Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Daily Strike-7/1/10-Supplemental Madness

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The Senate skipped out of town yesterday having not finished: a) war funding, b) unemployment benefits and c) financial regulation. Late last night, Majority Leader Reid tried one last time to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, but he failed by a single vote. Republicans Snowe and Collins of Maine both voted yes, but Democrat Ben Nelson (NE) broke with his party and singlehandedly caused mass suffering for millions of people. The plan should be able to pass when the new West Virginia Senator is sworn in, but that won't happen until after the July recess. Now on to the rest of the day in politics.

THE HOUSE: The House is trying to finish up a supplemental war funding bill, and the Democratic leadership is using all sorts of interesting parliamentary maneuvers to include key domestic funding, such as aid to state and local governments, money for summer jobs programs, and Pell Grants. The problem for House leaders is that a majority of House members don't support BOTH the war funding and the domestic spending. So Democrats have resorted to some cleaver trickery. According to a rule adopted by the House this evening, the war funding would be passed and sent to the President, only if all of the other domestic spending is also approved. If the domestic spending is rejected, the war funding too will be rejected. Thus, by voting for the domestic spending, members are actually "deeming" the war funding passed. My guess is that the amendments will be agreed to, and that the war measure will be sent to the President for his approval. I'm not quite sure exactly how this works. I guess the Senate would then have to vote on the domestic spending separately (which won't happen, of course, for another couple of weeks). Also included in this bill (under the rule) is a budget enforcement resolution that sets spending targets for Fiscal Year 2011. This is in place of a normal budget resolution, which House Democrats didn't want to pass, because it would have foreseen record deficits. (I guess we should just pretend they don't exist?).

It looks like the House will be taking votes late into the night, so I'll have to update you tomorrow.

Prior to consideration of this measure, the House passed rather easily the same extension of unemployment that died yesterday in the Senate. The final vote was 270-153, with 29 Republicans voting yes, and a pathetic 11 Democrats voting no. The Senate will try to concur when they return on July 12th, but by that time, millions of Americans will already have gone without needed unemployment assistance.

The House will adjourn after votes end later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: President Obama gave a speech today at American University outlining his plans for comprehensive immigration reform. The speech was prototypical Obama. He talked about how the issue has been demagogued by the Republicans, and he specifically mentioned the new law in Arizona. He also criticized the left (unfairly in my view) for having unreasonable expectations about illegal immigration, and for not being serious enough about securing the border. I understand politically why Obama would pay close attention to this issue. He does want to bring Latino voters to the polls. However, the political risks seem to outweigh the potential rewards. Jobless Americans are looking for people to blame for their malaise, and if the issue of immigration comes front and center, immigrants will be an easy scapegoat target.

That's it for tonight! See you tomorrow!

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