Friday, June 23, 2006

Senate Live - June 23, 2006

The Senate is to convene at 11:00 for a period of morning business. No legislation or voting is scheduled for today - shaping up as a typical Friday yawner.

The summary of action from yesterday shows the extent of amendment to the defense authorization bill, and describes most of the subjects (One can also look in the Daily Digest). One of the many interesting amendments is a requirement to submit a national intelligence estimate relating to Iran ...

S.Amdt.4337

As soon as is practicable, but not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence shall submit to Congress an updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. ...

The National Intelligence Estimate submitted under paragraph (1) shall address the following:

... (J) The likely effects and consequences of any military action against the nuclear programs or other regime interests of Iran.

There is lots more, not just -in- S.Amdt.4337, but in many other areas as well. For example, " Amendment SA 4336 proposed by Senator Warner for Senator Hutchison. To require a report on the feasibility of omitting Social Security numbers from military identification cards."

Senator Biden's No. 4423 was also agreed to - a redo of the "no permanent US bases in Iraq" measure that was stricken from the emergency supplemental appropriations bill during conference.

Another little "surprise" that isn't announced (check the list of agreed amendments yourself, I'm just grabbing ones that catch my eye) is Senator Kerry's No.4204, which concludes with the following "Sense of Congress" language ...

(b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the President should convene a summit as soon as possible that includes the leaders of the Government of Iraq, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security.

Also relating to the just-passed defense appropriations bill, see H.R.5122 for the Senate's naming of conferees ...

6/22/2006: Senate insists on its amendment, asks for a conference, appoints conferees Warner; McCain; Inhofe; Roberts; Sessions; Collins; Ensign; Talent; Chambliss; Graham; Dole; Cornyn; Thune; Levin; Kennedy; Byrd; Lieberman; Reed; Akaka; Nelson FL; Nelson NE; Dayton; Bayh; Clinton.

Notice how quickly the Senate named conferees, when it has a House Bill to attach its work to? The Senate has NOT sent the House an insistence on its amendments, nor has it asked for a conference, nor has it appointed conferees on the immigration bill, S.2611.

I pointed this out in my June 21 UPDATE @ 9:48, and predicted a rebuttal reaction from the House. It came, according to this news report in the Chicago Tribune.

Immigration debate revived by House GOP
By Frank James - Washington Bureau
Published June 23, 2006

Stung by charges in recent days that they were trying to thwart congressional efforts at immigration reform, House Republican leaders on Thursday said they still hoped to get a bill to President Bush this year.

They blamed the Republican-controlled Senate for delays in further congressional consideration of immigration bills, claiming the Senate hadn't followed proper procedures that would allow the House to act.


The unanimous consent agreements on the legislative calendar (pdf) provide a clear window into Monday's topic - an amendment to the US Constitution relating to flag desecration.

Just as a curiosity, the formally pending bill remains S.1955 - Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2006, also known as "The Enzi Bill." This bill failed to obtain cloture on May 11, and was discussed on May 9, May 10. and a little bit on May 11. The fact that this is the pending business does not mean that it will be taken up.

Onward to the unanimous consent agreements ...

UNANIMOUS CONSENT AGREEMENTS

S.J. Res. 12 (ORDER NO. 473)

1.--Ordered, That on Monday, June 26, 2006, at 4:00 p.m., the Senate proceed to the consideration of S.J. Res. 12, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States; provided that the bill be considered for debate only. (June 22, 2006.)

CONFERENCE REPORT TO ACCOMPANY H.R. 889

2.--Ordered, That with respect to the conference report to accompany H.R. 889, an act to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2006, to make technical corrections to various laws administered by the Coast Guard, and for other purposes; that when the Senate receives from the House a message that the House agrees to S. Con. Res. 103 and the conference report to accompany H.R. 889 is received from the House, the conference report be considered agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. (June 22, 2006.)

S. 2611 (ORDER NO. 414)

3.--Ordered, That when the Senate agrees to a request for a conference or the Senate requests a conference on S. 2611 or a House bill, as amended with the language of S. 2611, as amended, the Chair be authorized to appoint conferees on the part of the Senate with the ratio of conferees being 14 to 12; provided further, that from that ratio, the first 7 Republican Senators from the Committee on the Judiciary and the first 5 Democratic Senators from the Committee on the Judiciary be conferees; further, that the Majority Leader select the final 7 conferees for the Majority side and the Democratic Leader select the final 7 conferees for the Minority side. (May 11, 2006.)

