Weekend links…and video

September 30, 2006 at 9:33 am
  • Murtha and the FBI: The director’s cut
  • Friday festival of blog bits
  • Selfess bravery should get more publicity than earmarks
  • The reality of Guantanamo
  • Foley’s folly
  • Earmarks find way into spending bill
  • The Gawker smear machine
  • Clinton most partisan ex-President
  • Fence bill passes Senate
  • Buh bye, Soros
  • Wikipedia as a tool for character assassination


Obstruction

September 29, 2006 at 2:30 pm

An email from GOP Senate staff:

Right now, the Democrats are holding the Senate hostage.

Last night, the Senate got cloture on the Secure Fence Act by a vote of 71-28. At present, post-cloture time on the fence bill is set to expire at 3:00 am on Saturday, thus the Senate will be in tomorrow to vote on the fence bill. Yet, unless time on the fence bill is yielded back today or a unanimous consent agreement is reached, the Senate will not turn to any other pieces of legislation including Iran, Homeland Appropriation, NSA terrorist surveillance program or Child Custody. Given the Democratic actions it seems to indicate that to them, national security is not as important as playing politics.

New House rule skirted?

September 29, 2006 at 11:32 am

Andy Roth:

Last night, I learned from a source on the Hill that the new earmark reform rule was already being manipulated by a pork-loving Congressman.

The longer version of this story is detailed here by Captain Ed. The shorter version is that a bill was debated on last night under suspension of the rules; therefore the new earmark reform rule technically didn’t apply. Congressman David Oberstar (who went 0-for-19 on the Flake amendments) used that opportunity to insert some pork into the bill without claiming it as his own.

Yesterday, before debate on the bill started, the earmark was found and the author of it was subsequently identified as Oberstar. This was then brought to the attention of Majority Leader Boehner. To his credit, I’m told that Boehner asked Oberstar to go to the House floor to explain the situation.

Andy has video of Oberstar explaining on his site.

The beatitudes of Rick Santorum

September 29, 2006 at 9:55 am

Kathleen Parker has a compelling column this morning in which she argues that Rick Santorum is the face of compassionate conservatism in Congress:

Rick Santorum can’t seem to win for losing, no matter what he does.

The U.S. senator from Pennsylvania could save AIDS babies in Africa, end genocide in Darfur and put welfare mothers to work in his own office — and he’d still be despised by a sizable number of those who hope Democrat Robert Casey Jr. will defeat him come November.

Come to think of it, Santorum has tried all those things mentioned above, with some success, but often at great political cost. He has worked for global AIDS relief with Bono, the U2 rock star and one of Santorum’s more unlikely fans. For his AIDS efforts, Santorum earned the contempt (and veiled threats) of some in the abstinence-only, family-values crowd.

House GOP sets leadership election date

September 29, 2006 at 9:33 am

All eight members of GOP leadership in the House of Representatives will stand for reelection in front of their peers on November 15th, just a week after the midterm elections. The Hill reports:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has set the date for GOP lawmakers to elect their leaders for the next Congress, Republican aides said yesterday.

The Speaker and other GOP leaders have scheduled an organizing conference for Wednesday, Nov. 15, the week Congress resumes after the hotly contested midterm election.

The elected leaders made their decision earlier this week after wavering on the date of the post-election contest in the face of a potentially devastating midterm, even though the conference was already scheduled to meet that Wednesday.

Yesterday Congressman John Shadegg told me that it was likely that some of the positions in leadership would be up for grabs no matter what the outcome of the election. In the next sentence he praised Majority Leader John Boehner and said that were it not for Boehner’s influence in GOP leadership the marginal successes that conservatives have had (like earmark reform) would not have taken place. Shadegg was a challenger to Boehner during the most recent round of leadership elections. But it appears that Boehner has solidified support amongst conservatives like Shadegg.

Dems stop stalling, legislation moves

September 29, 2006 at 9:12 am

With mere hours left before adjournment, the Senate is getting down to business:

The Senate gave its final approval yesterday for President Bush’s proposal for interrogating and prosecuting the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, sending the legislation to the White House for Mr. Bush’s signature.

Immediately after that vote, the Senate agreed to vote today on the bill to construct 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. After a week of stalling the bill, Democrats supported the procedural move.

In the meantime, President Bush is getting pretty tough with his rhetoric:

President Bush yesterday said Democrats have ditched the tradition of the great war-fighting presidents of the 20th century to become “the party of cut and run,” and accused them of using leaked excerpts of a recent intelligence estimate to mislead voters before midterm elections.

