Top Stories for Saturday, December 13, 2014

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Funding Bill

From ABC News, “Senate Passes Long Term Spending Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown”: 

In a rare Saturday session, the Senate approved a $1.1 trillion spending measure that would fund most of the government for nine months, capping off a week of high-stakes drama over the funding bill and avoiding any government shutdown in the near future.

The Senate voted 56 to 40 to approve the measure. The bill will now head to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The spending measure will fund the government, except for the Department of Homeland Security, through next September. The DHS will be funded through Feb. 27, a timeframe designed to give Republican lawmakers an opportunity to tackle Obama’s executive action on immigration…

The Senate held the rare Saturday session after Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, demanded Friday night that the upper chamber stay in session to vote to defund President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

The Senate ultimately voted on a motion on the point of order, which Cruz had advocated for, but the vote failed with around twenty senators opposing Cruz.

“One month ago President Obama announced unprecedented executive amnesty, in direct conflict with the immigration laws passed by Congress,” Cruz said ahead of the vote. “Tonight both Democrats and Republicans will have the opportunity to show America whether they stand with the president who is defying the will of the voters or with the millions of Americans who want a safe and legal immigration system.”

The Saturday session provided Senate Democrats with the opportunity to tee up votes on nominees Republicans adamantly oppose throughout the day. The move spurred frustration among some Republicans towards Cruz and Lee.”

Thousands March in DC, New York to Protest Deaths of Garner, Brown

From Yahoo, “Marchers in Washington, New York, Boston protest police killings”: “Thousands marched in Washington, New York and Boston on Saturday to protest killings of unarmed black men by police officers.

Organizers said the marches were among the largest in the recent wave of protests against the killings of black males by officers in Ferguson, Missouri; New York; Cleveland; and elsewhere. The protests were peaceful, although police in Boston said they arrested more than 20 people who tried to block a highway.

Decisions by grand juries to return no indictments against the officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York have put police treatment of minorities back on the national agenda…

Sharpton urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow federal prosecutors to take over cases involving police violence.

The Washington protest included relatives of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, who were killed by New York police; Trayvon Martin, slain by a Florida neighborhood watchman in 2012; Brown; and others…

After the march in Washington, protesters gathered in a one-block section of Pennsylvania Avenue and nearby public space, although organizers estimated the crowd at 40,000 to 50,000 people. A police spokesman declined to provide a crowd estimate, citing department policy, and said there had been no arrests.

The New York march drew a mostly young, ethnically diverse crowd that was loud and peaceful as it headed north up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue from Washington Square Park. The march was to circle back and end at the city’s police headquarters.”