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So Long and Thanks for All the Legislation!!!

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Goodbye 111th Congress and with that, I will close down this blog.  Even with all the frustration and filibusters, the Democratic Congress and the President managed a legislative output we haven’t seen since the LBJ days.  I’m sure there are other sites out there that catalog all the remarkable legislation passed and the session even ended with a bang with a lame duck session that was just amazing.

With Republican control of the House in the next session, that will make progressive legislation harder to pass but that doesn’t mean all progress has to stop.  There are opportunities for bipartisan compromise as well as the President’s executive authority and the judicial appointments that can make the judiciary a fairer body that upholds the law while also accepting a compassionate view – that one strike doesn’t mean you’re out, it just means a chance for redemption.

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This Week in the Senate

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The Senate is still discussing the debt limit although they may get that done early this week.  We will also have the State of the Union this Wednesday, and the main theme of the President’s address will be job creation.

On health care, the House and Senate are still working out  a plan that can clear both chambers without having to go through the filibuster.  What they may do is for the House to pass the Senate bill while the Senate will pass a reconciliation bill with the negotiated fixes in tandem.  The situation is in flux and may collapse but I think they’ll come up with a plan similar to what’s been proposed.  They could also pass the bill in chunks but it’ll take forever for the individual parts to clear the Senate where members already want to focus on jobs.  Unless they want the bill to collapse, the first scenario is the best way forward for health care and finish this agenda item for the time being.

Oh and budget reconciliation bills only allows for 20 hours of debate by statute so if they do the House + Senate reconciliation strategy, the Senate won’t take too much time on it.  Go for it Congresscritters!

This Week in the Senate

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The Senate is back in session and they will discuss raising the US debt limit.  There’s also nominations to discuss this week.  Most attention will be placed on the MA special election happening tommorrow.

The Coakley campaign is running an ad right now spotlighting President Obama’s support for her candidacy.

This Week in the Senate

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week until the Senate comes back from recess.   In the meantime, the political world is looking at Massachusetts where the race for Sen. Kennedy’s Senate seat is tighter than expected.  Public Policy Poll (PPP) remarkably found the Republican Scott Brown up by 1 in their latest poll …  A Republican up by 1 … in Massachusetts, hmmm.  In another poll though, a Boston Globe/University of New Hampshire (UNH) poll found the Democrat, Martha Coakley, up by 17.

Like Douglas Adams once wrote, Don’t Panic!  I expect this race to be like the Kennedy vs.Romney race in 1994 where it looked to be a tight race but the Democrat won handily.  However, the one thing that should never happen is for the Democrats to be complacent in this race, and also, Martha Coakley should go after Scott Brown’s reactionary record. Once that’s done, the teabaggers can go back to blaming ACORN for another loss.

The MA special election is Jan. 19th.

This Week in the Senate

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

They’re still in recess.  The Senate will be back in session on Jan. 19th with a pro forma session on Jan. 5th.  But Jan. 19th is basically when things will get moving again.  When they do get back, they plan to discuss an increase to the public debt limit, which shouldn’t take long.

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This Week in the Senate

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

The Senate will not be in session since they are in their holiday recess.  Once the Senate does go back in session, it’ll be the second session of the 111th Congress.  For now, I don’t know if there’s going to be a lot of Senate news this week, but all this week I’ll look at the next items on the agenda and see what their current state is.  Stay Tuned!

This Week in the Senate

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

We are in the fourth week of health care reform this week, but the end is in sight.  Sen. Reid plans to pass the bill by Christmas in order to get the entire health care reform legislation signed by President Obama by his first State of the Union.  Those already looking forward to the next items on the agenda (especially since they’ve been doing health care since June) should look forward to a jobs bill and probably financial regulatory reform as the next bills up for debate.

You know what else is happening this week – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Really though, all I want for Christmas is filibuster reform.

The political scientist Barbara Sinclair has done the math. In the 1960s, she finds, “extended-debate-related problems” — threatened or actual filibusters — affected only 8 percent of major legislation. By the 1980s, that had risen to 27 percent. But after Democrats retook control of Congress in 2006 and Republicans found themselves in the minority, it soared to 70 percent.

Ridiculous (and filibuster reform is actually doable through two procedural maneuvers with 51 votes – the nuclear option or a change of procedural rules at the beginning of a legislative session – so long as there’s political will to do it).  The Senate is dysfunctional and it’s time to bring back majority rule with minority input.

Categories: This Week