Obama to Request $50 Billion for Sandy Relief

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:45 am

For a Congress spending every waking minute talking about deficits, they sure know how to spend gobs of money above and beyond requested budgets – as long as it goes to the hands of defense contractors. The Senate version of the defense authorization bill costs $631 billion. This is $17 billion more than the Pentagon asked for. It passed 98-0. It now goes to a conference with the bill passed by the GOP-led House, which costs $3 billion MORE. The White House threatened to veto the bill over the budget overages, which is just adorable.

 

Senate Democrats Seek Climate Change Vote in Defense Authorization Bill

By: Tuesday December 4, 2012 2:00 pm

Now Senate Democrats might actually see climate change as a wedge issue, just a couple years after one of their caucus members literally shot climate change legislation in one of his campaign ads.

Senate Passes Indefinite Detention Limitations Amid Various Interpretations of the Statute Language

By: Friday November 30, 2012 12:28 pm

Depending on who you believe, the Senate either voted today to limit indefinite detention practices or voted to allow those limits to be determined by the executive branch. You may need a degree in linguistics to figure this one out.

Senate Passes Amendment to Withdraw From Afghanistan at “Steady Pace”

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 3:13 pm

The Senate, in an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, accepted a measure written by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) calling for a continued drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, at a “steady pace” through the end of 2014, and a close to all combat operation “at the earliest date” possible.

The news here is that Merkley got a filibuster-proof majority for that measure, for the first time, with 12 Republicans and 50 out of 51 Democrats in support (Lieberman, of course, voted no; Wyden and McCaskill didn’t vote today).

Lame Duck Congress Has Lots of Work to Do Even Without Fiscal Slope

By: Sunday November 11, 2012 6:45 am

Among the many other reasons not to engage in a grand bargain during the lame duck session is that Congress actually needs to get busy with other matters. For a variety of reasons, mainly that they’re not good at their job, Congress left a multitude of items on the table for the lame duck, many of which must pass aside from the fiscal slope measures like the Bush tax cuts, the sequester, unemployment insurance, the payroll tax cut and the alternative minimum tax patch. The Hill rounds some of them up.

I put these in the categories of “good” and “must avoid disaster.”

Judge Stops Indefinite Detention of Undocumented Immigrants, Asylum Seekers

By: Friday September 14, 2012 12:45 pm

Scott Lemieux has a good piece in The American Prospect about the federal court ruling blocking the indefinite detention provisions of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While Lemieux expressed a lack of confidence that the injunction would be upheld by the appeals courts, he praised the action because of the potential for abuse.

Levin: Let’s Not Let the Constitution Get in the Way of Indefinite Detention

By: Thursday May 24, 2012 6:45 am

Not every politician is great on every issue, granted. But with Carl Levin of late, there’s been quite a swing. On the one hand, his Permanent Subcommittee for Investigations delivered Goldman Sachs on a silver platter to the Justice Department (it’s currently sitting in a conference room, untouched). He has jumped on JPMorgan Chase’s massive trading loss to argue for a tightening of the Volcker rule he co-authored. On the other hand, he sees no need to change an indefinite detention law that has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court judge.

NDAA Amendment to Eliminate Indefinite Detention for US Citizens Fails in House

By: Friday May 18, 2012 4:36 pm

A bid to guarantee that no US citizen would be subject to indefinite detention by the government has failed in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan amendment, from Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Justin Amash (R-MI), failed on a 182-237 vote. While President Obama has announced his intention not to use the rules granted in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 1021, codifying them into law raises the possibility of this or another President using them at their discretion in the future.

House Passes Bloated Defense Authorization Bill Despite Veto Threat

By: Friday May 18, 2012 2:33 pm

The House has passed this year’s defense authorization bill which departs from last year’s debt limit deal by adding $8 billion above spending targets set for the military, and by replacing the defense side of the automatic “trigger” cuts with cuts from elsewhere in the budget.

New Year’s Eve News Dump: Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill

By: Saturday December 31, 2011 1:45 pm

The President signed the defense authorization bill today, appending a signing statement expressing concerns with the detainee measures in the bill.

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