Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Senate gets 60th member; Reid faces more challenges

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. Sen.-elect Al Franken is expected at the Capitol this afternoon for a photo-op with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the soon-to-be-sworn-in 60th Democratic senator -- or as he's known by some here, the one they’ve been waiting for to help break filibusters.

Or not. As I (and many others) wrote over the weekend, 60 may not be the magic number once hoped for thanks to a diverse Democratic caucus in the Senate, two ailing senators who have been unable to attend every vote and Reid’s unwillingness to require lockstep party unity.

Reid faces one of the more difficult stretches of his time as leader as Congress resumes this week with ambitious plans to advance health care reform, confirm a Supreme Court justice and nudge an energy bill along before the August recess.

Not to mention that campaign season is getting under way and he is up for re-election in 2010.

Hoped-for Reid challenger Republican Rep. Dean Heller is out (maybe), according to our colleague Patrick Coolican, while a new name (Chuck Kozak) may be in.

Of course no Republican wants to jump into any race right now, with all the Republican drama in the headlines, including Sen. John Ensign’s acknowledged affair with his former campaign treasurer, Cynthia Hampton, whose husband, Doug Hampton, is one of the senator’s former top aides.

Before heading back to Washington, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus touts energy efficiency today in Las Vegas.

Titus must be pleased to see the Obama administration has lowered the equity requirement for homeowners looking to refinance their Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, something she has repeatedly pushed for.

The House this week takes up annual appropriation bills, including the budget for Yucca Mountain.

Other good reads in the weekend papers:

David McGrath Schwartz on the governor’s race and campaign finance reform.

Michael Mishak on Mormon crickets.

That’s all for now. Check back often for all the political news in Nevada.

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