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In just 100 days, the Republican majority has transformed the Senate.

After years of Harry Reid's obstructive tenure as Senate Majority Leader, Republican leadership has taken control of the Senate in the 114th Congress's productivity has surged.

Already, 11 bipartisan bills have passed through the United States Senate.

54 bills have been reported out of committee.

And under the Republican Senate, there have been 94 Amendment Roll Call Votes (in 2015 so far), as opposed to 15 total for all of 2014 under Harry Reid's tenure.

Under the new Republican Senate, Congress is working again.

USA Today reports

The first 100 days of the 114th Congress offered signs of progress.… Republicans say the party is knocking the dust off its governing playbook for what could be one of the more productive legislative periods in recent years.
Reuters chimes in:

…U.S. Congress may actually be starting to do things. One-hundred days into the Republican takeover of Capitol Hill, even some hard-bitten politicians are musing hopefully over the prospect of getting work done...
Some of the Republican Senate's bipartisan legislative successes thus-far include:

Passing a Budget: USA Today reports, "Republicans are on track to approve by the end of April the first budget since 2009 and the first GOP budget since 2006. …it's an achievement for a party eager to earn the public's trust.”

Passing the Keystone XL pipeline: After years of legislative battles and a remarkable failure to pass the Senate under Harry Reid in 2014, the Keystone XL pipeline finally passed through both chambers of Congress, spearheaded by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.and fully embraced by the Republican Senate.

Bipartisan Trade Agreements: Politico reports, "Senior lawmakers reached agreement Thursday on a bipartisan trade promotion authority bill … Two Republicans — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan — negotiated for months on the ‘fast track’ trade legislation with Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.”

Moving forward, USA Today reports,

There is promise on a number of policy fronts where bipartisan efforts are underway, particularly in the Senate...
In their first 100 days in office Republicans have hit the ground running, in the months ahead, watch as our Republican majority continues to exceed expectations.
NRSC | April 20, 2015 |

Congress is already showing signs of improvement in the wake of Harry Reid's demotion to Senate Minority Leader.

All the evidence points to one thing: Congress will be better off once Harry Reid retires for good. Even members of his own party have criticized of Harry Reid.

The Hill reports Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)'s comments on his colleague:

“[Harry Reid's] leadership and the things he thought would work did not. So with that, you just move on.”

This is not the first time Harry Reid's Democratic colleagues have criticized his approach to governing. Last year, Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) also expressed his frustration:

“U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. … took the bill off the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs just as the measure appeared to be nearing a vote. … Leahy said he was essentially forced to drop the bill by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."
According to a new report, the majority of Americans are beginning to see a clear difference between the current Republican Senate majority and the former Democratic one.

The new Congress is showing early signs that lawmakers are working more and allowing more input from both parties in the Senate, a new report finds.

The initial report shows this Congress narrowly spent more days in session in the first quarter on legislative business than the previous two.

In the Senate, with a new Republican majority, some 202 amendments — 97 from Republicans and 105 from Democrats — were considered either by roll call or voice vote, or by unanimous consent.

In the first quarter of the previous Congress [under Harry Reid], 134 amendments had been considered.
With Harry Reid on his way out at the end of his term, we're looking forward to productivity in Congress only continuing to increase.
NRSC | April 20, 2015 |

After a campaign launch full of stumbles, Pennsylvania Democrats have decided to primary Joe Sestak for the Democratic Senate nomination.

Lehigh Valley Live reports:

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has officially announced he's running for U.S. Senate.

The three-term mayor will run in the 2016 Democratic primary. Fellow Democrat Joe Sestak has also announced he's running for the seat currently held by Lehigh County resident Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
This is bad news for Sestak, who, until now, has been the sole Democratic candidate running for Senate in 2016.

However, Sestak's competition won't have an easy ride to the nomination. Ed Pawlowski may have some troubles of his own in the primary.

The Morning Call reports:

The mayor's anticipated Senate campaign will need to defy critics who believe that he will again have trouble raising money.

Sestak's campaign staff did not return calls Wednesday or Thursday requesting information on his recent fundraising, and his latest filing was not yet available from the Federal Election Commission. He had $1.5 million in his campaign account as of Dec. 31.

In the gubernatorial campaign, Pawlowski raised only $346,000, well short of the $1 million that observers considered to be the price of entry. A third of that sum came from his mayoral campaign fund, an option he won't have in a federal race. Due to Pennsylvania's lack of contribution limits, money raised for a gubernatorial race here can't be transferred to a federal campaign, which has donor limits.
Both Pawlowski and Sestak may be facing even more competition as the weeks go on, as The Morning Call notes several other potential Democratic contenders weighing a bid:

Several other Democrats are said to be weighing bids, some encouraged by Sestak's rocky relationship with some state and national party leaders. Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has been approached by national Democrats, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, about entering the race, and former U.S. Rep. Chris Carney of Susquehanna County has said he's considering a run.
Across the country, Democrats in California, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, and Ohio face similar primary battles.

Democrats nationwide are more divided than ever and it's going to be quite a spectacle moving into 2016.
NRSC | April 17, 2015 |

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has already announced her plans to run to replace retiring Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. But she's not the only California Democrat eyeing up the open Senate seat.

Kamala Harris thought she had secured her position as the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nomination.

But stiff competition from Rep. Loretta Sanchez could change that:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has already declared her intent to run and is considered a strong frontrunner.

Harris has collected a number of high-profile endorsements in the state but Sanchez could pull support away from her by tapping into the more moderate voters in the state and the growing Latino voter population.

Sanchez is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — and could likely rely on strong support from Hispanics nationwide for fundraising and voter turnout. Any primary challenge would still be an uphill battle for the veteran lawmaker, who has served in Congress since 1997. A February poll gave Harris a commanding lead in name recognition over a wide field of Democratic challengers.
Loretta Sanchez hasn't shied away from criticizing Attorney General Kamala Harris either.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

“I believe we have experience that Kamala does not have,” Sanchez said of Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney.

“Look, in a very dangerous world, and a very scary world that we’re in, I’ve got 19 years of sitting on Armed Services and Homeland Security” committees, Sanchez continued. “In the Senate, (you) need somebody who already understands what’s going on. I don’t have any ramp-up. ... We can’t afford somebody who’s never – who doesn’t understand what’s going on in the world.”
Shots fired.

Sanchez criticized the California Attorney General further:

Sanchez also noted that Harris cannot speak the language, arguing that the attorney general will not have the ability to understand or communicate with a significant share of the state’s population.
However, Kamala Harris does have a distinct advantage on her side: for now, she still has the upper hand in fundraising:

California Democrat Kamala Harris raised $2.5 million in the first quarter of her bid to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer and ended the quarter with $2.2 million on hand.

It’s a formidable haul, but just the beginning of what the second-term attorney general will need to raise to build her profile in the expensive and expansive state.
There is definitely a high probability of yet another bloody Democratic Senate primary battle brewing. Stay tuned.
NRSC | April 14, 2015 |
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