Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Daily Strike-4/21/10-What I Can Derive

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This week I keep getting bombarded with more and more evidence that the financial system is fundamentally corrupt and should be done away with almost completely. Just throwing that out there. Maybe The Big Picture can elaborate further in the coming days.

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS: The Senate Agriculture Committee today passed the last key part of the overall financial regulatory overhaul today. The bill, authored by embattled Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, sets enormously strong regulations over the sale of derivatives, the financial instruments that partially caused the collapse of the economy two years ago. Amazingly, Lincoln was able to win the vote of Republican Chuck Grassley. To this point, Democrats had not been able to make a thaw in the unified Republican opposition to the measure. Grassley quickly pointed out that his vote on the derivatives measure wasn't indicative of how he'd vote on the bill at large, but it is still a positive sign.

Republican Senators are now insisting that a deal could soon be in place that would assure bipartisan support for the bill. At this point, I'm not sure what policy concessions would be part of the deal, though I would suspect that they'd do away with the "resolution" fund we talked about yesterday. If a deal is not struck, Democrats will probably still bring the measure to the floor for a test vote to see if they could get a spare Republican vote with no major concessions. Republican Senator John Thune (SD) said that he's not sure all 41 Senators would oppose a motion to proceed to the bill, which would allow debate and amendment votes.

The President will do his part tomorrow to make a public case for the bill in downtown Manhattan. I'm sure he will address the SEC investigation of Goldman Sachs, a firm that did a bunch of really shady stuff that I still barely can understand (they basically sold assets that they knew were worthless, and bet on them being worthless to make money...right?). The President desperately needs to distance himself from the Goldman Sachs crowd to have any legitimacy on this issue. It does not help his cause that many members of his economic team are Goldman alums. Nor does it help that his former White House Counsel is now advising them.

SUPREME COURT: The President today consulted with a bipartisan group of Senators about his upcoming choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. According to attendees, the President didn't mention any candidates by name, though he did say he was in contact with the main contenders. A White House staffer said that President Obama won't be afraid to make a bold choice, knowing that the GOP will oppose the nominee no matter who it is. My first choice would be Appeals Court Judge Diane Wood, a liberal intellectual heavyweight, and experienced jurist, who could be a major force of opposition to the conservative wing of the court.

THE SENATE: The Senate spent the day on various nominees as Democrats are successfully moving through more and more Presidential appointments. The Senate today confirmed the nomination of Christopher Schroeder to be an Assistant Attorney General by a vote of 72-24. The Senate also confirmed Thomas Vanaskie to be a Judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals by a wide bipartisan vote of 77-20. In each case, all the opposition is from Republicans.

It is notable that these nominations are not particularly controversial, but they have still been held up for months because of horrendous Senate rules.

THE HOUSE: It was a relatively quiet day in the House, as the chamber dealt with suspension bills. Tomorrow, there will be a vote to go to conference a the Iran sanctions bill.

That's it for now, see you tomorrow! Leave some comments!

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