Difference between revisions of "United States Senate elections, 2014"

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{{TOC maker|1H=Partisan breakdown|1.1=Open seats|2H=Campaign finance|2.1=April 2013|2.2=August 2013|2.3=National Republican Senatorial Committee|2.4.1=NRSC fundraising worries|3H=Race ratings|3.1=Cook Political Report|3.1.1=Changes by month| 2013|3.2=New York Times|3.3=Most vulnerable seats|3.4=Washington Post|4H=Issues heading into 2014|5H=State-by-state breakdown|6H=See also|7H=External links|8H=References}}
{{TOC maker|1H=Partisan breakdown|2H=Competitive races|2.1=Cook Political Report|2.2=Five primaries to watch|2.3=Democratic and Republican targets|2.3.1=DCCC Frontline Program|2.3.2=DCCC Jumpstart Program|2.3.3=NRCC Patriot Program|2.3.4=NRCC targets| Rahall|2.3.5=Media Mentions|3H=Issues|4H=2012 Election summary|4.1=Margin of victory analysis|5H=See alson|6H=References}}
Elections to the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] will be held on [[United States Congress elections, 2014|November 4, 2014]]. A total of '''33 of the 100 seats''' will be up for regular election. Additionally, two special elections will take place in 2014 to fill vacancies that occurred in the [[113th Congress]] ([[United States Senate special election in Hawaii, 2014|Hawaii]] and [[United States Senate special election in South Carolina, 2014|South Carolina]]).
Elections to the [[United States Senate|U.S. Senate]] will be held on [[United States Congress elections, 2014|November 4, 2014]]. A total of '''33 of the 100 seats''' will be up for regular election. Additionally, two special elections will take place in 2014 to fill vacancies that occurred in the [[113th Congress]] ([[United States Senate special election in Hawaii, 2014|Hawaii]] and [[United States Senate special election in South Carolina, 2014|South Carolina]]).

Revision as of 17:36, 8 October 2013



2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Election Date
November 4, 2014

U.S. Senate Elections by State
Alabama • Alaska • Arkansas • Colorado • Delaware • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Montana • Nebraska • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • North Carolina • Oklahoma • Oregon • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Virginia • West Virginia • Wyoming

U.S. House Elections by State
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

Elections Information
Election DatesVoting in Primaries
Voting on November 4, 2014
Poll Opening and Closing Times
1 Partisan breakdown
2 Competitive races
2.1 Cook Political Report
2.2 Five primaries to watch
2.3 Democratic and Republican targets
2.3.1 DCCC Frontline Program
2.3.2 DCCC Jumpstart Program
2.3.3 NRCC Patriot Program
2.3.4 NRCC targets
2.3.5 Media Mentions
3 Issues
4 2012 Election summary
4.1 Margin of victory analysis
5 See alson
6 References

Elections to the U.S. Senate will be held on November 4, 2014. A total of 33 of the 100 seats will be up for regular election. Additionally, two special elections will take place in 2014 to fill vacancies that occurred in the 113th Congress (Hawaii and South Carolina).

Those elected to the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2014 in the 33 regular elections will commence serving six-year terms on January 3, 2015.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the direct popular election of U.S. Senators. Prior to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1913, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislatures.

As of July 2013, seven senators had announced they would not be running for re-election. In comparison, ten incumbent senators did not run for re-election in 2012 and twelve did not run for re-election in 2010.

Partisan breakdown

The following table displays the partisan composition of the U.S. Senate heading into the 2014 elections.

In 2014, Republicans would need to pick up six seats currently held by Democrats in order to gain a majority.[1]

Three incumbent Democratic U.S. Senators (Max Baucus of Montana, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia) have announced that they are not running for re-election in 2014, and the GOP is considered a favorite to pick up the seats they are leaving vacant.[1] Three other states with Democratic U.S. Senators up for re-election in 2014 (Alaska, Arkansas and North Carolina) are generally considered to have GOP-leaning electorates.[1]

In 2012, the Democratic Party retained control over the chamber, winning 25 of the 33 seats. With Republican candidates winning only eight seats, this was the worst performance by a major party since the 1950s.[2]