The gloves are off, Autumn is nearly here. That means politics is front and center and fall beers are beginning to stock the shelves of all the grocery markets — I am not sure which I am more excited about.

On national security, pork, immigration and the GOP

September 28, 2006 at 4:06 pm

As mentioned, this morning I had the opportunity to attend a media row in the Capitol put on by the House Republican Conference. While there I talked with Speaker Dennis Hastert and Representatives John Shadegg and Brian Bilbray. Of course much of the discussion focused on the upcoming elections, but a few other themes emerged.

Hastert told me that National Security and Border Security were the number one issues for the GOP this fall. I told him that I agreed that National Security was the most important issue. On that issue, the GOP has been able to clearly set themselves apart from the Democrats who have been pretty clear about their lack of resolve in this area. But, I asked, how can the GOP clearly seperate itself from Democrats on other issues that are important to conservatives like shrinking the size of the federal government and tamping down federal spending?

Hastert said that the GOP can sometimes get “tied up in its own success…We have a flat line on spending.” Hastert told us that his first three years as Speaker Congress paid down the debt. Hastert went on to tell us that he abides by four principles in politics; 1. Purpose, 2.Passion, 3. Persistance, 4. Patience.

For their parts, Representatives Shadegg and Bilbray agreed that national security was the issue that should be front and center. Shadegg pointed to a recent article in the Hill newspaper in which Charlie Rangel all but admitted that Democrats would defund the war when they were in office. “I think this is one of the most important elections in my lifetime,” said Shadegg. “I believe that because we are at war.” Shadegg would like to see Republican candidates across the country repeatedly quote the terrorists in order to remind the American people of their intentions, “they want to kill us.”

But what about the fiscal conservatives? If Republicans maintain their majorirties in both houses of Congress by running on the national security message exclusively will Republicans continue with the status quo after the elections — meaning continued spending — In essence, is their any merit in hoping for a GOP loss in order to teach big spenders a lesson.
That kind of thinking “cannot be indulged in,” said Shadegg. Shadegg says conservatives have to focus on winning the majoirty in the fall and then work within the caucus to refocus the GOP on core principles.

Speaking of working within the caucus, Brian Bilbray told us about a 2005 meeting marking the 10 year reuinion of the class of 1994. That meeting is now referred to as the Scottsdale Accord. The entire class decided that it was their responsibility to remain true to the ideals by which they were elected in 1994 and it was out of that meeting that the Shadegg vie for House leadership arose. Bilbray, who recently introduced a government shrinking budget package, hopes that this class can increase its influence within the caucus and keep the GOP true to the principles the party rests on.

Leadership vs. Membership

One thing that John Shadegg pointed out was particularly striking. He did not agree with Dennis Hastert’s assessment about the GOP and spending but he pointed out a key difference between the two. Shadegg’s thinks leadership’s job is to pass legislation. He thinks membership’s job — meanining rank and file Republicans like him — is to pass as conservative a piece of legislation as they possibly can. It is an adversarial relationship that would serve the institution well if only more of Shadegg’s colleagues would adopt that view.

More photos here.

House Republican Conference event in the Capitol

September 28, 2006 at 10:20 am

The House Republican Conference is hosting a handful of bloggers and radio hosts in the capitol this morning. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is here and plans to take questions…updates to come.

UPDATE: Just finished talking with Hastert, Shadegg and Bilbray. Lots of good stuff…I will post a summary soon.

McCain-Feingold collapsing?

September 28, 2006 at 9:15 am

The anti-free speech pro-incumbent McCain-Feingold is collapsing, says George Will:

Unalloyed good news is rare, so rejoice: The foremost achievement of the political speech regulators — aka campaign finance “reformers'’ — is collapsing. Taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns, which was in parlous condition in 2004, will die in 2008.

In 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush declined public funding — and its accompanying restrictions on raising and spending money — for the primaries, as did Howard Dean and John Kerry in 2004. In 2004, candidates accepting taxpayer funding were restricted to spending $45 million before the conventions. Bush and Kerry raised $269.6 million and $234.6 million respectively before the conventions. Any candidate who accepts public funding in the 2008 primaries will be considered second-tier. And almost certainly neither party’s nominee will accept public funding for the fall campaign.

More:

It is delicious that McCain-Feingold, the reformers’ most recent handiwork, is helping kill taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns. Before McCain-Feingold, limits on contributions of private money — set in 1974 and not indexed for inflation — became steadily more restrictive, so candidates accepted public funding. But McCain-Feingold, by doubling the permissible size of campaign contributions, made it easier for candidates to raise sums far larger than taxpayer funding provides.

