Despite overwhelming popular support for the Toomey-Manchin background check compromise, the Republican Party voted en masse in the Senate today to kill the bill: Gun Control: Senate Rejects Background Checks Deal.
The Senate has rejected a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on gun sales, handing President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders a major defeat on one of the key pieces of the president’s second-term agenda.
The vote was 54-46, with only four Republicans crossing the aisle and voting with the Democrats in favor of the bipartisan proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Sixty votes were needed.
The GOP Senators killed this already watered-down bill in full view of a group of Newtown family members.
In a fitting coda to this affair, a number of Newtown family members intend to sit in the gallery to watch today’s voting, a spokesperson for one of the family groups, Sandy Hook Promise, tells me. Among them are Mark and Jackie Barden, whose youngest son, Daniel, was killed in the shooting; Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan; and Jimmy Greene, who lost his daughter Ana.
Family members decided that witnessing today’s events — even if painful — was too important to forego, a source familiar with their thinking tells me. However, there is still some hesitation about having their reaction appear on camera during what would be the first significant defeat of one of their most desired legislative goals, i.e., expanded background checks.
Attorney General Eric Holder has responded to Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster filled with paranoid conspiracy theories about drones killing American citizens on US soil, with a single word.
Dear Senator Paul:
It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
And now Sen. Paul is happy.
Paul said Thursday afternoon that he’s happy with the response and that he urges the Senate to proceed to a vote on Brennan’s nomination.
This is going to give the wingnuts who’ve been yelling that they “stand with Rand” a serious case of cognitive whiplash.
Today at right wing propaganda outlet Breitbart.com, there are no less than 14 front-page articles (there may be more by the time you read this) attacking Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel in every possible way; I haven’t seen the Breitbrats this worked up since last November.
And they’re also up to the same old tricks again, misrepresenting an opinion piece in the Boston Herald as an official editorial: BOSTON HERALD TO OBAMA: WITHDRAW HAGEL. (h/t: Mark.)
Breitbart “News” says:
Monday night, the Boston Herald ran an editorial calling for President Obama to pull Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel…
But here’s the page at the Boston Herald: Prez Should Pull Hagel’s Nomination. It’s clearly labeled as an Op-Ed in their Opinion category, and it’s by Peter Brookes, who is not a Boston Herald editor but … wait for it … a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Is this just the usual no-standards Breitbart sloppiness, or are they deliberately misrepresenting the op-ed? It really doesn’t matter, because for all their thrashing and lying and smearing, Chuck Hagel is going to be confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense: Chuck Hagel Clears Senate Hurdle Toward Confirmation.
The Senate voted 71-27 on Tuesday to end debate on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become secretary of Defense, ending a Republican campaign that forced Democrats to fight for every step toward confirmation, which is expected later in the day.
I think the Breitbrats may actually have helped Hagel get the SecDef job. Between them and the McCarthy-like ranting of Ted Cruz, the right really made themselves look like deranged buffoons… and all over someone who is basically a mainstream Republican. (Or what used to be mainstream, anyway.)
Sen. Lindsey Graham has appointed himself the King of Republican Bad Craziness, pandering to the far right’s bizarre fantasies about the Benghazi attack with a relentless zeal that would be impressive if it were directed at something actually useful to the country. His latest threat: Lindsey Graham to Place Hold on National Security Nominees Over Benghazi Attacks.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is threatening to place a hold on key administration national security nominations unless President Obama explains how the White House reacted to the Benghazi attacks and who “changed” the talking points used by U.N. ambassador Susan Rice during back-to-back appearances on the Sunday political talk shows in September.
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Graham insisted that Republicans shouldn’t “allow Brennan to go forward for the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed to Secretary of Defense, until the White House gives us an accounting.”
Let’s face it, this is exactly what the Republican Party would do anyway, Benghazi or no Benghazi. It’s just the latest excuse to do everything in their power to sabotage Obama, whether it’s good for the US or not.
Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel (R) is set to testify before his former colleagues on his nomination to become Secretary of Defense.
Several Senate Republicans have voiced opposition to their fellow party member, and may attempt to block his confirmation.
This didn’t take long; Cantor obviously had his attack ready to go: Eric Cantor: Hagel Is the Wrong Man for the Job.
“I am profoundly concerned and disappointed by President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Recent reporting has made clear that Senator Hagel’s views and inflammatory statements about Israel are well outside the mainstream and raise well-founded doubts that he can be trusted to manage the special relationship the United States shares with our greatest Middle East ally.
“Senator Hagel’s incendiary views of Israel are only the tip of the iceberg. On Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and defense spending, Hagel’s reported views call into question his judgment about the most important matters facing our national security. Taken together, Hagel’s views represent a call for a broad retreat from the preeminent role America has played, and must continue to play, in the world during a period of profound tumult and instability.
“Hagel opted for political expediency in opposing the surge in Iraq, and supported a retreat that would have ceded victory to al Qaeda and Iran. The nomination of a man known primarily for opposing sanctions and military action against Iran strongly suggests that all options are not on the table. Hagel’s nomination telegraphs weakness in the Middle East and defeatism in Afghanistan, where our Afghan partners will surely be concerned, and our Taliban and Iranian adversaries will surely be emboldened.
“There has been widespread and bipartisan opposition to this potential nomination, and the President’s willingness to move forward despite these concerns only reinforces the signal that he agrees with Hagel’s extreme positions. Senator Chuck Hagel is the wrong man for the job at such a pivotal time.”
The obvious fact is that it simply doesn’t matter who President Obama nominates for any position — the Republican Party will pitch a fit over absolutely anyone. The problem is not the nominee, it’s the black President.
Another day, another top Republican practicing extortion, threatening to shut down the US government: Cornyn: ‘It May Be Necessary to Partially Shut Down the Government’
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested Friday that Republicans should be willing to shut down the government if they are unable to extract suitable concessions in the upcoming negotiations over the debt ceiling and sequestration.
In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Cornyn says that President Obama’s insistence that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling again “is unacceptable” and that Republicans should put the president on notice over the potential consequences.
“The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington,” Cornyn writes. “It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain.”
So, has the GOP learned anything from the incredibly negative publicity over the “fiscal cliff” debacle? Are you kidding? Of course not: Sen. Toomey: GOP Should Risk Shutdown to Force Spending Cuts in Debt-Limit Fight.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Wednesday called for Republicans to be ready to shut down the government to gain spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt-limit.
“We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”