Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Daily Strike-4/13/10-After the Summit

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The nuclear summit has ended, so DC is no longer occupied by massive military tanks. We can resume living.

NUCLEAR SUMMIT: The President concluded the nuclear proliferation summit today by calling on the nations of the world to adopt a "new mindset" to control nuclear weapons in the 21st century. The President called the meeting productive, and he was indeed able to get countries to commit to securing loose nuclear materials. I happen to be somewhat skeptical, since these commitments won't be enforced by any international body, but I guess that's how international relations has to work.

The President addressed the media at a press conference after the summit. He was asked about sanctions in Iran, about which he said they would be "no magic wand" but that he wanted to move quickly on some sort of action. He also talked about his meeting with President Hu Jintao of China, where he talked to the Chinese leader about revaluing the Yuan.

The President holds a closing reception with world leaders tonight, followed by a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After that, it will be about time for the President to turn back to domestic affairs. He has a lot on his plate.

THE SENATE: The Senate didn't take any votes today. They are in the middle of consideration of a temporary extension to unemployment and COBRA benefits. Tomorrow, the Senate will presumably vote on amendments to the extension, including one from Senator Baucus (D-MT) that would make the extensions effective through May so that Congress can agree on a permanent solution. Final passage of the extenders bill could happen as early as tomorrow.

The Senate will likely then turn to the next big battle: Financial Regulatory Reform. Minority Leader McConnell (KY) unveiled the GOP's strategy for defeating the bill: argue that it is just another bailout bill. Of course the facts dictate otherwise. The bill actually will prevent Congress from ever enacting a bailout again, because it will create a process for the orderly dismantling of firms that are "too big to fail."

In one of those weird Congressional quirks, regulation of derivatives (a major part of the bill) have to go through the Senate Agriculture Committee, which is chaired by embattled Senator Lincoln of Arkansas. According to trusted sources, she has drafted a strong bill. Once again, the power of a primary challenge (she is being challenged from the left by Lt. Gov Bill Halter).

Speaking of trusted sources, this is a difficult issue to get a handle on. It has a lot of moving parts. As always, I recommend the good wonks out there like Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias.

THE HOUSE: The House came back into session today after a two week recess. They dealt only with suspension bills today.

There is actually a special House election going on tonight in Florida to replace Robert Wexler (D) who is now running a Middle East think tank. Democratic State Senator Ted Deutch is heavily favored against Republican Ed Lynch in this Democratic district. If he doesn't win, woahhhh boy. This election will bring the whole number of members in the House to 431.

That's it for tonight, we'll see you tomorrow!

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