U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of 2014 Election After the 2014 Election
     Democratic Party 53 44
     Republican Party 45 54
     Independent 2 2
Total 100 100

Open seats

As of July 15, 2013, seven senators have announced they will not be running for re-election in 2014:

  • Democratic Party 5 Democrats
  • Republican Party 2 Republicans
Name:Party:Current office:
Carl LevinElectiondot.png Democratic U.S. Senator, Michigan
Jay RockefellerElectiondot.png Democratic West Virginia
John WalshElectiondot.png Democratic Montana
Mike JohannsEnds.png Republican Nebraska
Saxby ChamblissEnds.png Republican Georgia
Tim JohnsonElectiondot.png Democratic South Dakota
Tom HarkinElectiondot.png Democratic U.S. Senator, Iowa

Campaign finance

April 2013

According to an April 2013 Politico report, incumbent Democrats in red states raised "millions" in the first three months of 2013.[3] The candidates highlighted in the article were:

  • Democratic Party Mary Landrieu (LA) had raised $1.2 million and had $3.5 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Pryor (AK) had raised $1.9 million and had $3.4 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Kay Hagan (NC) had raised $1.6 million and had $2.7 million cash on hand
  • Democratic Party Mark Begich (AK) had raised $948,000 and had $1.5 million cash on hand[3]

August 2013

An August 2013 Politico report reported that the 27 incumbents running for re-election in 2014 had together raised about $125 million by the end of June 2013.[4] The report also found that 2014 may be the most expensive midterm election to date, pointing to the fact that the total amount raised for incumbents seeking re-election is $30 million more than at the same point in 2012 and on par with the amount they had raised in 2010.[4]

The incumbents highlighted in the article were:[4]

National Republican Senatorial Committee

In July 2013, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) president, Rob Collins, circulated a memo to top donors outlining the path to a majority in the Senate for the Republican Party. From the memo:

"Montana now joins West Virginia and South Dakota as the third red-state where Democrats have not only failed to land their top candidates, but to recruit a candidate capable of winning a general election matchup."

Collins went on to state that Republicans need to win just three seats in states with incumbent Democratic senators.[5]

NRSC fundraising worries

In September 2013, Politico released a report fundraising and internal problems within the NRSC. The group had only raised $21.7 million through September in 2013, which was $5 million less than it had at the same time in 2009, with 2010 being the most recent midterm elections.
There was also speculation that a staff chasm has left some staffers loyal to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), the acting NRSC chairman, while others fall more in line with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the vice chairman of finance.[6]

Race ratings

U.S. Senate predictions
Prediction from: Month Solid D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Solid R
Rothenberg Political Report June 28, 2013 12 1 1 5 2 2 12
Sabato's Crystal Ball June 27, 2013 7 3 3 5 2 3 11

Cook Political Report

Each month the Cook Political Report released race ratings for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (competitive only) and Governors in 2014. There were seven possible designations:[7]

     Solid D
     Likely D
     Lean D


     Lean R
     Likely R
     Solid R

Cook Political Report Race Rating -- U.S. Senate
Month Solid D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Solid R Total D Total R Total races
June 27, 2013[8] 6 5 6 3 0 4 11 17 15 35
August 2, 2013[9] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
October 17, 2013[10] 7 4 6 2 3 2 11 17 16 35
December 19, 2013[11] 7 5 4 3 3 1 12 16 16 35
February 7, 2014[12] 6 6 4 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
February 27, 2014[13] 6 5 5 3 3 1 13 16 17 36
March 19, 2014[14] 8 2 3 7 2 2 12 13 16 36
April 25, 2014[15] 8 2 2 8 2 2 12 12 16 36
August 15, 2014[16] 7 3 1 9 2 3 11 11 16 36
September 19, 2014[17] 7 3 1 9 1 3 12 11 16 36
October 17, 2014[18] 7 3 1 10 1 2 12 11 15 36

Changes by month

July 2013

  • From June 27, 2013 to August 2, 2013, Cook's race ratings changed in the following states:
    • Virginia went from Likely Democrat to Solid Democrat
    • Arkansas went from Likely Democrat to Solid Democrat
    • Iowa went from Lean Democrat to Tossup
    • Montana went from Tossup to Lean Republican
    • West Virginia went from Tossup to Lean Republican
    • Georgia went from Lean Republican to Likely Republican
    • Kentucky went from Likely Republican to Tossup

