Thursday, April 27, 2006

Senate Live - April 27, 2006

Pending business: H.R. 4939 <- Includes links to amendments.

I'm looking for this one, from Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks by CNN.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday. ...

The energy package, sponsored by Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Ted Stevens of Alaska, Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, will be offered as an amendment to an emergency spending measure now before the Senate funding the Iraq war and hurricane relief, according to a senior GOP leadership aide.

Stabenow's S.Amdt.3633 was ruled out of order by the chair, yesterday.

The disposition of the "anti-CSX rail move" amendment, S.Amdt.3641 by Coburn, was a tabling on a 49-48 vote. Tell me this stuff isn't tightly scripted for effect.

Yesterday's action on the Emergency Supplemental has the nitty gritty. I've not pulled it apart to produce a summary - likely won't except for any particular details that catch my interest.

Update: Senator Byrd is at his lectern, introducing a Constitutional Amendment to clarify the 1st amendment, in particular that the Constitution neither forbids nor requires prayer. As Byrd speeches go, this is is starting out as below average. Perhaps it is too early in the morning.

Update: Senator Wyden has been beating the royalties issue to death. Maybe he's intending one of those "talk until you drop" style filibusters. He's doing pretty good at it, as well. Intends to hold the floor until there is an agreement that includes his amendment, S.Amdt.3665, link to discussion above. He's putting a damper on GOP leadership plans to introduce its "Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006"

Senate Republicans to Unveil Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006

Washington, D.C.TODAY, Thursday, April 27, at 12 noon, in the Senate Swamp (Russell Park), the Senate Republican Conference will unveil its Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006, filed last night as an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill. The Senate Republican Energy Working Group crafted the plan to help ease the burden on consumers from high oil and gas prices, continue to develop and diversify our domestic fuel supply, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006 290 kB PDF file
News Conference (Grassley) 9.9 Mb MP3 file
Update: Very interesting parliamentary maneuvering, as Wyden continues to try to keep the floor, as of 13:51 Eastern Daylight Time. Salazar wants to introduce his amendment (fire suppression related), and Wyden does not want to yield, out of fear he will lose his right to speak. Senator Cochran of Mississippi objects, as he views this procedure as putting the power to determine the order of business in the hands of one Senator (Wyden). Cochran's objection keeps unanimous consent from occurring. Wyden's amendment, as summarized by C-SPAN2, "Eliminates royalty relief subsidy if the price of crude is greater than $55 per barrel."
Update: 14:39 - exciting exchange involving Reid, Wyden and Cochran. Reid offers a UC proposal to put Wyden amendment (3665) at the end of the list. Cochran objected. Later, noted that he objects because he cannot agree to permitting 3665 to be voted on, unless 3665 is subjected to "2nd degree amendment." Wyden goes ballistic, and says that this proves his amendment cannot be voted on, that voting on 3665 is being blocked. Wyden further gives some hint that perhaps, point being made, his filibuster is winding down.

I think he has to pee.

Update: 15:15 Domenici is rather animated (red faced angry, actually) and asserts that Wyden's amendment has ZERO impact on the budget, per the Congressional Budget Office. He said he was going to offer a 2nd degree amendment (thereby taking the floor) which was ruled out of order, he withdrew the request. Wyden has a good point though, if his amendment (3665) is really meaningless, what's the hangup on voting? I think he misleads by saying it saves the taxpayer money, it doesn't. It COSTS money by imposing a royalty (or technically, by ridding of a royalty abatement program); which is wealth transfer from the people, to the government.

Royalty Rules are at 43 CFR 3103, as a basic matter. I don't know oil royalty calculations, but it looks to be a percentage of the value of oil extracted - and this amount is greater than 10%. Interesting, not a tax, a royalty, but it surely adds to the price at the pump.

Senator Reid is up, suggesting that Wyden perhaps drop the filibuster. There are other matters, and other Senators (some of them Democrats) who have matters they want to cover. Wyden says he appreciates the concern, but that he will stay at the lectern all night if necessary to "save the taxpayers" billions and billions of dollars.

Now Wyden is backing down, giving himself a way out, "if the other side would ever allow a vote, I would stay here." So, given that the other side won't agree to vote, no need to stay there. Reid says "You made your point, I suggest that you take 3 minutes to wrap up, that we go to quorum call, and when that is vitiated, that Cochran have the floor."

It has been an interesting day - "Mr. Smith" style filibuster, you see, it is possible under the current rules of the Senate. Wyden says he will be back with this issue (yeah, sure). But he yields the floor at this time. So, filibuster over as of 15:28 by my local clock.

Update: McCain giving a damn funny speech relating to a federal program to promote eating fish. "This is pork, masquerading as fish," says he. See also, says he, the Salmon-thirty-salmon promotion. And, Charlie the Tuna and Chicken of the Sea seem to do okay without help from the federal government.

"Eat Seafood!" says McCain. "There, millions of people saw that on C-SPAN, no need to have a 15 million dollar federal program to promote eating of fish." Really funny speech, delivered rather deadpan.

Motion to table Div II of S.Amdt.3641 is being conducted on a roll-call basis.


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