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Senate Republicans May Eliminate Filibuster For Supreme Court Nominees


For some reason, Republicans want to change filibuster rules even though it’s unclear that they’ll still hold the Senate after 2016.

GOP In Good Position To Grab Senate Control In 2014

113th Senate

The GOP’s chances to take over the Senate became much better over the weekend.

No, Republicans Wouldn’t Eliminate The Filibuster


Worried the GOP might eliminate the filibuster if they gain control of the Senate? Don’t be.

Wisconsin Anti-Union Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Democrats wave to protesters after Republicans cut off debate and rapidly voted to pass a budget repair bill in Madison, Wisconsin. (AP/M.P. King, Wisconsin State Journal)

Republicans have rammed their union-busting bill through the Wisconsin state Assembly. They still lack a quorum in the Senate. AP (“Wisconsin Assembly passes bill taking away union rights“): Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early […]

Crist Still Leads in Florida Polls


Crist’s gamble continues to appear to have been a good one.

A Key Argument for a Sharron Angle Win


In simple terms (via the AP):  Nevada unemployment hits 14 percent, leads nation. There are going to be a lot of unhappy voters at the polls in November.  As such, what she says and believes may be moot.

A Quick Thought on the Nevada Senate Race


It has already been observed that of the Republicans vying for the nomination that Harry Reid got the one he wanted.  Part of that has to do with Sharon Ang’le’s political views, which are exploitable. Another reason, as this Las Vegas Review-Journal piece, Angle quiet after win, underscores:  her organization is small and her experience […]

Fiorina’s Live Mic


No doubt by now you have heard of Carly Fiorina’s open mic gaffe (you’d think that politicians would learn) in which she, amongst other things, dissed Barbara Boxer’s hair, questioned Meg Whitman’s choice to go on Sean Hannity’s show. If you haven’t seen/heard it, here it is via CNN: Jennifer Steinhauer writing in the NYT […]

Secret Holds in the US Senate


NPR had a story this morning regarding the secret hold process in the US Senate:  Senators Fed Up With Secret Blocks On Nominees. This Memorial Day, 120 of Obama’s nominees awaited confirmation, and most were held up anonymously. The nominees who have gotten confirmed have had to wait on average more than 100 days after […]

Republicans Jump To Historic Lead In Gallup Generic Ballot


The newest Gallup Generic Congressional Ballot poll shows a dramatic turn in favor of the GOP: PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup tracking of 2010 congressional voting preferences shows Republicans moving back ahead of Democrats, 49% to 43%, by two points their largest lead of the campaign to date. Registered voters’ preferences had been closely divided for […]

Yesterday’s Primaries: The Half-Written Electoral Story


There is no doubt that the results of yesterday’s primaries (Specter’s loss, Paul’s win, and Lincoln’s run-off) are all dramatic outcomes that fit the basic narrative about this year’s elections:  that we are in an anti-Washington, anti-incumbent mode as a country at the moment.  This, of course, is not surprising given the state of the […]

The Politics of Kagan and the Military

Elena Kagan

The main attack that appears to exist against Elena Kagan at the moment has to do with her actions as Dean of the Harvard Law School and policies concerning military recruiters. The basic position is well represented by Newt Gingrich’s statement today Fox News Sunday (as transcribed by HuffPo): “I think the president should withdraw […]

Europe’s War Against The Veil And The Burqa: Liberation, Or Assault On Religious Freedom ?


Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy became the latest European leader to take the lead in an ongoing fight against Muslim women wearing Islamic garb, specifically the full-face veil, or niqba, and the burqa, in public when he promised to introduce a bill that would ban both items in France. But, it’s not just France […]

Elena Kagan Changes Mind on Supreme Court Confirmation Candor


People are having fun with reports that Elena Kagan, who argued as an advisor during the Ruth Bader Ginsburg confirmation that Supreme Court nominees should be required to give very detailed answers to policy questions, has changed her position now that the shoe is on the other foot. Kagan wrote in 1995 that the confirmation […]

Elena Kagan is Supreme Court Choice

Elena Kagan 2003

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, considered the frontrunner to replace Justice John Paul Stevens since his retirement announcement, will be President Obama’s choice, it is being widely reported. On paper, she would appear to be a slam dunk.   She was confirmed by the Senate to her present position just last year by a 61 to 31 […]

John Paul Stevens Retires


It’s official: John Paul Stevens has handed in his resignation. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc, is retiring. President Barack Obama now has his second high court opening to fill. Stevens said Friday he will step down when the court finishes its work for the […]

ObamaCare Fight Ends with Whimper


After a year of strum und drang, the Senate has passed the reconciliation rider containing the various “fixes” to the bill by a comfortable 56-43 margin, with Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, and Mark Pryor joining all the Republicans in voting against. Because of a parliamentary ruling on a provision dealing with student loans, it actually […]

Reconciliation, Health Care, and History


Political scientists  Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argues that, contrary to Republican claims,   the reconciliation process is neither illegitimate nor rare. Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills […]

