Archive for the ‘Senator’ Category

NY Gov’s Pick For Senate Causes Liberals To Howl

January 23, 2009

Gov. Paterson, defying the liberal wing of his Democratic Party, has chosen little-known, NRA-backed, upstate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as New York’s junior senator, it was learned last night.

New York Post

The surprising – and, for many Democrats shocking – decision to pick the conservative Gillibrand, 42, from Hudson in Columbia County, was disclosed by the governor in calls to party officials and some members of the state’s congressional delegation, many of whom said they were unhappy with the selection, sources said.

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The governor of New York has chosen state congresswoman Kirsten ... 
The governor of New York has chosen state congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, a relative unknown on the political scene, pictured here in 2007, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, US media said Friday.(AFP/File/Mannie Garcia)

Biden Admits Mistake, Claims Ignorance on Intelligence

January 6, 2009

Vice-president-elect Joseph Biden admitted today the Obama transition team made a “mistake” in not notifying top Senate officials of the selection of Leon Panetta as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, defending the former Clinton White House chief of staff as a nominee would take the CIA on “new path.”

Biden told reporters in the Capitol that the Senate Intelligence Committee should have been consulted in advance of the Panetta nomination, which resulted in criticism from the panel’s top Democrats. The incoming chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and outgoing chairman, Sen. John “Jay” Rockefeller III (D-W. Va.), questioned the Panetta selection because of his lack of experience in the intelligence community.

By Paul Kane
The Washington Post

“I’m still a Senate man. I always think this way. It’s always good to talk to the requisite members of Congress. I think it was just a mistake,” Biden said after being sworn in today for another Senate term (he will resign his seat in advance of the Jan. 20 inauguration).

Biden said the issue was one of process, not substance, and that Panetta — as chief of staff and as White House budget director — had experience dealing with the CIA and the vast network of spy agencies. “He has been a consumer of intelligence for a long time,” Biden said.

He called Panetta “a strong figure” who would “take it on a new path.”

The surprise selection divided top Senate Democrats, as Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has given a full-throated endorsement, and some Republicans have voiced doubts about Panetta’s experience, including Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (Mo.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

Panetta does have a strong ally in a recent past chairman of the panel, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who served in the House with Panetta and counts him as a “good friend”.

“From an outside, fresh-look approach, I think it’s a good thing,” Roberts said of Panetta’s selection. He said the nominee is a “fast learner” who will have the management skills to turn around the agency.

“He brings to the office tremendous experience,” Roberts said.

 New Congress Day 1: Where’s Rahm Emanuel?

Burris Says He’s a Senator; But Without The Oath, He Won’t Be One Even Tuesday

January 5, 2009

Senate Democrats struggled to avert a showdown steeped in race and corruption Monday as a defiant Roland Burris declared, “I’m a United States senator” despite boiling controversy over his appointment to President-elect Barack Obama‘s seat in Congress.

Several officials said it was out of the question that Burris would be sworn into office on Tuesday when other new lawmakers take the oath of office. The officials cited incomplete paperwork, but the dispute was far deeper than that. Burris was named last week by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces charges of having attempted to sell the seat.

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris holds a news conference ... 
Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris holds a news conference at Chicago’s Midway airport Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, before leaving for Washington for a high-stakes showdown on Capitol Hill about whether he’ll succeed President-elect Barack Obama in Congress. Burris was appointed last week by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Burris has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but Senate Democrats expressed the hope that the veteran Illinois Democrat would not violate protocol by attempting to walk uninvited into the chamber. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to address the matter publicly.

At the same time, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., appeared to leave open the possibility of a compromise after having failed to persuade Blagojevich to leave the seat vacant. Burris is scheduled to meet privately on Wednesday with the majority leader in his office a few paces off the Senate floor.

Burris, who is black, downplayed the issue of race at a news conference before boarding a flight from Chicago to Washington — even though supporters have given it prominence.

“I cannot control my supporters. I have never in my life, in all my years of being elected to office, thought anything about race,” he said.

As for Senate Democratic leaders, thus far unwilling to allow him to be seated, he said, “I am a United States senator. They can’t stop me from doing my senatorial duties.”

In fact, he is not, and cannot be unless he is administered the oath of office.

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