In US history, there have been 1,917 male senators — and just 46 female senators – Updated by German Lopez Nov 1, 2016, 2:10pm


The research shows getting more women in office isn’t just about equality — it also gets more stuff done.

Here’s a shocking statistic: Throughout American history, 1,917 US senators have been men — and just 46 have been women.

Yes, there are caveats to this. Women haven’t been allowed to vote, much less serve in political office, for much of the country’s history. And even once they gained those legal rights, society and culture also had to change to accept women in leadership positions. (We’re just now possibly getting the first woman president — nearly 100 years after the 19th Amendment gave women nationwide, although not necessarily black women until the Voting Rights Act, the right to vote.)

But this still shows one of the many ways the US political system has been skewed to favor men.

A new video by the Atlantic profiling Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) demonstrates some of the many hurdles women face to getting into office — and why those hurdles are bad not just for equality, but basic good governance.

It opens up with an anecdote, told by Klobuchar, that is at once incredibly awkward and incredibly telling:

I remember one of my first months I was on the senators’ elevator. The door opens up, and the male senator says to me, “I’m sorry, this is senators only.” And the guy next to me, from my staff, says, “She is a senator.” And he looks aghast. And then I looked at him — and of course I knew who he was — and I said, “But who are you?”

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The Senate’s scientific divide – Jun 10th 2016, 16:38 BY THE DATA TEAM


DEMOCRATS and Republicans in Congress seem to agree on very little these days. From the economy to health care to national security, compromise and bipartisanship are rare. Polarisation is the norm. It is little wonder then that science has in recent years become a source of some of America’s sharpest political debates. New research suggests that this partisan divide is evident not only in Washington’s corridors of power, but on social media.

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Senate GOP starts fast-track on bill to block Planned Parenthood funding – By Jordain Carney September 21, 2015, 08:17 pm


Senate Republicans on Monday night started the Senate’s fast-track process on legislation that would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) began the process, known as Rule 14, that will allow the legislation to skip over the Senate’s committee process and go straight to the Senate floor where it can be brought up for a vote. The Senate will likely complete the process on Tuesday.

The legislation, which passed the House last week by a 241-187 vote, would place a one-year freeze on federal funding for the organization giving lawmakers more time to investigate claims of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood made in a string of controversial videos.

Senate Republicans also started the fast-track process on a House-passed bill that would tighten restrictions on abortion doctors who violate infant protections.

The proposals come as Republican leadership is under pressure to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline to pass a government spending bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to not let the government shutdown, and called his party’s push to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a spending bill an “exercise in futility.”

But Congress’ path to keeping the government open remains unclear with only a handful of days left before the deadline.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, told reporters that the Senate could take the lead on a funding bill, but added that “I don’t think it’s been finally decided.”
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Cruz girds for McConnell showdown in rare Sunday session – By Alexander Bolton – 07/26/15 06:00 AM EDT


Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz has found a way to seize the spotlight at a time his campaign for president is losing the battle for buzz.

The Texas Republican on Sunday will attempt an unusual procedural move to overturn Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) blocking of his amendment on the Iran nuclear deal.

McConnell, seeking to move a federal highway funding bill through the Senate fast, has cut off most amendments to the measure — though he is allowing a vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

That decision has infuriated Cruz, who took to the floor on Friday to accuse his leader of lying to him.

On Sunday, Cruz needs a majority of the Senate to back his objection to McConnell — a tall order that is unlikely to be achieved.

Either way, it could be good news for Cruz, who wants to cast himself as a fighter struggling against the Washington establishment.

Republican strategists say the floor battle gives Cruz a vital shot of publicity at a time his campaign is being overshadowed by celebrity business mogul Donald Trump, who has soared to the top of GOP polls as Cruz has lost support.

A recent Washington Post/ABC news poll showed Trump leading the GOP presidential field nationwide with 24 percent support. It showed Cruz in eighth place with 4 percent.

“For someone trying to run for a president as a populist outsider and Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the room, this couldn’t come at a better time,” Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.

“It’s something where Cruz can get air time and reassert himself in the 2016 debate,” he added. “Donald Trump is taking away his supporters. They are both running in the same lane right now. If Trump blows up, Cruz is the most likely to be the biggest beneficiary.”

 

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The GOP’s 2016 trade divide – By MANU RAJU 6/23/15 7:28 PM EDT Updated 6/23/15 8:07 PM EDT


It’s Cruz and Paul vs. Rubio and Graham in the party’s latest ideological split.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. departs after speaking during the Road to Majority 2015 convention at the Omni Shoreham Hotel  in Washington, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Marco Rubio entered the first floor of the Senate, sneaking up a back stairwell to cast his biggest vote of the year: advancing President Barack Obama’s trade agenda.