Perry Trounces Hutchison in Texas Republican Primary


Kay Bailey Hutchison’s bizarre campaign to beat incumbent Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Republican primary has ended in embarrassing defeat. Gov. Rick Perry won a decisive victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Texas GOP primary for governor Tuesday night, bringing a bruising fight between two of the state’s most popular Republicans to […]

Bunning Blocks Unemployment Extension

Bunning Blocks Unemployment

A single Senator has blocked a routine measure that would extend unemployment benefits to 1.1 million people. The Senate failed late Thursday to extend programs for laid-off workers, jeopardizing unemployment benefits scheduled to expire over the weekend.  The benefits are part of a larger package of government programs, from highway funding to loans for small […]

Harold Ford Tennesee Tax Resident, New York Political Resident

Harold Ford

Harold Ford, who is seeking to get elected to the United States Senate from New York has been filing his taxes in Tennessee instead.  Or, more accurately, not filing them since the Volunteer State doesn’t have income taxes. Gawker‘s John Cook: When it comes to his shadow run for Senate, Harold Ford is a New […]

Obstructionism + Nihilism = Nil


While John Cole agrees with the substance of my mild criticism of our food stamp policies, he thinks “we can’t do anything about it.” I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. Likewise, I bet almost […]

U.S. Senate The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body

Mr Smith Goes Washington Filibuster Photo

My friend and former colleague Steven Taylor offers what he terms “An Extremely Modest Proposal in Regards to the Senate.”  Rather than filibusters and holds, How about if a Senator has a reason to object to a given nominee that said Senator would, oh I don’t know, maybe take the floor and try to, well, […]

Who Do Those Senators Think They Are, Union Presidents?


SEIU President Andy Stern calls Senators who don’t do his bidding “terrorists”: “There are a lot of terrorists in the Senate who think we are supposed to negotiate with them when they have their particular needs that they want met.” Stern also said today that union members would lose their enthusiasm to help re-elect Democrats […]

Pelosi: Senate Bill Can’t Pass House

Nancy Pelosi

It appears that the last remaining chance to pass healthcare reform without Republican votes is dead, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitting she couldn’t get the bill passed by the Senate if she wanted to. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the Senate will have to amend its version of a health-care reform bill […]

Senate Health Care Vote Breakdown


Steven Taylor (here and here) breaks down the Senate’s party-line vote on the health care bill in some interesting ways.  The upshot: The 60 Yes votes represented 64.22% of the population Only 12 state delegations split their vote: AK, FL, IA, IN, LA, MO, NC, NE, NH, NV, OH, SD  (KY’s Jim Bunning, scheduled to […]

Health Care: All Over But The Secrecy


David Lightman and William Douglas of the McClatchy Newspapers syndicate point out that the real action on the health care bill will take place in the murky world of conference committees, which–like many other things on the Hill–don’t really work the way your father’s (or, for that matter, your) American government textbook says they do: […]

Where You Sit


Position, they say, is policy. President Obama is discovering, as are many of his fellow travellers, that the tools he was only too happy to have available as a Senator can be quite nettlesome when viewed from the Oval Office. Thus, as Jake Tapper noted, the only President in history to have voted to filibuster […]

Senate Health Reform Bill Secured?

Senate Health Care Compromise

My late evening was going well. The struggling Dallas Cowboys had somehow overcome their annual December swoon and were leading the theretofore unbeaten New Orleans Saints by three touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. The Saints scored two quick touchdowns and the Cowboys’ basket case kicker Nick Folk missed a chip shot field goal but […]

The Comedy of the Senate


Al Franken was presiding over a sleepy session of the Senate yesterday afternoon and took what AP calls “the unusual step” of denying unanimous consent to allow Joe Lieberman to finish his remarks. Franken was presiding over the Senate Thursday afternoon as Lieberman spoke about amendments he planned to offer to the bill. Lieberman asked […]

Hard Left Rallies Against Healthcare Compromise


Yesterday, I wrote that there were signs that progressives were rebelling against the health care compromise reached in the Senate.  Since then, things have really heated up. Bernie Sanders, the Socialist senator from Vermont, showed up on Fox News to announce that, “As of this point, I’m not voting for the bill. … I’m going […]

Weak Democrats Hurt 2010 Senate Chances


Josh Marshall argues that bad picks by Democratic governors in filling vacant seats make it harder than necessary to retain those seats. I was just looking at this run-down of recent polls by Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling. The upshot is that while it seems extremely unlikely Republicans could regain control of the senate […]

Jessica Cutler a Mom!


Longtime denizens of the blogosphere will recall the strange case of Jessica Cutler, the one-time Senate staffer who briefly dished sex gossip as “Washingtonienne” and launched into 15 minutes of fame. Now, she’s a mommy. Five years ago, Jessica Cutler‘s anonymous Washingtonienne blog was the hottest thing in town. Make that hotttt! So hotttt! — […]

Mary Jo Kopechne


In my early morning Teddy Kennedy Dead at 77 media roundup post, I observed, “That the Chappaquiddick scandal didn’t make the first several paragraphs — or even first page — of several of these obits is quite remarkable. It would be like writing an obit for Richard Nixon that didn’t mention Watergate or one for […]

Is the Filibuster Unconstitutional?