Light posting

September 28, 2006 at 9:00 am

Sorry for the light posting around here yesterday (and probably more today). My wife and I are close to buying a house for the first time, and it is sucking up all my extra time. By the way, the DC real estate market is silly. And the taxes…geeez…time to start electing guys like this.

Gingrich: Clinton rage was planned

September 27, 2006 at 1:38 pm

From ABC News:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich believes former President Clinton’s blow up during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” — and the escalating war of words over whether he or President Bush mishandled opportunities to catch or kill Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks — was premeditated to shore up support for Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections.

“I think that as the most experienced professional in the Democratic Party, he didn’t walk onto that set and suddenly get upset,” Gingrich said. “He probably decided in advance he was going to pick a fight with Chris Wallace.”

This, Gingrich said, may have been a good strategy.

“I think as a calculated political decision, it’s reasonably smart,” he said.

Bill Kristol’s idea gains steam.

National Intelligence Estimate: what to conclude

September 27, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Some are touting the recent NIE as a reason to leave Iraq. Not so says Heritage Foundation colleague Peter Brookes:

So the declassified NIE is out for the entire world to see. In it, the intelligence community concludes that the Iraq conflict has become a “cause celebre” (perhaps best translated from French into English–in this case–as a rallying cry) for jihadists.I don’t think there is any surprise there.

Of course, the jihadists are going to use any excuse to promote their evil agenda. They’ve use/used the Israel-Palestinian conflict, U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s eviction from southern Spain in the Middle Ages, the Crusades and a whole host of other reasons to advance their deadly cause.

But even more striking was the sentence that followed the now celebrated “cause celebre” sentence in the NIE document: “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.”

So, basically, the NIE is saying that victory in Iraq would be a victory in the fight against extremism. A pretty important judgment…

More from yesterday’s Santorum blogger meeting

September 27, 2006 at 10:03 am

Ivy Seller’s at Human Events transcribed one of the more contentious moments during yesterday’s Rick Santorum meeting with conservative bloggers. In this give and take Santorum defends his decision to back Arlen Specter and appeals to conservatives to rally around Republicans in the general election who need their support. I would like to see Senator Toomey and Senator Laffey raising heck on the Senate floor as much as the next guy and I too get frustrated when Republicans back liberals at the expense of conservatives, but I have to say I am very persuaded by the arguments Santorum made yesterday.

As a fellow blogger told me yesterday, in the 80’s there was one hard and fast rule. When given a choice between two candidates you back the candidate who is more conservative. That means in primaries you work hard to elect the most conservative guy on the ballot and in general elections you do the same. Pretty simple…but sound.

Be sure to go read the exchange and decide for yourself.

About that “culture of corruption”…

September 27, 2006 at 9:25 am

Dems saying one thing and doing another…

House Democrats are making an intense final push to raise inside-the-Beltway money before Congress adjourns, collecting most of it from the lobbying industry they have distanced themselves from this election cycle.

Democrats realize that lobbyists representing corporate clients are an important source of political contributions — funding that is vital to their chances of capturing the chamber. At the same time, Democrats have spent a lot of time and effort asserting that Republican rule has created a “Culture of Corruption” because of close ties between the GOP and certain special interests. The dynamic has created awkwardness for some Democrats.

Democratic leaders asked their entire caucus to come into the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) headquarters yesterday and tomorrow to make fundraising calls. And last night, the DCCC held a fundraiser at Bistro Bis, a high-end restaurant a short walk from the Capitol, featuring lawmakers poised to take over as the chairmen of House committees.

More:

Democrats may be shy about discussing the mingling between lobbyists and veteran aides in preparation of a possible Democratic takeover of the House because strengthening relationships with the lobbying community does not fit smoothly with their political message for much of this year.

“The Republicans have turned Congress into an auction house, for sale to the highest bidder,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), when Democrats unveiled their Honest Leadership and Open Government initiative at the beginning of the year. “You have to pay to play. That’s just not right.”

Ensign to lead NRSC

September 27, 2006 at 9:01 am

Big inside-the-beltway news here. John Ensign, one of the Senate’s top conservatives, will reportedly lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee through the next election cycle.

