Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Senate Live - May 9, 2006

The Senate will open at 9:45, and after the prayer and the pledge, a short bit of Leader Time before a cloture vote. The cloture vote is on a motion to proceed to S.1955 - Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2006, also known as the Small Business Health Care bill, or in real shorthand, "the Enzi" bill.

After that cloture vote passes, the rules provide for up to 30 hours of debate before moving to the underlying vote, which is whether or not to proceed to consider the bill at all. I think this cloture vote will pass, as a couple of Democrat Senators have spoken in favor of the bill. After that, the course of the day is likely to be a repeat of yesterday, with repetitive health care speeches, and a bit of potpourri thrown in on whatever the rant of the day is - Hayden, Iraq, judicial nominations, etc.

Senator Frist was live on Fox 'n' Friends this morning, and he spoke on a number of topics. He indicated that hearings relating to the nomination of Hayden to head the CIA would be held before Memorial day.

Queried about immigration, he indicated that border enforcement has priority over measures that deal with revision to citizenship or legal presence. He reinforced, I think as a point of saying "we have already completed tightening the border," that the Senate has approved about 12 billion dollars in border enforcement. These funds are 1.9 billion in the recent emergency supplemental, and 10 billion in an earlier bill, where border agents, infrastructure (buildings, computer hardware & software), and detention beds were authorized. As with hearings on Hayden, Senator Frist said that passing an immigration bill out of the Senate is also planned to be completed by Memorial Day.

Cloture on Motion to proceed to S.1955 PASSED (pure speculation at 7:45 AM - known for a fact later on)

Senator Frist indicated, in opening remarks, that he hoped to skip the 30 hours of debate on voting for the motion to proceed, and get right to consideration of S.1955. He hoped to have a definitive agreement with the minority before the Senate recesses for afternoon meetings, at noon. I believe he will get that agreement, seeing as how the cloture vote was (nearly) unanimous. Coburn and DeMint voted against cloture.

Kavanaugh hearings - a few links

Specter has sworn in Judges Stapleton and Kozinski, who are now speaking and will take questions. Senator Schumer has opening remarks that covered the expected range of objections. The objections being that Kavanaugh is partisan based on working for Starr and the WH, at separate times; and also that he may be "too connected" with the White House in terms of NSA, torture, extraordinary rendition, and Presidential signing statements (unitary executive).

Both Judges gave glowing opening statements. Senator Specter asked them how old they were when appointed to their positions, and each judge answers, "35 years old." Senator Specter notes that Justice Kennedy was 38 when appointed to the Circuit Court. Senator Schumer had one question, to which each Judge answered "no," the question being "Has Kavanaugh ever appeared before your Court as a lawyer?"

Senator Boxer is up, raising the federalism question. She says that the GOP usually likes to defer problem resolution to states, rather than pushing things from the top (federal) level, down. Hahahahaha. FALSE. The GOP likes federal control just fine, thank you very much.

Senate closed up for the night, by Voinovich. S.1955 will be taken up tomorrow, I suppose there was and will be no vote on the motion to proceed, seeing as how cloture passed 96-2. Amendments are to be expected during the day tomorrow. No timetable for taking a final vote, as far as I could tell, but no doubt before the end of the week.

Selections from the Record


Mr. VOINOVICH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate completes its business today, it stand in adjournment until 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 10. I further ask that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the Journal of proceedings be approved to dare, the time for the two leaders be reserved, and the Senate proceed to a period of morning business for up to 60 minutes, with the first 30 minutes under the control of the majority leader or his designee and the final 30 minutes under the control of the Democratic leader or his designee; further, that the Senate then begin consideration of S. 1955, the small business health plans bill.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[So no vote required on the motion to proceed to S.1955]


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