National Journal Online

Nelson Retirement Threatens Democratic Senate Majority

Tough just became tougher for Democrats hoping to maintain control of the Senate in 2012.

Sen. Ben Nelson's decision not to run for re-election puts a seat both parties viewed as competitive much closer into the Republican column. It reduces the Democrats' margin for error, forcing their candidates to run the table in battleground-state contests in order to hang onto their majority in 2012.

Nelson's decision is a painful blow to Democrats, especially considering that it's a setback after a productive end of 2011 for the party.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 5:40pm

QUICK TAKE - Debt Ceiling Lift Could Trigger Fight Before Elections

The ill-fated congressional super committee is barely cold and already the stage is set for another round of debt limit drama in Washington potentially before the November elections.

Treasury Department officials said Tuesday that President Obama would likely request the debt ceiling be increased by $1.2 trillion on Friday, when projections estimate the U.S. debt will hit a trigger of within $100 billion of the current limit of $15.194 trillion.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 5:40pm

Perry: I’m the True Conservative in the Race

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the second leg of his Iowa bus tour on Tuesday, seeking to convince audiences that they didn’t have to settle for anyone but a true conservative –- and that he is that true conservative.
 

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 5:40pm

Today's e-Reads, Updated: Censoring Twitter?

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., is leading an effort to block Taliban Twitter accounts, the Telegraph reports.

Slate notes that Apple appears to have patented multi-tasking smartphones.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 5:40pm

Nelson Retirement Is Bad News for Democrats

Now that Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has announced that he won't run next year, Democrats will have to work that much harder to preserve their 53-47 Senate majority.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

Saying Goodbye: Change in the 112th Congress

Not every representative and senator who is sworn in at the beginning of a Congress is around for the end of their terms. Some step down for other jobs or in the wake of scandal, and a few, sadly, prove all too mortal. Others may stay until the end of their terms, but don't plan on seeking reelection out of a desire to retire from politics or to seek other elective positions.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

Ben Nelson to Announce Retirement From Senate

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., will announce later on Tuesday that he will retire after two terms in office, according to a senior Democratic operative familiar with his plans. Nelson's decision is a serious blow to Democrats' hopes of maintaining its slim Senate majority, turning what would have been a competitive red-state Senate race into a very likely GOP pickup next year.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

Ben Nelson To Announce Retirement

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., will announce later today that he will retire after two terms in office, according to a senior Democratic operative familiar with his plans. Nelson's decision is a serious blow to Democrats' hopes of maintaining their slim Senate majority, turning what would have been a competitive red-state Senate race into a very likely GOP pickup next year.

The news of Nelson's retirement was first reported by Politico.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

Obama to Nominate Democrat, Republican to Serve on Fed Board

President Obama will nominate a Democrat and a Republican to fill two open spots on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, a move intended to smooth the confirmation process in a deeply divided Senate.

Obama selected Jeremy Stein, a Democrat and economics professor at Harvard University, and Republican Jerome Powell, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, to fill the vacant positions on the seven-person board.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 4:40pm

QUICK TAKE: Obama To Nominate Powell, Stein to Serve on Fed Board

President Obama will nominate Jerome Powell and Jeremy Stein to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the White House announced Tuesday. Their nominations will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Powell is currently focusing on federal and state fiscal issues at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He has previous government experience, serving as the undersecretary of the Treasury for Finance during President George H.W. Bush's administration. Stein is an economics professor at Harvard University.

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 2:40pm