Currently viewing the tag: “Senate”

The U.S. Senate has passed a Boxer/Feinstein-sponsored resolution honoring Elizabeth Taylor. It reads, in part:

Whereas Elizabeth Taylor used her fame to raise awareness and advocate for people affected by HIV/AIDS;
Whereas, at a time when HIV/AIDS was largely an unknown disease and those who were affected by HIV/AIDS were ostracized and shunned, Elizabeth Taylor called for and demonstrated compassion by publicly holding the hand of her friend and former costar, Rock Hudson, after he had announced that he had AIDS;
Whereas Elizabeth Taylor testified before Congress saying, “It is my hope that history will show that the American people and our leaders met the challenge of AIDS rationally and with all the resources at their disposal, for our sake and that of all humanity.”;
Whereas, in 1985, Elizabeth Taylor became the Founding National Chairman for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (commonly known as “amfAR”);
Whereas, in 1991, Elizabeth Taylor founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to provide direct support to those suffering from the disease;
Whereas the extensive efforts of Elizabeth Taylor have helped educate the public and lawmakers about the need for research, treatment, and compassion for those suffering from HIV/AIDS;
Resolved, That the Senate recognizes and honors the courageous, compassionate leadership and many professional accomplishments of Elizabeth Taylor; and offers its deepest condolences to her family.

(Via – LGBTPOV)

Joe. My. God.

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“There is no force so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
Sen. Edward McKinley Dirksen of Illinois, 1896-1969.

And I believe that the time has come for a balanced budget amendment. And as Human Events exclusively reported yesterday, all 47 Republican senators agree with me. And I think Dirksen, one of the greatest public servants Illinois ever produced, would agree too.

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Marathon Pundit

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Today, the House will take up H.R. 1255, the Republicans’ measure “to prevent the shutdown of the government.” The bill states that if the Senate has not passed a budget bill for fiscal 2011 by April 6, “the provisions of H.R. 1,” the GOP’s slash-and-burn budget bill passed in February, “are hereby enacted into law.”

The bill is a blatant message ploy. If enacted, the GOP would get every single budget cut they want without negotiation. But — as with all bills — it would still have to pass the Senate and be signed by the president to be enacted. Outraged over the ridiculousness of such a measure, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) took to the floor yesterday to congratulate the GOP on its well-timed joke:

DEFAZIO: Both houses, the House and the Senate, must pass a bill, identical, and the president must sign it before it to become a law. Now, wait! The Republicans have a bill — we’re going to take it up tomorrow — H.R. 1255 that deems that a bill that has only passed the House of Representatives, H.R. 1, has become law. Now what happened to the fact that we were going to have to prove the constitutionality of every bill that came before the House. This blatantly violates the Constitution. Now I was totally outraged — outraged! — when I saw this but then I realized, what’s tomorrow? April Fools Day. Hey guys, you got me! Congratulations. Happy April Fools Day. What are we really going to be doing tomorrow?

Watch it:

All joking aside, the bill “is such an unbelievable, absurd waste of time,” DeFazio told ThinkProgress. “It’s a transparent ruse” for the GOP to “throw red meat to the Tea Party” while “negotiating behind their back.” “If I were one of the Tea Party people telling the Republicans to get steel in their spines, I’d be offeded by this,” he said. Indeed, the Tea Party has been mercilessly attacking House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for negotiating a budget deal instead of gouging the budget with even more drastic cuts. A conflict, DeFazio said, that is exemplified by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) split from Boehner on negotiations.

DeFazio also questioned how the House GOP could think no one would note the simple fact that the House cannot enact any law without going through the full legislative process: “It’s sort of like high school physics.” One union agreed and suggested Cantor watch “Schoolhouse Rock” for clarification. “This is just the most bizarre bill, it’s beyond words,” he said. “I thank the Gods for the irony that they’re doing it on April Fools Day.”

ThinkProgress

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One of the key amendments that the Tea Party has pushed for, the balanced budget amendment now has the support of all the GOP members of the senate.

