I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Senate Procedure for Props on the Floor

Today, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma brought a snowball to the Senate floor to make a point as he argued against climate change. Inhofe is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He said, "we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record. I ask the Chair, do you know what this is? It's a snowball--just from outside here. So it's very, very cold out."

The purpose of Inhofe's demonstration was to prove his belief that human activity is not causing global warming. Senate procedure requires a unanimous vote for the use of a prop on the floor, which was granted to him retroactively.

Full video here

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Process IV


Filibuster and Cloture (graph and explanation here)

Famous Filibusters:

The Senate’s standing committees play an essential part in the legislative process, as they select the small percentage of the bills introduced each Congress that, in their judgment, deserve the attention of the Senate as a whole, and as they recommend amendments to these bills based on their expert knowledge and experience. Most bills are routinely referred to the committee with appropriate jurisdiction as soon as they are introduced. However, paragraph 4 of Rule XIV permits a Senator to bypass a committee referral and have the bill placed directly on the Calendar of Business, with exactly the same formal status the bill would have if it had been considered and reported by a Senate committee. 

Restrictive rules in the House


Divided government has been common. Split-party control of Congress has not.

Legislative productivity
Another view of productivity

But is the country suffering as a result?

Boehner on DHS: House Has "Done Its Job," "Waiting for Senate"

In a press conference Wedensday, John Boehner said he is waiting for Senate "pass a bill," implying GOP Senators should act first in the Department of Homeland Security impasse. Nevertheless, he specifically called out Senate Democrats in their efforts to filibuster the bill in the Senate due to its .

Senate moved forward with bill, after Democrats ceased their filibuster. The had previously objected to provisions in the funding bill designed to curb President Obama's immigration order. The Senate passed a "clean" bill today (an "engrossed bill) 98-2.

In moving the bill forward, Sen. Cruz promises not to sandbag, as he believes small delays will not make a difference in the GOP leadership's "fatally flawed" strategy. 

House GOP, in "wait and see mode," still appear divided on the issue, with more conservative members deeply concerned over DHS implementation of Obama's immigration orders. At any rate, Boehner will likely need help from House Democrats in order to pass the Senate's engrossed bill in the House as dissension in the House GOP ranks continues.    

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Real Life Filibuster

CMC alum Sahil Kapur reports at Talking Points Memo:
The fourth time wasn't the charm for Republicans.

On Monday, Senate Democrats again blocked House-passed legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security on the condition that President Barack Obama reverses his executive actions on immigration. They had filibustered the same bill three times in three consecutive daysearlier this month.
The vote was 47 in favor, 46 against, short of the 60 needed to defeat a filibuster.
Anxieties are growing on Capitol Hill, with less than five left before DHS faces a partial shutdown on Friday and no clear path to avoiding it.
"I'm very disappointed," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "at the political ploy used by congressional Republican leadership to force a shutdown of Homeland Security."
The next steps are unclear. Democrats remain unified against any DHS bill that stops Obama's immigration actions, while Republican leaders have shown no signs of backing off their demands.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the vote Monday the "first opportunity for Democrats to show where they stand after a federal judge preliminarily enjoined the Administration from moving ahead with actions President Obama himself referred to as ‘ignoring the law.’"
He didn't offer any hints about the way forward, although he switched his vote to "no" at the end to preserve his option to bring up the bill again.

Process III

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