New York Times

According to an analysis by Nate Silver of The New York Times, Democrats are looking at a tough road ahead of them in the U.S. Senate in 2014. Democrats hold 21 of the 35 seats up for election in 2014, and there are more Democratic controlled seats that lean Republican than Republican seats that lean Democratic.[19]

Additionally, Democrats could suffer from a lower voter turnout of their base due to the fact that 2014 is a midterm election and President Obama will not be on the ballot.[19]

However, Republicans need to take six seats in order to gain control of the Senate, a large gain that will be difficult to accomplish even in a favorable environment. Based on the data below, at this very early stage Republicans are expected to be able to pick up four or five seats.[19]

The table below lists the initial race ratings overview for the 35 senate seats up for election in 2014 as of February 2013.[19]

FiveThirtyEight -- U.S. Senate
Month Solid D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Solid R
February 20, 2013[20] 6 7 3 4 0 4 11
July 15, 2013[21] 8 4 3 3 0 4 13
March 23, 2014[22] 10 2 3 1 1 4 16

Most vulnerable seats

The FiscalTimes compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats are held by Democrats.[23]

Washington Post

In August 2013 The Washington Post compiled a list of the 10 Senate seats most likely to change control in 2014:[24]

  • Republican Party Georgia: After Michelle Nunn (D) announced her candidacy in July 2013, it greatly increased the chance for Democrats to pick up the seat. On the Republican side, as of August 2013 there already had been five major Republican candidates in the field that could break any which way.[24] Who emerges from that primary will be a huge determining factor when it comes to whether this race is competitive.[24]
  • Democratic Party Iowa: Democratic candidate Bruce Braley seems to be a capable fundraiser and looks set to cruise to his party’s nomination without any trouble.[24] The Republican primary, meanwhile, lacks a clear front-runner. While it features a former Senate aide, a conservative radio host, a former U.S. attorney, a state senator and possibly a retired businessman, Gov. Terry Branstad (R) says he likely won’t endorse in the primary.[24] Democrats have the advantage in this open race as of August 2013, but the political contours of the state suggest it is not out of the question that Republicans can compete there.
  • Democratic Party North Carolina: State house Speaker Thom Tillis (R) has been plagued by headlines about major donors getting seats on the UNC Board of Governors and the money he has received from the gaming industry, and criticism over his decision to launch a Senate campaign while the legislature was still in session.[24] According to Washington Post none of it means Tillis cannot compete with Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who remains vulnerable.[24] However, his rough start was not the way to begin what promises to be a hard-fought campaign.[24]
  • Republican Party Kentucky: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) drew a self-funding primary challenge running to his ideological right as well as a Democratic challenger in Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.[24] Despite a rocky start for Grimes, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reportedly will ensure she has a solid team around her to make sure she avoids further rookie mistakes.[24] Polling as of Augsut 2013 suggests it is already a close race.[24] According to the Washington Post, "We think McConnell still is a slight favorite to come back to the Senate in 2015, but his chances got longer over the past month."[24]
  • Democratic Party Alaska: Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell appears to be the favorite, and 2010 nominee Joe Miller is the guy Republicans definitely don’t want. In the middle is the potential wild card, state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan — not to be confused with the Anchorage mayor of the same name — who recently deployed to Afghanistan.[24] Treadwell didn’t get off to a fast start, raising just $180,000 in the first six months of 2013, and there is speculation that Sullivan, who is not a candidate yet, could start looking more attractive as an alternative.[24]
  • Democratic Party Arkansas: Rep. Tom Cotton (R) is the rare Republican recruit with the ability to unite the conservative grass roots and the Republican establishment, spelling trouble for Sen. Mark Pryor (D), the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbent, according to the Washington Post.[24]. Pryor has already taken criticism over the airwaves from both conservative groups on his right and a leading gun-control organization on his left.[24] When Cotton committed to running, things looked even bleaker for the Democrat.