Roll Call reports:

Republican leaders have been scrambling for nearly two months to recruit the next NRSC chairman after Sen. John Thune (S.D.), who was expected to assume the post, opted against a bid. Thune shocked the GOP Conference in early August when he announced he wasn’t interested in the position, citing the travel burden and family commitments.

Ensign, who also declined the NRSC post when initially approached by party leaders, said he changed his mind after consulting with friends, colleagues, and his wife, Darlene.

“It’s a big challenge, there’s no question, it’s a big challenge, but it’s an important job,” Ensign said in an interview Tuesday. “I think it’s a job that I’m up to. I feel very privileged to even serve in a position like that.”

Santorum addresses bloggers

September 26, 2006 at 4:32 pm

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum today sat down to talk with a group of conservative bloggers convened at the Heritage Foundation. Santorum, who is fighting for his political life against the Democratic Senate nominee Bob Casey, Jr., talked about a range of issues.

On Senate Issues

According to the Senator, the issues at play in the Senate — border security, NSA surveillance and military commissions — during this last week of session are all up in the air. The Democrats have decided to make the so-called “do-nothing Congress” a central talking point in their upcoming Fall campaigns. As such, they have adopted a “block and blame” strategy that makes the outlook for these legislative items uncertain. “Republicans would be excorciated for doing this,” said Santorum as he decried the press’s inability to see the obstructionist strategy for what it is. He asked the group for help on this subject noting that the “alternative media has a role to play.”

On Bob Casey, Overall Senate Race

I told the Senator about a piece I had written in which I noted the similarities between his race and a not-so-long-ago race in which another Republican incumbent lost his seat to a legacy candidate who fashioned himself as a moderate. Why would Santorum’s race be different?

Santorum touted a strong 12 year record of achieving for the people of Pennsylvania, a first class get out the vote operation, his ability to draw non traditional support from all segments of PA society and a rock solid confidence that debating his opponent will show a stature gap.

Speaking of debates, Santorum told the group that Bob Casey has agreed to only two debates and under specific conditions: the debates can only last one hour and the responses to questions must not exceed one minute, and…no lie…Casey must be able to bring notecards. Santorum suggested that each Casey flashcard would contain a canned one minute DSCC talking point.

Santorum said this was typical of Casey. In his Meet the Press debate with Casey Santorum said that television viewers could see only one piece of paper on the desk in front of Casey, but in between commercial breaks Casey was flipping through four pages with talking points bulleted on every subject. Santorum also said Casey had asked to take a computer on to Meet the Press.

Clinton Outburst

When asked what he thought of Bill Clinton’s recent outburst in his Fox News interview Santorum admitted he hadn’t watched it. But he offered this about Clinton, “It’s always about him, always.”
UPDATE: The Santorum campaign has put together a clever video highlighting Bob Casey’s unwillingness to debate.

Bush signs transparency bill

September 26, 2006 at 12:51 pm

This morning I attended the Presidential bill signing of the Federal Funding Accountability Act, more commonly know as the Coburn-Obama transparency bill. The bill signing took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office building (pic below).

The room was small, and was filled with bloggers, activists from government watchdog groups, capitol hill staffers and reporters.


The President told the gathered crowd that government spends”a lot of time and a lot of effort collecting your money. We should show the same amount of effort in reporting how we spend it.”

Bush was flanked by lawmakers who were responsible for helping pass the bill.


Here is one of the better pics of Bush, snapped by Mary Katharine who was sitting in front of me.


Finally, the signing…


Bush touted the bill and gave credit to the congressional sponsors whose hard work made it possible. Apparently a tip of the hat to the bloggers did not make the cut…but that’s ok. At least they were invited.

Also noteworthy, Bush used the opportunity to call for congressional passage of a line item veto. Not sure how the congressional Dems flanking Bush felt about that…

In the extended section is the White House fact sheet distributed at this event.

More photos here.

UPDATE: Rob Bluey has more here, MKH here. Read the rest of this entry »

Coburn-Obama legislation to become law

September 26, 2006 at 8:21 am

The blogosphere championed Coburn-Obama transparency in government bill will be signed by the President this morning at 9:45. I was fortunate enough to snag an invitation to the bill signing. I will write about it later.

Has the tide changed?

September 26, 2006 at 8:12 am

This article certainly reflects inside the beltway buzz to a degree:

There has been a palpable shift in the mood in Washington in recent weeks. No longer are insiders in both parties sharing predictions of a Democratic rout of Republicans.

Some on both sides had expected an election debacle for the Republicans, driven by the Iraq war, high gas prices and the perception that a Republican-led Washington can neither shoot nor spend straight.

