Recapping Thursday Action in Congress – There Was Some!

By: Friday March 30, 2012 6:50 am

Let’s briefly recap Congress’ busy day yesterday, as they head out for a two-week recess (Spring Break ’12 Cancun?).

House Passes Ryan Budget Resolution

By: Thursday March 29, 2012 3:00 pm

House Republicans have passed the Paul Ryan budget resolution, a sweeping plan that slashes long-term mandatory spending, goes under the discretionary spending targets set by the debt limit deal, cuts taxes for the rich and corporations, changes Medicare to a voucher program, eliminates Pell grants for hundreds of thousands of students, and generally authorizes just about every conservative wet dream you can name. And after all that, Ryan’s budget doesn’t even balance until 2040, because it’s nearly impossible to do so without anything on the revenue side.

The vote was relatively close, with the budget passing 228-191.

Final Days for Passage of Transportation Funding Extension, Outcome Uncertain

By: Thursday March 29, 2012 9:15 am

After two days of trying and failing to pass a short-term extension of the surface transportation bill, Republicans will now use the regular process to try to force their extension through, with just days to go before a shutdown of federal transportation funding.

Senate Passes JOBS Act, STOCK Act

By: Thursday March 22, 2012 12:15 pm

It’s unusual when the Senate passes one bill in a single day, but today they’ve passed two. And both are an indication of the seriousness of legislating in the modern age.

GOP House Formally Rejects Senate Transportation Bill, Shutdown Looming

By: Thursday March 22, 2012 10:45 am

We’re headed for a real showdown. The House has now rejected the bipartisan transportation bill from the Senate. Harry Reid has said that he would not accept a 90-day extension and wants to see the Senate bill pass. Something has to give.

House Won’t Take Up Senate Surface Transportation Bill Before Expiration Date

By: Friday March 16, 2012 8:28 am

The Senate’s transportation bill, which passed earlier this week, is more bipartisan than good. The bill lasts for two years rather than the 5 years requested by the White House, and it funds at about 2/3 the level in the President’s budget request, which itself is relatively low according to infrastructure experts. That said, it begins to actually intelligently tackle infrastructure policy, albeit with limited means, and it’s certainly preferable to the eight stopgap bills that have been the sum total of Congress’ work on this policy since 2009.

It looks as if we’re moving toward stopgap bill number 9.

Senate Beats Back Amendments on Surface Transportation Bill; House to Take Up Senate Version

By: Friday March 9, 2012 9:10 am

The Senate defeated several Republican amendments to the transportation bill yesterday, but the major ones all lost votes on the Democratic side. In fact, two got majority votes in the Senate, though they needed to cross a 60-vote threshold. The amendment to kill the EPA’s rule on limiting toxic emissions from industrial boilers failed 52-46.

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.

Sen. Blunt’s Amendment Weakening Health Insurance Offers Clash of Ideologies

By: Monday February 27, 2012 9:45 am

We’re going to have that rare moment this week in Congress, a vote which both sides anticipate with a certain glee. The transportation bill is on the floor of the Senate this week, and Democrats can’t wait to have their rivals initiate a vote on the Blunt amendment, which responds to the President’s birth control universal access rules by allowing any employer to opt out of any health insurance mandate on religious grounds.

House Transportation Bill Draws White House Veto Threat

By: Wednesday February 15, 2012 11:50 am

The White House formally threatened a veto of the House version of a surface transportation bill, opening the question of whether any long-term bill will get signed before March when current funding on roads and bridges expires. Between the terrible House version and the Senate’s, it’s choosing between one with a bunch of disastrous elements, and another which has none of those but which is too small for the task at hand.

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