Reed cites Hagel's 'uncommon independence' as asset for Defense role

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said he would support President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense.

“Chuck Hagel will make an outstanding secretary of Defense,” Reed, the No. 2-ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Monday. “Chuck is a man of uncommon independence and integrity. Chuck Hagel's candor, judgment and expertise will serve him well as our next secretary of Defense.”


Senate sends $9.7B Sandy relief bill to Obama

The Senate passed an emergency-spending bill Friday for Hurricane Sandy relief, sending the legislation to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

The measure allows the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to take on $9.7 billion in new debt to help meet claims related to the storm. The measure passed by voice vote. The House passed the bill earlier Friday on a 354-67 vote.


Reid urges Boehner not to 'ignore' Democrats during the 113th Congress, as he did in 112th

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticized Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), saying he “ignored” Democrats during the 112th Congress.

Reid said many “worthy” bipartisan measures passed in the Senate during the last Congress but that the bills “languished” in the House. He advised Boehner that he should not let that happen in the 113th Congress as well.


McConnell: GOP doesn't want any 'drama' during debt-ceiling discussions

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that there was “no need for drama” in the coming months when the new Congress addresses raising the debt ceiling.

“Let me be clear: There is no need for drama, and we don’t want any,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday. “The president knows as well as I do what needs to be done. He can either engage now to significantly cut government spending or force a crisis later. It’s his call. But for the sake of the country, we must have this debate, now.”


Conrad: I hated deal avoiding 'fiscal cliff' because wasn't a deficit-reduction plan

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) in his last speech on the Senate floor said that despite voting for it, he hated the plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

“I told our colleagues on that night that I believed we had to support that deal,” Conrad said on the floor Wednesday. “At the same time I told my colleagues that I hate this agreement with every fiber of my being ... because it was not the grand bargain we needed for deficit reduction.”


Reid 'dismayed' Boehner didn't bring up Sandy relief bill for vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was “dismayed” that the House didn’t pass an emergency-spending bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy before adjourning.

“There are tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey who have had their lives turned upside down,” Reid said on the floor Wednesday. “I am dismayed and really saddened that the House of Representatives walked away last night. ... It’s been months now and these people are still suffering.”

In October, Hurricane Sandy hit several Northeast states, demolishing homes and damaging businesses.

The Senate passed a $60.4 billion emergency-spending bill late last month and the House was going to take up a $27 billion version, but late Tuesday evening Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to bring the bill to the floor. On Wednesday, the House adjourned, making it unlikely the measure will be considered this Congress. 


Durbin says he'll introduce bill to form commission on Social Security

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he would introduce a bill soon that would create a commission to increase the solvency of Social Security.

“We need to take an honest look at entitlements,” Durbin said nearly 12 hours after the Senate passed a bill to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff.”