Issues heading into 2014

See also United States budget debate, 2013

Beginning in August 2013, House and Senate members began discussing the possibility of a government shutdown over the funding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On September 20, Republicans passed a spending bill in the House that funds the government until December, but strips funding from Obamacare. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would hold a procedural vote on Wednesday, September 24, many senators began to announce their positions on voting against a cloture, the motion to end debate on a bill. If the motion for cloture garners fewer than 60 votes, Reid would be unable to strip the Obamacare defunding language contained in the Republican House members' continuing resolution (CR).

The success or failure of the vote for cloture will have significant ramifications with regard to the possible shutdown of the federal government looming in October. Even if the cloture vote passes, the Senate will be handing a bill back to the Republican-controlled House that does not defund Obamacare.[25]

Congressional timeline

September 20, 2013: House Republicans passed a stopgap budget bill to fund the government through December 15, 2013. The bill strips all funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The single Republican dissenting vote was Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-03). In a statement, Rigell stated his reason for breaking with the party, "This CR fails to address the sequester that is negatively impacting those who wear our nation’s uniform and is the result of Congress’ inability to pass the 12 appropriations bills necessary to properly fund the government on time. What is needed is a comprehensive solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges, including a replacement for sequestration."

The two Democrats who joined with Republicans to pass the continuing resolution were Reps. Jim Matheson (UT-04) and Mike McIntyre (NC-07). Both Matheson and McIntyre were elected by margins of victory of less than one percent in 2012 in conservative districts which overwhelming voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

House continuing appropriations resolution, September 20, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 2 188 190
Republican Party Republicans 228 1 229
Total Votes 230 189 419

September 23, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both said there will be no hold-ups on the debt ceiling bill. Reid said there will be no filibuster and McConnell said he would not support efforts to block a vote on the bill. McConnell explained, "I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that." Instead, McConnell is pushing for a vote to end debate on the bill, thus leaving the defunding language in the bill. Reid reiterated that regardless of what happens, a vote will be held on Wednesday September 25, 2013.[27]

September 24, 2013: Beginning mid afternoon, Sen. Ted Cruz began a filibuster. Cruz stated that he would continuing speaking "until I am no longer able to stand."[28]

September 25, 2013: After Cruz's 21 hour and 19 minute speech, the Senate unanimously approved the cloture on the motion to proceed on the CR. The bipartisan support of the motion confirmed that the Senate was ready to move forward with debate on the CR and any possible amendments Sen. Harry Reid may add.[29]

Cloture on the motion to proceed, September 25, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 52 0 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 100 0 100

September 27, 2013: The Senate took a series of votes, stripping the Obamacare defunding language and changing the expiration date on the legislation to November 15. The bill now returns to the House, giving Speaker John Boehner the next move.[31]

Senate continuing appropriations resolution, September 27, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 52 0 52
Republican Party Republicans 0 44 44
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 54 44 98

September 28, 2013: Members of the House GOP released a joint statement saying, “The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare. That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible. The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas. Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th. We will also vote on a measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what. We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”[34]

Amendment #1, that delays the healthcare law by one year, passed 248-174 and Amendment #2, that permanently repeals the medical device tax, passed 231-192.[35] The House also approved a measure 423-0 that would continue to pay the military in the event of a government shutdown.[36]

House continuing appropriations resolution, Amendment #1, September 28, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 17 174 191
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 248 174 422
House continuing appropriations resolution, Amendment #2, September 28, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 2 190 192
Republican Party Republicans 229 2 231
Total Votes 231 192 423

September 29, 2013: As a government shutdown is looking more and more likely, congressional members need not worry about bringing home a paycheck. Congressional members will still be paid because they are funded by mandatory spending. The Senate declined to meet on Sunday to discuss the latest House CR.[39]

September 30, 2013: President Obama reiterated that he would not sign a spending bill that tampers with the implementation of Obamacare. The Senate rejected all House amendments to the CR, including the provision to delay Obamacare.

