In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is having conversations with "four or five" Democrats he hopes will help him work toward a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, but he said that Democrats are still waiting to see if Republicans will get their act together before signing on.

"We have to show that we have our act together before they're going to risk it," Cassidy told reporters. "I'm okay with that."

Cassidy said he didn't know if other colleagues were trying to reach across the aisle at this point.

"I want this to be an American solution, not a Republican solution," he said. "I say that not rhetorically, but the only major social programs that have worked in our country have been bipartisan, and we need this to be bipartisan."

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder highlighted his plans to focus on redistricting reform in the post Obama-era, with remarks Thursday marking the the launch of the political group he will lead.

“Gerrymandering has always been part of the political process, but what we are seeing is gerrymandering on steroids and I think that’s the thing that we are in the process of trying to combat,” he said Thursday during a Q&A at the left-leaning think tank, Center for American Progress.

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Retired Gen. James Mattis offered unqualified support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his Thursday Senate confirmation hearing to serve as Defense Secretary, and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to break the alliance, which has served as the bedrock of American and European security since 1949.

Mattis was careful not to disparage Donald Trump as senators repeatedly pressed him to answer for the President-elect’s threats to only ensure U.S. protection for NATO allies who fulfilled their financial obligations under the treaty.

The retired general vowed to stand behind NATO “100 percent” when asked by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) how Trump would respond if some member countries don’t “pony up” financial dues.

He called the treaty “vital to our security,” and said he was “confident” that Trump expected his national security team to “live up to our word” in Article 5 of the treaty, which enshrines collective defense.

“My view is that nations with allies thrive and nations without allies don't,” he said earlier in the hearing in response to a question by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) about his support for the alliance.

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Ben Carson, Trump's pick for HUD Secretary, refused to say that Trump and his family wouldn't profit from HUD.

In a tough line of questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Carson said he was going to let "morals" dictate his decision making process not favors, but that didn't exactly eliminate the opportunity for Trump to benefit.

"Can you just assure us that one dollar with go to benefit the president elect or his family?" Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) began her line of questioning with Carson.

Warren– who has been a leading voice on Capitol Hill to force President-elect Trump to divest from his business interests– was making a point.

"It will not be my intention," Carson tried to respond. "I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people.That is going to be the goal."

Carson, however, said that if the program is good enough, he wouldn't mind that Trump's family was profiting.

"If there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that is working for millions of people and it turns out that someone that you targeted is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say 'no the rest of you Americans can't have it? ' No, I think probably logic and common sense would be the best way," Carson said.

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The Donald Trump who took questions from reporters Tuesday in his first press conference as President-elect was the same combative, short-tempered figure the American public saw on the 2016 campaign trail, down to the red power tie.

The President-elect personally dressed-down a CNN reporter in scathing terms. He limited his comments on what a replacement plan for Obamacare would look like to a vague promise to “repeal and replace” the healthcare law “essentially simultaneously.” His responses were cheered on enthusiastically by a small group of staffers.

In short, two months after winning the White House in a historic upset and nine days out from Inauguration Day, Trump appeared no closer to adhering to the norms that have traditionally regulated the office he is poised to assume.

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), in a move unprecedented for a senator, testified against the confirmation of his colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General.

"Sen. Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job, to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights and justice for all of our citizens," Booker said Wednesday, the second day of hearings. "In fact, numerous times he has demonstrated a hostility towards these convictions and has worked to frustrate attempts to advance the common good.”

He was joined on the witness panel by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA). Other members of the caucus were present in the audience.

Sessions avoided any major mishaps in the first day of hearings, where he fielded questions until well into the evening Tuesday. He spent ample time answering for controversial remarks he's made in the past, as well as for the proposals President-elect Donald Trump put forward on the campaign trail.

A full list of witnesses and a livestream is below. This post will be updated throughout the day with the latest from the hearing.

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At the end of the hearing to confirm outgoing ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next secretary of state, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seemed hesitant to fully back Tillerson's confirmation.

Rubio took several minutes to note that Tillerson declined to call out certain world leaders for human rights violations, indicating that those responses were troubling.

"I asked you about whether Vladimir Putin was a war criminal, something that you declined to label him as. I asked about China, whether they were one of the worst human rights violators in the world, which again, you didn't want to compare them to other countries. I asked about the killings in the Philippines. I asked about Saudi Arabia being a human rights violator, which you also declined to label them," Rubio told Tillerson.

"You said you didn't want to label them because it would somehow hurt our chances to influence them or our relationship with him. But here's the reality, if confirmed by the Senate and you run the Department of State, you’re going to have to label countries and individuals all the time," the senator continued. "You gave the need for a lot more information in order to comment on some of these. And believe me, I understand that it's a big world. There’s a lot of topics. These were not obscure areas. I can tell you that, number one, the questions I asked did not require access to any sort of special information that we have."

Rubio then lamented that he was unable to get Tillerson to "acknowledge that the attacks on Aleppo were conducted by Russia" and that the former Exxon CEO seemed "unaware of what's happening in the Philippines."

"I have no questions about your character. Your patriotism. You don't need this job," Rubio said. "But I also told you when we met that the position you've been nominated to was, in my opinion, the second most important position in the U.S. government, with all due respect to the vice president."

Rubio said that people all over the world look to the U.S., and that when the U.S. is "not prepared to stand up and say, yes, Vladimir Putin is a war criminal ... it demoralizes these people all over the world."

Rubio said that by not calling out human rights abuses, the U.S. leads people abroad to believe that "America cares about democracy and freedom as long as it's not being violated by someone that they need for something else."

"That cannot be who we are in the 21st century. We need a secretary of state that will fight for these principles. That's why I'm asking these questions," Rubio said.

After leaving the hearing, Rubio was unwilling to commit to backing Tillerson's confirmation. He told reporters that he would review Tillerson's answers during the hearing again before making a decision.

"I have to make sure that I am 100 percent behind whatever decision that I make, because once I make it, it isn't going to change," he said.

At the end of the hearing, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chair of the committee, appeared to respond to Rubio's comments. He told senators looking for "clarity" that while senators gain a strong sense of "clarity" through their work in Congress, a nominee may want "to make sure that he's not getting out over his skis" and is adjusting to working with a new boss.

Follow along for our coverage of the hearings below through out the day:

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