The Florida Republican stayed on the Senate floor for a minute, then darted down a staircase, ignoring questions about conservative criticism of a bill some on the right have derisively dubbed “Obamatrade.”

“Not today,” Rubio, the presidential hopeful, said as he rushed out of the Senate.

Rubio’s mum posture on Tuesday underscores how divisive the issue has become in Republican presidential politics. While a vast majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress voted to advance the trade agenda, a vocal segment of the GOP base has aggressively attacked the plan, contending it would hurt American workers, change immigration laws and give Obama too much power.

It’s the latest chapter in the intraparty struggle that’s consumed the GOP since the 2010 midterms, as business-minded Republicans battle with the tea party wing over the party’s identity and direction.

The influence of the activist right was on vivid display Tuesday when Ted Cruz, the Texas firebrand who has aligned himself with that segment of the GOP, sharply reversed course on trade. After vocally supporting fast-track trade authority for Obama, Cruz announced that he would oppose the plan. He cited “corrupt” backroom deal-making that, he contended, would weaken U.S. immigration policies and even lead to the extension of the charter for the controversial Export-Import Bank.

“I support free trade and have vocally supported free trade for a long time,” Cruz told reporters after the vote. “But the cronyism and the backroom deals are unacceptable.”

Republican proponents strongly disputed the assertions.

 

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http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/the-gops-2016-trade-divide-119350.html?hp=t1_r

Senate Passes Freedom Act, Ending Patriot Act Provision Lapse – By Steven Nelson June 2, 2015 | 6:34 p.m. EDT


The legislation will ban bulk collection of records, backers say.

The Senate approved the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday, delivering a defeat to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who first sought a "clean" reauthorization of intelligence laws before pushing unsuccessful amendments.

The Senate approved the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday, delivering a defeat to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who first sought a “clean” reauthorization of intelligence laws before pushing unsuccessful amendments.

The mass surveillance-reforming USA Freedom Act passed the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, ending an impasse on reauthorization of three surveillance authorities and putting in motion a purportedly permanent end to the government’s automatic bulk collection of U.S. phone records.

President Barack Obama supports the legislation and likely will sign it into law at the earliest opportunity, reinstating and modifying surveillance powers that lapsed Sunday night through 2019.

Within six months, the National Security Agency will need to abandon its wholesale collection of phone records and transition to acquiring call logs of targets and those of their contacts as needed in intelligence investigations.

Thirty-two senators voted against the legislation, which would not require phone companies to store records longer than they currently do.

[READ: Kentucky Senators At Odds – And Taking the Blame – for NSA Shutdown]

Federal regulations require landline phone providers to keep records at least 18 months, but wireless and online call providers have retention policiesranging from zero days to 10 years, introducing the potential for privacy-conscious carrier changes.

The legislation ultimately backed by 67 senators blocks the government from transferring mass phone record collection to other authorities, such as national security letter statutes or Section 214 of the Patriot Act – one of 14 Patriot Act provisions made permanent in 2005.

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http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/02/senate-passes-freedom-act-ending-patriot-act-provision-lapse?int=a14709

Senate lets NSA spy program lapse, at least for now – BY PATRICIA ZENGERLE AND WARREN STROBEL Mon Jun 1, 2015 4:24am EDT


A National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen in Bluffdale, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, Utah May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

The legal authority for U.S. spy agencies’ collection of Americans’ phone records and other data expired at midnight on Sunday after the Senate failed to pass legislation extending their powers.

After debate pitting Americans’ distrust of intrusive government against fears of terrorist attacks, the Senate voted to advance reform legislation that would replace the bulk phone records program revealed two years ago by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the Senate did not act in time to keep the program from expiring, the vote was at least a partial victory for Democratic President Barack Obama, who had pushed for the reform measure as a compromise addressing privacy concerns while preserving a tool to help protect the country from attack.

But final Senate passage was delayed until at least Tuesday by objections from Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican presidential hopeful who has fulminated against the NSA program as illegal and unconstitutional.

As a result, the government’s collection and search of phone records terminated at midnight when key provisions of a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law known as the USA Patriot Act expired.

In addition, U.S. law enforcement and security agencies will lose authority to conduct other programs.

