Friday, June 30, 2006

Senate Review - June 30, 2006

The Senate is adjourned for the Independence Day recess, so there really isn't much point in having a "Senate Live" post today. But quite a bit transpired yesterday, and the usual topics will continue to be in the news, so I'll post a few links, references, and perhaps even make a few comments.

The following concurrent resolutions and Senate resolutions were read, and referred (or acted upon), as indicated:

By Mr. CORNYN (for himself and Mr. ROBERTS):
S. Res. 524. A resolution condemning the unauthorized disclosure and publication of classified information about the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program, and other vital counter-terrorism programs; to the Committee on the Judiciary.


Resolved, That--

(1) the Senate joins the President in condemning the damaging leaks and subsequent publication of vital national security information about the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program and the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program; and

(2) it is the sense of the Senate that the Department of Justice should vigorously and tirelessly investigate and prosecute any and all persons responsible for the unauthorized disclosure to news organizations of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program, and other vital counter-terrorism programs.

I won't be holding my breath for prosecutions. Plenty of barking going on though. In fact, I recall Senators Lugar and Specter proposing a reporter shield law, and I fully expect that proposal to get more and quicker action than prosecution against malignant reporters.


Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time determined by the majority leader, after consultation with the Democratic leader, the Senate proceed en bloc to the following bills under the following agreement:

H.R. 810, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, discharged from the HELP Committee; S. 2754, Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act, discharged from the HELP Committee; S. 3504, Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006.

I further ask consent there be a total of 12 hours of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; provided further that no amendments be in order to any of the measures; further, that following the use or yielding back of time the bills be read a third time and the Senate proceed to three consecutive votes in the following order with no intervening action or debate: S. 3504, S. 2754, H.R. 810.

Finally, I ask unanimous consent that any bill that does not receive 60 votes in the affirmative, the vote on passage be vitiated and the bill be returned to its previous status on the calendar or in the HELP Committee; and further, other than as provided in this agreement, it not be in order for the Senate to consider any bill or amendment relating to stem cell research during the remainder of the 109th Congress.

That is interesting on several levels, not the least of which is the 60 vote threshold for passing a bill. Another is the apparent joining of the bills, but that is an illusion as they are independent - except that as a matter of getting the agreement, each proponent had to agree to a 60 vote threshold for passing his measure. The agreement that there be no amendment in order on stem cells, for the remainder of the 109th, might play out if the Senate considers some health care related measure. I remember the joke that was "Health Week," but don't think there will any effort to resurrect any of those measures during the 109th Congress.

Peter D. Keisler was nominated to be a Circuit Court judge in the District of Columbia Circuit. This is an excellent pick. And as "Mookie-Jones" at says, "This is the fellow that the administration wanted for the Murnaghan vacancy on the 4th Circuit. Sarbanes and Mikulski said no. So now he is nominated for the DC Circuit, where blue slips do not apply."

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate completes its business today, it stand in adjournment under the provisions of H. Con. Res. 440 until 2 p.m. on Monday, July 10. I further ask unanimous consent that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the Journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved, and the Senate then proceed to a period for the transaction of morning business until 3 p.m., with the time equally divided between the leaders or their designees. I further ask that at 3 p.m., the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 503, H.R. 5441, the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

Hamdan Material

A great collection of links to media reports relating to the Hamdan decision is at -- one of the best places to get timely news of interesting legal and political events. <- Mash here

Mark Levin weighs in here, Andy McCarthy offered a pre-mortem, and Jonathan Adler provides a number of links to substantive debates.

SCOTUSblog: Justice Department, Pentagon react to Hamdan

Above includes a link to DoJ teleconference with the media that probes the administration's possible moves, faced with the SCOTUS ruling in the Hamdan case.

Also from SCOTUSblog, this piece discusses the impact on hundreds of cases pending in District Courts and a handful of appeals pending in the D.C. Circuit Court.

Also, News roundup from SCOTUSblog, complementing the list from

Kathryn Jean Lopez summarizes Senator Specter's proposed legislative response, S.3614- the Unprivileged Combatant Act of 2006, which was introduced on Thursday, June 29 - the same day the SCOTUS decision came down.