McConnell said: “It’s not too much to expect that lawmakers spend no more than they take in.”

This is Sen. Mike Lee’s principle piece of legislation.

 

Liberty Pundits Blog

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Quick Video Links

VIDEO: McConnell On The Tea Party: “Is It Extreme To Propose That We Cut Spending?”

Full VIDEO: McConnell To Democrats: Reducing Washington Spending and Debt Isn’t ‘Extreme’

Mid-Day Briefing

Politico writes this morning, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed tea party members protesting in Washington in a Thursday morning floor speech in which he called the movement’s aim to cut federal spending ‘pretty reasonable.’ Just a day after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lambasted the tea party for pulling the GOP away from deal-making efforts in Congress, the top Senate Republican pushed back with a jab against the other side.”

It was just yesterday that Reid declared on the Senate floor, “The country doesn’t care much about the tea party.” And today he said, “We can’t have what’s going on here with the tea party demonstrating, all these very harsh cuts with unrealistic riders, punishing innocent folks just for political ideology.”

In his speech this morning, Leader McConnell pushed back against Democrats’ political attacks on tea partiers saying, “Anybody who follows national politics knows that when it comes to a lot of the issues Americans care about most, Democrat leaders in Washington are pretty far outside the mainstream. That’s why we’ve got one Democrat leader coaching his colleagues to describe any Republican idea as ‘extreme.’ And that’s why other Democrats are attempting to marginalize an entire group of people in this country whose concerns about the growth of the nation’s debt, the overreach of the federal government, and last year’s health care bill are about as mainstream as it gets. . . . I’m referring of course to the Tea Party . . . Despite the Democrat leadership’s talking points, these folks are not radicals. They’re our next-door neighbors and our friends. . . .These are everyday men and women who love their country and who don’t want to see it collapse as a result of irresponsible attitudes and policies that somehow persist around here despite the warning signs we see all around us about the consequences of fiscal recklessness. And they’re being vilified because, in an effort to preserve what’s good about our country, they’re politely asking lawmakers here in Washington to change the way things are done around here.

Indeed, both Politico and MSNBC’s First Read featured headlines this week, “Dems budget strategy: Blame the tea party,” and “Dems say Tea Party is tying Boehner’s hands,” respectively. And Fox News reported, “Democrats have put out the message that ‘extreme’ Tea Party-aligned lawmakers are preventing Republican leaders from making any headway. Though Tea Party groups indeed clamor for significant spending cuts, GOP leaders called it ridiculous to blame the Tea Party for the stalemate.”

Leader McConnell took Democrats to task for these attacks today, saying, “At a time when the national debt has reached crisis levels, members of the Tea Party are asking that we stop spending more than we take in. In other words, they’re asking that lawmakers in Washington do what any household in America already does: they want us to balance our budget. And they do this because they know their history, and that the road to decline is paved with debt. Is that extreme?

They want us to be able to explain how any law that we pass is consistent with the Constitution.This means that as we write new laws they want us to be guided by the document that every single senator in this chamber has sworn to uphold. Is that extreme?

They want us to cut down on the amount of money the government spends. Well, this year the federal government in Washington is projected to spend about $ 1.6 trillion dollars more than it has. That means we’ll have to borrow it from somewhere else, driving the national debt even higher than it already is. What’s more, the Obama Administration plans to continue spending like this for years. So that within five years, the debt will exceed $ 20 trillion. Given these facts, you tell me: is it extreme to propose that we cut spending?

Leader McConnell said, “In fact, if you ask me, the goals of the Tea Party sound pretty reasonable. These folks recognize the gravity of the problems we face as a nation, and they’re doing something about it for the sake of our future. They’re engaged in the debate about spending and debt — which is a lot more than we can say about the President and many Democrats in Congress.”

He concluded, “So what’s extreme is the thought that government can just continue on this reckless path without consequence. What’s extreme is thinking we can just blithely watch the nation’s debt get bigger and pretend it doesn’t matter. What’s extreme is spending more than a trillion and a half dollars than we have in a single year. This is the Democrats’ approach. This is what’s extreme.”

