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
Since June 29th, Senate Democrats have been stymied by Republicans on a bill (H.R. 5297) that would give small business $12 billion in tax breaks and a $30 billion lending fund in order to encourage new hiring. Today, a couple Republicans gave in, providing the Democrats the votes they need to overcome GOP opposition and move the bill towards final passage.Read Full Article
Economist Susan Woodward considers August to be, typically, "a month of unambiguous employment growth." But according to a report released today that she helped to put together with Intuit Inc., small businesses in August, though still hiring, are adding new employees at the slowest rate since January. According to the report, the number of jobs created in August is only one-third of how many were created in April.
Why the downturn? One possibility is that small business owners have put hiring and expansion on hold while they wait for the Senate to break a Republican filibuster and pass the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010.Read Full Article
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] filed for cloture on the financial reform bill today, meaning that the Senate can move forward with a vote to begin debating on Monday. Under Senate rules, if there is an objection to a unanimous consent request to bring up a bill for floor debate, as is the case with the financial reform bill, at least 16 senators must sign and file a cloture petition on the motion to proceed to the bill. After 30 hours, the Senate can vote on whether or not to invoke cloture. The cloture vote is set for Monday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. ET and will require a supermajority of 60 votes to pass.Read Full Article
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has taken a lot of slack for not being a tough enough leader. But when it comes to killing filibusters, he's the toughest majority leader ever, reports Roll Call (via Political Wire):Read Full Article
As the House was wrapping up health care reform last night, the Senate was engaged in a face-off over extending the filing deadline for unemployment benefits, which is currently set to happen on April 5th.
The sticking point: Democrats want to pass a one-month extension of the deadline, which will cost about $10 billion, without any plan to pay for it. Republicans, lead by Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK], want to extend the deadline and pay for the it with unused money form the stimulus bill.
Coburn is objecting to a unanimous consent agreement on quick passage of the Democrats' bill that was approved by the House last week (H.R.4851). Besides the unemployment deadline, the bill would temporarily extend a slew of other expiring programs -- COBRA health benefits for the unemployed, the national flood insurance program, funding for furloughed highway workers, and a delay in a scheduled 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors.Read Full Article