Coburn launches two-week campaign to highlight 'stupidity' in federal spending

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) vowed to return to the Senate floor during the next two weeks to show the “stupidity” of government spending.

“There is no accountability to rein in the size, scope or accountability of the government,” Coburn said Wednesday, kicking off the two-week campaign. “So I’m going to outline $1.35 trillion of cuts I think the vast majority of Americans would agree with.

“I’m basically going to show the stupidity of how the federal government is being run today.”


Cornyn: Hagel nomination has 'done damage' to US security

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said President Obama is putting America’s security at risk by nominating Chuck Hagel to be secretary of Defense.

“Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of Defense has already done damage to the security of the United States,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “President Obama should choose someone else to lead the Pentagon.”


Johanns: 'Appalling' for NLRB to ignore court ruling on appointees

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) said Wednesday that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should not be allowed to ignore a court ruling that two of its board members were appointed illegally, and said he could not imagine taking this position as a former Cabinet member.

"As a former member of the Cabinet, it never occurred to me that I had the right to ignore court decisions." he said on the Senate floor. "I can't imagine." 

Johanns was President George W. Bush's Secretary of Agriculture.


GOP senators ask DOJ to explain 'targeting' of oil and gas companies over bird deaths

Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder why he is “targeting” oil and gas companies by prosecuting them for the unintentional death of birds.

The senators said on the Senate floor Wednesday that they sent Holder a letter asking him why he is prosecuting oil and gas companies for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by killing birds, yet he is not going after wind energy companies.

“This is not even handed enforcement of the law,” Vitter said. “What that is, is targeting one type of energy producer.”


Democratic senators call for legislation on equal pay for women

A group of Democratic senators came to the floor Wednesday to urge the passage of a bill that would help women fight for equal pay.

Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (Wash.) called for the Senate to take up the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require businesses to show the range of compensation for all positions, allowing women to see if they are on the lower end of the pay scale. Employers would also not be able to retaliate against employees for discussing how much they make with coworkers.


McConnell tells Dems to stop funding ‘pig manure’ research

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) begged Democrats on Wednesday to cut “waste” from the budget, using the example of pig-manure research.

“I mean, why is the federal government funding Chinese studies on pig manure? Are Democrats prepared to cut this kind of waste?” McConnell asked on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Because if they’re not — if they demand a 1-to-1 ratio between tax increases and pig manure cuts — then there’s really no hope of ever putting our country back on a path to prosperity.”


Reid: No one is 'better qualified' than Kerry to be secretary of State

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) congratulated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Wednesday on his confirmation as the new U.S. secretary of State.

“No one is better qualified than John Kerry to continue the work of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “He’s really a brilliant man.”


Wednesday: No Budget, No Pay Act in the Senate

The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m., and will start work on the No Budget, No Pay Act, H.R. 325.

The House passed this bill last week. It suspends the debt ceiling through May 18, providing more time for Congress to work out a longer-term agreement.


GOP offers resolution calling carbon tax harmful to low-income families

Senate Republicans this week proposed a resolution that says a carbon tax would hurt lower-income Americans already struggling under the "stagnating economy" and should be opposed.

"[I]t is the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the interest of the United States," it reads.