Senate vote on House amendments, September 30, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 0 52 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 0 2 2
Total Votes 46 54 100

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun discussions on a possible one-week continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for seven days while discussion would continue.[42]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to avoid a government shutdown, saying, "With the U.S. economy continuing to underperform, the federal government needs to maintain its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms. It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy."[43]

In the late afternoon, President Obama compared the GOP's handling of the CR to "extracting ransom." He stated, "You do not get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyways, or because there’s a law there that you don’t like.[44]
On Monday evening, the House passed a stopgap spending bill that included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. It would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff.

House continuing appropriations resolution, individual mandate amendment, September 30, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 9 189 198
Republican Party Republicans 219 12 231
Total Votes 228 201 429

Shortly after the House passed this latest version of the CR, the Senate voted straight along party lines to reject the bill and send it back to the House.

Senate vote on House amendments (2nd vote of the day), September 30, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 0 52 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 0 2 2
Total Votes 46 54 100

With just under 90 minutes left before the government shutdown, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) announced that the House would seek a conference with the Senate on a continuing resolution. After the motion to go to conference was approved by the House Rules Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) spoke out against the decision.[29]

October 1, 2013: At 1 a.m., one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[46]

October 1, 2013: House Republican leaders say they are going to try and pass a series of smaller bills to reopen the government. The bills would fund some of the agencies that currently are under shutdown. No timetable has been released as of yet.[47] President Obama said he will veto these smaller bills. According to a statement released by White House spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, "These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government. If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown -- which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors -- they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government."[48]

October 1, 2013: Paul Ryan spoke to the press with other House leaders and suggested an agreement to end the shutdown could be tied in with the debt ceiling, which hits its limit on October 17, 2013. He said, "We have a debt limit coming. Most budget agreements in the past have always involved debt limit increases. We think that's the forcing mechanism, just like the Budget Control Act that President Obama signed before." He added, "That's what we think we need. A forcing action to bring two parties together."[49]

October 1, 2013: Three of the smaller bills proposed to fund some government agencies failed on Tuesday. The first bill would have funded veteran affairs, the second bill would have funded national parks and the third bill would have funded other Washington D.C. agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. Even if the bills had passed the House, the Senate said they would not pass them and President Obama vowed to veto them.[50]

Note: Each bill needed a 2/3 majority to pass.
House funding for veterans affairs, October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 33 164 197
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 264 164 428
House funding for national parks, October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 22 175 197
Republican Party Republicans 230 1 231
Total Votes 252 176 428
House funding for Washington D.C., October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 34 163 197
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 265 163 428

October 2, 2013: Congressional leaders met with President Obama on Wednesday. Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were all invited.[54]

October 3, 2013: The Capitol was shutdown for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon. Shots were fired outside the United States Capitol building where at least one officer was injured and the suspect, a female, was shot. The Capitol immediately went into lockdown and everyone inside was told to shelter in place. The scene was cleared within the hour, and the building reopened.[55] Below is a tweet from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who was among the first to break the news:

Mccaskill tweet.JPG

October 5, 2013: The House unanimously approved legislation, with a vote of 407-0, to provide retroactive pay for 800,000 furloughed federal workers after the government shutdown ends.[57] Although many believe the Senate will pass the retroactive pay legislation in the coming days, Sen. Harry Reid quickly addressed the House vote after its passage on Saturday. Reid stated, "Now we're saying to federal employees: We're going to pay you when this is all over with. But right now, you just stay home … watch TV, play chess, whatever you’re going to do, because we won't let you work."[58]

October 7, 2013: A bipartisan House measure to repeal the 2.3% medical device excise tax that helps fund the healthcare reform law has been rumored as compromise to end the shutdown.[59][60]

Sponsored by Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), the proposal reportedly would fund the government at the sequester cut levels for six months, repeal the device tax and offset the nearly $30 billion revenue loss over 10 years by changing employer pension rules.[60]

Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate say they oppose the measure because they are not willing to negotiate reform law provisions as part of the current spending fight and because it would extend the sequester cuts for six months rather than the shorter period they seek.[60][59]

A spokesperson for Kind said the Democrats are not committed to a device tax repeal though it is not off the table. “There are a lot of proposals, the medical device issue being just one of them. It's a fluid situation. Going forward, I hope that there's a lot more to discuss, a lot more ideas, a lot more thoughts.”[59][60]

