ABOUT THIS BLOG
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.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Dear friends and distinguished colleagues,
I am pleased to announce that I have introduced an amendment to the Democrats' Big Funding Deal Act for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind that would deal directly with the severe problem of homeless students that the great State of Alaska faces. Unfortunately, our great state has one of the highest homeless populations in the nation, and many of those individuals are children already at high risk. These students need extra attention. They need an education, and they need a home.
That's why I proposed a bipartisan amendment with my distinguished Democratic colleague Patty Murray from the State of Washington. The opportunity to home-school children is a priority of mine and of the Republican caucus in general. But homeless children do not have homes. So instead of home-schooling, I proposed school-homing.
A school-home would allow homeless children to attend school in an environment in which they can be safe. A mix between a boarding school and a homeless shelter, a school-home is critical to alleviate the most severe problems facing the great State of Alaska's homeless population: a lack of a home, and a lack of education.
I urge my colleagues in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to support this amendment in the mark-up hearings tomorrow night, and I urge my colleagues in the full Senate to keep this amendment to the Big Funding Deal as we move to floor debate. It is what is best for our children and what is best for our communities.
All my best,
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sifry writes that the internet opened up the legislative process (bills posted online) and that this allowed more debate and discussion to take place.
I'll buy that transparency and debate are good for democracy and bill making, but did the internet drag out the process? Make it more difficult? Are those both good things in the end? Could Congress have done a better job of leveraging the internet to have managed the health care debate more effectively?
Some of my favorite parts were the procedural maneuvers not shown in the video, like the line of GOP reps taking turns asking for "unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in opposition to this flawed health care bill," and David Dreier's exchanges with Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter during debate on the rule. Also, check out Pelosi making her way into the Capitol with the gavel used to pass Medicare in 1965, while a crowd of Tea Partiers chant "Kill the Bill!":
And Obama's remarks on the passage:
"This is what change looks like."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Saturday Night Massacre:
- GAO and CBO
- Legislative Veto and the Presentation Clause (Art I, sec. 7, clause 3): Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Republicans have the votes in the Senate to prevent key changes to Democrats' healthcare package, Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) asserted Wednesday.
Kyl, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said House Democrats should be wary of voting for the Senate's healthcare bill under the assumption that another bill to make changes to that bill would necessarily make its way through the Senate.
Kyl suggested that the GOP would have enough votes to sustain points of order they might raise against a bill sought under budget reconciliation rules to make changes to the original health bill to win over the votes of House Democrats."There are a lot of things they want to see fixed that are going to be subject to parliamentary point of order in the Senate," Kyl said during an interview on Fox News. "And we believe we have the votes to sustain those points of order, which means that those things will come out of the legislation."
Is he right about the Senate vote count? Nobody outside the Senate can say for sure. What is clear is that he is waging psychological warfare on the House Democrats, who worry about getting BTU'd.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
“Now they are saying I groped a male staffer,’’ he told Mr. Beck. “Yeah I did. Not only did I grope him. I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy. You can take anything out of context... Mr. Massa, who is married, explained that he and his aides — 'all bachelors' – lived together because they could not afford Washington’s 'outrageous rents.'"
Whether more information about Massa's alleged groping and acknowledged tickle parties comes out remains to be seen, but his career is dead regardless. If Capitol Hill elements really are conspiring against Massa, his approach to this situation must delight them.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The "salty old sailor" decided he would have none of that. As one of the few Democrats to vote against the health care bill, he recently accused the Democratic Caucus of forcing his resignation in order to secure universal health care.
On a radio show, he revealed the origin of the sexual harassment ethics complaint, a table at a wedding full of male Hill staffers:
"One of them looked at me and as they would do after, I don't know, 15 gin and tonics, and goodness only knows how many bottles of champagne, a staff member made an intonation to me that maybe I should be chasing after the bridesmaid and his points were clear and his words were far more colorful than that," Massa said. "And I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me and said, ‘Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you.' And then [I] tossled the guy's hair and left, went to my room, because I knew the party was getting to a point where it wasn't right for me to be there. Now was that inappropriate of me? Absolutely. Am I guilty? Yes."Apart from learning that Eric Massa is the final Cylon, we also learned that the staffer who filed the complaint was not actually hit on! In fact, it was a witness who felt uncomfortable and complained to House Maj. Leader Steny Hoyer! Weak sauce, man. Everybody knows that such alcohol-fueled jackanapes and repressed homosexual behavior is de rigeur on the Hill!
