Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Daily Strike-5/25/10-Frank Meeting

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure you catch up on The Big Picture's entry on the Democrats' missed opportunities. It is a tough read, but I think very prescient.

MEETING: Today, President Obama met with the Senate Republican Conference to discuss areas they can work together in the coming year. It seems like the meeting got pretty contentious. Republican Senator Bob Corker (TN) apparently confronted Obama for preaching about bipartisanship while undercutting bipartisan negotiations on financial reform. To Obama's credit, I think Corker has a point. The Democrats abandoned broad bipartisan negotiations in order to make the bill stronger. Of course, it's still not strong enough, but it's better than it would have been if we had watered it down for the likes of Bob Corker. Obama also asked for Republicans' help in passing a supplemental war funding bill this week. On this measure, I expect him to get some support.

I think the relationship between Obama and Senate Republicans is a lost cause, and thus it doesn't make sense for Obama to attempt any outreach. He has been rebuffed too many times. While he still has large Democratic majorities, he should focus on governing.

LEGISLATIVE WRANGLING: There wasn't much action on the floors of either House of Congress today, though negotiations/bickering on a couple of issues ensued. Democrats and the administration announced a deal that would allow for a near repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as part of this year's Defense Authorization Bill. The Pentagon signed off on the compromise, even though it is currently conducting a "study" on the matter. Democrats picked up the support of GOP Senator Susan Collins (ME) today, but they still probably aren't close to 60 votes that they'd need to advance the amendment in the Senate.

On the seemingly never-ending oil spill in the gulf, President Obama is amping up the pressure on BP, and the Republicans are trying to lay the blame on Obama. Senate Democrats have tried numerous times to pass a bill that would raise the liability cap for BP, but Republicans have, as I would have expected, every single time.

And on the issue of immigration, the President announced today that he will send an additional 1,200 national guard troops to protect the border in Arizona. This was met with tepid approval by Republicans, who demanded that Obama send even more troops. Apparently, John McCain was especially testy on this issue during the Obama/Republican luncheon. I'm sure it has nothing to do with his primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

ON THE FLOOR: On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has filed cloture on the emergency war funding bill. There are several amendments pending, and many of them will get votes in the next couple of days. Some of them deal with contentious issues like secret holds, border security and a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We'll keep an eye on amendment votes.

Over in the House, it was just suspension bills today. They'll start their busy legislative week in earnest tomorrow.

That's it for now, leave comments!

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