On The Floor

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and began a period of morning business. Later today, the Senate could resume consideration of S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

Still pending to S. 493 is the McConnell-Inhofe amendment, which would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a move that would amount to a backdoor national energy tax. Democrats have repeatedly pushed back a vote.

If an agreement on amendment votes is reached, there could be votes on the McConnell-Inhofe amendment, as many as 3 Democrat alternative amendments that would not adequately block the EPA’s regulations, and an amendment from Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to properly repeal the onerous 1099 reporting requirement imposed on small businesses by the Democrats’ health care law.

From the Communications Center

Sen. McConnell: Reducing Washington Spending and Debt Isn’t ‘Extreme’

Around the Hill

Politico: McConnell welcomes tea partiers

The Hill: “Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) praised the Tea Party movement ahead of a major rally at the Capitol.”

The Hill: Democrats consider proposing tax hikes

Democrats still scrambling on EPA votes (from Politico Pro)

The Wall Street Journal: From Nixon to Obama

 

Liberty Pundits Blog

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Shaping the battlefield.


So say Chuck Todd et al at NBC, who collectively say that not only has Barack Obama and Harry Reid lost this particular game of chicken, they’ve stalled out on the side of the “deserted highway.”  The $ 33-billion reduction figure is, after the cuts in the last two CRs, almost exactly what House Republicans first […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

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Before it was fashionable, at least in conservative circles, to challenge the veracity of man-made global warming, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) was blowing, excuse me, cold air on environmentalists’ assertions on this subject. Read about it here and here.

Global warming, Inhofe says, is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Early this afternoon Inhofe hosted a bloggers’ conference call. The topic was the Environmental Protection Agency and the McConnell Amendment, which if enacted, will prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. It’s similar to legislation the Oklahoman originally drafted.

After President Obama’s election, his administration and the then-Democratic majority in Congress tried to ram cap and trade into law. They failed-now the White House is using the EPA and the regulatory route to implement their Plan B. Inhofe says their goal is “to do away with fossil fuels.”

Inhofe commented on Obama’s Georgetown speech in which he pledged to cut our oil imports https://southcapitolstreet.com/files/css/arlier_today__obama_s_plan_does_not_include_more_domestic_drilling._however__inhofe_cited_a__a_href__p358436ma08upttt48ovpu.css”http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/10/new-report-says-u-s-has-largest-fossil-fuel-reserves-in-world/”>congressional research service report that the United States “has more the world’s largest recoverable reserves of oil, [natural] gas, and coal of any place in the world. “

But how much is that? Fifty years of oil for our nation, ninety years of natural gas. Inhofe said. The United States has 28 percent of the world’s coal reserves, including I’d like to add quite a bit in Illinois. Inhofe didn’t cite how many years’ supply of coal we have in our reserves, but more than 200 years-worth is a generally-agreed upon figure.

Inhofe isn’t confident that Obama will change his energy policy. While keeping an eye on Illinois politics, I’ve learned that it is important to follow the money. Which is what Inhofe is doing. Of the president, Inhofe remarked, “He’s got to cater to the new people who are the financial backbone of the Democratic Party-that is the party of the environmentalists.” Those “new people” include George Soros, Hollywood celebrities, Michael Moore, and the Al Gore wing. And of those new people, Inhofe declared, “[Obama] can’t lose that base.” Which is why the senator believes the president won’t give up the fight on having the EPA regulate greenhouse gases.

Inhofe also discussed the Republican Party’s prospects in 2012, he predicts a GOP takeover of the Senate.

Slightly related post:

My Kansas Kronikles: Oklahoma’s strange panhandle

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Marathon Pundit

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Republicans in the Ohio Senate tonight passed (17-16) S.B 5, legislation that eliminates the rights of 350,000 public employees to bargain for middle-class jobs. Earlier this evening, the Republican-controlled House passed the bill.Gov. John Kasich strongly backs the attack on workers and will sign the legislation.

