the amendment wasn't released until 3:09 am Friday morning.
Acting in protest, Boehner took to the House floor and began talking. And talking. And talking.
"This is the biggest job-killing bill that has ever been on the floor of the House of Representatives. Right here. This bill," Boehner, R-Ohio, thundered.
He then pulled out the 301-page amendment and began reading.
"I didn't get past the first page, where on line 5, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988' and on line 13, 'strike 1992 and insert 1988,'" he drolly read. "What is the impact of this day change?"
In all, Boehner spoke for one hour.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Democratic leaders are turning up the heat in their efforts to pass a bill aimed at curbing global warming, even enlisting former Vice President Al Gore in the lobbying efforts and getting a public show of support from President Barack Obama at the White House.
Democrats admit that they are shy of the 218 votes needed to pass the climate-change bill scheduled for a vote on Friday, and have furiously been lobbying fence-sitting members.
Gore was scheduled to visit the Capitol on Thursday to personally lobby in favor of the bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office called his office Wednesday night to cancel.
"It's a question of what was energy-efficient for the vice president," Pelosi said of the decision to keep Gore in Tennessee. "We were narrowing the list of the undecided and thought that perhaps on another occasion we could call upon his time to come here."
While Gore is not in Washington, his spokeswoman says he is still working the phones and contacting uncertain lawmakers to make the case for passing the Clean Energy and Security Act, which would require a 17 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 and create a "cap-and-trade" system where manufacturers would buy and sell pollution credits.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Democratic leaders are furiously lobbying their members and moderate Republicans to support a landmark energy bill in the face of resistance from some conservative members of their own party, and staunch opposition from the GOP - roadblocks that are making it difficult to find the 218 votes necessary to pass the measure, according to Democratic leadership aides.
A vote on the Clean Energy and Security Act, which would restrict emissions of green house gases and require use of alternative energy in an effort to slow the effects of global warming, is scheduled for Friday.
The legislation's lead sponsors held a pep rally outside the Capitol on Wednesday to whip up support for the legislation's passage.
"We are going to pass the most important energy and environment bill in history," declared Rep Ed Markey, D-Masachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "We are going to reduce the carbon we send up into the atmosphere but at the same time we are going to begin to back out the oil that we import from countries that we should not be importing it from."
The legislation would require a 17 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020, mandate electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources by 2020, provide $90 billion for new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, along with $60 billion for carbon capture and sequestration. Another key provision, termed "cap-and-trade," would require industries and manufacturers to cut carbon emissions by setting up a system where they could buy and sell pollution credits.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate and House negotiators tasked with finalizing a compromise on a $105 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rejected a provision Thursday night that would have prohibited the release of detainee abuse photos.
The provision was dropped after President Barack Obama raised objections in a letter addressed to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
"I'm writing to urge you to oppose the McConnell Amendment," the president wrote, referring to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt to block the photos from being made public.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Democrats expressed frustration Friday with their Senate colleagues after being forced to stay in town to approve a spending bill to keep the federal government from shutting down.
An exasperated Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee - which writes the spending bills - exited the House floor and curtly said, "There's no point in whining. I just want to get things done."
The Senate's inability to pass a $410 billion government spending bill for the remainder of 2009 on Thursday night meant the House had to pass a temporary spending measure to keep the government operating. After voting Friday 328-50 to pass the stopgap remedy, some House Democrats accused senators of neglecting their duties.
"We'll stay all night if we can't approve something. They just go home for the weekend," said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The fate of Senate-appointee Roland Burris could be decided as soon as Monday, Democratic sources said, as the Senate's Parliamentarian and legal counsel worked over the weekend deciphering Senate rules to determine if Burris has met the requirements for admittance.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White cleared the main road block to Burris' appointment by submitting a new document to the Secretary of the Senate on Friday that contained both his signature and the official seal of Illinois, two elements which were missing from the official letter of appointment by Gov. Rod Blagovich, a Democrat, in December.
The new letter was also submitted in conjunction with a revised version of Blagojevich's original certificate of appoint. The date of the revised certificate was changed to January 09, 2009 and the space for White's signature was removed.
White's new document states:
"I, Jesse White, Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the attached is a true and accurate copy of a certificate of appointment made by the Governor of the State of Illinois and duly filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois."
Sen. Dick Durbin, currently the lone Senator from Illinois, told reporters on Sunday, "This thing changes by the day."