Friday, March 6, 2009

The Daily Strike-3/6/09-Drama-nibus

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Please forgive the title.

OMNIBUS: The good news? Our government is funded through the middle of next week. After the Senate postponed a final vote on the omnibus appropriations bill last night, the House was forced to come back today and pass a temporary stopgap measure. The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent. Apparently, House and Senate Democratic leaders met last night in a heated meeting. Speaker Pelosi was apparently furious that the Senate could not finish the bill this week. She had wanted to get the bill to Obama's desk this week. Senate Republicans, and a few anti-earmark Democrats refused to cut off debate in the Senate. The Republicans wanted a chance to debate and vote on more amendments. (The cynics among us think that they only want to extend debate to get some political mileage out of a large spending bill). Nevertheless, the Senate comes back to vote on Monday, with 13 Republican amendments pending. Following these votes, Majority Leader Reid will try again to get the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate. That vote will probably take place sometime Tuesday. Democratic leaders will try to defeat each of the amendments, so that they don't have to send an amended bill to the House for approval. This saga ensures that other business, like the House-passed mortgage restructuring bill, will be delayed.

Anyways, the House took some votes today on this temporary stopgap measures. The first vote was on "approving the journal." In practice, this vote is usually called by the minority to temporarily stall proceedings. The journal was approved 220-142. Next, the Republicans offered a motion to recommmit, which would have made the stopgap spending measure last until September. This would keep government funding at current levels for the rest of the fiscal year. The Democrats, of course, rejected this approach, because they still think they can get the larger package through the Senate. The motion was defeated 218-160. All Republicans voted in the affirmative. Democrats voting yes: Altmire (PA), Childers (MS), Donnelly (IN), Ellsworth (IN), Giffords (AZ), Minnick (ID), Mitchell (AZ) and Nye (VA).

The final bill passed 328-50. 2 Democrats joined 48 Republicans in voting no. In each of these votes, about 50 members were absent.

OBAMA'S DAY: There were two key events in the President's day today. He traveled to Columbus, OH this morning to tout the early effects of the stimulus bill. He gave a speech at a policy academy to officers whose jobs were saved by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While I always like to see the President highlighting tangible successes, it rang somewhat hallow today because of an unemployment rate that increased to 8.1%. The

The White House also announced that the President will sign an executive order Monday overturning President Bush's ban on embryonic stem cell research. This move had been on the back-burner for awhile. Removing the ban will be politically popular, and easy to implement, so it is good low-hanging fruit for the President.

That's it for today. See you tomorrow!

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