See also: United States involvement in Syria

In August 2012, President Obama said the "red line" for U.S. involvement in Syria was the use of chemical or biological weapons.[61] In April 2013, reports surfaced that Syria had used chemical weapons twice in their civil war, but it was not enough for the U.S. to intervene. In June 2013, President Obama authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels following more reports of small scale chemical weapon attacks.[61]

On August 21, 2013, the Syrian government was accused of a chemical weapons attack on a town in the suburbs of Damascus, killing thousands, including women and children.[61] On September 3, 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and General Martin Dempsey met with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support President Obama's decision to use military force to intervene in the Syrian conflict.[62] The group met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 5.[63]

Congressional timeline

  • September 1, 2013: Several top U.S. government officials hold classified briefing and several senators are in attendence.[64]
  • September 3, 2013: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and ranking member Bob Corker (R-TN) draft a compromise resolution to be debated in the hearing the next day.[65]
  • September 3, 2013: The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.[65]
  • September 4, 2013: John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) draft an amendment adding language stating the policy of the United States to pursue a reversal of the momentum on the ground in Syria as a means to encourage a political solution between the regime and the opposition.[65]
  • September 4, 2013: United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations votes 10-7 in favor of resolution that sets a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and bars the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.[66]
See also: Gang of Eight

Most recently, the Gang of Eight has been used in reference to immigration reform and includes eight of the most influential Senators, with four from each party.[67][68]

On May 6, 2013 Senators John McCain (R), Chuck Schumer (D), Richard Durbin (D), Robert Menendez (D), Michael Bennet (D), Lindsey Graham (R), Marco Rubio (R), and Jeff Flake (R) unveiled the outlines of their bi-partisan immigration plan.[67][68] The statement of principles was rather broad, but sets forth “four basic pillars”:

  • 1. A “tough but fair path to citizenship . . . .contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country as required”;
  • 2. Reform our legal immigration system with a greater eye toward our economic needs;
  • 3. Workplace verification; and
  • 4. Setting up a system for admitting future workers (although the term “guest worker” is not used).[68]

On June 27, 2013 in a late afternoon vote, the Senate voted to approve the immigration reform bill, Senate Bill 744.[69] The bill passed by a vote of 68-to-32, with 14 Republicans voting in favor.[70][69]

Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting on July 10, 2013 that the internal debate over immigration reform is an “important conversation," and that while the House will not take up the Senate-passed bill, members must do something to address the issue.[71]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) on July 8, 2013 ridiculed the House’s strategy of using the “Hastert rule” to pass legislation and said Speaker John Boehner will eventually have to take up the Senate’s immigration bill.[72] Reid also said Boehner’s adherence to the “Hastert Rule” requiring a majority of Republican caucus votes to move legislation is emblematic of the lower chamber’s dysfunction.[73]

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

The Senate passed a $1 trillion farm bill in June 2013 to fund both food stamps and farmer subsidies. States heavy in agriculture, including ones that will be competitive in 2014, may turn more favorably to Democratic candidates due to Republican opposition of the bill. The vote was 66-27, with 25 of the 27 nay votes being from Republicans. The two Democratic senators to vote against the bill were Jack Reed (RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

Both Montana and South Dakota, with agriculture being a major industry, will reap the benefits of the bill and also have open seats due to the retirement of Max Baucus (D-MT) and Tim Johnson (D-SD). [74]

The comprehensive bill failed in the House due largely in part to the votes of 8 Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority to vote down the measure.[75] Reps. Collin Peterson, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Cheri Bustos, Sean Maloney, Mike McIntyre, Bill Owens, and Tim Walz were the 8 Democratic members who voted to reject the bill.[75] According to analysis by OpenSecrets, many of these Democratic members have received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[75] Five of the eight are on the House Agriculture Committee--Peterson, Bustos, Maloney, McIntyre, and Walz-- from which agribusiness firms routinely target committee members with sizable contributions.[75]

Upon arrival at the House, the bill was altered by focusing solely on the farm programs and did not include the food stamp program, which will be voted on later. The House and Senate will now need to draft a final bill through conference committee.[76]

