When Gridlock Works: Cybersecurity Bill Stuffed, for Now

By: Thursday August 2, 2012 1:00 pm

The Senate, unable to come up with a schedule for amendments, blocked the cybersecurity bill today in an outcome that, despite being a result of Republican obstruction, satisfied Internet activists who had been urging a no vote.


FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sanford Levinson, Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

By: Sunday July 29, 2012 1:59 pm

In Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance, the constitutional scholar, political theorist, and prolific public intellectual Sanford Levinson makes the case that this is no passing squall caused by momentary economic dislocations, but evidence of deeper flaws in how basic governance institutions are designed. Diverging from those who call for new leadership in the White House, a new political party, or even new policies, Levinson calls for reflection about some basic choices embedded in constitutions that most commentators take for granted.

Senate Surface Transportation Deal Allows Amendments on EPA Boiler Rule, Keystone XL

By: Thursday March 8, 2012 8:08 am

The surface transportation bill, which passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee on a unanimous vote, has been mired on the Senate floor for close to a month. Senate Republicans have filibustered all efforts to wrap up work on the bill, mainly because they sought a series of bumper-sticker amendment votes to make vulnerable Democrats uncomfortable. They know the bill has broad support and will eventually pass, but if they can hold together on cloture votes, they can block it until they get their way on amendments. Most of them have nothing to do with transportation policy. Fully 1/12 of the Senate’s time this year, then, will be spent on a standoff over squeezing election-year message votes out of the majority.

Yeah, the Senate rules are just fine.

Trade Deals Imperiled as Senate GOP Stages Walkout in Committee

By: Friday July 1, 2011 6:51 am

I thought Mitch McConnell was just grousing about trade adjustment assistance being included in the three trade deals that the President sent to Congress. What I didn’t know is that the White House negotiated directly with House Republicans on the deal, and didn’t really consult the Senate minority. So they’re making mischief out of a real opposition, not to put on a show. This means that these trade deals may not go through at all.

First Post-Bin Laden Vote on Afghanistan War Coming on Defense Authorization Bill

By: Friday May 13, 2011 8:04 am

The last time Congress voted on withdrawal from Afghanistan was on March 17, and withdrawal got 93 votes, including 8 from Republicans. Since then, Osama bin Laden has been killed in a counter-terrorism mission in Pakistan, taking some of the rationale for war away. Several members in both parties have since questioned the mission in Afghanistan and whether the pace of withdrawal could be accelerated.

Wisconsin Assembly Dems Meet with Walker Cabinet Secretary on Budget Proposal

By: Thursday February 24, 2011 3:00 pm

he Assembly Democrats have presented an alternative budget proposal and are meeting with the head of the Department of Administration, Mike Huebsch. We’re trying to get a copy of the alternative proposal, but I’m not sure they’ll have any more success with that as they’ve had with their litany of amendments on the floor of the Assembly. All of them have been defeated. The most recent one were amendments that would have removed the collective bargaining limitations from the bill.

However, Huebsch is a member of Scott Walker’s cabinet. The fact of the meeting itself is pretty notable.

Health Care Repeal, 1099 Fix Votes Up Today

By: Wednesday February 2, 2011 3:09 pm

We should see a vote in the Senate on repealing the Affordable Care Act today, although a decision on how to approach it is still being worked out. Because of the lack of Senate rules reform, any amendment is subject to filibuster as well. However, my understanding is that the amendment on repeal violates the Budget Act because it increases the deficit, and waiving that needs 60 votes. So I don’t know why the filibuster is the obstacle. Democrats could also move to table the amendment, which would need an up or down vote.

In addition to repeal, Sen. Debbie Stabenow has introduced an amendment to eliminate the 1099 reporting requirement, which passed in the health care bill.

With Some Dems Nervous About Any Changes, Senate Rules Reform to Be Tweaked

By: Wednesday January 19, 2011 8:40 am

Sen. Jeff Merkley acknowledged that one component of the consensus plan on Senate rules reform put together by him, Tom Udall and Tom Harkin would probably get tweaked, and that the biggest concern for skittish Democratic lawmakers was changing the rules at all, lest they be changed on them when Republicans take over. Which is kind of an amazing commentary on the state of the Democratic Party, when you think about it.

Wall Street Reform Update: Cloture Vote Today

By: Thursday May 20, 2010 6:00 am

After a few more amendments to the Wall Street reform bill this evening (and a defeat for the Whitehouse amendment to allow states to cap interest rates on credit cards), Harry Reid set up a vote for cloture for today. He expects Arlen Specter to be on hand, and to vote for cloture, so that brings him within one vote of getting to 60. But Russ Feingold and Maria Cantwell, the two Democrats who voted against invoking cloture, are digging in. They want changes to the bill that would strengthen it, particularly around derivatives. Will this day devolve again into “Lord of the Flies” on the Senate floor?

With Senate Liberals Pissed About Amendments, Dodd Scotches His On Derivatives

By: Wednesday May 19, 2010 2:20 pm

Senate Democrats are seriously unhappy with how Wall Street reform has unfolded. The unkempt nature of the amendments process virtually assured this. After a lot of twists and turns, it’s it’s chaos. It’s Lord of the Flies on the Senate floor right now. I don’t think anyone knows how this will turn out.

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