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Rifts exposed on both sides as Congress readies for GOP majority – Part 1

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. Senate was working over the weekend and still in session tonight, as Democrats hope to push through a slate of nominees.

    NewsHour political editor Lisa Desjardins reports that the final days of this Congress are exposing some telling divides in both parties and a glimpse of what's ahead.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    In-between. Right now, everything at the U.S. Capitol is in an awkward, but pivotal in-between state. The Capitol dome is under repair at the same time as the Senate and House chambers undergo a reconstruction of power.

  • SEN. HARRY REID, Majority Leader:

    I didn't write this bill. The Senate Democrats didn't write this bill alone. It's a compromise.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Senate Democrats in their last days in power are grappling with a rare public split. Leaders like Harry Reid and Barbara Mikulski are defending the compromise spending bill that passed this weekend.

  • SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI, D-Md.:

    It's a monumental achievement for showing how we can work together, we can govern, and we can get the job done.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    The White House joined in too at a pivotal moment, saying the administration supports passage of the bill, but that the administration objects to the inclusion of ideological and special interest measures.

    That led to a very rare split.

  • REP. NANCY PELOSI, Minority Leader:

    I'm enormously disappointed that the White House feels that the only way they can get a bill is to go along with this.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi wasn't alone. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also rallied the left, condemning the bill's provisions that help banks.

  • SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-Mass.:

    The American people didn't send us here to work for Wall Street banks.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    In the end, the more liberal voices lost. The bill passed.

  • MAN:

    The yeas are 56. The nays are 40.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Meantime, the right saw its own fissure exposed again this weekend.

  • SEN. TED CRUZ, R-Texas:

    If you believe President Obama's amnesty is unconstitutional, vote yes.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, against the wishes of GOP leadership, forced a weekend vote on immigration. His motion failed. But, notably, it forced the Senate to meet Saturday, allowing Harry Reid to outmaneuver Republicans and schedule votes on key nominees, like Anthony Blinken, who is up for deputy secretary of state.

    Many Republicans oppose him because of his role in bringing American troops out of Iraq. Such nominations will likely be Democrats' last big wins, before they move between being in power now and how they will operate as the minority come January.

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