More than 1,000 teachers, firefighters and other public service workers were at the state Capitol most of the day and chanted “kill the bill” during debate and “Shame, Shame” as Republicans voted to pass Walker’s attack on workers.

While anti-worker lawmakers continue to push their assault on workers and workers’ rights, Kasich, like governors in Wisconsin and Michigan, has seen his support plummet among the public for his attacks on middle-class jobs.

See what activists on the scene are saying via Twitter with the hashtag #StandUpOH.  We will bring you full coverage in the morning.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

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Washington (CNN) –- Vice President Joe Biden announced late Wednesday that House and Senate bipartisan negotiators had agreed to a spending-cut target of $ 73 billion in 2011 budget talks aimed at heading off a government shutdown before next week, when a temporary bill keeping the government operating runs out.

Congress has been passing a series of short term spending resolutions since October 1, when the 2011 fiscal year began.

‘We’re all working off the same number now – $ 73 billion,” Biden said, emerging from a lengthy meeting with Senate Democratic leaders in the Capitol. “Obviously, there’s a difference in the composition of that number. What’s included, what’s not included. It’s gong to be a thorough negotiation.”

Biden said he spoke with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and both men agreed the rest of the negotiations could be challenging in terms of reaching an agreement on what the make-up of the cuts will be and whether to include controversial policy restrictions in the bill.

“There’s no deal until there a total deal,” Biden said.

A spokesman for Boehner drove that point home.

“No, there is no deal until everything is settled –- spending cuts and policy restrictions.”

Nevertheless, reaching an agreement on the target spending-cut figure is a step forward in the negotiations, which have been marked by acrimony and public sniping between the Republicans who control the House and the Democrats who control the Senate. It remains unclear if Tea Party-backed conservatives, who have pressed hard for cuts much deeper that $ 73 billion, will go along with any agreement.

House Republicans originally wanted about $ 100 billion in cuts while Senate Democrats proposed $ 51 billion. Those figures are based on President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for 2011, which was never enacted.

The $ 73 billion means the two sides essentially decided to split the difference.

Why is this deal a critical milepost in the negotiations? Simple, yet complicated.

Republicans have a majority in the House and could probably vote out a more radical set of cuts. But without a compromise in the Senate, even if a proposal came to the floor, a filibuster could stop it dead in its tracks, since neither party can muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

So, agreement among negotiators means that both sides, in both houses, may be able to make real progress in the nitty-gritty of exactly what programs get cut to get to that $ 73 billion figure.


CNN Political Ticker

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Washington (CNN) –- Vice President Joe Biden announced late Wednesday that House and Senate bipartisan negotiators had agreed to a spending-cut target of $ 73 billion in 2011 budget talks aimed at heading off a government shutdown before next week, when a temporary bill keeping the government operating runs out.

Congress has been passing a series of short term spending resolutions since October 1, when the 2011 fiscal year began.

‘We’re all working off the same number now – $ 73 billion,” Biden said, emerging from a lengthy meeting with Senate Democratic leaders in the Capitol. “Obviously, there’s a difference in the composition of that number. What’s included, what’s not included. It’s gong to be a thorough negotiation.”

Biden said he spoke with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and both men agreed the rest of the negotiations could be challenging in terms of reaching an agreement on what the make-up of the cuts will be and whether to include controversial policy restrictions in the bill.

“There’s no deal until there a total deal,” Biden said.

A spokesman for Boehner drove that point home.

“No, there is no deal until everything is settled –- spending cuts and policy restrictions.”

Nevertheless, reaching an agreement on the target spending-cut figure is a step forward in the negotiations, which have been marked by acrimony and public sniping between the Republicans who control the House and the Democrats who control the Senate. It remains unclear if Tea Party-backed conservatives, who have pressed hard for cuts much deeper that $ 73 billion, will go along with any agreement.

House Republicans originally wanted about $ 100 billion in cuts while Senate Democrats proposed $ 51 billion. Those figures are based on President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for 2011, which was never enacted.

The $ 73 billion means the two sides essentially decided to split the difference.

