Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Senate Live - June 21, 2006

The Senate is scheduled to open at 9:30 AM to take up:

S.2766 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

Text of Amendments 4196 to 4208 : June 12, 2006
Text of Amendments 4209 to 4220 : June 13, 2006
Text of Amendments 4221 to 4252 : June 14, 2006
Text of Amendments 4253 to 4291 : June 15, 2006
Text of Amendments 4292 to 4309 : June 16, 2006
Text of Amendments 4311 to 4331 : June 19, 2006
Text of Amendments 4332 to 4380 : June 20, 2006

Amendment Nos. 4349 through 4360 are NOT ordered to lie on the table, but have not yet been offered on the floor of the Senate for debate and/or a vote.

The FRIST amendment (No. 4323) (intended to poison Kennedy's minimum wage amendment) was withdrawn yesterday by unanimous consent. Enzi's minimum wage amendment, No. 4376, is being offered as a parallel alternative to Kennedy's No. 4322.

June 14 debate
June 15 debate
June 16 debate
June 19 debate
June 20 debate: Part I - Part II


In summary, the side issues now set-up and remaining within the debate on the Defense Authorization Bill are:

  1. Kennedy amendment and Enzi amendment re: federal minimum wage
  2. Levin amendment and Kerry amendment re: US policy toward Iraq (No GOP alternative appears to be in the offering)
  3. Bingaman amendment re: a timetable for charging or releasing all prisoners in Gitmo
The pending business is:
- the McCAIN amendment (No. 4241) (Purpose: To name the Act after John Warner),
- the KENNEDY amendment (No. 4322) (Purpose: To increase the federal minimum wage), and
- the ENZI amendment (No. 4376) (Purpose: To increase the federal minimum wage).

A unanimous consent agreement provides the following schedule:

  • 90 minutes of debate on Kennedy No. 4322 and Enzi No. 4376 minimum wage amendments
  • votes on both minimum wage amendments, starting at about 11:00 AM
  • 5 hours of debate on Levin amendment No. 4320 relating to Iraq policy
  • set aside Levin's No. 4320 for Kerry to offer his Iraq policy amendment

A few brief comments.

Senator Enzi's "minimum wage" amendment is rather complex. Look/search here for the phrase "4376" to read the text of the amendment.

Kerry's proposed Iraq policy amendment does not appear in the record from June 20. It's assumed that his amendment is the same as was offered last week, except changing the date for withdrawal of most troops (certain troops are NOT subject to withdrawal, e.g., those used to train Iraqis) from December 2006 to July 2007. The timing for voting on the Levin and Kerry Iraq policy amendments has not been set. It may be taken late today (as in, this evening), or it may be taken another day.

The debate on handling the prisoners at Gitmo is yet to be scheduled. Senator Dodd decided, yesterday, to not offer his alternative, and expressed the thought that the Bingaman amendment is a reasonable venue for the debate.

UPDATE @ 9:48

Senator Frist describes the schedule (as set out above), and continues a bit further. There is no time agreement on the Kerry amendment, but he expects to lock one in sometime during the day. Regardless, Senator Frist expects a vote (or votes) on the Iraq policy amendments to be taken before the cloture vote on the underlying bill, which is scheduled Thursday morning (by rule - which can be adjusted by unanimous consent).

Senator Reid changes the subject to immigration, and blames the House for not naming conferees. Funny thing, the Senate hasn't yet selected a vehicle to send its version to conference yet, and until the Senate does that, the House has no reason to name conferees. And why hasn't the Senate used S.2611 as the vehicle to send to conference? Which party is the hang-up here?

Senator Reid also applies pressure on President Bush to get the House to change its tune.

Senator Kennedy jumps in to agree with Reid, that the House should move quickly. Kennedy says our borders are effectively broken, employer enforcement is in tatters, and an underground economy is operating - and that the Senate bill addresses these issues. Kennedy too says it is the House that is avoiding a conference. I predict some noise from House leadership today, rebutting this, and saying essentially "we're happy to have a conference, and we're waiting on the Senate to indicate disagreement so as to kick off the process of naming conferees."

[See comments following the May 15 Senate Live post for links and brief description of the "conference process," and how the House and Senate come to name conferees.

