Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Daily Strike-7/15/10-Check It Off The List

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This was probably the best day for President Obama in three months. He finally won approval of one of his major legislative priorities, and it appears that oil has finally stopped spilling into the gulf. So I'll try to not be as morbid as I was the past few days.

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS: The Senate today gave final approval to the most sweeping financial reforms since the Great Depression. The culmination of a year-long effort to help prevent another financial crisis is a major victory for President Obama, and cements the 111th Congress as one of the most productive in history, even despite the unprecedented GOP obstruction. In fact, unlike the health care bill, this piece of legislation strengthened over time, with the inclusion of strict derivatives regulation, and more authority for regulators to shut down the biggest banks. The reason that many liberals like myself aren't jumping for joy is that this doesn't signify a fundamental shift in the Obama presidency. Yes, he has accomplished a lot, but he has yet to settle on a compelling governing narrative that proves his devotion to the progressive cause. And most importantly, it's hard to celebrate anything when the jobs situation is as bad as it is.

The bill cleared three separate hurdles today. The vote to cut off debate was 60-38. As expected, Republican Brown (MA), Collins (ME) and Snowe (ME) voted yes, while Democrat Russ Feingold remained steadfast in his opposition from the left. Senator Crapo (ID) did not vote. On the two next votes, to waive Budget Act restrictions, and on final passage, the vote was 60-39, with Crapo (ID) present and voting no. The bill heads to President Obama's desk for his signature, which is expected to take place next week with much pomp and circumstance.

The Senate will swear in the new Democratic Senator from West Virginia when it reconvenes on Tuesday (we still don't know who that will be). Afterwards, they will vote to cut off debate on the unemployment extension bill, which is long overdue. Hopefully work on that bill can be completed by Wednesday, so that the Senate also has time to take up a Small Business Loan measure.

THE HOUSE: The House today passed a bill to reform the flood insurance program. It's about as simple as it sounds, really, though I don't know exactly what the reforms are. The bill passed by an overwhelming margin of 329-90. All opposition, save for Rep. Stupak (MI-remember him?) came from Republicans.

That's it for a short entry tonight. We'll be back on Monday morning.

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