Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Senate Live - September 5, 2006

UPDATE @ Sept 6

Current commentary is running at the bottom of an older post: H.R.5631 - DoD Appropriations Act, 2007

I'm likely to be a slacker on the "Senate Live" scene for the indefinite future. Not that I'm not watching, but that I don't have available free time to summarize and cross-reference Senate events.

That being said, the same issues are still on the table from August. The following "news" and reminders are just for memory refreshment...

  • There is a UC agreement to send S.2611 (immigration) to conference with the House. That will happen in conjunction with taking up S. 1566, an original bill to reauthorize the Commodity Exchange Act. Oops - no there isn't. I saw H.R.4473 on a UC agreement, and thought "H.R.4437" The Commodity Exchange Act has House and Senate counterparts, H.R.4473 and S.1566
  • President Bush indicated an intention to renominate the 5 Circuit Court nominees returned at the start of the August recess -- Myers, Boyle, Haynes, Smith and Wallace. Senator Specter noted on a Sunday shout show that the Judiciary Committee would take these up.
  • The Senate resumes consideration of H.R. 5631 - Department of Defense Appropriations at 11:00 AM today. Discussed here from August 2nd. The bill provides a convenient venue for ragging on the administration for its prosecution of the war in Iraq.
  • Starting at 4:30 PM, the Senate will debate the nomination of Kimberly Moore for the Federal Circuit. The debate will run for one hour, and she will be confirmed by a vote to be held at 5:30.
  • The "reporter shield" proposed legislation (Specter and Lugar advocate this) is apt to get a boost from the revelation that Armitage was a (not the only) leaker. As an aside, I think most commentators don't understand the relationship between the Libby trial and the Plame leak. Notable exception being Andy McCarthy at NRO.
  • H.R. 5970 The "Trifecta" bill, also known as the Family Prosperity Act, covering minimum wage, estate tax and a handful of other IRS provisions, is not actually dead. The failed cloture vote lives on under a motion to reconsider. Noted here, a re-vote is certainly a possibility sometime in the 109th Congress.
And the agenda for September, in Senator Frist's own words ...


Mr. FRIST. ... As I look ahead, we will continue to secure America's homeland. The most pressing issues we should address as we look into September include port security, the Homeland Security conference report, complete Defense appropriations, confirm John Bolton, the authorization of military commissions for terrorist combatants, consistent with the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision.

In September, we will work to secure America's prosperity by bringing budget process reform to the Senate--specifically, the line-item rescission veto--and by finalizing a very exciting bipartisan competitiveness agenda package.

We will also work to continue securing America's health by focusing on a bill that has already passed this Senate and has passed the House and is now in conference on health information technology, the health information technology that we know will establish interoperability platforms and the ability to communicate in a seamless way to improve that quality of care for patients and reduce the cost, to eliminate the unnecessary health expenditures, and to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse.

I also would like to come back to something we were blocked, once again, by the other side, the small business health plans, the association health plans. Chairman Enzi has done a tremendous job in leading us forward, but we were unsuccessful in the past because we were obstructed. I hope to have the opportunity to bring those back.

Finally, as I look into September, we must continue securing America's values by promoting sound government. That begins with fulfilling our constitutional duty of advice and consent, by bringing more judicial nominations to the Senate for confirmation.

UPDATE @ 12:32

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on "Judicial Nominations" for Wednesday, September 6, 2006 at 2:00 p.m.

An Executive Business Meeting has been scheduled by the Committee on the Judiciary for Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.

Frist's opening speech indicated that the legislative priority is homeland defense, prosecuting a war on terror, and as part of that, the Department of Defense Appropriations bill now before the Senate. He also quickly went through a general punch-list of items that are important to Senate GOP leadership. Notice the absence of immigration.

  • port security
  • homeland security conference report
  • security nominees (Bolton, Fisher at DoJ, Wainstein at DoJ)
  • authorize military commissions in light of SCOTUS Hamdan decision
  • energy package (Lease Area 81?, ANWR?)
  • modify FISA to facilitate NSA surveillance and data-mining activities
  • bioterror bill
  • budget process reform (public reporting and line-item review by president)
  • competitiveness package
  • health care
  • judicial nominations
  • internet gambling

Floor Speech -- Remarks as Delivered

Schedule for today is DoD Appropriations bill (to be finished no later than Wednesday, maybe Thursday), with morning business until 2:30 because no Senators have come forward with amendments. 4:30 to executive session, 5:30 vote on nomination of Moore.

Senator Reid confirms completion of DoD appropriations on Thursday. Then he characterized the GOP-lead Senate as morphing from "do nothing" to "Mission Impossible." The 13 appropriations bills are mostly unaddressed. No education bill, no middle-class tax bill. No progress on immigration. He derided the taking up of flag and marriage amendments, as well as the "Trifecta" bill.

With regard to homeland security, said Reid (paraphrasing), "the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission have been ignored. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. The Democrats have a superior plan, beginning with changing the course of action in Iraq."

UPDATE @ 18:03

Kimberly Moore was
CONFIRMED on a 92 - 00 vote.

Back to H.R.5631 - Department of Defense FY 2007 appropriations

UPDATE @ 18:40

Note correction to "pending" list above. There is no UC agreement regarding a vehicle to send the Senate's immigration bill to conference. Dyslexic memory on my part.

UPDATE @ 19:15

Senator Frist closed the Senate, as usual with some hints relating to upcoming legislative action.

Nomination Calendar 866 confirmed - Robert S. Martin to be a Member of the National Council on the Humanities.

S.466 - A bill to deauthorize a certain portion of the project for navigation, Rockland Harbor, Maine, passed as amended.

Injunction of secrecy lifted on patent law treaty 109-12

Bills read a second time ...

S.Res.552 National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, passed.

Adjourned until 9:45 tomorrow, to take up H.R.5631 - DoD Appropriations, with 3 amendments pending - votes expected tomorrow, with passage tomorrow or Thursday.

UPDATE @ Sept 06

See the end of H.R.5631 - DoD Appropriations Act, 2007 for summary and pending action.


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