Republicans stall Hagel nomination
February 14th, 2013
05:22 PM ET

Republicans stall Hagel nomination

It appears a Senate vote on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel will be delayed for more than a week.

The Senate Thursday afternoon failed to garner enough votes to stop a filibuster against Hagel (pictured). Fifty-eight senators voted to move forward with the nomination, while 40 voted to hold it up. One senator, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, announced present, and Republican Sen. David Vitter missed the vote.

Sixty votes were needed to move the nomination forward. Senate Republicans initiated the filibuster over questions about Hagel's finances, as well as remaining tension between some Republican senators and the White House over the September terror attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

However, Republicans signaled they'd be willing to allow the nomination to proceed after recess, when only a simply majority of 51 votes are required to end a filibuster. The Senate is not in session next week.

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Senate panel's vote on Hagel nomination won't come Thursday
February 6th, 2013
06:29 PM ET

Senate panel's vote on Hagel nomination won't come Thursday

[Updated at 7:14 p.m. ET] The Senate Armed Services Committee's vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense won't happen as soon as the panel's chairman had hoped.

CNN had previously reported that the panel's vote could have come has early as Thursday. But the committee's chairman, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, said Wednesday that the vote still had not been scheduled.

"I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete," Levin, D-Michigan, said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”

The move came after Republicans demanded more financial information from Hagel, including details about compensation for speeches he delivered since leaving Capitol Hill.

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Senators agree on filibuster reform measures
January 24th, 2013
10:28 PM ET

Senators agree on filibuster reform measures

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate overwhelmingly agreed late Thursday on language reforming filibusters, passing the measures agreed to earlier in the day by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

The two leaders proposed to their caucuses earlier a list of reforms to curb the use of filibusters and streamline other procedures in order to speed up floor action. The measures required the support of each party's caucus.

The proposal allows for two paths that could be used to begin debate on legislation, avoiding filibusters designed to prevent debate from actually taking place.

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CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair
David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

Editor's note: Retired Gen. David Petraeus stepped down Friday as head of the Central Intelligence Agency - 14 months after taking the job, days after the presidential election and days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] Speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Rep. Peter King (R-New York) called Petraeus' resignation "a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

"We're going to lose the best man for the job, but again America is adaptable," said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Put it this way, anytime you lose a David Petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be."
[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The FBI investigated a tip that the woman Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with was Paula Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography about him, a U.S. official said.

Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for the book "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

CNN has not been been able to reach Broadwell for comment. It is not clear if Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus had admitting having an affair, leading to his resignation Friday as the head of the CIA.

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Harry Reid released from hospital after vehicle crash
Sen. Harry Reid was evaluated at a hospital after a vehicle collision on Interstate 15 in Las Vegas , his office says.
October 26th, 2012
07:05 PM ET

Harry Reid released from hospital after vehicle crash

[Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was discharged late Friday afternoon from a Las Vegas hospital hours after suffering rib and hip bruises in a vehicle collision on a Nevada highway, his office and a hospital spokeswoman said.

The vehicle that Reid was in, one of four vehicles in a caravan going north on Interstate 15, was involved in the multi-vehicle crash around 1 p.m. PT, Nevada Highway Patrol spokesmen Loy Hixson said.

Reid was discharged from University Medical Center shortly before around 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET), hospital spokeswoman Karen Gordon said. For more, check out this story from CNN.com's Political Ticker.

Official: Iraq envoy nominee withdraws amid controversy
June 18th, 2012
03:36 PM ET

Official: Iraq envoy nominee withdraws amid controversy

Brett McGurk, President Obama's pick to be the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, has withdrawn from consideration following revelations about questionable conduct, an administration official said Monday.

The personal conduct of McGurk (pictured) came under intense scrutiny since flirtatious e-mails exchanged with Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon were made public.

The e-mails appear to show that the two carried on an affair while they were stationed in Baghdad in 2008. They later married.

Chon recently resigned her position at the newspaper in the wake of the controversy.

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Filed under: Iraq • Politics
March 8th, 2012
06:13 PM ET

Senate rejects GOP measure to build oil pipeline

The Senate narrowly rejected a Republican-sponsored measure Thursday that would have bypassed the Obama administration's current objections to the Keystone XL pipeline and allowed construction on the controversial project to move forward immediately.

Fifty-six senators voted in favor of the amendment - four short of the 60 required for approval. Eleven Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus in backing the plan.

The proposed 1,700-mile long pipeline expansion, intended to carry crude oil from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a political lightning rod. Supporters, including the oil industry, say it's a vital job creator that will lessen the country's dependence on oil imported from volatile regions.

Opponents say the pipeline may leak, and that it will lock the United States into a particularly dirty form of crude that might ultimately end up being exported anyway.

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February 17th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

House passes payroll tax cut deal

The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan deal Friday morning extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while also avoiding a Medicare fee cut for doctors for the rest of the year.

The measure was approved in a 293-132 vote. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats voted in favor of the bill, though 91 Republicans and 41 Democrats voted no.

The Senate is also expected to pass the bill Friday.

President Barack Obama has promised to sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk, ending debate on the politically sensitive measures at least for the duration of the election.

The roughly $100 billion payroll tax cut, a key part of Obama's economic recovery plan, has reduced how much 160 million American workers pay into Social Security on their first $110,100 in wages. Instead of paying in 6.2%, they've been paying 4.2% for the past year and two months a break worth about $83 a month for someone making $50,000 a year.

Without congressional action, all three measures are set to expire at the end of February.

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December 16th, 2011
06:55 PM ET

Senate leaders propose 2-month extension of payroll tax cut

Senate negotiators were unable to work out a comprehensive deal on extending the payroll tax cut and instead are proposing a two-month extension, two sources told CNN on Friday.

The possible deal still needs approval from the full caucuses of both parties, which are meeting Friday evening.

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November 21st, 2011
01:13 PM ET

'Super committee' headed for failure, aides concede

Members of the congressional "super committee" - the bipartisan panel tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over the next decade - will likely announce Monday that they have failed, according to both Democratic and Republican aides.

"No decisions or agreement has been reached concerning any announcement or how this will end," one senior Democratic aide said. "But, yes, the likely outcome is no agreement will be reached."

Markets dropped as news spread of the panel's apparent failure. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had declined over 300 points by noon Monday.

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Senate votes to extend key Patriot Act provisions
May 26th, 2011
05:46 PM ET

Senate votes to extend key Patriot Act provisions

The Senate voted Thursday to extend three key provisions of the Patriot Act scheduled to expire at midnight, sending the measure to the House for consideration.

The House had been scheduled to begin its Memorial Day recess on Thursday afternoon. However, a protracted dispute over the legislation in the Senate, fueled by conservative newcomer Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, muddied voting schedules and required the House to stay longer than planned.

Late Thursday afternoon, Paul reached a deal with Senate leaders to allow votes on whether to table two of his amendments. Both amendments failed, and the subsequent vote on the measure to extend the Patriot Act provisions for four years passed easily on a 72-23 vote.

The expiring provisions of the law passed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks deal with roving wiretaps, tracking alleged "lone wolf" terrorists, and the ability of law enforcement officials to obtain any records they deem relevant to an investigation.

While the Senate approval was expected, passage in the House could be tougher as lawmakers on the right and left oppose an extension for various reasons. For example, some members of Congress are concerned about the law's impact on civil liberties, while others support the law but think it should be made permanent.

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May 10th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

GOP focus: Kagan's stance on gays in the military

Top GOP senators wasted no time Monday putting the controversy over gays in the military at the center of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation fight.
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