H.R. 22

4.--Ordered, That with respect to H.R. 22, an act to reform the postal laws of the United States, provided it shall not be in order for the Senate to consider any conference report or any House amendments to H.R. 22, if it would cause a net increase in on or off budget direct spending in excess of $5 billion in any of the four 10-year periods beginning in 2016-2055, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office. (Feb. 9, 2006.)

S. 295

5.--Ordered, That the Majority Leader, after consultation with the Democratic Leader, shall no later than September 29, 2006, or the last day of the second session of the 109th Congress, whichever is earliest, call up S. 295, a bill to authorize appropriate action if the negotiations with the People's Republic of China regarding China's undervalued currency are not successful; provided that if the bill has not been reported by then by the Committee on Finance it be discharged at that time and the Senate proceed to the consideration thereof; that there be 2 hours for debate equally divided between the Senator from Iowa (Mr. Grassley) and the Democratic Leader, or his designee, that no amendments or motions be in order, including committee amendments, that after the use or yielding back of time, the bill be read a third time and the Senate proceed to a vote on passage of the bill, with no intervening action or debate. (July 1, 2005, Mar. 29, 2006.)

S. 2766, S. 2767, S. 2768, S. 2769

6.--Ordered, That with respect to S. 2766, S. 2767, S. 2768, S. 2769, as passed, if the Senate receives a message with respect to any of these bills from the House of Representatives, the Senate disagree with the House on its amendment or amendments to the Senate-passed bill and agree to or request a conference, as appropriate, with the House on disagreeing votes of the two houses; that the Chair be authorized to appoint conferees; and that the foregoing occur without intervening action or debate. (June 22, 2006.)


The Judiciary Committee has an executive meeting scheduled for 9:30 AM, with the following items on the agenda ...

I. Nominations
Brett L. Tolman
to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah

II. Bills
S. 2453, National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 [Specter]
S. 2455, Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 [DeWine, Graham]
S. 2468, A bill to provide standing for civil actions for declaratory and injunctive relief to persons who refrain from electronic communications through fear of being subject to warrantless electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, and for other purposes [Schumer]
S. 3001, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 [Specter, Feinstein]
S. 2831, Free Flow of Information Act of 2006 [Lugar, Specter, Graham, Schumer, Biden, Grassley]
H.R. 1036, Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act [Smith - TX]
S. 155, Gang Prevention and Effective Deterrence Act of 2005 [Feinstein, Hatch, Grassley, Cornyn, Kyl, Specter]
S. 2703, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 [Specter, Leahy, Grassley, Kennedy, DeWine, Feinstein, Brownback, Durbin, Schumer, Kohl, Biden, Feingold]
S. 1845, Circuit Court of Appeals Restructuring and Modernization Act of 2005 [Ensign, Kyl]

That last one, S. 1845, includes dividing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

UPDATE @ 9:10

Perusing the record from yesterday, see the following in
4 . INTRODUCTION OF BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS ...

By Mr. McCAIN (for himself and Mr. FEINGOLD):
S. 3560. A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to replace the Federal Election Commission with the Federal Election Administration, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Rules and Administration.

McCain/Feingold do-over?

UPDATE @ 9:36

Peggy Noonan's piece from yesterday is pretty good. I liked this line, "Howard Dean is actually the most in touch with his base of all D.C. Democrats because he speaks to them the secret language of Madman Boogabooga."

---===---

The indictment (another PDF) against the homegrown Islamic terror conspirators, courtesy of and hat-tip to CNN; and the same indictment, hosted by FoxNews. If I find one that is amenable to conversion to text, I'll do so, then post the text at http://noeasyanswer.blogspot.com/.

UPDATE @ 10:00

H.J.Res.10, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, passed yesterday on a 286 - 130 vote. Twelve Republicans voted against the measure: Dreier, Ehlers, Flake, Gilchrest, Hoekstra, Kolbe, Leach, Paul, Petri, Schwarz (MI), Shadegg, and Shays.

Discussion is available in House Report 109-131 and at Debate in the House, June 22, 2006.

The text of the proposed amendment is simple.

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

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