Senate poised for balanced budget votes on Wednesday

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shut down the Senate on Tuesday night by pledging to work with his Republican counterpart to schedule a vote on House Republicans' tax cut extension package, which he promised would die in the upper chamber. 

On Wednesday the upper chamber will also hold two show votes on rival balanced budget amendment bills S.J.Res. 24 and S.J.Res. 10. Both bills are expect to fall short of the  two-thirds majority required to amend the nation's founding document.


Sleepy balanced-budget amendment debate continues in the Senate

The Senate meandered through a sleepy afternoon of debate over the rival balanced-budget amendment bills that will hit the floor for votes on Wednesday afternoon, with senators mostly repeating floor speeches already delivered earlier in the year. 

Republicans of every stripe, from Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) to centrist Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), came to the floor in unison to express their support for Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) version of the bill that would also place restrictions on raising taxes. All 47 Republicans are co-sponsors of that bill.


Boxer: GOP giving Americans 'poison' for Christmas

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Tuesday accused Republicans of pushing legislation that would poison more than 8,000 people to death as a Christmas gift to Americans. 

"They have attached a poison pill — literally, colleagues — because it will kill 8,100 more people more than would have otherwise been killed from pollution,” said Boxer, referring to a provision Republicans have included in their payroll tax cut extension bill that would delay the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) industrial boiler regulations.


Leader Reid: GOP's tax bill won't sell in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned House GOP leaders on Tuesday that their payroll tax cut extension bill will fail in the Senate over a rider that would fast-track the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.


Reid to hold government funding hostage over Keystone, suggests McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) of holding a government funding measure hostage because of President Obamas opposition to the proposed transcontinental Keystone XL oil pipeline. 

“The majority leader signaled yesterday that he and the president are so determined to turn even the most bipartisan job-creating legislation into a political issue that he’ll ask his members to hold off on signing the government-funding legislation they’ve already agreed to — just to hand the president what they view as a political victory this week, McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor. 

House Republicans are currently pushing for the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, which includes several of President Obama’s policy objectives, including an extension of the payroll-tax cut, but would also fast-track construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Obama announced last month that he will wait until after the 2012 elections to decide whether or not that project will go forward.


McConnell: President Obama unhappy unless he has issue to ‘divide’ us

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ratcheted up the partisan rhetoric Tuesday morning, accusing President Obama of dividing the country with his threat to veto Republicans Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 over a policy rider that would fast-track construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. 


Senate confirms acting ambassador to Czech Republic

The Senate voted 70-16 on Monday to overcome a filibuster and confirm Norman Eisen to continue to serve as ambassador to the Czech Republic despite allegations from some Republicans that he attempted to hide information from congressional investigators when he was serving as a White House attorney for President Obama.