The “Gang of 14” announced a deal in May 2005 to avert a Senate crisis over judicial filibusters.
The “Gang of 14” compromise in 2006 displeased many conservatives. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress at the time, and those involved in the compromise group agreed to take some of the party’s power options off the table in exchange for Democratic promises not to filibuster Bush’s judicial nominees except under “extreme circumstances.”
John McCain Answers Tough Question on Gang of 14
(This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2007.)
Tough Question from Mike’s America
Q. Following Senator McCain’s remarks he invited questions from the group. I introduced my question by saying: “Many conservatives in South Carolina were disappointed because you and Senator Graham (McCain’s SC Co-Chairman) 1. participated in the “Gang of 14″ to block the “nuclear option” and break the filibuster of President Bush’s judicial nominees, 2. highlighted the “torture” of terrorist detainees weeks before the 2006 election and 3. Your previous stand on immigration.” I also mentioned that many conservatives felt that they “could not trust” Senator McCain and I asked: “What can you say to them so they give your campaign another look?”
His answer was direct and clear:
“If you don’t agree with the “Gang of 14″ solution then I am not your candidate and you should vote for someone else.”
Senator McCain went on to highlight the fact that under the Gang of 14 solution, the Senate did confirm conservative judges like Alito and Roberts.
He went to say “I shudder to think what would happen if we had pulled the trigger on the nuclear option and one day Hillary Clinton was appointing judges.”
He asked me: “would your blogging friends still want to blow up the Senate” if Hillary Clinton was in charge? If so, I am not their candidate!
Senate ‘Gang of 14’ may pounce on stimulus bill
Fox News has this story about how Senate Republicans and some Democrats met this morning to seek common ground on how they can improve the $819 billion economic stimulus bill.
According to the story, the lawmakers aren’t happy that the bill, passed by the House on Wednesday, contains billions of dollars for programs that arguably won’t spark much job growth.
They met in the office of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a moderate Democrat who has brought his colleagues together in the past on the issues of judicial appointments and energy policy.
Nelson famously gathered Republicans and Democrats in a so-called “Gang of 14” to avert a shutdown of the Senate over judicial nominations and is aiming for similar bipartisanship in the stimulus debate, Fox News reports.
One item that likely will be discussed is an amendment that would add billions of dollars to infrastructure projects. Nelson is crafting that measure with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, both on the Appropriations Committee.
And Nelson doesn’t want to stop there. He wants to pluck out what he says are extraneous projects in the stimulus bill to pay for the amendment. Providing hundreds of millions of dollars for prevention of smoking and sexually-transmitted disease — though they may be worthy causes — does not create jobs. Nelson even is willing to remove popular Pell Grant increases, saving them for annual spending bills later in the year.
“We need to sit down and see who owns these projects,” Nelson said, and see if they can be removed from the bill. “We need to keep (the bill’s cost in check) and see if we cant change around what’s underneath that to create more jobs.”
Politically I am a centrist, and when I see moderates from both sides of the aisle coming together and attempting to reach some sort of a compromise, I generally see that as a good thing.
Given that Democrats did win and control both houses and the White House, perhaps a “Gang of 14” solution is the best we can hope for.
Asked on Fox News today if he knew “of any Republicans on the Senate side that will vote yes” on the stimulus plan “as it stands,” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) said he didn’t “even know how many Democrats will vote for it as it stands today. “A lot of my colleagues are not decided,” said Nelson. “They’re undecided on the bill as it is right now.”