Washington (CNN) – The fact that $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would be triggered by the failure of the deficit reduction super committee to reach a deal made it harder for the committee to make tough decisions on entitlement and tax reform, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a GOP member of the committee said Monday.
“I haven’t talked about this publicly at all. I do think having the sequester in place was important for the markets among others, because they knew there would be $1.2 trillion,” Portman said. “I think it was important to be able to pass the debt limit because there had to be some sort of trigger that guaranteed it.”
Washington (CNN) - The Senate's number two Democrat said Wednesday the surprising proposal this week by Republicans to include tax increases for the first time as part of a deficit-reduction deal might be a "breakthrough" that could lead to a hard-sought agreement in the congressional super committee.
The reaction from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois - just two weeks to the day before the committee's November 23 deadline - was in sharp contrast to the response from other top Democrats who panned the proposal. Democratic aides described it as a "joke" aimed more at lowering income rates for the wealthy than raising revenue to pay down the debt.
Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN on Tuesday she is "concerned" that the most recent charge of sexual harassment against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain "is not an isolated incident" and that he should quit the race if there is any truth to the claims.
"I'm learning about this at the same time as any of the rest of you. But I would suggest that if, in fact, there is substance to the claims - and now there are apparently four individuals that have been involved or who have come forward - if that's the case, I think that his opportunity as a nominee are gone," the senator said.
Washington (CNN) - In a pair of votes aimed more at making political points than law, the Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican proposals to boost construction of roadways and other infrastructure projects.
Republicans blocked the Democratic bill, which would have approved about $50 billion for projects and another $10 billion to start an "infrastructure bank," because it relied on a surtax on people earning more than $1 million a year.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - In the wake of an unscripted and confrontational interview with a reporter from a conservative news organization last week, staff for Vice President Biden phoned a Senate official to raise concerns about the reporter's conduct and to inquire whether the reporter violated any rules governing news coverage on Capitol Hill, a person familiar with the incident told CNN.
In the interview, which took place in a crowded public hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building, Human Events reporter Jason Mattera pointedly questioned Biden about his assertion that rape and other crimes would rise if Congressional Republicans voted down part of the president's jobs bill aimed at funding police jobs.
(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden had a tense exchange Wednesday with a reporter who questioned him about comments suggesting that if Republicans block a bill aimed at preserving police jobs, rapes and other crimes would increase.
"Do you regret using the rape reference to describe Senate opposition" to the bill, Jason Mattera asked Biden as he left a rally with police unions and others who have faced the budget ax in recent months.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Tuesday staunchly defended their decision to include a tax increase in a bill designed to prevent teachers and firefighters from getting laid off, even though they know the revenue hike is a poison pill for most Republicans and some Democrats making it highly unlikely the measure will pass.
"The choice is very stark with our colleagues across the aisle," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said at a news conference. "Do you want to employ teachers and firefighters or do you want to protect those who earn over a million dollars a year from paying a small amount more in taxes."
Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submit your questions for the debate here.
Washington (CNN) - A group of Republican senators unveiled job creation legislation Thursday that is designed to be a policy and political counterpoint to the Democratic measures President Obama has pressured Republicans to pass.
Built around well-known GOP principles to shrink the footprint of Washington on the economy by cutting taxes, spending, and federal regulations, Republicans believe having actual legislation they can point to will weaken the president's charge that Republicans aren't doing enough to create jobs.
Washington (CNN) – An emotional debate on the Senate floor Thursday night is putting a microscope once again on the political games in Washington that Americans overwhelmingly detest.
In a rare, direct exchange between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the chamber, both senators vented frustration during a testy debate on the China currency bill.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Wednesday unveiled a five percent tax hike on annual income over $1 million, which they said would raise the nearly $450 billion needed to offset the cost of President Barack Obama's recent proposal to boost employment and stimulate the economy.
However, the idea was met with a not-unexpected thud by Senate Republicans who steadfastly oppose tax increases and indicated it won't pass the narrowly divided chamber.