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U.S. Senate once again attempting comprehensive immigration reform

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., reintroduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Wednesday.

In voting against Patriot Act, Udall says Americans would be ‘alarmed’...

Colorado Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall has long urged his colleagues to reform three of the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, saying the provisions are ripe for abuse. This week Congress decided against reform and extended the act as it stands for four more years. In voting with the slim minority that opposed extension, Udall made clear that, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee privy to executive branch information, he felt the provisions were now being abused, that the government was unnecessarily trampling rights and also blocking oversight.

Senate blocks debate over Patriot Act re-authorization

Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall joined with a small bipartisan band of colleagues to slow the move on Capitol Hill to quickly reauthorize the Patriot Act and extend its most controversial provisions for another four years. That effort was derailed Tuesday when Majority Leader Harry Reid called for a vote to "table" or stop work on the act. He got his wish. The Senate voted to block debate 74 to 13 votes.

‘Patriotic Millionaires’ battle Tea Party-fueled ‘war on the weak’

It's tax time 2011, which means it's the second anniversary of the Tea Party. It's also nearly a week after the first great Washington budget battle of the Tea Party-era in what's sure to be a series of similar battles pitting the Republican-controlled House against the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama. Indeed, as many of its critics have noted, the controversial GOP budget plan written by Wisconsin Tea Party-Rep. Paul Ryan for the next fiscal year would turbo-charge the trend in U.S. politics of attacking the poor, ignoring the middle class and rewarding the rich. Against that backdrop, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group of dozens of extremely wealthy Americans, is backing the Democrats and calling on lawmakers to end the Republican tax-cuts-for-millionaires experiment in federal government "fiscal discipline."

New Mexico lawmakers introduce bill to require uranium mining royalties

Two New Mexico Democrats today introduced a bill that would require uranium mining companies to pay a 12.5-percent royalty on federal lands – a move Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado at least favors studying given the growing interest in uranium mining and nuclear power. The Uranium Resources Stewardship Act introduced by U.S. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján would shift the regulation of uranium mining from the 1872 Mining Law to the Mineral Leasing Act and require royalty payments to federal and state governments similar to those paid by the coal, oil and gas industries.

Colorado GOP senators mimic U.S. House leaders, would hold budget hostage...

As the federal government prepares for a disastrous shutdown pinned largely to a House Republican amendment that would defund Planned Parenthood, Colorado Republican Senators attempted to mimic the legislative strategy that has led to the Capitol Hill standoff. Weeks of tense negotiations in Denver produced a budget plan tentatively embraced on both sides of the aisle. Then on Friday in stepped social conservatives in the Senate who during floor debate inserted a hot-button "defund Planned Parenthood" amendment into the budget negotiation.

ACLU to Congress: Vote on Obama’s use of force In Libya

The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday sent a letter to both chambers of Congress, asking Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule floor debates and then vote on whether President Obama can continue the use of military force in Libya, which he ordered on March 19 without approval from Congress.

As momentum wanes, Reid likely to call for vote on ‘Don’t...

Without any sure vote count and with waning prospects for success, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would likely call for a vote...

From immigration to energy, Dems face high hurdles in lame-duck session...

The midterm hangover having finally worn off, the 111th Congress returned Monday to kick off the lame-duck session, its last hurrah before its successor takes over. And the 112th Congress will look radically different, with Republicans in control of the House and the Democratic majority in the Senate significantly reduced. These next few weeks, then, could be the last chance for major Democratic initiatives. But the hurdles are high, and Republicans see no reason to grant Democrats any victories after the populace voiced its discontent with the policies of the past two years.

With Congress gridlocked on climate legislation, environmental groups forge ahead

Despite the Gulf oil spill, a massive pipeline break in Michigan and broad concerns about global warming, ambitious climate-change and energy legislation is likely dead for the year. That poses a conundrum, going forward, for environmentalists: How to convince lawmakers of the need for legislation to sever the country’s decades-long ties to oil and to reform energy policy more generally?