[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/17/art.inhofe.gi.jpg caption="Inhofe: Copenhagen conference 'has failed'."]
Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. James Inhofe, a well-known skeptic of global warming, said Thursday in Copenhagen that "there will be no agreement" at the conference and said, "It has failed."
The Oklahoma senator is the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee and said a cap-and-trade bill has no chance of passing the Senate.
"My stated reason for attending Copenhagen was to make certain the 191 countries attending COP-15 would not be deceived into thinking the US would pass cap-and-trade legislation," Inhofe said, according to prepared remarks. "That won't happen. And for the sake of the American people, and the economic well-being of America, that's a good thing."
President Obama pledged $1 billion on Wednesday to help protect rainforests around the world. Inhofe said it's "too much" and that "taxpayers won't be pleased" with how their money is being spent.
Washington (CNN) - Polls show a rising anti-Washington sentiment, less-than-stellar approval ratings for a newly-elected Democratic president, and even worse for Congress - just as they did the last time Democrats lost control of the House and Senate – but there's no déjà vu among party leaders, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said Thursday: "This is not going to be 1994 all over again."
A spate of recent retirements among Democrats representing potential swing districts – including John Tanner of Tennessee, Dennis Moore of Kansas, Brian Baird of Washington and Bart Gordon of Tennessee – have also given political observers some 1994 flashbacks. But Van Hollen denied the moves signaled a trend. "We absolutely do not expect a large surge (in retirements) on the order of 1994," he said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/08/art.pawlenty.gi.jpg caption=" Possible 2012 GOP White House hopeful Tim Pawlenty says he will not take sides in most Republican primary battles next year."](CNN) - Possible 2012 GOP White House hopeful Tim Pawlenty says he will not take sides in most Republican primary battles next year.
In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, the two-term Minnesota governor says he will not endorse or have his political action committee contribute to Republican Senate or House candidates who are competing in "open, transparent" primary campaigns, including the GOP Senate primary battle heating up in the Granite State.
Pawlenty, along with many other Republicans, backed conservative candidate Dough Hoffman over Republican party nominee Dede Scozzafava in this autumn's intra-party fight in a special election for the House Seat in New York's 23 Congressional District.
Pawlenty told the Union Leader that he took sides because local party bosses used an "incredibly flawed, insular, closed and unfair process" to chose the Scozzafava, who he said was far too liberal on key issues.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/18/art.rickperry0818.gi.jpg caption="It appears Rick Perry is no longer friends with Al Gore."](CNN) -Gov. Rick Perry was once a close ally of Democrat Al Gore, but the Texas Republican made clear Wednesday he and the former vice president no longer see eye-to-eye.
"I certainly got religion," Perry told the Dallas Morning News. "I think he's gone to hell."
Perry, once a Democrat, ran the Texas chapter of Gore's unsuccessful presidential bid in 1988. Then a member of the Texas Legislature, Perry announced a year later he was switching to the Republican Party.
Perry, a two-term governor who's up for re-election next year, is currently engaged a heated Republican primary battle with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
With the Copenhagen climate change conference underway, it's the season of Gore bashing for some Republicans. The former vice president also took heat last week from Sarah Palin, who declared Gore was pushing "doomsday scenarios."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/17/art.sanders.gi.jpg caption="Sanders said he may vote against the Democrats' health care bill."]Washington (CNN) - There's been a ton of liberal anger this week focused on Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman - who those on the left considered the main obstacle to the Democrats' efforts to pass a health care reform bill in the Senate by Christmas.
But now, an Independent senator from the progressive side of the Democrats' coalition could threaten passage of a reform bill.
Bernie Sanders of Vermont says he may vote against the legislation. The Independent from Vermont, who like the moderate Lieberman caucuses with the chamber's 58 Democrats to give the party a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority, says he has major problems with the bill.
"I have made it clear that, at this point, it is not for sure that I will vote for that bill unless it becomes significantly better," the first-term senator and former socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Wednesday evening.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Democrats scrambled to meet self-imposed deadlines, Senate Republicans froze the health care debate for at least a day Wednesday by insisting that a 767-page mega-amendment be read out loud in its entirety.
The move was poised take some 12 hours or more and grind Senate business to a halt for the day. It also threatened Democrats' ability to pass a health care bill before Christmas.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, set things in motion around lunchtime Wednesday. As the Senate moved to a sweeping single-payer amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Coburn objected to the common Senate procedure that waives the actual out-loud reading of the proposal.
"I would ask that the amendment be considered as read," Sanders said on the floor.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Alison Harding
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: GOP senator freezes health care debate
The congressional health care debate stalled briefly Wednesday as Senate Republicans insisted that a 767-page mega-amendment be read out loud in its entirety.
The Hill: Sanders says 'as of this point' he won't vote for healthcare bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said late Wednesday that he cannot support the Democrats' healthcare reform legislation in its current form. Earlier on Wednesday, Sanders described himself as "undecided" on the bill.
Christian Science Monitor: Joe Lieberman 'out of tune' with Connecticut, but few complain
There is an irony in Sen. Joseph Lieberman's stalwart opposition to any form of a healthcare public option: The state he represents, Connecticut, approved a statewide public health insurance system with a public option this year.
CNN: Nelson reviewing new abortion language
Sen. Ben Nelson tells CNN he has received a compromise proposal on abortion restrictions that look "better than what's in the bill," but that he has to review it, and send it back to anti-abortion interest groups in his home state of Nebraska. …Nelson – whose vote is likely crucial to pass the Democratic health care reform bill – has said he believes the abortion restrictions in the Senate bill are too weak, and has threatened to vote against the plan if it isn't changed.
The Hill: GOP lawmaker seeks documents on Obama healthcare deals
A House Republican congressman is pushing the Obama administration to reveal the specifics of deals it struck with various groups on healthcare reform.
CNN: House rushes to wrap up year, postpone some battles until new year
With a holiday break looming, the House of Representatives Wednesday rushed to wrap up year-end business, and postponed several major battles until next year.
Washington Post: Pelosi says rallying votes for troop surge in Afghanistan will be Obama's job
President Obama will have to argue his own case to House Democrats as he seeks support for a planned surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday, adding that she is finished asking her colleagues to back wars that they do not support.