Jeff Merkley on Government Reform
Democratic Jr Senator (OR)
"This is a terrific vote for the US Senate," said Merkley. "The American people want this institution to function. They want to see it take on the big issues. They don't want to see the entire calendar of the year eaten up by paralyzing process on nominations."
Filibuster reform has long been a marquee issue for Merkley (OR) & Udall (NM), who are part of a new breed of Senate reformers who have never served in the minority. Now, they're looking to expand their change to filibuster rules governing legislation--but that's going to be a much harder sell.
Critics of the two first-term senators say they led a movement they don't even understand--they have only served in the majority, longtime GOP senators charge, and don't appreciate ways that the filibuster has been used to the benefit of the country in the past.
Merkley sees controversy in the part of the bill which gives immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in surveillance on domestic citizens. “The bill will force federal district courts to immediately dismiss any cases against telecommunications companies that participated in illegal surveillance,” Merkley wrote. “This is unacceptable. The Constitution of the United States was violated. Over several years telecommunications companies turned over the records of millions of innocent Americans to the federal government without proper oversight and without a warrant.”
Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Q: Would you vote to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget?
Q: Do you support using vote-by-mail for all elections?
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): I am cosponsoring the legislation to provide a House seat for DC and an additional House seat for Utah. Representation and suffrage are so central to the American system of self-government that America's founders warned that limiting suffrage would risk another revolution and could prevent ratification of the Constitution. The Supreme Court held in 1820 that Congress' legislative authority over DC allows taxation of DC. Do opponents of giving DC a House seat believe that DC is suitable for taxation but not for representation?
Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I make a constitutional point of order against this bill on the grounds that it violates article I, section 2, of the Constitution. I appreciate the frustration felt by the residents of DC at the absence of a vote in Congress. According to many experts, DC is not a State, so therefore is not entitled to that representation. Also, one has to raise the obvious question: If DC is entitled to a Representative, why isn't Puerto Rico, which would probably entail 9 or 10 Members of Congress? [With regards to the seat for Utah], this is obviously partisan horse-trading.
The result of Citizens United was that "Super PACs" spent millions on TV ads in the 2012 election, advocating both issues and candidates. The DISCLOSE Act attempts to reduce the negative effect of Citizens United by requiring disclosure of independent expenditures made by advocacy groups.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate Vacancies 2013:
MA:Gomez(R,lost special election)
Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK:Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
CO:Udall(D) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Stephens(R)
GA:Gingrey(R) vs.Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R) vs.Kingston(R)
HI:Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA:Braley(D) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Clovis(R)
IL:Durbin(D) vs.Truax(R) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L)
KY:McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
ME:Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI:Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MS:Cochran(R) vs.McDaniel(R) vs.Childers(D)
MT:Edmunds(R) vs.Daines(R) vs.Bohlinger(D) vs.Walsh(D)
NE:Sasse(R) vs.Osborn(R) vs.
NH:Shaheen(D) vs.Martin(R) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R)
SC-6:Graham(R) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD:Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I)
TX:Cornyn(R) vs.Stockman(R) vs.Roland(L)
WV:Capito(R) vs.Raese(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.McGeehan(R)
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