Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Daily Strike-9/9/09-Showtime

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike on this night of nights in politics. I will give my analysis of the President's address in tomorrow's entry. Please give your thoughts on the speech in our comments section.

THE SPEECH: We all know the stakes for the speech tonight. The President needs to change the trajectory of the health care debate. He needs to break through the muck and mire of August and speak with one clear, unmistakable voice. From the excerpts of the speech that have just been released, it looks like he will do that, and much much more. The speech seems forceful, and surprisingly direct, especially this passage:

"But know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now."

Wow. That is showing your drive in no uncertain terms. If the rest of the speech is this staunch, we'll be in for a very good night. I also expect the President to be specific and concise about exactly what he wants in the plan, so that there is no room for confusion. Another interesting thing the President will do, according to excerpts, is claim that many of the ideas he's using were from his two opponents in the Presidential election last year, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. This is true, actually. The idea of individual and employer mandates comes from Hillary, and the idea of ending the tax exemption for certain health care plans was a McCain idea (although that may not end up in the final legislation).

My hope for tonight is that the President can come up with one of those transcendent speeches, where he hits all his cadences, and gets Democratic members of Congress to jump out of their seats. That kind of speech could really get the debate back on his turf.

The Republican response will be given by Charles Boustany, a Republican Representative from Louisiana who:

1. Is a birther.
2. Sponsored the provision to have Medicare cover end-of-life counseling (aka death panels)
3. Once sued for medical malpractice, which is a cardinal sin among Republicans.

This should be good.

THE SENATE: Before I go get ready for the speech, some quick tidbits from Congress today. The Senate took two votes today (wow!). The first vote was on final passage on that Travel Promotion Act, which seeks to boost foreign tourism in the U.S. The bill, as amended, passed by a vote of 79-19, with all no votes coming from the GOP. No word on if or when the House will take up this measure. It is a pet project of the politically vulnerable Majority Leader Reid, who wants to prop up his friends in Las Vegas.

The next vote was to cut off debate on Cass Sunstein to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. Republicans had delayed on vote on Sunstein for awhile for a variety of concerns, one of them being that he is a strong animal rights supporter (seriously?). Apparently these objections were significant enough that 35 Senators voted no on the nomination, including Democrats Lincoln (AR), Pryor (AR), and Webb (VA). Republicans Bennett (UT), Collins (ME), Gregg (NH), Hatch (UT), Lugar (IN), Snowe (ME) and Voinovich (OH) voted yes. The Senate will most likely move to Transportation Appropriations tomorrow.

THE HOUSE: The lower chamber continued with suspension bills today. Yesterday, Republicans were upset that they weren't getting a fair number of their suspension bills put on the House calendar. They objected to this by voting against a non-controversial Democratic bill. Democrats retaliated by voting against a Republican bill. Ladies and gentleman, your United States Congress.

That's it for tonight, enjoy the speech and we'll see you tomorrow!

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