Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Daily Strike-7/27/10-Undisclosed

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike, on what's been a somewhat depressing day in politics.

THE SENATE: The Senate today failed to advance the campaign finance bill known as the DISCLOSE Act. The bill, which passed the House, would place new disclosure requirements on corporations and unions donated to political campaigns. Republicans decried the bill as as trampling on free speech, even though many of these same Republicans voted for a far more expansive campaign finance bill in 2002. The vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill (that's about 4 votes away from final passage, if you're keeping track) was 57-41, and it broke down strictly on party lines. Every Democrat voted for the bill, except for Majority Leader Reid, who voted no for procedural reasons. Every Republican voted no. Senators Lieberman (?-CT) and Ensign (R-NV) were absent.

Today's vote means that the bill is killed for the remainder of this Congress, and for the foreseeable future. As bad as our political system is now, it will only get worse, as corporations have unencumbered access to political candidates. Today's vote also proves that Republicans care far more about their own political interest than they do about the integrity of our democratic system, though you probably knew that already.

The Senate is limping towards the finish line of this month's session. Tomorrow, Senators will continue consideration of the Small Business Jobs bill, which would provide for loans to small businesses during the economic downturn. If only Democrats could find ways to add some other stimulus money to this bill, like money for state and local governments.

After the Senate finishes the work on that bill, they'll vote on the Kagan Supreme Court nomination next week and skip out of town, having done very little to address the myriad of problems facing the country.

THE HOUSE: The House voted today to give final approval to $60 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For all the deficit hysteria we've seen over much smaller spending bills, this bill passed by a huge margin of 308-114. 102 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted against the war funding. Democrats had originally tried to attach domestic measure to the war funding bill, like aid to states, summer and youth jobs programs, and other jobs measures. Democrats were unable to get enough support for these items in the Senate.

It still amazes me that a tiny jobs bill gets bottled up in the Senate almost weekly, while a much larger funding bill for endless wars passes without a whimper.

The House will move on to consideration of appropriations bills over the next couple of days. The House will skip town at the end of the week, but hopefully they'll ratify whatever the Senate does on Small Business lending legislation.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The main event at the White House today was a meeting with bipartisan Congressional leadership about the rest of the legislative agenda this year. The meeting didn't produce much news, but we were able to glean some tension between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. Pelosi is furious at Reid for abandoning a comprehensive climate bill in favor of a scaled-back piece of energy legislation. Pelosi forced her vulnerable members to support a cap-and-trade bill with the promise that Reid would follow suit in the Senate, which will not happen. I obviously sympathize with Pelosi on this one, but I'm not sure what else Reid could have done. There clearly weren't 60 votes for the climate bill, and the White House has shown almost no leadership in advocating for the legislation.

That's it for today. See you tomorrow!

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