Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Daily Strike-7/20/10-Relief, At Last

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It was another busy July day in politics, so let's get to it.

THE SENATE: Thanks to the newest Senator, Carte Goodwin of West Virginia (D), the Senate was finally able to break a logjam on the unemployment extension bill. As a result, suffering American families will finally get some much-needed relief. Goodwin joined 57 other Democrats, as well as Republicans Snowe and Collins of Maine to cut off debate on the bill. Democrat Ben Nelson (NE) and every other Republican refused to spend $34 billion to give much needed assistance to those who have borne the brunt of the very recession caused by Republican economic policies.

The vote on the bill itself will come tomorrow, though it is certain to pass, since cloture has already been invoked. The bill will then head to the House where it will be rubber stamped Thursday and sent to the President for his signature.

The bill would have passed anyway, but the President's pushback against Republican obstruction on this bill was wise and helpful. Those who think it's ok to balloon the deficit by giving tax breaks to the rich while refusing to vote for a minor bill that would help struggling Americans need to be called out.

The Senate will move next to the long-stalled small business loan bill. Democrats should force Republicans to explain why they are holding this bill up.

Away from the floor, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 13-6. Every Democrat on the committee supported her nomination, including some who were less than impressed with her confirmation hearings. The only Republican on the committee to support the nomination was Lindsey Graham (SC), who also supported Sonia Sotomayor last year. Graham's support all but assures Kagan's nomination when she comes to the Senate floor in a couple of weeks. My guess is that she'll get about 69 votes, the same amount Sotomayor received last summer.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President today met and held a joint press availability with new British Prime Minister David Cameron. This was Cameron's first trip to the White House as Prime Minister. The two leaders played nice, emphasizing their agreement on economic policy, climate change, Afghanistan, and Israel. The biggest point of contention, apparently, was Cameron's discomfort with Obama's excessive criticism of BP. BP, of course, is a major British corporation. I have very little sympathy for Cameron's view in this case. Cameron and Obama also disagreed as to whether there should be an investigation into BP's possible involvement in the release of the Lockerbie bomber last year.

I've always thought that even though Cameron is a conservative, he and Obama are actually pretty similar ideologically. I expect that they'll continue to have a good working relationship.

The biggest story from the White House today though involved a former USDA employee. The employee, an African American Woman, made a speech at the NAACP in which she talked about being resistant to helping white farmers 24 years ago when her career began in Georgia. Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart showed the video completely out of context to make it seem like the employee, Shirley Sherrod, still held those views currently.

Sherrod was forced to resign, under pressure from USDA head Tom Vilsack, with support from the White House. This is a complete shame. The White House should not be taking cues from Andrew Breitbart, a known liar. Sherrod should be reinstated immediately.

That's it for this evening, see you tomorrow!

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