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March 20, 2013
21:10 // 1 year ago
March 19, 2013
I have said time and time again I want people to have the ability to vote on assault weapons, mental health, safety in schools, federal trafficking, clips — everything. But I cannot do that until I get a bill on the floor. Right now her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid • Explaining why Senate Democrats are putting the kibosh on legislation to ban so-designated “assault weapons” — at least for now. Procedurally, this is a very old story — despite maintaining a 53-seat majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats are unable to bring legislation to the floor without either passing a 60-vote threshold, removing the now nearly-automatic threat of Republican filibuster. Consequently, Reid’s plan is to remove the assault weapons ban from a larger gun control bill, and add it back in as an amendment after it actually reaches the floor — that is, if the support even exists at that time to pass it. If Reid’s math is correct, they’d still need another ten votes to secure a majority (assuming the obvious Joe Biden tiebreaker), ostensibly culled from fellow Democrats still dubious of such a ban. source
20:00 // 1 year ago
March 6, 2013
If past is any indicator, a Democratic “threat” to reform the filibuster is much like a Charlie Brown threat to go home if Lucy doesn’t play nice with the football this time. This isn’t the first time the Democratic leadership in the Senate has made noises about reforming the filibuster; it’s not even the first time they’ve admitted that they screwed up filibuster reform last time but are serious about it this time. Democrats always balk at the last minute, so don’t expect this to go anywhere. source

If past is any indicator, a Democratic “threat” to reform the filibuster is much like a Charlie Brown threat to go home if Lucy doesn’t play nice with the football this time. This isn’t the first time the Democratic leadership in the Senate has made noises about reforming the filibuster; it’s not even the first time they’ve admitted that they screwed up filibuster reform last time but are serious about it this time. Democrats always balk at the last minute, so don’t expect this to go anywhere. source

19:28 // 1 year ago
February 27, 2013
23:03 // 1 year ago
Finally, Congress will reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act: The legislation, dreamed up and championed in 1994 by then-Senator Joe Biden, died in the House last year when the Republican leadership refused to put it to a vote (it had already passed the Senate). The problem, if you want to put it that way, was that Senate Democrats had modified the legislation to add protections for LGBT women, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants. John Boehner and company objected to these additions so strongly that they refused to let the House vote on it, despite indications that it would pass if they did. Today, Boehner relented, and will allow the House to vote on the bill. It’s expected to pass and will likely land on the President’s desk at the end of the week. (Photo: Getty images) source

Finally, Congress will reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act: The legislation, dreamed up and championed in 1994 by then-Senator Joe Biden, died in the House last year when the Republican leadership refused to put it to a vote (it had already passed the Senate). The problem, if you want to put it that way, was that Senate Democrats had modified the legislation to add protections for LGBT women, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants. John Boehner and company objected to these additions so strongly that they refused to let the House vote on it, despite indications that it would pass if they did. Today, Boehner relented, and will allow the House to vote on the bill. It’s expected to pass and will likely land on the President’s desk at the end of the week. (Photo: Getty images) source

18:02 // 1 year ago
February 20, 2013
This actually does raise the legitimate question as to how direct of a democracy the founding fathers really intended to create. Joe Miller, a Tea Party candidate for the Senate in Alaska a few years back, was a proponent of this plan as well. He didn’t win; it seems that asking people to elect you to the Senate so you can take away their right to elect other people to the Senate in the future isn’t a winning campaign strategy (although Miller seems to be mulling a comeback, so what do we know). Anyway, this Georgia proposal will almost certainly go absolutely nowhere. source

This actually does raise the legitimate question as to how direct of a democracy the founding fathers really intended to create. Joe Miller, a Tea Party candidate for the Senate in Alaska a few years back, was a proponent of this plan as well. He didn’t win; it seems that asking people to elect you to the Senate so you can take away their right to elect other people to the Senate in the future isn’t a winning campaign strategy (although Miller seems to be mulling a comeback, so what do we know). Anyway, this Georgia proposal will almost certainly go absolutely nowhere. source

17:24 // 1 year ago
February 14, 2013
We do not have, at 12 o’clock today, a Secretary of Defense.
Harry Reid, revealing today that Senate Republicans have rounded up the 41 votes necessary to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to the Defense Department. Today is outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s last day on the job; if Republicans make good on their threats during Hagel’s confirmation vote tomorrow—and this is certainly a big “if”—it will be the first time a nominee for Secretary of Defense has been filibustered, and the country will be left without a Defense Secretary. A couple of Republican senators have threatened to block Hagel’s nomination unless the Obama Administration releases more information about the attack last year on the American consulate in Benghazi, an incident with which Hagel was wholly uninvolved. A Hagel spokesman said today that despite the threats of his former colleagues, the Nebraska Republican is not withdrawing his nomination. source
12:14 // 1 year ago
January 11, 2013
"[W]e believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without Congressional approval, if necessary." So reads a letter sent to the president today by top Senate Democrats. It’s not every day that members of congress explicitly voice their willingness to be circumvented by the president, but Harry Reid and company clearly believe that the threat of default is a real possibility. Later on in the letter, the Democrats call for “a broad, bipartisan agreement” to reduce the long-term deficit - but only one that puts “the entire budget on the table,” as opposed to policy that only cuts “earned benefits for seniors and middle-class families.” (Photo credit: AP)  source

"[W]e believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without Congressional approval, if necessary." So reads a letter sent to the president today by top Senate Democrats. It’s not every day that members of congress explicitly voice their willingness to be circumvented by the president, but Harry Reid and company clearly believe that the threat of default is a real possibility. Later on in the letter, the Democrats call for “a broad, bipartisan agreement” to reduce the long-term deficit - but only one that puts “the entire budget on the table,” as opposed to policy that only cuts “earned benefits for seniors and middle-class families.” (Photo credit: AP)  source

20:25 // 1 year ago
January 5, 2013
The talking filibuster movement picked up a little steam a couple days ago, with Democratic Sens. Udall, Merkley and Harkin presenting a resolution to establish the reform. The “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” ideal of the filibuster is, in fact, not how business is conducted in the Senate these days — Senators can block legislation from being brought for a vote without holding or talking from the floor, and as a consequence bear far less public accountability for the decision than advocates of reform say there would be under the new rule. What do you guys think?

The talking filibuster movement picked up a little steam a couple days ago, with Democratic Sens. Udall, Merkley and Harkin presenting a resolution to establish the reform. The “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” ideal of the filibuster is, in fact, not how business is conducted in the Senate these days — Senators can block legislation from being brought for a vote without holding or talking from the floor, and as a consequence bear far less public accountability for the decision than advocates of reform say there would be under the new rule. What do you guys think?

20:24 // 1 year ago
January 4, 2013
I’m not going to be coy. It’s not something I’ve ever been good at. I’ve told the governor that I would now like frankly to do that because I would like to be a part of that. It’s only a three-month period; I wouldn’t want to do anything more. I don’t want to run again…Coach, put me in!
Barney Frank isn’t opposed to becoming Massachusetts’ temporary senator after John Kerry leaves his post, while they start looking for the next guy. Please, let this happen!
8:48 // 1 year ago