Chris Coons on Government Reform
It was Tillis himself who first proposed the bill to protect Mueller in a conversation with Coons last summer, an important bipartisan partnership that's survived tough battles over taxes and health care.
Coons was struck by Tillis' fight for reparations for black victims of a North Carolina eugenics program. And Tillis was impressed that Coons was willing to fend off Democrats who wanted to pile on to the special counsel bill and turn it into a partisan attack on Trump. "He was pretty clear," Coons said, recalling how Tillis threatened to drop his support unless each new Democratic co-sponsor was matched by a Republican.
"Month after month, now year after year, we've seen as highly qualified nominees--for judgeships, for ambassadorships, for agency positions--have been filibustered or have been blocked," Coons said "and frankly it was with real regret and only after many attempts at some resolution that I voted for the reforms today."
The grid-lock that has seized Washington was the final straw for frustrated Democrats. Coons said Republican filibusters had made it clear the GOP were simply on a mission to block Obama's nominees. "A sort of blanket declaration that nobody was getting confirmed--regardless of how qualified, regardless of how bipartisan their record was--that made it clear that this was not based on the qualifications of the nominees," Coons said. "It was based on a rejection of the presidency of Barack Obama"
O'DONNELL: That's a great question because first of all we have got to tackle the deficit because our deficit is almost becoming equal to our national GDP.
Q: So what would you cut specifically?
O'DONNELL: First of all, cancel the unspent stimulus bill. Second, put a freeze on discretionary spending, put a hiring freeze on non-security personnel. And then, of course, when we're talking about cutting government spending, we've got to talk about waste, fraud and abuse.
COONS: Let me get back to the focus of the question, is what would you do to tackle the deficit? I would seriously consider supporting a freeze on non defense discretionary spending for three years, which would achieve significant reductions. I've also identified on my web site a series of reductions that I would support. Some of them are in agricultural price supports. Some are in federal office space, for example, or hiring. And several are in defense programs.
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.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with respect to the requirement that a federal court retain jurisdiction for an appropriate period to prevent commencement of new devices to deny or abridge the right to vote. Expands the types of violations triggering the authority of a court to retain such jurisdiction to include certain violations of the Act as well as violations of any federal voting rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. [This bill would ban requiring photo IDs in order to vote].
Opponents recommend voting NO because:Sen. Bob Dole (on related bill from 2007, whether to add an amendment allowing photo ID): I am proposing a commonsense measure to uphold the integrity of Federal elections. My amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls would go a long way in minimizing potential for voter fraud. When a fraudulent vote is cast and counted, the vote of a legitimate voter is cancelled. This is wrong, and my amendment would help ensure that one of the hallmarks of our democracy, our free and fair elections, is protected. Opinion polls repeatedly confirm that Americans overwhelmingly support this initiative.
Proponents support voting YES because:Sen. Dianne Feinstein (on related bill from 2007): If one would want to suppress the vote in the 2008 election, one would vote [for Dole's amendment] this because this measure goes into effect January 1, 2008. It provides that everybody who votes essentially would have to have a photo ID. If you want to suppress the minority vote, the elderly vote, the poor vote, this is exactly the way to do it. Many of these people do not have driver's licenses. This amendment would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to actually carry out. It goes into effect--surprise--January 1, 2008 [to affect the presidential election]. I urge a "no" vote.
Organizational Self-Description: U.S. Term Limits, the nation's oldest and largest term limits advocacy group, announced that 14 new signers of its congressional term limits amendment pledge have been elected to the 114th Congress. The group includes five new senators, eight new House members and one House incumbent who signed the pledge for the first time this cycle. The pledge calls for members to co-sponsor and vote for a constitutional amendment limiting House members to three terms (six years) and Senators to two terms (12 years). The USTL President said, "The American people are fed up with career politicians in Washington and strongly embracing term limits as a remedy. Gallup polling shows that 75% of Americans support term limits."
Opposing legal argument: [ACLU, Nov. 7, 2014]: In U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (May 22, 1995), the Court ended the movement to enact term limits for Congress on a state-by-state basis. The Court held that the qualifications for Congress established in the Constitution itself could not be amended by the states without a constitutional amendment, and that the notion of congressional term limits violates the "fundamental principle of our representative democracy 'that the people should chose whom they please to govern them.'"
Opposing political argument: [Cato Institute Briefing Paper No. 14, Feb. 18, 1992]: Several considerations may explain political scientists' open hostility to term limitation:
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Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I)
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Sessions(R) vs.Moore(R) vs.Mooney(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.Scarane(D)
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Lieberman(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Carter(D)
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Graham(D) vs.Mauro(D) vs.Greenfield(D)
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Harris(D)
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.Morgan(R) vs.Cox(D)
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Pierce(D)
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.Liss-Riordan(D) vs.Ayyadurai(R) vs.Kennedy(D) vs.Waters(R)
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MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.Carlson(D) vs.Lewis(R)
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.Bohren(D)
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Collins(D) vs.Cooney(D)
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.E.Smith(D) vs.S.Smith(R) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.Tucker(R) vs.Mansfield(D)
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Martin(D) vs.Bolduc(R) vs.O'Brien(f)
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NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Clarkson(R) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Workman(D)
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Romero(R)
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs. (no opponent yet)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Tinubu(D) vs.Harrison(D)
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