More importantly, though, is that Hoyer himself openly discussed a pending ethics investigation:
Massa's rants against Rahm Emanuel, however, are the best part:
"Steny Hoyer has never said a single word to me at all, never, not once," Massa said. "Never before in the history of the House of Representatives has a sitting leader of the Democratic Party discussed allegations of House investigations publicly, before findings of fact. Ever."
"I was set up for this from the very, very beginning," he added. "The leadership of the Democratic Party have become exactly what they said they were running against."
“Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn,” he said. “He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive.”
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
A seemingly technical dispute that could loom large in the health-care debate:
Senate Republicans are waging a pre-emptive strike against the Senate’s parliamentarian — a hitherto little-known official who could determine the fate of the Democrats’ health care reform efforts.
In interviews with POLITICO, several Republican senators and aides cast Parliamentarian Alan Frumin — a 33-year veteran of the Senate — as someone who is predisposed to side with the Democrats if they attempt to use the reconciliation process to pass parts of their bill.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33814.html#ixzz0hBXIQ91z
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Obama’s White House is run by Rahm Emanuel, a former House leader who was generally considered to be on a fast track to the speakership before he resigned to become chief of staff, and it is teeming with aides plucked from the senior ranks of both chambers. Obama seems to think that the dysfunction in Washington isn’t only about the heightened enmity between the parties; it’s also about the longstanding mistrust between the two branches of government that stare each other down from twin peaks on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Rahm Emanuel is officially a Washington caricature. He's the town's resident leviathan, a bullying, bruising White House chief of staff who is a prime target for the failings of the Obama administration.But a contrarian narrative is emerging: Emanuel is a force of political reason within the White House and could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts.
It is a view propounded by lawmakers and early supporters of President Obama who are frustrated because they think the administration has gone for the perfect at the expense of the plausible. They believe Emanuel, the town's leading purveyor of four-letter words, a former Israeli army volunteer and a product of a famously argumentative family, was not aggressive enough in trying to persuade a singularly self-assured president and a coterie of true-believer advisers that "change you can believe in" is best pursued through accomplishments you can pass.
An astonishing piece of political journalism appeared in Tuesday's Washington Post. Not astonishing for the scoop or hard work it evinced, although the reporter, Jason Horowitz, is a very good one. Astonishing for how it may have gotten into the paper in the first place. For what it says about the feuds within the Obama administration. And most of all for what it tells us about how wisdom is defined in this town.
Under the headline Hotheaded Emanuel may be White House voice of reason, the article goes on at great length for a newspaper piece – maybe 1,500 words or so – describing the ways in which Emanuel, alone among the top White House brass, has his finger on the pulse of Congress and (by implication) the nation and has tried to steer Obama toward wise action. This comes on the heels of a column by Dana Milbank in the Post about 10 days ago making the same case.
Coincidence? Probably not.
The Milbank column, as I noted at the time, seemed pretty clearly to have been done with Emanuel's cooperation. Milbank has said he didn't speak to Emanuel, but obviously Emanuel's points of view on various matters could have been communicated to him through others
Monday, March 1, 2010
This is exactly the situation that pundits were chattering about after news of Evan Bayh's retirement-- that Democrats will barely hold on to their majority and need every seat they can get to maintain it. This may be the beginning of a Domino effect, with Bayh's seat up for grabs and a potentially tougher race for another Democratic seat...will it continue?
A leftover from last week, some legislative slang:
- ► 2016 (128)
- Second Night of Simulation on C-SPAN
- Sim: Murkowski Op-Ed on Claremont Factor
- First Night of Simulation on C-SPAN
- Senate Shuts Down over Reconciliation
- Congress and Interest Groups I
- Two Explanations of How the Simulation Works
- H--- No!!!
- The Internet and the Health Care Bill
- Congress, Courts, and Interest Groups
- Miss the debate?
- Health Care, Dennis Kucinich, and President Obama'...
- POTUS on NCLB
- The Second Weirdest Ad of the Season
- President and Executive Branch
- The Interplay of House and Senate
- “Overentertained and distracted — that’s right,” -...
- Massa's Slippery Slope
- Massa: Frack you, Democrats!
- SNL on HCR
- Presidential Support
- The Obama White House and the Hill
- There Goes My Fun...
- The Domino Effect: Bayh and Feingold
- Congress and the President I
- ▼ March (25)