Monday, January 26, 2009

The Daily Strike-1/26/08-Geithner Confirmation/Vocab II

Good evening from Washington.

GEITHNER: About an hour ago, the Senate voted to confirm Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner by a vote of 60-34, somewhat closer than I expected. The vote was largely along party lines, with some notable twists. The "Yes" votes on the Republican side were from the "compromisers" like Senator Hatch of Utah, Corker of Tennessee and Voinovich of Ohio. One surprising Yes vote was from Sen. John Cornyn, who tried to stall Hillary Clinton's nomination last week. He is usually an ideologically rigid Republican. The "No" Democrats were a collection of populists who are most likely so angry with the culture of greed on Wall Street, and with the bailout bill, that they couldn't confirm someone like Geithner, who helped shape policy as the chairman of the Federal Reserve of the State of New York. The "No" Democrats: Byrd of West Virginia, Harkin of Iowa, Feingold of Wisconsin and Independent self-avowed socialist Bernard Sanders of Vermont. 4 Senators did not vote, and there remain two vacancies (the ongoing recount in Minnesota and the seat that will be occupied by Kirsten Gillibrand tomorrow).

It remains to be seen what kind of policies Geithner will champion at the Treasury. We'll talk more about some badly needed financial regulations that he might put in place in the coming weeks. This leaves Solis, Daschle, Holder and Ron Kirk as the outstanding cabinet nominees.

THE WHITE HOUSE: Obama spoke this morning about an executive order overturning Bush administration environmental policy, most notably, the Obama administration will allow states like California to set their own emission standards. Yet another example of why elections matter. This is part of Obama's well-coordinated effort to mark a significant departure from Bush administration policy almost every day that he's been in office.

Also today at the White House, the email was out apparently, which is pretty funny. Tomorrow Obama meets with Capital Hill Republicans. My guess is that both sides are "appreciative" of the dialogue, but not much else gets done. It seems to me like the Republicans are, as E.J. Dionne noted in a good column this morning, are banking on the failure of Democratic policies. Their strategy at this point seems to be using 1980's conservative language, like "big government spending" and "borrow and spend" to try and stake out a slot in the "I told you so" column if the program is not successful. They'll also make sure you know about all of the crazy things in the bill, like refurbishing the National Mall, and funding Medicaid programs that conduct family planning. (They'll call it "money for contraceptives.)

VOCAB II: Today's term is "Suspension Bill." The House of Representative typically starts the week by considering bills that are non-controversial, stuff as trivial as "Recognizing the Florida Gators for winning the Bowl Championship Series Title." Bill like this pass so overwhelmingly that they would not need rules to govern debate. Therefore, the House votes to both "suspend the rules" and agree to the legislation. Hence, the term "Suspension Bills." Suspension bills require 2/3rds of the House to vote "yes," which almost always happen. They also do not allow amendments, and debate is limited to 40 minutes, equally divided.

See you tomorrow night!

No comments:

Post a Comment