us senate

Cooper Neill

A new poll suggests there is at least one fellow Republican who could unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018: Rick Perry.

The former Texas governor would beat Cruz by 9 percentage points, according to the forthcoming survey from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling. Set to be released later today, the poll found Perry would get 46 percent of the vote and Cruz 37 percent, with 18 percent saying they are not sure whom they would support.

The Senate has voted to extend the federal debt limit, giving final congressional approval to a bill that is meant to cover the government's finances into 2015. The measure passed on a 55-43 vote.

But the most dramatic phase of the legislation's passage came just before the final tally, when it had to get past a cloture vote. Politico says, "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) demanded the 60-vote threshold on the debt hike."

As The Hill reports:

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U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, a Friendswood Republican with a history of flouting campaign finance laws, entered a new legal gray area this week when he announced his campaign can now accept donations in Bitcoin, a private virtual currency.

Stockman, who is challenging U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas in this year’s Republican primary, was attending an event promoting the NYC Bitcoin Center in New York's financial district earlier this week when he told a reporter with Business Insider that his campaign could now accept Bitcoin donations. Stockman appeared to confirm the report by posting it on Facebook and Twitter.

The Senate has approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which gives workplace protections to workers and job applicants who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The bill would apply to any private employer that has more than 15 employees; it includes an exemption for religious groups.

The measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of characteristics that cannot be discriminated against in the workplace passed by a vote of 64-32 — a slightly stronger showing than an earlier vote to move forward on the legislation, which passed 61-30.

The Senate has defeated a Republican measure that would have blocked implementation of a "path to citizenship" for undocumented workers until after the U.S.-Mexico border has been deemed secure for a period of six months.

The amendment to the larger overhaul of U.S. immigration law was sponsored by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. It was defeated Thursday in a 57-43 vote.

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