Now those perceptions have changed.

A 58 percent majority of Democratic insiders polled by National Journal, as well as an overwhelming 94 percent of Republican insiders, say the Republican National Committee is doing a better job for November than the Democratic National Committee.

Three weeks past the traditional Labor Day kickoff of campaign season, many Republicans are expressing greater optimism for their party’s prospects on Election Day, now just six weeks away.

But things change quickly.

We are coming off a good streatch for Republicans. Chavez and Ahmadinejad recently reminded the world what real lunacy looks like at the United Nations, Islamo-fascists showed their true colors by reacting violently to the Pope’s comments, Bill Clinton erupted in rage when confronted with the shortcomings of his Administration, gas prices are falling, the economy is plodding along and President Bush’s emphasis on national security has taken hold with many voters.

Republicans were fortunate this week to have the press largely ignore a story about a CIA report concluding that the Iraq war has made the United States more susceptible to terrorism. Regardless of the merits of the report, this is usually the type of story the press would run ad nauseum — but they didn’t, as Bill Clinton’s rage sucked the air out of everything.

A couple week’s of bad press and refocus on Iraq (especially if things take a turn for the worse) could tamp down the newfound GOP optimism.

This should be good

September 25, 2006 at 2:56 pm

U2 will be playing the pregame music tonight in the Super Dome as the NFL returns to New Orleans.

This is guaranteed to put Pink’s annoying new gig to shame.

Is the Webb camp smearing Allen?

September 25, 2006 at 2:35 pm

A new story contains an allegation by a former college football teammate of George Allen’s. The former teammate, who is now a liberal activist according to the Allen campaign, says Allen used racial slurs in college.

Sigh…

Allen’s campaign has a detailed refutation of the allegations that should turn the story back on the Webb campaign.

UPDATE: The macaca offensive 

GOP lesser of two evils?

September 25, 2006 at 11:36 am

The New York Times today covers a weekend congregation of values voters here in Washington D.C. The article quotes RSC Chairman Mike Pence, a speaker at the conference, as arguing that Republicans were the “lesser of two evils”:

At an election-season Values Voters Summit held here by the allied Family Research Council, some conservatives debated whether “maybe losing the Republican majority would teach us a lesson and get our movement back on track,” in the words of Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana.

Mr. Pence argued that in the end, Republicans were still preferable to Democrats. Like many arguments, though, his was about picking the lesser of two evils.

Pence today took issue with the NY Times mischaracterization of his comments. In a press release Pence made the folllowing statement:

“During my remarks to the Values Voters Summit, I said that recent suggestions by some commentators who argue that losing the Republican majority would teach us a lesson and get our movement back on track was nonsense,” Pence said. “I am disappointed that my reference to the defeatist rhetoric of some conservative commentators was published in a manner that imputed those sentiments to me.”

The commentators Pence was referring to have been lead by National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru who argued in a recent N.Y. Times piece that a GOP loss this fall would be the best medicine for an ailing conservative movement.

The NY Times insistance on characterizing Pence’s comments in the manner they did is testament to their agenda journalism. Pence has been clear about his desire to see increased GOP majorities in Congress — increased majorities thanks to the election of more conservatives, not just Republicans. 

Apparently the NY Times is content to ignore the record.

More on the Gang of 14

September 25, 2006 at 10:19 am

Lastango over at Daily Pundit takes issue with my most recent Townhall column in which I report on the Gang of 14’s latest activity in the Senate. The tone of my column was clearly negative in reference to the Gang’s grandstanding. Here is a sample:

Also at issue is the application of the Geneva Conventions. The President argues that American professionals tasked with interrogating terrorists need clarification about the overly broad Geneva Conventions in order to extract information that could help avert attacks on the homeland. The tactics used to extract this information, argues the president, must be validated by Congress or else interrogators will not be able to move forward with interrogations that, according to a new ABC news report, have already helped avert as many as 12 terrorist attacks against the United States.

The Gang plus three says no. McCain, in a statement on his Website, made clear that he thinks the president’s approach “weakens” the Geneva Conventions while setting “an example to other countries, with less respect for basic human rights, that they could issue their own legislative ‘reinterpretations.’”

But McCain’s approach assumes our enemy has even some remote standard of moral decency and respect for the Geneva Conventions. Surely an enemy that routinely kills innocents while beheading kidnapped victims on camera cares nothing for such notions. That does not mean that America should also disregard the Geneva Conventions; the administration is not arguing for that.

