Senate defeats amendment to prevent IMF bailouts with US funds

The Senate on Wednesday defeated an amendment in a 44-55 vote that would have prevented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from using $108 billion in U.S. monies to bail out foreign nations. 

The author of the amendment, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), said he is concerned that the IMF is using U.S. funds to rescue irresponsible nations and banks. He said the U.S. can no longer afford to offer such aid. 


Reid rips GOP again over Medicare

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday battered Republicans for what he characterized as their attempt to end Medicare in its current form. 

"Their ideological budget would end Medicare as we know it, once again subjecting seniors to the rising costs of healthcare," said Reid from the Senate floor. "Democrats refuse to let that happen."

Democrats will never give in to Republican designs for the program, said Reid. 


Senate Republicans launch effort to pass balanced-budget amendment

Senate Republicans on Wednesday morning said they would push for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution that they hope will lead to congressional passage this year and allow U.S. states to consider the amendment before the end of the year.

"The American people are demanding that Congress debate and pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said. "They're going to get that debate, and I am confident that if congressmen and senators listen to their constituents, the citizens of this nation are going to have an opportunity to ratify a balanced-budget amendment his year."


Leahy looking to move House-passed patent bill in Senate

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) indicated Tuesday that he would prefer to have the Senate approve the House-passed version of the patent reform bill, rather than hold what could be a more complicated House-Senate conference on the legislation. But this possibility is leading opponents of the measure to press for a conference in order to make what they say are needed changes to the bill.

In an email to members of the committee, Leahy stressed that several groups support quick passage of the House bill, H.R. 1249, and said there is "growing support for the Leahy-Smith American Invents Act," referring to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.


Wednesday: Senate votes scheduled on judicial streamlining bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) managed to strike a deal with Republican senators Tuesday night that allowed him to schedule a vote on final passage on legislation that would streamline the judicial confirmation process in the Senate. The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to begin this work.

As part of the deal, Reid pushed through a series of amendments by unanimous consent, and agreed to votes on Republican amendments that will occur Wednesday prior to the vote on the underlying legislation.

The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 is a timesaving measure designed to eliminate the need for executive nominees for minor posts in the government to be confirmed by the Senate as a whole. Instead, it would allow the process to be dealt with on a committee level.


Rubio: NATO needs US to topple Gadhafi

Freshman Senator Marco Rubio  (R-Fla.) said on Tuesday that NATO does not have the military might to topple the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi without assistance from American forces.

"We ceded most of the operation over to our NATO allies and God bless them for trying but they do not have the military capability to complete the job," said Rubio, who is a junior member of the Committee on Foreign Relations.


Kirk asks Obama administration to reconsider 'stealth' doctor survey

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Tuesday warned that the Obama administration's planned survey of patient access to primary care doctors in the U.S. could impose significant costs on doctors and needlessly waste U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Kirk said he has "great concern" about what he called the administration's planned "stealth survey," which was first reported in The New York Times on Sunday. That report said the administration plans to have fake patients try to set up appointments with doctors in order to gauge patient access to these doctors.