Hatch throws down the 'gauntlet,' tells Gang of Eight not to 'stiff' him on amendments

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Wednesday that he was “throwing down the gauntlet” by demanding that his four amendments to the immigration reform bill be included in order for him to vote for final passage.

“I want to support this legislation, but I’m not going to unless we have common-sense measures like these,” Hatch said on the Senate floor. “I’m throwing down the gauntlet.”


Senate hits snag on amendment agreement to immigration reform bill

The Senate failed to reach an agreement on amendments to the comprehensive immigration reform bill Wednesday because Republicans didn’t want to use a 60-vote threshold.

“This is a very provocative act,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked for unanimous consent to an agreement to vote on five amendments if they were held to a 60-vote threshold. Two of the amendments were from Democrats and three were from Republicans.


McCaskill says senior officials should be involved in reporting military sexual assaults

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced Wednesday that she supports measures being debated by the Armed Service Committee to address sexual assault in the military, but does not think senior officials should be removed from the process.

“I have become convinced that the approach that the Armed Services Committee will take today is the right approach,” McCaskill said on the Senate floor. “It will better empower victims and lead to more reporting.”


McCain defends border security provisions within Gang of Eight bill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defended border security provisions included in the Gang of Eight bill he helped craft.

“The provisions in this bill, I am confident that it will make this border secure as much as humanly possible,” McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “I am proud of it. I am confident that we will secure the border with the provisions in this bill.”


McConnell accuses Dems of using a 'manufactured crisis' to change the rules

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of creating a “manufactured crisis” by threatening to change the rules because of GOP obstruction to presidential nominees.

“Senate Democrats are not content with the additional powers they have — powers greater than those enjoyed by any previous majority — so they intend to manufacture a crisis over nominations as pretext for a power grab,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Yet, the Senate is treating President Obama’s nominees fairly.”


Reid: Some Republicans are using border enforcement to kill immigration reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that he is concerned some Republicans will use border security amendments to kill the comprehensive immigration bill.

“I am concerned that some who oppose the very idea of reform see these triggers as a backdoor way to undermine the legislation," Reid said on the Senate floor. "And I believe some Republicans with no intention of voting for the final bill — regardless of how it is amended — seek to offer these amendments with the sole purpose of derailing this vital reform." 


Sanders calls on Congress to 'take a very hard look' at the Patriot Act

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday called on Congress to “take a very hard look” at the PATRIOT Act, after reports that the government has the right to monitor U.S. citizen’s phone calls and web browsing.

“It is clear to me that the United States Congress has to take a very hard look at the USA PATRIOT Act specifically section 215,” Sanders said on the Senate floor Tuesday evening. “We must be strong and effective in combating terrorism, but it is my belief that we can do that without compromising the Constitutional rights that make us a free country.”


Cruz: Obama, Dems designed immigration bill to 'crash and burn' in the House

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused President Obama and Senate Democrats of being more interested in creating a “partisan issue to campaign on” than fixing the broken immigration system.

“Today the conduct of the White House and Senate Democrats, who have been driving this process, suggest they are more interested in finding a partisan issue to campaign on in the next election than finding a solution to our broken immigration system,” Cruz said on the Senate floor Tuesday.