Since 2007, the year the Democrats re-gained control of Congress, the filibuster has turned into standard procedure for virtually everything that happens in the Senate. What was once considered a special rule to be used on rare occasions for personal dissent on an issue has become a routine matter of course for obstructing the other side of the aisle and gaining a political advantage.Read Full Article
After a full weekend of secret meetings, negotiators on the Defense Authorization bill conference committee have drafted a final version that retains the authority for the military to indefinitely maintain terrorism suspects, including U.S. citizens, without charge or trial while attempting to address the concerns of the President that prompted a veto threat. The final bill is set to be approved by the House and the Senate this week.
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On Thursday night the Senate passed the 2012 Department of Defense Authorization bill, including a provision allowing for indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens, by a vote of 93-7. The top-rated user comment on OpenCongress, from bpitas, does a good job explaining why the bill has just 2% support among the OpenCongress community:Read Full Article
Last Wednesday, in his post midterms press conference, President Obama deflected a question about his promise to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by laying out a plan to get it done in the lame duck session. And on Sunday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates jumped out in front of the upcoming Pentagon review and urged Congress to get the repeal done before the end of the year. But despite these encouraging signs from the Administration, there's a bipartisan agreement developing between the top senators in charge of military policy to abandon the repeal this year.Read Full Article
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
The votes have really been rolling in on the financial reform bill in the Senate. So far, there have been 20 roll call votes on the bill -- 4 on ending the initial Republican filibuster of beginning the debate and 16 since on amendments. Of those 16 amendment votes, 9 have been approved and added to the bill. Additionally, six amendments have been adopted without roll calls by voice votes.
Click through to get all the info on the latest amendments adopted and what we can expect to be up for votes next.Read Full Article
Sen. Joe Lieberman [D, CT] on Wednesday introduced legislation (S.3065) that would halt the discharges of gay and lesbian service members and allow for the eventual repeal of the “don't ask, don't tell policy” banning gays from serving openly in the military.Read Full Article
As Scott Brown-mania fades on Capitol Hill, Congress is trying to get back to work. Health care seems to be in a holding pattern and the attention of Congress has turned to financial matters. However, President Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow could shake a few things up. Until then, here's are some interesting articles and blog posts to tide you over: The president is expected to announce a three-year spending freeze on discretionary, non-security spending in his State of the Union...Read Full Article