Paul, Leahy Team Up on Amendments to Patriot Act Extension

By: Tuesday May 24, 2011 6:50 am

As I noted yesterday, the Senate passed cloture, by a 74-8 margin, on the motion to proceed for a four-year extension of key provisions of the Patriot Act. Final passage is expected Wednesday, so for a seminal civil liberties issue that has been in place nearly ten years, we will see essentially one day of [...]

House Looks Like They’ll Pass Patriot Act Extension Today

By: Tuesday February 8, 2011 11:41 am

If you blink today, you may miss the House of Representatives passing an extension until the end of the year of several provisions of the Patriot Act that expire in Feburary. They will try to pass it under the suspension of the rules, meaning that they will need a 2/3 vote, but also that nobody [...]

Filibuster Reform Fight Begins Today

By: Wednesday January 5, 2011 8:40 am

Both the House and Senate begin their sessions at noon today. While the spectacle of Republicans reading the Constitution on the House floor (I can’t wait to see the precise moment when Boehner starts crying – I’m calling Article I, Section 4) is amusing, the real action will be happening in the Senate. There, Democrats [...]

Canceling Ethanol Subsidies Saves More Money than Freezing Public Worker Pay

By: Tuesday November 30, 2010 11:04 am

The UN conference on climate change kicked off in Cancun with virtually no hope for a resolution mutually agreeable to all nations. The heady days of a new treaty to follow Kyoto are gone. They’ve shifted to cutting industrial chemicals, soot and methane, instead of carbon emissions. Whatever progress can be made stateside will happen [...]

Senate Likely to Delay Vote on Taxes Until After Elections

By: Thursday September 23, 2010 8:43 am

It looks increasingly that the Senate will delay any vote on the expiring tax cuts until after the midterm elections, avoiding distorted ads about votes to raise taxes but also avoiding the opportunity to contrast support for the middle class with support for millionaires. The Washington Post reports that Senators see more value in drawing [...]

Handful of Senate Democrats Oppose Filibuster Reform

By: Wednesday July 28, 2010 8:35 am

Seemingly a counterpoint to all the momentum in recent days for Senate rules reform, a group of conservative and old-guard Democrats announced their opposition to changing the rules requiring a 60-vote threshold to clear a filibuster. Ten Democrats are cited in the article (though not all of them are named) as either opposed to or [...]

The Next Washington Bait-and-Switch: Remove the Afghanistan Deadline

By: Sunday June 27, 2010 10:29 am

The ouster of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in favor of Gen. David Petraeus this week had the intended effect of a reset button on the war in Afghanistan, at least inside the Beltway. Outside of Washington, it appears to have focused attention on the perilous state of the war, and the confusing nature of the mission. [...]

Anthem Blue Cross Withdraws 39% CA Rate Hike

By: Thursday April 29, 2010 5:46 pm

With perhaps the worst timing in recent history, Anthem Blue Cross announced a 39% rate hike for its individual market subscribers in California, right at the moment when the health care reform bill was on its knees in Congress. The President and Democratic leaders pounced, and used that rate hike as a symbol for the [...]

Vaunted Health Insurance Rate Review Authority Kicked Out of Reconciliation Bill

By: Wednesday March 17, 2010 2:57 pm

In a completely obvious maneuver, the Senate parliamentarian has kicked out the Health Insurance Rate Authority from the reconciliation set of fixes. The national rate reviewer would have had the ability to cancel premium increases across the country, in association with state regulators. But it has no primary budgetary impact, so out it goes. “I’m [...]

Feingold: Don’t Try KSM In A Military Commission

By: Friday March 5, 2010 1:11 pm

Via Greg Sargent, the Senate’s most committed civil libertarian, Russ Feingold, calls on the President not to give in to Republican fearmongering and to hold the KSM trial as scheduled, in an Article III court: “We have a great track record of successfully trying and convicting terrorists in civilian courts. The military commission system is [...]

Feinstein’s National Health Insurance Regulator To Make Obama’s Compromise Proposal

By: Sunday February 21, 2010 7:57 pm

A few people took issue with my description of Dianne Feinstein as a “radical moderate” in this story about her bill to create a national health insurance regulator to undergo rate review whenever an insurer hikes premiums. I didn’t really put that in the context of being sarcastic the way I should. But what I [...]

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