The Senate has not yet answered H.R.4437 (click on the link and check "All Congressional Actions"), and has not sent S.2611 to the House. The GOP proposal -- to use H.R.4096 (extension of relief on Alternative Minimum Tax) as the vehicle to carry the immigration difference to the House -- was rejected by the Democrats.

My point, again, is that the Senate is the hold-up.]

Senator Nelson chimes in, using the buzzword "amnesty," and says that "amnesty" is status quo because the law isn't enforced; and the point of the Senate bill, S.2611, is to restore following the law, by substituting a new law. And with that, back to the defense authorization bill, and it's diversions into minimum wage and US policy toward deployment of troops in Iraq.

UPDATE @ 12:38

Before recapitulating the votes on the minimum wage amendments, a review of part of the language in the unanimous consent agreement ...

I further ask unanimous consent that at the use or yielding back of time, the Senate proceed to a vote on Kennedy amendment No. 4322, to be followed by a vote on the Enzi amendment, with no amendments to the amendments in order; provided further, if either amendment does not get 60 votes in the affirmative, then that amendment would be automatically withdrawn.

A rather odd agreement, but seeing as how it relates to legislation, I suppose the Senate is free to make whatever agreement it chooses. Neither amendment obtained 60 votes, therefore, per the agreement, each amendment was automatically withdrawn. So, now we have an amendment that obtained majority agreement (Kennedy's), being withdrawn after passing.

The KENNEDY amendment (No. 4322) was AGREED, then WITHDRAWN on a 52 - 46 vote (Purpose: to raise the federal minimum wage to $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day; $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and to $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day)
GOP voting AYE: Chafee, Coleman, Collins, DeWine, Lugar, Snowe, Specter, and Warner

The ENZI amendment (No. 4376) was REJECTED on a 45 - 53 vote (Purpose: to raise the federal minimum wage to $5.70 an hour, beginning 6 months after the date of enactment; and to $6.25 an hour, beginning 18 months after such date of enactment. Further, to modify overtime rules from 40 hours per week to 80 hours per two weeks; and further to modify a variety of tax law provisions)
GOP voting NAY: Allard, Bond, Burr, Chafee, Chambliss, Cornyn, DeMint, Inhofe, and Vitter

The Senate is moving to debate Levin's Iraq policy amendment, but first, Senator Schumer hijacks the floor to complain that NY is not getting enough federal funds for protection from terrorism, since NY is the number 1 target of terrorism in America.

UPDATE @ 12:57

Senator Warner announces that, unlike last November, he sees no way to amend the Levin amendment to make it anything but undercutting the effort to provide US military support, which is necessary to get the country of Iraq launched. There will be no GOP alternative to the dueling amendments of Levin and (maybe) Kerry.

UPDATE @ 13:05

Current co-sponsors of Levin's S.Amdt.4320 are Reed, Feinstein, Salazar, Clinton, Biden, and Obama.

Part of the amendment's language is in the June 20 post, and the full text can be read by searching for "4320" in Text of Amendments 4311 to 4331, offered on June 19, 2006.

UPDATE @ 13:43

I got to wondering about the allegation of "setting a timetable for withdrawal," and have to concede that Levin's amendment does not set one. It calls on (suggests) that the president set one. But at any rate, what if the president set a timetable so far in the future (say, the year 2050) that the timetable would be effectively meaningless?

President Bush has indicated that it will not be he, but it will be the next president of the United States who will be redeploying troops from Iraq. As such, my sense is that Congress (the Senate, more specifically), with the power to declare war, is attempting to shift the burden of "war on, war off" to the President. This goes not just for the Democrats, who aim to undermine President Bush for political gain, but also the Republicans, who aim to avoid taking a stand.

UPDATE @ 15:35

Kennedy does not know how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 15:50

Senator Allen is making a campaign speech - he's running for president, doncahknow. [I think Romney is the selected one.]

UPDATE @ 16:03

Senator Hagel knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 16:04

Senator Carper is up. He sounds like a "sad comedian" to me.

UPDATE @ 16:21

Senator Lautenberg knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 16:22

Enough tie pictures. I think. For now, anyway.

UPDATE @ 16:29

Senator Roberts knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 16:30

Senator Murray is up. She's not wearing a tie, so no picture.

UPDATE @ 16:37

Senator Bond knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 16:41

Kerry has submitted his amendment! Debate is getting heated, and more to come tonight.