And here is another one in which I recall the media reaction to the Gang’s first big media breakthrough on judicial nominations:

However, the Gang became media darlings. Countless editorials praised their “moderation,” “sensibility” and “reverence for tradition.” Clearly the liberal media saw the Gang’s actions as a blow to conservatives who want to confirm judges dedicated to interpreting the constitution (in the mold of Scalia and Thomas).

Despite the clear thrust of my column being negative towards the Gang, Lastango takes issue with one graf out of twelve…this one:

To date, the Gang’s stand has turned out better than expected for those conservatives, though. The high court is now presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts and he has a new associate, Samuel Alito, while the Senate has been able to approve a raft of President Bush’s lower level nominees.

Writes Lastango of the above graf, which he “won’t let pass” despite recognizing that the graf is an aside and not the point of the column:

Even an incident like the Gang hijacking national security and foreign relations issues isn’t enough to get people like Chapman to recognize the Gang as an unmitigated leadership failure by the Republican Party. If he’ll believe the Gang gave us Roberts and Alito, he’ll believe anything.

Ummmmm…did you read my column?

Nowhere in the piece did I praise the Gang. And contrary to the above assertion, nowhere in the piece did I credit the Gang for “giving us Roberts and Alito.”  My observation about the Gang’s activity on the judicial front is merely an observation that is based in fact. I was as upset with the Gang at that time as the next guy, but the point is this: those of us who were upset and feared that the Gang’s activity would result in the inability of the Senate to confirm judges were largely wrong in what we feared. Since that uproar, the Senate has confirmed a raft of lower level nominees, two Rock Star conservatives on the Supreme Court and we defeated a would-be disaster for conservatives on the Court.

That does not mean that in the future the Gang will not have a detrimental effect on the confirmation of conservatives but to date that has not come to pass.

Finally, Lastango is not finished with my writing. He cites this graf from a column in which I decried the hardball tactics being employed by some Republicans against Mike Pence on the immigration issue:

The idea that some so-called conservatives would abandon an up-and-coming Reaganite because they disagree with his good-faith attempt to find a workable immigration solution is a measure of the temperature at which this debate is being conducted.

Concludes Lastango:

What’s a little nation-wrecking between us conservatives, eh?

Nation-wrecking? So now a disagreement on the best approach to immigration reform is tantamount to nation-wrecking? Please…I appreciate that Lastango is paying attention to my writing. That is flattering. I just wish he would read it for what it is and leave his agenda out of it.

This week in Congress

September 25, 2006 at 9:45 am

Both the House and Senate hope to finish their work this week before leaving town for the upcoming elections. What will they accomplish? That all depends on some internal politics.

Both chambers aim to complete work on national security and defense issues — specifically on the issues of military commissions, NSA wiretapping and defense spending.

Last week’s compromise between the White House and a group of renegade Republicans may have cleared the way for Senate passage of a bill. But other issues surrounding defense are threatening to prolong the week or perhaps thwart legislative accomplishment. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has informed Senate Armed Services Chairman that he will not schedule floor time for a defense authorization bill unless Warner includes certain immigration provisions and a federal court security bill in the measure.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has his hands full trying to pass a Border Security Bill that would provide for 700 miles of fencing along the southern border. To pass the bill Frist needs 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster. Currently he lacks support from some Republicans who refuse to abandon their all or nothing support of the previously passed McCain-Kennedy Senate immigration bill. Frist is reportedly considering adding the border security bill to the Homeland Security appropriations bill. If a cloture vote on the measure fails, expect Frist to attach the border security bill to a late moving train like homeland security.

As it is the last week before recess a raft of less press-worthy legislation will be moving in the background. The House has 91 benignly named bills listed on the suspension calendar — many of which deserve more scrutiny. There is also the possibility for some random votes to come up. Some conservatives fear a late-week tip of the hat to moderates by scheduling a vote to increase the minimum wage in the House — although has leadership has said this will not happen.

More to come…

UPDATE: The Senate is planning to return for a “lame duck” session on or around November 13 to pass additional appropriations bills.

I can’t take it anymore

September 24, 2006 at 7:34 pm

Only three weeks into the season and I am already sick of it…It’s games like this one that really kills Browns fans.

They couldn’t have lost to a more despicable team…well, maybe to Pittsburgh.

Weekend links…and video

September 23, 2006 at 11:30 am
  • Being Markos
  • Facebook for $1 billion
  • YouTube for $1.5 billion?
  • The Point
  • Osama dead?
  • The White House vs. McCain