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Tag: Senate

Confirmation Hearings









Posted on Jul 14, 2009 ENLARGE


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Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

Unless Sotomayor suffers a “complete meltdown,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted, she will be confirmed. The price, though, is barely coded race baiting that has been part of the assault on Sotomayor since her nomination was announced.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Benjamin
AP / Charles Dharapak

Obama Picks ‘Country Doctor’ as Surgeon General

If she is approved by the Senate, Dr. Regina Benjamin has a big job ahead of her as the next surgeon general during a time of upheaval in the health care industry. Luckily, given her résumé, she seems more than qualified for the position.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings Under Way

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor began on Monday. Despite a strong partisan divide over her candidacy, she is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate after she has a chance to make her opening statement and answer questions from the Judiciary Committee. If confirmed, she will be the first Latina and only the third woman justice to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Sotomayor’s Critics Are the Real Radicals

This week’s hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court represent the opening skirmish in a struggle to challenge the escalating activism of an increasingly conservative judiciary.

Posted on Jul 12, 2009 READ MORE


Roland Burris
senate.gov

So Long, Roland Burris?

Looks like the Roland Burris show isn’t going to be picked up for a second season. Washington strategists have taken a good look at the Illinois senator’s fundraising numbers (such as they are) and deduced that a 2010 re-election bid is unlikely.

Posted on Jul 10, 2009 READ MORE


Party of Franken, Party of Palin

Al Franken left showbiz to prove himself a serious policy wonk as well as a devoted family man; Sarah Palin transformed herself and her family into a reality television show. Their long, odd trips reflect the journeys of their respective parties.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE


Progressives Flex Health Care Muscle

The progressive Democrats in Congress have had just about enough of all this bipartisanship, especially if it means scrapping a public health care plan. Rahm Emanuel recanted his hint of compromise to a room full of hopping-mad House liberals Tuesday night. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear that losing a public option was a deal-breaker for 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Paul Keleher

Public Option in Critical Condition

President Obama and most Democrats see a government-run health plan that competes with private insurers as vital to real health care reform, but a veto- and filibuster-proof majority just ain’t what it used to be. In the face of a massive lobbying effort, the White House has indicated a willingness to shelve the public option.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Long, Hard Summer

As the president and centrist Democrats in Congress haggle over the deficit, they could usefully recall that the party’s inability to deliver on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign pledges, particularly on health care, led to a stunning defeat two years later.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Franken
AP photo / Jim Mone

Poll: U.S. Voters Split on Franken’s Win

So, Al Franken officially will become a senator next week, but given his long and bitter battle with rival Norm Coleman, not to mention his pronounced unpopularity among Republicans, it’s not entirely surprising that a Rasmussen Reports national poll released Thursday registered substantial voter displeasure at the prospect of Franken’s arrival on Capitol Hill.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE


EKG
ekgpulse.com

Senate Reworks Health Care Proposal

Let’s see if this one takes. After critics blasted an earlier, more expensive version, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee took another crack at a plan to provide coverage for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. The latest plan, released Thursday, comes at the lower cost of $611.4 billion, as opposed to the $1 trillion proposal that didn’t go over so well last month.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE


Al Franken
U.S. Air Force / S. Sgt. Maria L. Taylor

Dems Make Franken a Player

Al Franken won’t officially be a U.S. senator until next week, but he’s set to make a big impact, and not just because he gives his party that 60th seat. Senate Democrats have reserved four committee spots for Franken, two of which will make him a key participant in health care reform and the confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



Collage from Fox and James Montgomery Flagg

Public Option or Bust

Health care reform is shaping up as astronomically expensive, but that’s only if private insurers and Big Pharma get their way, writes Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Without competition from the government—a public option—the health care industry will continue to gouge and Americans will still be in the weeds, a trillion dollars poorer.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Free Speech vs. Surveillance in the Digital Age

Tools of mass communication that were once the province of governments and corporations now fit in your pocket. As these technologies have developed, so too has the ability to monitor, filter, censor and block them.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
senate.gov

Health Care Fail

By one estimate, Sen. Max Baucus gets about $1,500 a day from the health industry. Who put this man in charge of health care reform? The senator’s latest innovation in compromise is to slash proposed insurance subsidies in a bid to get Republicans on board. And forget about a government-run insurance program.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Deficit Could Be Obama’s Achilles’ Heel

President Obama once said the deficit “keeps me awake at night.” He’s not alone. Three recent polls show that while Obama’s approval ratings remain high, most Americans are preoccupied with the deficit and many question about whether the president is willing and able to rein in spending.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Bipartisanship of Fools

Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective?

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

At the moment, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats glum because of a Congressional Budget Office analysis—based on an incomplete and early draft of what is likely to be the most liberal-leaning health care proposal to emerge from the Senate—that shows the measure just won’t get the job done.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


The Identity Dance

I can’t help noting that in the Sotomayor drama, the charge of “identity politics” is leveled at relative newcomers. For that matter, identity itself seems to be exclusively a matter of race, gender and minority status.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Outrage—and Business as Usual

The public face of Congress is angry and outraged at all the bad behavior by banks, but in the other Washington, the financial industry continues to have its way.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Whither the Sacred Campaign Promise?

