Monday, March 16, 2009

The Daily Strike-3/16/09-Outrage at AIG!!!!

Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Strike. Every politician, media pundit and commentator is trying to show as much outrage as possible at AIG for using government bailout money to pay bonuses to their executives. It's hilarious to see people feign as much outrage as possible. I wonder how it must feel to work for AIG right now. On to the day in politics.

THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama did his best to show A-quality outrage at AIG this morning. He said in a statement this morning that his administration will "pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.” He also joked after coughing that he was "choked up with anger." I hope the administration figures out something to block these bonuses. I'm not legal expert, but we are GIVING them money to save them from bankruptcy. I'd say we're in a pretty good negotiating position. Anyways, there is a lot of populist outrage out there, and I hope, for the country's sake, that the outrage is translated into support for more progressive policies.

The President today also made an annoucement to a group of small business owners that he was using stimulus money to cut fees on small business loans. He also gave a speech to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

THE SENATE: The Senate today voted to proceed on the Omnibus Public Lands bill. The bill is a package of measures blocked in the last Congress by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). We talked in the Weekly Strike about what this bill's been through in the last month. Now, Majority Leader Reid is engaging in even more brilliant parliamentary gamesmanship. Reid is taking a bill previously passed by the House, the Historical Battlefields Protection Act, and replace it entirely with the text of the omnibus land bill. This way, when the bill goes back to the House, it won't be subject to any poison-pill amendments or motions to recommitt, because technically the bill has already passed the House. (h/t to our friends at CongressMatters for a good explanation of this). Republicans in the House were going to try and amend the bill with pro-gun language. Because there are so many House Democrats who are obsessed with maintaining their 100% ratings from the NRA, they would have voted for the measure. The measure itself, though, would probably then be defeated by a cadre of liberals, and Republicans who would oppose the bill even with the pro-gun language. This is the dilemma facing the House on the DC Voting Rights bill as well. This could be a consistent problem for House Democrats. They need to convince enough of their members that their 100% NRA ratings are not as important as what's best for the country. It's amazing that one interest group can wield that much power.

Anyways, the Senate voted to proceed with consideration of the bill by a vote of 73-21. This vote shows us that the underlying bill will probably pass by an overwhelming margin. All Democrats voted to proceed with the bill, as did Republicans Bennett (UT), Bond (MO), Cochran (MS), Collins (ME), Crapo (ID), Enzi (WY), Hatch (UT), Kyl (AZ) (that one is a big surprise, he's one of the Senate's most consistent conservatives), Lugar (IN), Risch (ID), Snowe (ME), Specter (PA), Voinovich (OH) and Wicker (MS). The Senate will resume consideration of the bill tomorrow morning. I'm not sure exactly what's on tap after that, but we'll keep you posted.

THE HOUSE: The House today voted on various non-controversial bills under suspension of the rules. They'll vote on more of those tomorrow, and will begin consideration of the public service bill on Wednesday. Make sure you read the Weekly Strike for more details on that bill.

That's pretty much all for today. Make sure you do your patriotic duty and express outrage at AIG!

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