Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried Monday to confirm all executive and judicial nominations on the executive calendar — more than 70 of President Obama’s nominees.
Reid asked for unanimous consent to confirm them all, but Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) objected because he was still upset that the majority used the “nuclear option” to change the Senate filibuster rules.
Reid then filed cloture on just 10 of the nominees.
Senate Democrats called for an increase in the federal minimum wage Monday.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said the issue has become “way too partisan.”
“We should have a bipartisan consensus that we regularly raise the minimum wage,” Durbin said.
Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Monday that both chambers need to ensure a defense bill can be signed into law for a 52nd straight year.
The Senate was working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes more than $600 billion in defense spending for the Pentagon, before leaving for a two-week Thanksgiving break.
“We have not missed in 52 years,” Levin said. “We cannot fail this year and the only practical way to avoid failure is to follow the course that Sen. Inhofe and I have proposed to this body.”
With senators grounded by the storm, the House's simple extension was approved Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) postponed a confirmation vote on Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court.
The Senate will now vote on her nomination — the first since Reid used the “nuclear option” to change the Senate filibuster rules — Tuesday morning after leader remarks.
Winter weather has caused flight delays for several senators.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned senators that they might have to work long hours and weekends during the next two weeks.
“I know I often say it, but we may really have to work the next couple weekends,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the U.S. should not end a trade embargo on Cuba.
“I am concerned that U.S. officials reportedly met with Cuban representatives in Bali to discuss the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba,” Rubio said during the weekend. “There should be no question that the U.S. will not end the trade embargo until the Castro regime releases its political prisoners and holds free and fair elections.”
Rubio’s remarks came after the World Trade Organization’s negotiations took place in Bali.
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) called on President Obama to do more to curb violence in Central African Republic (CAR).
“I urge the Obama Administration to assist the French and MISCA, the African Union-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic, in the rapid deployment of forces so they can immediately intervene to help put an end to the violence,” Boozman said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chided Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for announcing that he will exempt some of his staff from enrolling in ObamaCare.
“Sen. Reid's decision to exempt his staff from ObamaCare exchanges is the clearest example yet of ObamaCare's failures and Washington hypocrisy,” Cruz said. “His staff worked to pass it and continue to promote it, now they don't want to be part of it because it's a disaster.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) blamed President Obama’s policies for high unemployment and a shrinking middle class.
“The truth is that the policy formula favored by President Obama — more regulation, hostility to American energy, anti-growth taxation, surging debt, bigger government, more federal interference, government-run healthcare and mindless immigration policies — are the cause, not the cure, for growing middle-class distress,” Sessions said Wednesday.