Monday, June 21, 2010

The Weekly Strike-6/21-6/27

Good morning and welcome to the Weekly Strike. We hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to dive back into the depressing world of politics.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President begins his week not with any of the myriad of issues on his plate, but rather by giving a speech in Ward 8 of Washington, DC on the importance of fatherhood. A similar speech he gave on Father's Day 2008, in Chicago, was one of my favorite of his speeches. At that point, I thought his challenge of deadbeat Dads could really help him break down the cultural divide that has killed Democrats for generations. I guess he's still trying.

Other than that, the President will hold a meeting Wednesday at the White House with members of both parties to discuss comprehensive energy legislation. The President is really trying to push something through by the end of the summer, but I just don't see that happening. For one thing, the Senate only has 30 days left in session before it's August recess, and it still must deal with the current extenders package, war funding, the Financial Regulation conference report, and the Elena Kagan nomination. The way the Senate works these days, I doubt they'll even be able to start consideration of a climate bill. Not to mention the fact that Democrats are nowhere near agreement on how to proceed.The lead negotiators of the bill, Senators Lieberman (CT) and Kerry (MA) both insist that some sort of bill that prices carbon is possible, but I just don't see where the 60 votes are. Republicans no matter what will insist that the bill represents a national energy tax, and coal state Democrats are happy to team up with their Republican rivals on this one.

This weekend, the President will travel to the G20 summit in Toronto, where he will discuss the global economy with world leaders. This will be his first meeting with the new Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, since Cameron assumed office last month.

THE SENATE: The Senate will start today with votes on three District Court nominees. These nominees are finally starting to move through the Senate after numerous Republican delay tactics. The Senate will then somehow try to finish work on the tax extenders bill, which includes an extension of unemployment insurance. Twice last week, the Senate failed to achieve cloture on two separate versions of the bill, so I guess they'll have to keep negotiating. I fear the fate of struggling Americans falls in the hands of moderate Republicans Snowe (ME), Collins (ME) and Brown (MA), who will be able to extract some serious concessions. I know I covered this extensively last week, but I'll reiterate how much of a shame it is that the Senate can't move this basic package of recession safety net programs. It's very easy to be obsessed with the deficit when you make a secure $150,000 a year, with a pension on the horizon, and you don't even know how to use an ATM card.

It's possible that the Senate will take up the conference report on Financial Regulation if conferees can finish their work this week. More likely, the bill will come up next week, or just after the July recess.

THE HOUSE: The House once again has a busy schedule. After dealing with suspension bills tomorrow and Wednesday, the House will try once again to take up the DISCLOSE Act, which sets new requirements for corporations donating to political campaigns. The bill had to be pulled last week after objections were made to a compromise made with the NRA that exempted the gun organization from the bill's regulations. Hopefully they'll work out this issue by the end of the week.

It's also possible that the House will take up the Senate-passed war funding bill. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) has been trying to delay the bill until the Senate finishes its extenders package (good for him!). But if the Pentagon says they need money, they'll usually get it. What remains to be seen is whether Obey can succeed in adding funding for state and local governments to prevent layoffs to teachers and public service employees.

We may also see the House take up the conference report on the Iran sanctions bill, which is expected to get broad bipartisan support.

That's it for now, leave some comments!

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