Browsing: Harry Reid

Shutdown Watch-Day 14: Headed down to the wire (again)

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Good Morning! Today is a federal holiday, but that doesn’t mean much to hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees as the partial government shutdown enters its third week. According to a message from one agency leader, the Office of Personnel Management has said this is an unpaid furlough day both for non-excepted and excepted employees unless they are required to report to “perform excepted functions.” And about ending that shutdown . . . Sunday produced lots of saber-rattling and zero tangible evidence that a deal is in sight, either on reopening the government or raising the $16.7 trillion debt…

House members press for Senate action on back-pay bill

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Two Virginia lawmakers are seeking quick Senate action on legislation that would assure back pay to furloughed federal employees once the partial government shutdown ends. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., passed the House last Saturday 407-0, but has stalled in the Senate, where Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has voiced reservations about a fast-track vote. In a Friday letter, Moran and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., the bill’s lead Republican co-sponsor, urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to work with their “respective caucuses to overcome any objections to advance this important legislation.”

Senate leader: Seniors "love to get" junk mail

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Politicians are fond of invoking the elderly on behalf of a favored cause, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took that gambit to a new level yesterday when discussing S. 1789, a bill intended to keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat. Who knew that the only thing connecting Gramps to the rest of us were auto insurance come-ons and grocery store fliers? Here, straight from a transcript in the Congressional Record, is Reid’s take on one reason for saving the Postal Service. For seniors who cannot leave their homes, mail carriers deliver lifesaving medications—an important link to the outside world. Elderly…

Senate could take up postal bill next week

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The wind-up has taken a while, but the full Senate might–just might–pitch into a major debate on postal issues next week. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced a motion that would allow senators to take up the bill, known as the 21st Century Postal Service Act, as early as Monday. Although everything in the Senate (and we mean everything) is subject to change, Reid presumably wouldn’t have proceeded without some chance of having the votes to kick off debate. At the same time, it’s worth noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., isn’t commenting. Lawmakers could also have…

Senators press for "improvements" to postal bill

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The Senate has yet to begin a formal debate over a proposed postal overhaul, but the jawboning is already well under way. The latest development: 27 senators led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote the bill’s sponsors today urging them to consider some “significant improvements.”  Such as  protection for rural post offices; barring the U.S. Postal Service from a change in delivery service standards that could lead to the closing of up to 252 mail processing plants; and requiring the continuation of six-day-a-week mail delivery for at least another four years. They also call for creation of a blue-ribbon commission that…

Senate to debate cyber legislation in 2012

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expects the Senate to vote on cybersecurity legislation during its first work period of 2012. In a Nov. 16 letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Reid said that bipartisan committees have been negotiating potential language in a cyber bill for the past six months, but those efforts haven’t produced results. Reid said if the working groups cannot agree on bipartisan legislation by early next year, he will welcome legislation produced “elsewhere” to be debated on the Senate floor. For now, the 2012 legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 23. Could that bill include…

Funding extension bill for FAA and highways now on deck

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Some welcome news for Federal Aviation Administration employees: A soon-to-be-introduced bill would extend funding  authorization for various FAA programs through the end of January. It would be the latest in the series of stopgap extensions, the most recent of which expires this coming Friday, Sept. 16. The bill, posted Friday night on the House Rules Committee’s website, is sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. It can’t actually be introduced before Monday, a Mica spokesman said in an email. Whatever happens after that, FAA employees can only hope that the ensuing congressional debate proceeds a little more decorously than the last time…

Obama picks Dodaro for GAO chief

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After more than two years as acting U.S.  Comptroller General–a job that entails leading the Government Accountability Office-Gene Dodaro got the nod today from President Obama for a long-term appointment to the post. In a release, Obama said he intends to nominate Dodaro, a 37-year GAO veteran, for the position of Comptroller General. Dodaro has held the job on a provisional basis since March 2008; in a statement today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that she, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and a bipartisan congressional commission recommended Dodaro for the 15-year appointment. “As the comptroller general, Gene Dodaro…