Senator Specter speaks on the bill starting on page S6796, and indicates one possible path to further "resolution" of the issue of handling detainees at Gitmo. In his speech, Senator Specter takes jabs at Justice Scalia and Senator Graham - which I find ironic and funny, in part because Senator Specter draws an odd inference and conclusion from Scalia's citation to Specter's floor speech of November 2005 relating to the Detainee Treatment Act. But the point of the below snip from Senator Specter's speech of June 29 is not the jab at Justice Scalia, it is Specter's summary of the effect of the proposed legislation.

There will be plenty of discussion that treats this as a "new" issue. That's because the public is too lazy to seek and review recent history.


S. 3614. A bill to provide comprehensive procedures for the adjudication of cases involving unprivileged combatants; to the Committee on Armed Services. ...

Mr. SPECTER. ... Senator Durbin and I introduced a bill to handle the Guantanamo detainees on February 13, 2002. The issue was not picked up again until the Judiciary Committee held hearings last June, and this bill, which I am introducing today, I believe, will satisfy the requirements of the Supreme Court of the United States.

This bill provides for two divisions. One is for the people who are charged with specific offenses. We retain the description of a military commission. We provide that there would be three officers on the commission, one president--a presiding judge from the Judge Advocate General's Office. Also an attorney will be provided for the accused, there will be competent evidence, there will be cross-examination and a unanimous verdict.

In the event of the use of classified information, we prescribe that the provisions of the Confidential Information Protection Act would govern, which is a statute which has been used in our courts for many years, which authorizes the presiding judge to sift through the information and make available to the defense whatever is appropriate and not classified. And if it is classified, then to make it available at the discretion of the judge to the attorney.

The attorney for the accused would be cleared through regular channels to deal with classified information so that we would be protecting the classified information by having it viewed only by someone authorized to take a look at it, so that the defense lawyer would be able to use it in the defense of his client. That is not a perfect situation, but that is the way we have dealt with confidential information under the so-called Confidential Information Protection Act.

In our legislation, we also deal with the enemy combatants. These are the individuals who have been detained at Guantanamo under an arrangement where there is no limit as to the length of their detention. That has caused considerable angst, considerable objection. But it is a very difficult matter. When we are in a war, fighting terrorists--and we should never lose our focus that we are in that war and that there are continuing dangers and we have to protect Americans--until somebody has a better idea, they are going to be detained. Some have been released and some of those released have been found on the battlefields killing Americans, so the detention of enemy combatants is an ongoing issue.

Our legislation provides that there would be a classification tribunal so that there would be a review of their status, to make a determination on a periodic basis that they continue to be a threat to the United States, either on the continent or because they will go back and fight a war. We provide for an attorney, again, an attorney who would be cleared to view classified information.

The issue of evidence is much more difficult because these enemy combatants are frequently taken into custody in a battlefield situation where competent evidence is not present, so we allow for hearsay.

In the Supreme Court opinion, if there is a showing of necessity, there is leeway granted in terms of defining sufficient due process. The Supreme Court found, for example, that the President had demonstrated sufficiently that there could not be trials in the U.S. Federal district courts, so ruling that out was fine. It was acceptable. And leeway, too, for some deviation from all of the generalized rules might be acceptable. The Supreme Court really didn't reach the issue of granting leeway because they didn't have a specific situation, but there would have to be a showing of necessity, a showing that no other system would work.

Wes Pruden on Immigration

The closing paragraph is perhaps inflammatory, but it does illustrate the need to "watch what they do, not what they say."

The missing troops on the border
Published June 30, 2006

... The president's order assigning the National Guard to enforce border security, such as it is, has been suspect from the beginning. The order sounded forceful and dramatic, but was received with considerable skepticism because on second thought it sounded as mostly sound and little fury, signifying not very much. The president's heart is with amnesty, by whatever they're calling it at the White House, and sending weary and exhausted National Guardsmen to "assist" the Border Patrol will neither secure the border nor staunch the gusher of desperate illegals, mostly Mexicans, pouring into the country in search of work. Immigration reform is as elusive as ever. Counting on the National Guard to render the politics harmless is merely blowing more smoke.

Talk Show Transcript Links - Jul 02, 2006

CBS: Face The Nation
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller
Specter, