Monday, August 3, 2009

The Daily Strike-8/3/09-Apropo

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure you catch up on the week in politics by reading today's Weekly Strike. Also, look forward to a Big Picture entry tonight grading the week. Tonight's entry will be a short one.

THE SENATE: The United States Senate is lingering in town ahead of the upcoming August recess, even as their House counterparts have gone home. The Senate today took up its 4th of 12 appropriations bills, this one funding the Department of Agriculture. The bill has significant bipartisan support, even from conservative stalwarts like Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee chairman Sam Brownback (R-KS). The Senate voted this evening to cut off debate on the measure by a vote of 83-11, with only Republicans in opposition. The Senate then rejected a McCain (R-AZ) to cut some grant funding for rural electricity. The amendment failed by a vote of 41-55, which did not fall neatly along party lines. The Senate will vote on more amendments and final passage tomorrow, before moving on to consideration of the Sotomayor nomination.

Speaking of Sotomayor, a few Senators showed their cards today in advance of this week's vote. Republican John McCain said he will oppose Sotomayor because he's afraid she'll be a judicial activist, maybe like his favorite Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas, who vote against acts of Congress more than the other Justices! Democratic freshmen Kay Hagan (NC) and Tom Udall (NM), as expected, came out in strong support of the nominee.

AUGUST RECESS: One thing to look out for during the August recess is some YouTube videos of members of Congress being confronted by right-wing mobs. This "grassroots" effort at disruption and distraction is being funded by Republican special interest groups, and is designed to convince Congressmen that health reform is unpopular. It's already happened at a few town meetings across the country, including one in the district of liberal Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX). Democrats need to not cower in the face of these people, and in fact, they need to use them as evidence of the extreme nature of the opposition. Sort of like how President Bush used Code Pink as an example of everyone who opposed the Iraq war.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President had a non-health care related day for the first time in awhile. He gave a speech this morning commemorating the implementation of the 21st Century GI Bill, an initiative by Democratic Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and his former Virginia colleague Senator John Warner (R-VA). Both were in attendance, as was Vice President Biden. One person who was not honored was President Bush, who signed the measure into law reluctantly last summer. The bill gives educational support to veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President then met this afternoon with the premier of Kuwait, and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) to talk about prevention and wellness.

That's it for today. We'll see you tomorrow!

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