For a second time, the Senate is expected to vote on an $18 billion jobs bill known as the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment, or HIRE, Act (H.R.2847).Read Full Article
Freshman Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] has joined a handful of his Senate colleagues in the effort to reform the filibuster. The filibuster has long been used by both parties when they were in the minority to prevent the Senate from acting on certain measures. But starting with the 110th Congress, when Democrats took control of the House and Senate, the number of filibusters launched by the GOP has skyrocketed to historic levels.
Bennet last week introduced a Senate resolution (S.Res.440) that would not only limit a senator's ability to place anonymous holds, but would also make it easier for a majority party to break a filibuster. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein explains the rather byzantine way Bennet's resolution works:Read Full Article
Republicans have recently taken to referring to the reconciliation process as the “nuclear option” for health care but if you look at its recent history, you'll find that reconciliation isn't the unprecedented event that the nickname suggests. As a quick refresher, the budget reconciliation process allows senators to pass a bill related to revenues and the budget with only 51 votes - or 50 votes and the vice president's tie-breaking vote. A must-read story from NPR today quotes Sen. John K...Read Full Article
Here are a few articles and blog posts worth checking out today: President Obama today signed an executive order creating his promised bipartisan deficit reduction commission. Heading up the commission are former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and respected former GOP senator Alan Simpson. (The White House) For all the sturm and drang about the effectiveness of the stimulus package, many don't realize that only a third of it has been spent so far. The Wall Street Journal has a fa...Read Full Article
Yet more snow has shut down Congress and most of Washington, D.C. As lawmakers enjoy another unscheduled snow day, let's take a look at some articles and blog posts of note from today:Read Full Article
Plenty of ink has been spilled over the filibuster, but there is another obscure procedure that has ground the Senate to a halt: the hold. As I previously noted, a hold placed by Sen. Mike Enzi [R, WY] on solicitor of the Department of Labor nominee Patricia Smith played a key role in delaying her confirmation by several months. But Smith is far from the only Obama appointee to have their nomination tripped up by a Senate hold. Any Senator can place a hold on a bill or measure, pretty much ...Read Full Article
While the guns of august rage at town halls throughout the country, pundits in Washington and staffers in Congress and the White House are busy counting heads to see if the object of all that fear and loathing, health care reform, has a shot at becoming law. The topic du jour is whether the Senate can overcome the 60 vote threshold of a cloture vote. Despite concerns among Democrats that they won't be able to reach the 60 vote threshold to avoid a filibuster, very few Democrats have defected on cloture votes (the vote that bypasses a filibuster) so far this year.Read Full Article