Senators introduce bill to reduce taxes on craft beer

Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a bill Thursday that would reduce taxes on small domestic breweries.

"Small brewers have been anchors of local communities and America's economy since the start of our history," Cardin said when introducing the bill. "Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama have been home brewers."


Senate honors victims of 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

The Senate passed a bill Thursday before leaving for the weekend that would give congressional gold medals to the four victims of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church more than 50 years ago.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) introduced H.R. 360, which passed in the House last month on a 420-0 vote. The Senate approved the measure through a unanimous consent agreement.


Murray: GOP is holding the budget process ‘hostage’

Republicans once again rejected Democrats’ unanimous consent agreement to form a conference committee on the House and Senate budgets on Thursday.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Republicans are holding the budget process “hostage” after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected for a fifth time to appointing conferees to work out the massive difference between the House and Senate budget resolutions.


Senators call on Obama to arm Syrian rebels against Assad

A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday went to the Senate floor to call on President Obama to take tougher action against Syrian President Bashar al Assad, including arming his opposition and possibly missile strikes.

In a colloquy, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) all said Obama should put military pressure on the Syrian regime by arming rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.

Graham and McCain have long been hawkish on Syria, but the pressure from Levin and Menendez points to growing support in Congress for tougher actions against Syria.

McCain even suggested that the U.S. could use precision strikes to target Syria's ballistic missiles and chemical weapons.


McConnell: Obama's ‘pivot’ to jobs is all about the ‘visual’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that President Obama’s trip to Austin, Texas, was “a great way to at least look like you’re doing something about job creation."

“Today, the president plans to travel to Austin, Texas. I understand his trip includes a visit to a technical high school and a chat with workers,” McConnell said. “The idea, I presume, is to show folks that the White House has once again ‘pivoted’ to jobs. And if you’re someone who’s all about the visual, then of course putting on a pair of goggles or showing up at a factory is a great way to at least look like you’re doing something about job creation.

“Whether or not that means you’re actually getting the job done — well, that’s a different story.”


Reid: GOP will use 'every trick in the book' to stop Perez nomination

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed that GOP obstructionism would not stop the Senate from voting on the nomination of Tom Perez to serve as the Labor Secretary.

“My Republican colleagues can try every trick in the book — and I’m sure they will — but I assure Mr. Perez … will have his day in the Senate,” Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday morning.