Senator Biden knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 16:54

Senator Inhofe knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 17:03

Senator Obama knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 17:13

Senator Durbin knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 17:23

Senators Reed & Levin make camp with Senator Kennedy - crappy pucker on the tie. Points for style to Levin.

UPDATE @ 17:40

Senators Kennedy, Feingold, Boxer are called to introduce their amendment, and there is a bit of discussion relating to absence of a time agreement. Senator Kerry thanks the managers of the bill. Pardon my French, but he is a F-ing nut.

Feingold wants 45 minutes, and there is dickering over time. Kerry says 2 hours and 25 minutes, and Warner is not happy with the absence of back and forth. Kerry offers 80 minutes for Kerry and Feingold, which Warner reluctantly agrees to. Warner further agrees to take 30 minutes, the first 10 of which would be given to Lieberman.

Senator Byrd "to the rescue." He has an additional amendment to introduce, and wants 30 minutes to do so. Senator Warner sees no opportunity to introduce another amendment, and Senator Byrd says he sees no preclusion to speaking on his amendment.

UPDATE @ 17:45

Senator Leahy knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 18:13

Senator Feingold knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 18:26

Senator Kerry stands too far from the camera to judge "tie pucker," but if I was called render judgment, I would say the he is in the Kennedy "pucker boob" camp. Not even as good as Levin.

UPDATE @ 18:38

Lieberman rises to oppose amendments by Levin and Kerry. Woohoo! Warner outlines the debate/floor schedule, as follows:

  • Lieberman for 15 minutes
  • Santorum until 19:05
  • Boxer until 19:35
  • Byrd until 19:55

Lieberman notes the question about withdrawal from Bosnia. Are we out of Bosnia?

UPDATE @ 18:46

Senator Lieberman knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

UPDATE @ 18:59

Senator Warner knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

Senator Santorum knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker (and has a nice tight collar, to boot)

Senator Santorum announces the recovery of 500 warheads containing poison gas, with the assertion following that Saddam Hussein therefore had WMD at the time the US went to war with Saddam Hussein's forces of Iraq. Does this quantity constitutes "a stockpile" of weapons of mass destruction?

UPDATE @ 19:10

Senator Boxer raises the Plame/Wilson affair as evidence of administration wrongdoing. I am just amazed at the mileage this "issue" has managed to obtain, but on the other hand admit that absence of closure and hard fact permits this mileage.

UPDATE @ 19:34

Senator Byrd knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker, but he's pretty close to the laughable Kennedy model (maybe it's a generational thing) ...

Good speech, agree with it or not, Byrd's speech illuminates the issue, as well as the institution, with clarity as to the political differences embodied therein. Byrd rejects the Kerry amendment.

Byrd is aware of the role of Congress in war - and intends to assert that role. Well, hello. Duh. The constitution does not admit an imperial presidency, any more than it admits an imperial judiciary. I'm looking forward to reading the text of the Byrd amendment.

UPDATE @ 20:07

Senator Thune knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

He also discloses that votes on the Levin and Kerry amendments will occur tomorrow.

UPDATE @ 20:15

Senator Brownback's tie has no pucker ...

UPDATE @ 20:27

Senator Sessions knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

Plus, he has an AWESOME tie. Best one of the lot, as far a I'm concerned.

UPDATE @ 20:31

Senator Chambliss seems to be tie-knot pucker challenged ...

But seems to have his head screwed on straight.

UPDATE @ 20:42

Senator Menendez knows how to knot a tie with a proper pucker ...

His tie is #2 in my fashion score, behind Sessions. I'd be proud to wear either one.

UPDATE @ 20:59

Kerry hasn't changed his tie. But his anti-war rhetoric is for the books. He says there are 1000 terrorists in Iraq, and the rest of the violence is in the nature of civil war. He is making many other comments, which is odd, as he is usually quiet from the floor of the Senate.

UPDATE @ 21:30

Senator Warner is doing yeoman's work rebutting Kerry. He's doing very well too.

UPDATE @ 22:02

Senator Warner indicates that Kerry's Silver Star award, granted while Warner had some oversight, was justified. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

UPDATE @ 22:37

Senator Sessions makes a good rebuttal, based on basic human and social theory, and tossing in some good barbs against Kerry. Good rhetoric, but not necessary against the Kerry amenendment, which is destined to go down in serious flames.


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