Those allow for “roving wiretaps” aimed at terrorism suspects who use multiple disposable cell phones; permit authorities to target “lone wolf” suspects with no connection to specific terrorist groups, and make it easier to seize personal and business records of suspects and their associates.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/01/us-usa-security-surveillance-idUSKBN0OG0RF20150601

The moment Rand Paul has been waiting for – By MANU RAJU 5/30/15 4:31 PM EDT


He plans to force the expiration of a surveillance law he’s been railing against for years — but the political risks are enormous.

Getty

Getty

Hours before the Senate’s PATRIOT Act standoff hit its peak this month, Republican leaders thought they had Rand Paul figured out. He would object, rail on the matter on the Senate floor — and then let at least a temporary extension through.

“I don’t agree with Sen. Paul on this issue, but I think he’s been a constructive guy,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said just before the week-long recess.

A day later with the clock past midnight and the Senate in a standstill largely because of Paul’s objections, Cornyn wasn’t nearly as generous.

“I’m a little surprised,” a perplexed Cornyn said. “Sen. Paul is asking for something that nobody will agree to.”

Paul’s handling of the PATRIOT Act issue has caught many of his GOP colleagues by surprise — and he now plans to drag the fight days past a midnight Sunday deadline, forcing the sweeping surveillance law to expire. Despite repeated cajoling by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the Memorial Day recess, Paul plans to block his fellow Kentuckian’s efforts to expedite debate, he told POLITICO Saturday.

“Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security. I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies,” Paul said in a statement. “But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not. There has to be another way. We must find it together. So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program.”

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http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/the-moment-rand-paul-has-been-waiting-for-118449.html?hp=t1_r

 

Why Pick Chuck Schumer to Lead the Democrats in the Senate? – By Gabrielle Levy April 19, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EDT


The New York senator slated to replace Minority Leader Harry Reid is an outspoken politician with a “different style.”

Sen. Charles Schumer attends a press conference announcing federal funding for Super Storm Sandy recovery efforts on March 31, 2015, in New York City.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has Sen. Harry Reid’s blessing to succeed the Nevada senator in his upper chamber leadership role.

When Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced his retirement, early on a Friday morning as the Senate was about to depart for a two-week recess, it was something like an earthquake striking the Capitol.

There were no cracks in the Washington Monument this time, but the six-time senator from Nevada’s announcement took Democratic leadership by surprise. Still, it didn’t take long for them to set off an earthquake of their own, skipping over Minority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and instead selecting Sen. Chuck Schumer to take Reid’s place in 2017.

While some suggested the Democratic party would be well-served by choosing a new leader more representative of the inclusive, progressive Left, others expected Durbin to put up a fight for the top job. Instead, Durbin agreed to step aside, and Reid endorsed Schumer immediately, telling The Washington Post that his “different style” will be good for the party. “I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,” he said.

Schumer and Durbin were longtime roommates, living in the real life “ Alpha House” with former Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., until Miller’s retirement last year. Aides say portrayals of enmity between Schumer and Durbin are overblown, and Durbin himself frequently denied his interest in becoming Senate minority leader, even as he took over running floor operations while Reid was recovering from injuries early this year.

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http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/19/why-pick-chuck-schumer-to-lead-the-democrats-in-the-senate?int=a14709

Did The Senate Just Say Yes To Action On Climate Change? – by Emily Atkin Posted on April 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm Updated: April 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm


The sun rises over the U.S. Capitol, where lawmakers approved language saying climate change should be tackled in the 2016 federal budget.

The sun rises over the U.S. Capitol, where lawmakers approved language saying climate change should be tackled in the 2016 federal budget. — CREDIT: AP

It’s not a bill, it’s non-binding, and there’s no guarantee anything will actually come of it. But either way, the Republican-led Senate apparently thinks climate change should be tackled in the final federal budget for fiscal year 2016.

On Thursday evening, the Senate approved a motion to instruct budget negotiators to “insist” that the final spending bill include measures to address human-caused climate change. Specifically, it calls for funding that “respond[s] to the causes and impacts of climate change, including the economic and national security threats posed by human-induced climate change.” Via the motion, budget negotiators were also instructed to provide funds for the Department of Defense to bolster resilience of critical military infrastructure to the impacts of climate change.

This, of course, does not mean that the final budget will definitely include funding to respond to the threats of human-caused warming. All it means is that the Senate has officially stated that the budget should include that type of allocation. The lawmakers participating in the budget conference committee are under no official obligation to do so, however.

Still, the motion’s passage is notable if only because of the Senate’s historically lukewarm position toward the reality of climate science. According to a Center for American Progress analysis, a whopping 70 percent of Senate Republicans do not accept the science that states greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming.

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http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/16/3647796/senate-says-yes-to-climate/