Historically, Americans generally held campaign promises sacred. Just ask the first President Bush. But now behavior by President Obama suggests a systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform’s Pulse Is Fading

So it’s health care overhaul this year—or bust. If this is the bet, right now I’d put my money on bust.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Changing Moral Universe

Way back in 2004, pollsters and pundits just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future. But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. Updated

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Hung Up on Race

President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court is a proud and accomplished Latina. This fact apparently drives some prominent Republicans to a state resembling incoherent, sputtering rage.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Jon Kyl
senate.gov

Top GOP Senator Threatens High Court Filibuster

President Obama has said he wants to nominate someone to the Supreme Court capable of “understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles.” That’s just too much for Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, who has threatened to filibuster if Obama appoints anyone more empathetic than your garden variety liberal.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama Can’t Duck the Tough Ones

President Obama’s lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: “The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care ... .”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Milk
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Nicoletta

One Step Closer to Harvey Milk Day

Friends and admirers of the late San Francisco supervisor and gay rights activist have been rallying to establish an annual commemorative day in his honor, and on Thursday, the California Senate approved a bill that would officially make Milk’s birthday, May 22, Harvey Milk Day in the Golden State.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and Crist
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Will Republicans Back an Obama Hugger?

When Charlie Crist, Florida’s popular governor, announced this week that he would run for the U.S. Senate, it was the best news the Republican Party has had in an otherwise unpleasant year.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / Kevin Burkett

Mo’ Money, Mo’ War

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion supplemental measure to finance the Iraqi and Afghan wars. An additional $80 million has been set aside to support the shutting down of Gitmo, $50 million of which is contingent on the Pentagon coming up with a plan on relocating prisoners. Another $900 million has been allocated to aid Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Specter
syracuse.com

With Their Magic Bullet, Dems Have No More Excuses

As counsel for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter described a “magic bullet” that changed America. Four decades later as a U.S. senator, Specter is providing another history-altering magic bullet—one Democrats will either fire off in a starting gun, or use in their suicide.

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


Breakup









Posted on Apr 29, 2009 ENLARGE



Flickr / alvy

Blind People Aren’t Crazy About Your Prius

Here’s the thing about eco-friendly hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius—they’re quiet. Too quiet, if you ask the National Federation of the Blind. Luckily, Sens. John Kerry and Arlen Specter have penned the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 to address the problem.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Disclosure of ‘Secrets’ in the ’70s Didn’t Destroy the Nation

Back in the Watergate era, the Senate’s Church Committee exposed government abuses. Of course some people tried to block its work. You may have heard of a couple of them—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Arlen Specter on Switching

The Pennsylvanian is only the 21st active senator in U.S. history to switch parties. Here is what he had to say about his change of loyalties.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sebelius at Last

Just in time for swine flu, the Senate has confirmed Barack Obama’s pick to head the massive Health and Human Services Department, Kathleen Sebelius. Democrats were able to use the health scare to shake the upper chamber out of abortion-obsessed confirmation gridlock.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


Specter Comes Full Circle

When Arlen Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney in 1965, he proudly proclaimed himself a “Kennedy Democrat,” but said he was running as a Republican to take on what he saw as the corruption of the city’s then-legendary Democratic machine. Forty-four years later, Arlen Specter has come full circle.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Svadilfari / Senate.gov

Senate Shake-Up: Specter Goes Blue

Arlen Specter was always too moderate for this crop of Republicans, but his surprise decision to become a Democrat has more to do with the likelihood of losing a GOP primary battle than ideological differences. Specter’s move should give the Democrats the 60 votes they need in the Senate, assuming Norm Coleman ever gives up the ghost In Minnesota.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Committee OKs Sebelius Over Republican Objections

President Obama presided over his first formal Cabinet meeting Monday with a rather important chair left empty. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s pick to head the $750 billion Health and Human Services Department and spearhead his ambitious health care reform initiatives, has finally made it out of hearings and should be approved by the end of the week.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE


Bybee Must Go

It is astonishing that someone who has proved in his memos to be so lacking in judgment and so ideologically twisted in his reasoning that he laid a blanket of legal immunity over those who wanted to torture now holds one of the most powerful and prestigious seats a lawyer can attain.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE



There’s No Place Like Home, Unless You’re Chris Dodd

Congressional fundraising numbers are in, and the Political Wire has teased out some interesting performances. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut managed to raise just 0.7 percent of his funds from contributors in his own state—all five of them. Roland Burris, the man appointed by Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, pulled in a whopping $845. He’s $111,032 in debt.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE



Norm Coleman Is the Energizer Bunny of Losers

After five months of recounting and legal wrangling in Minnesota’s endless Senate battle, Al Franken has more votes than he started with and Norm Coleman still can’t accept that he’s out of a job. A state court just sided with Franken, but Coleman has said he will continue to appeal.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 READ MORE


Getting to Zero Starts With One Man

If Obama is successful in reducing our nuclear stockpile, it could make a monumental difference to the world’s security. Nuclear arms proliferation will never be stopped so long as the U.S. insists on maintaining a privileged position of global nuclear domination.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi’s Balancing Act

By comparison with her recent predecessors, she’s a strong speaker of the House. She has far more control than the previous Democratic speaker had, despite having to contend with a more conservative GOP and an ideologically diverse pack of Democrats.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform at Last

Yes, this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance. For the first time since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s, the forces favoring action on health care reform are stronger than the forces of cynicism and obstruction.

Posted on Apr 5, 2009 READ MORE


Capitol dome
Flickr/Sam Ruaat

Senate Gives Budget Plan the Go-Ahead

Although the congressional GOP contingent wanted nothing to do with it, President Barack Obama’s $3.53 trillion budget package made the Senate cut on Thursday evening, passing with a 55-43 vote. 

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


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