Matt Yglesias cites a 15-year-old essay by Hendrick Hertzberg arguing that the filibuster is unconstitutional: It’s true that the framers did not specify that the Senate would do its normal business by simple majority vote, but that’s because it didn’t occur to them that they had to specify it, any more than it occurred to […]

CIA Lying to Congress?


The CIA has been lying to Congress about somethingoranother for years now, sources tell NYT. The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E. Panetta, has told the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door testimony that the C.I.A. concealed “significant actions” from Congress from 2001 until late last month, seven Democratic committee members said. In a […]

Obama in Russia: Good Start or False Start?

Yesterday Presidents Obama and Medvedev called for sharp reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons in each of their countries arsenals: July 6 (Bloomberg) — U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev called for a reduction of their nuclear arsenals to between 1,500 and 1,675 warheads and between 500 and 1,100 delivery […]

Ridge Not Running


The good news keeps pouring in for Arlen Specter.   A day after it looked as if his Senate career had blown up in his face, with the Democrats stripping Specter of his seniority and polls showing that Tom Ridge would crush him in a head-to-head matchup, he’s been given the chairmanship of the most important […]

Political Tides Turn


I had occasion to stumble on a post from the OTB archives, “Democrats Threaten to Filibuster Unnamed Court Nominee,” written on September 25, 2005.  What’s interesting in hindsight is how fundamentally the landscape has changed.  Not only is it Republicans now about to be in a position to try to avert a person they deem […]

Souter Retiring in June


A couple weeks back, I wrote a post called “Souter Retiring?”  The speculation was apparently well founded, as several outlets are now reporting that Justice David Souter will in fact step down at the end of the current session in June. NPR’s Nina Totenberg makes the interesting observation that, “At 69, Souter is nowhere near […]

Endless Elections


The permanent campaign has now been joined by the endless election, thanks to a combination of more sophisticated campaigning and the normalization of legal challenges, Andy Barr writes for Politico.  He notes that the Minnesota Senate recount is now into its sixth month and that there have been an inordinate number of very close races […]

Ted Stevens Conviction Voided

Ted Stevens Case Dropped

Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped the case against Ted Stevens, NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports. A jury convicted Stevens last fall of seven counts of lying on his Senate disclosure form in order to conceal $250,000 in gifts from an oil industry executive and other friends. Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, however, […]

Congress Threatens AIG Execs with Taxes


Congress is threatening to confiscate AIG bonuses by abusing its power to tax: Senate Democrats vowed Tuesday to all but strip AIG executives of their $165 million in bonuses, as expressions of outrage swelled in Congress over eye-catching extra income for employees of a firm that has received billions in taxpayer bailout funds. “Recipients of […]

Biden Drops F-Bomb on Former Colleagues


The string of U.S. vice presidents caught saying the F-word on Capitol Hill now stands at two: Joe Biden dropped a big F-bomb into a live mic at an event on Friday afternoon. “Gimme a f–ing break,” the vice president said after a former Senate colleague referred to him as “Mr. Vice President.” Biden was […]

Minnesota Senate Seat Continues Unfilled


The odds are good that Minnesota will continue to have only one United States Senator for quite some time, Aaron Blake reports for The Hill. A three-judge panel has the result of the Minnesota Senate race in its hands, at least for the time being. But that doesn’t mean Minnesota will have a senator anytime […]

Senate Not Office of Trust


Eugene Volokh‘s readers wonder whether Senator Teddy Kennedy needs permission from Congress to accept a knighthood from England pursuant to article I, § 9 of the Constitution’s pronouncement that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, […]

Senate Passes DC Voting Bill


Steven Taylor and I are basically of the same mind on the recent passage by the Senate of a bill to give voting representation in the U.S. House of Representatives to residents of the District of Columbia. I’ve written numerous times over the past six years, so one can consult my DC category archives for […]

Byrd: Czars Executive Power Grab


Old Man Byrd is at it again: West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the longest-serving Democratic senator, on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch. Byrd complained in a letter to the president that his […]

Phil Gramm Destroyed Our Economy


I’ve always liked Phil Gramm. He’s a charming, self-effacing fellow and his unfortunately named “Dicky Flatt Test” always struck me as the right approach to federal spending. I was, therefore, chagrined to learn, via Steve Benen, that Gramm almost singlehandedly destroyed our economic system. Time magazine, highlighting some of those most responsible for the economic […]

Filibuster Reform: Is The Time Right?


Kevin Drum agrees with Duncan Black that it’s fine for Republicans to oppose Barack Obama and the Democrats. He adds, though, that “The filibuster was never intended to become a routine requirement that all legislation needs 60% of the vote in the Senate to pass. But that’s what it’s become. It’s time for reform.” Steve […]

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