Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Daily Strike-6/24/09-Strange Travels

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The President had a quiet day today, in preparation for his health care town hall meeting tonight at the White House. We will have full reaction to this event tomorrow. Now on to an interesting day in politics.

SANFORD: Well, the 2009 Larry Craig Memorial Award for most bizarre sex scandal by a family-values oriented politician officially goes to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. I do everything I can to keep this blog about serious issues, but this is just too good. Sanford, an arch-conservative ideologue, had gone missing for five days this week. No one knew where he was, not his staff, not his wife. Yesterday, we were told that he was "hiking in the Appalachians." Today, he admitted that he was actually in Argentina. We got the full details at a press conference this afternoon. Apparently, he had been having a long-term affair with an Argentinian woman that he met on an economic development trip there a few years ago. This seemed like a pretty passionate affair. Sanford had most likely been prepping for a 2012 Presidential run, on a platform of fiscal conservatism. It looks like those prospects have pretty much gone by the wayside.

I do need to mention that it's not surprising to see the media fawn over this story, while not paying any attention when Sanford refused federal stimulus money for his economically-depressed state. These scandals can be fun, and I certainly am having a lot of fun with it, but we have to always be grounded in what's really important.

THE HOUSE: The story in the House today was more childish Republican obstructionism. Republicans are upset that Democrats aren't allowing them to propose limited amendments to appropriations bills. Democrats had to restrict amendments because Republicans had threatened to offer hundreds of them. Republicans seem to think that shutting down business in the House will send a message to the American people that they are faithful stewards arcane House appropriations process. A little known House rule allows anyone to demand a vote on a "Motion to Adjourn" whenever they want. Of course, the motions fail every time. Not even most Republicans actually want to adjourn. They're just doing this to be obnoxious, quite frankly. Republicans called for these votes 6 times so far today. They also demanded a couple of other votes by "reconsidered" even though the vote margins were large. This is your standard minority-obstructionism playbook. The House was supposed to get to the Homeland Security Department funding bill this morning, but didn't get to it until mid-afternoon. The House just finished debating the 14 allowed amendments to the bill, and will vote on them later this evening. Final passage could happen around 10pm this evening if Republicans don't delay things any further. It would be one thing if these dilatory tactics actually did something, but the House is STILL finishing it's business, it's just taking twice the amount of time. The House tonight also begins consideration of a bill to authorize funding and programs for the Department of Defense. Final votes on this bill should come tomorrow. The House will also vote on number 4 of the annual appropriations bills, the Department of Interior and Related Agencies bill, tomorrow. Friday is the the big day, when the House is scheduled to vote on the historic climate-change legislation co-sponsored by Reps. Waxman (D-CA) and Markey (D-MA).

THE SENATE: The Senate is about as effective right now as the Washington Nationals' pitching (heyo!). Pretty much no legislative action, once again, took place in the Senate today. The upper chamber did take a couple of important actions this morning. First, it began impeachment proceedings against Federal Judge Samuel B. Kent. Kent, as we've mentioned, has been convicted of sexual abuse but is refusing to relinquish his federal paycheck. The Senate this morning ceremonially accepted the case from the House managers, and appointed a committee to review the charges. Kent will almost certainly be convicted when the Senate votes on the charges next month.

The Senate also voted to cut off debate on the nomination of Harold Koh to be a Legal Advisor at the Department of State. Koh's nomination had been stalled by Republicans who were worried about Koh's past statements against rampant executive power and Bush administration prosecution of the War on Terror. Koh, as we mentioned yesterday, has become a favorite of the left-wing blogosphere because of his outspoken liberal views. The cloture motion was agreed to 65-31. All Democrats voted to cut off debate, as did Republicans Collins (ME), Gregg (NH), Hatch (UT), Lugar (IN), Martinez (FL), Snowe (ME) and Voinovich (OH). If Republicans insist on using all of the allowed debate time, a vote to officially confirm Koh will take place tomorrow night, meaning the Senate, as usual, still won't be getting to any legislative business. They are supposed to take up the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill later this week.

That's it for tonight, join us tomorrow as we report on the President's health care event. Leave some comments!

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