Why is this deal a critical milepost in the negotiations? Simple, yet complicated.

Republicans have a majority in the House and could probably vote out a more radical set of cuts. But without a compromise in the Senate, even if a proposal came to the floor, a filibuster could stop it dead in its tracks, since neither party can muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

So, agreement among negotiators means that both sides, in both houses, may be able to make real progress in the nitty-gritty of exactly what programs get cut to get to that $ 73 billion figure.


CNN Political Ticker

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Rep. Shelley Berkley (R-NV) commissioned a poll which shows her with a slim lead over Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) in a prospective matchup for the U.S. Senate, 42% to 38%.

But a Democratic source familiar with Berkley’s thinking tells Jon Ralston she remains “torn” over the decision, unsure whether to give up a House seat for life for what would be an uncertain foray.


Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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I’d enjoy reading the citation of constitutional authority for this:

“The bill then says if the Senate does not act, then H.R. 1 [the House-passed bill that cuts $ 61 billion] will be the law of the land. In addition to that, it says that if all else fails, and the Senate brings about a shutdown, then members should not get their pay.”

That’s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor describing his “Government Shutdown Prevention Act.” The problem is, this would be blatantly unconstitutional: The Senate needs to pass the same piece of legislation the House does, and the president needs to either sign it or have his veto overturned.
That’s how deem-and-pass worked with the health-care law, for instance: Both the Senate and the House passed the same pieces of legislation, and then the president signed them.

But it seems Cantor merely misspoke. I’ve clarified with both his office and Boehner’s office that they believe the Senate and the president would still play their traditional roles. That means deem-and-pass isn’t, as Cantor suggests, an alternative to actually striking a compromise. It’s just an effort to message the shutdown that’ll happen if a law isn’t passed. The problem for Cantor is that by misdescribing how the gambit would work, he’s drawing attention to the fact that it can’t. At the end of the day, we need an actual deal here. There’s no other option.







Ezra Klein

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I’d enjoy reading the citation of constitutional authority for this:

“The bill then says if the Senate does not act, then H.R. 1 [the House-passed bill that cuts $ 61 billion] will be the law of the land. In addition to that, it says that if all else fails, and the Senate brings about a shutdown, then members should not get their pay.”

That’s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor describing his “Government Shutdown Prevention Act.” The problem is, this would be blatantly unconstitutional: The Senate needs to pass the same piece of legislation the House does, and the president needs to either sign it or have his veto overturned.
That’s how deem-and-pass worked with the health-care law, for instance: Both the Senate and the House passed the same pieces of legislation, and then the president signed them.

But it seems Cantor merely misspoke. I’ve clarified with both his office and Boehner’s office that they believe the Senate and the president would still play their traditional roles. That means deem-and-pass isn’t, as Cantor suggests, an alternative to actually striking a compromise. It’s just an effort to message the shutdown that’ll happen if a law isn’t passed. The problem for Cantor is that by misdescribing how the gambit would work, he’s drawing attention to the fact that it can’t. At the end of the day, we need an actual deal here. There’s no other option.







Ezra Klein

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Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) hasn’t exactly been setting aside time to hang out with Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) lately. He opted against an opportunity to appear at a border event with Flake and other GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation last week.

But the two are slated to attend the same fundraiser in Washington early next week, just days after Franks will reportedly announce his entrance into the Senate race this Saturday, joining Flake in the GOP primary.

Both Flake and Franks are scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R) on April 6 in Washington, according to an invitation to the fundraiser.

You may remember Babeu as the sheriff in Sen. John McCain‘s (R-Ariz.) 2010 “Complete the Danged Fence” television ad.

Hotline On Call

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Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D-HI) retirement made some Republicans hopeful they could flip the seat if former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) were a candidate in 2012. However, a new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey finds Lingle losing badly to every single Democrat tested.

Key finding: “With her underwater 41-51 favorable rating, she can’t crack 40% against
any Democrat, even the least popular among them, former Honolulu Mayor
Mufi Hannemann (39-48 favorables).”

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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