Moderate Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln [AR] survived a tough run-off primary election Tuesday night against her challenger for the left, Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter. Lincoln's victory tonight means that she will be on the ballot in the November general against Republican challenger Rep. John Boozman [R, AR-3].
So, what are the implication here for life under the dome, particularly with financial reform about to go into conferece committe on Thursday?Read Full Article Comments (1)
We've got another round of contentious primaries tonight with anti-incumbent sentiment among voters at a record high. Meanwhile, the Senate is preparing to vote on a resolution to block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide this week, and next week on a bill to extend unemployment benefits and stimulate the economy despite growing anxiety over deficit spending. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.Read Full Article Submit a Comment
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] essentially announced the death of climate change legislation yesterday when he revealed the Democrats' plan to take cap-and-trade out of their energy bill and vote on it as a stand-alone amendment. Cap-and-trade simply does not have 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster. But that doesn't mean climate change won't be dealt with soon. The EPA has been given authority to regulate carbon dioxide and they have made it clear that they will use that authority if Congress doesn't pass a climate bill.Read Full Article Comments (2)
Senate Democrats are honing in on a compromise for moving forward with the jobs/tax extenders bill. According to Congress Daily, the plan is to soften a provision raising taxes on hedge fund managers who have been paying discount rates due to a loophole in the tax code. Unemployed workers whose health care subsidies were cut during the House's work on the bill would not see any gains under the new compromise.Read Full Article Comments (7)
With oil still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and graphic new images of oil-smothered wildlife in the public's mind, there's a lot of pressure on Congress to come up with some kind of legislative response now that they are back from recess. Last week, Senate Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] called on Democrats to prepare a comprehensive energy bill responding to the Gulf crisis to be ready for debate in July. The House is kicking off their response with a little less ambition. On their schedule for passage next week are these two non-binding resolutions promoting clean oceans:Read Full Article Comments (1)
On May 28, before leaving for recess, the House split the extender bill, known as the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, into two pieces and passed them both. But by the time the House finished their work on the bill, the Senate had already left town, causing the bill to linger as unfinished business over the week-long recess. As a result, on June 2, unemployment insurance benefits began expiring for hundreds of thousands of people, and the pay cut for doctors is set to take effect imminently (the only reason it hasn't happened yet is that Medicare has temporarily postponed its claims processing).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] initially said that passing the bill would be the first thing the Senate does on Monday morning. But, as The Hill is reporting, it now looks like that isn't going to happen. Senate Democrats have yet to schedule a debate on the bill, and they likely do not have the votes to pass it in its current form.Read Full Article Comments (2)
A day after President Obama said that he will help whip votes for passing climate change legislation in the Senate this year, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] called on committee chairmen to prepare a strategy for passing a climate bill this summer. And he's calling for proposals to address the BP oil leak to be rolled into it.Read Full Article Comments (10)
According to reports, Blanche Lincoln's tough provision requiring banks to "spin-off" their derivatives trading operations into separate entities that would not have access to discount Fed money and an FDIC guaranteeis going to be dropped next week by the conference commitee negotiating teh final financial reform bill. But the provision is giving reform advocates a chance to push once again for the almost-as-tough Merkley-Levin "Volcker Rule" amendment, which was blocked by Senate Republicans and bank lobbyists from even getting a vote during the Senate debate.Read Full Article Comments (1)
President Obama says he'll help whip votes in the Senate to pass climate change legislation this year. BP is unleashing an army of government-workers-turned-lobbyists on Congress. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking to weaken Congress's ethics office. And Nancy Pelosi comes out for the Senate's version of derivatives reform ahead of conference committee negotiations on the issue. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.Read Full Article Comments (1)
Senate Democrats have tried three times to pass their bill to raise the liability cap on oil companies for the economic impact of spills, and three times Republicans objected -- once through Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] and twice through Sen. David Vitter [R, LA]. The Republicans call the Democrats' proposal for a $10 billion cap "arbitrary" and argue that it would be too high for all but the biggest oil companies to be involved in offshore drilling.
On May 25, after objecting to the Democrats' bill for the second time, Senator Vitter came out with his own alternative, called the Acceptance of Liability and Expedited Claims at Mississippi Canyon 252 Act. According to Vitter, his bill would completely remove the liability cap for economic damages on BP for the Deepwater Horizon spill and establish an expedited claims process.Read Full Article Comments (3)
Last week, the House of Representatives and a key Senate committee cast historic votes in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" and allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military. The repeal is included in the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Department Authorization bill, which contains funding levels and policy directives that the military must follow. The Obama Administration supports Congress's actions on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but they are dead set against another item that some members of Congress want to have included in the authorization bill, and if it is, the Administration says they will veto the whole bill, including the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal.Read Full Article Comments (6)