For senators up for re-election in 2016, this will be the first election since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This may be problematic for Democratic senators who voted in favor of the bill in states where it is no longer popular. Among these senators include:


Sen. Lee letter

In July 2013, Lee authored a letter, which as of August 2013 had been signed by 14 Republican senators, which promised a government shutdown unless the Affordable Care Act was defunded. The senators up for reelection in 2014 who signed the letter are:

Senate Conservative Fund targets

The Senate Conservative Fund targeted Sens. Isakson (R-GA), Graham (R-SC), Alexander (R-TN) and Burr (R-NC) in August 2013 with two weeks of radio ads designed to push Senate Republicans to support Utah's Mike Lee's effort to defund Obamacare. [78]

House Republicans passed a bill, the Student Success Act, on July 19, 2013 to reduce the federal role in public education and outline their vision for a national educational policy to replace the No Child Left Behind law.[79][80] The measure would give state and local governments greater powers to determine how best to improve schools and would sharply reduce federal involvement in education matters.[80]

It marks a significant departure from No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law that set federal goals for academic achievement and penalties for schools that fell short of those goals, as well as prescriptions for steps states must take to improve failing schools.[79]

No Democrats supported the bill, which passed by a 221 to 207 margin, with 12 Republicans voting with the Democrats against the measure.[81] It marked the first time in a dozen years that either chamber of Congress approved a comprehensive bill to update federal education law.[79]

The House bill is said to have no chance of moving through the Democratic-led Senate as it is written and President Obama has threatened to veto it.[80] The Senate committee overseeing education has completed work on its own measure that would give states greater flexibility in writing their own plans to improve schools. But, unlike the Republican proposal that passed the House, that bill would allow the education secretary to retain approval power over those proposals.[80] Full Senate consideration of the measure is unlikely to happen before the fall of 2014.[80]

State-by-state breakdown

United States Senate Elections Results in 2014
State Incumbent Incumbent Party Incumbent Ran? 2014 Winner Partisan switch?
Alabama Jeff Sessions Ends.png Republican Yes Jeff Sessions No
Alaska Mark Begich Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Arkansas Mark Pryor Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Tom Cotton Yes
Colorado Mark Udall Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Cory Gardner Yes
Delaware Chris Coons Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Chris Coons No
Georgia Saxby Chambliss Ends.png Republican No David Perdue No
Idaho Jim Risch Ends.png Republican Yes Jim Risch No
Illinois Richard Durbin Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Richard Durbin No
Iowa Tom Harkin Electiondot.png Democratic No Joni Ernst Yes
Kansas Pat Roberts Ends.png Republican Yes Pat Roberts No
Kentucky Mitch McConnell Ends.png Republican Yes Mitch McConnell No
Louisiana Mary Landrieu Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Pending Pending
Maine Susan Collins Ends.png Republican Yes Susan Collins No
Massachusetts Ed Markey Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Ed Markey No
Michigan Carl Levin Electiondot.png Democratic No Gary Peters No
Minnesota Al Franken Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Al Franken No
Mississippi Thad Cochran Ends.png Republican Yes Thad Cochran No
Montana John Walsh Electiondot.png Democratic No Steve Daines Yes
Nebraska Mike Johanns Ends.png Republican No Ben Sasse No
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Jeanne Shaheen No
New Jersey Cory Booker Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Cory Booker No
New Mexico Tom Udall Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Tom Udall No
North Carolina Kay Hagan Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Thom Tillis Yes
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe Ends.png Republican Yes Jim Inhofe No
Oregon Jeff Merkley Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Jeff Merkley No
Rhode Island Jack Reed Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Jack Reed No
South Carolina Lindsey Graham Ends.png Republican Yes Lindsey Graham No
South Dakota Tim Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic No Mike Rounds Yes
Tennessee Lamar Alexander Ends.png Republican Yes Lamar Alexander No
Texas John Cornyn Ends.png Republican Yes John Cornyn No
Virginia Mark Warner Electiondot.png Democratic Yes Mark Warner No
West Virginia Jay Rockefeller Electiondot.png Democratic No Shelley Moore Capito Yes
Wyoming Mike Enzi Ends.png Republican Yes Mike Enzi No

See also

External links


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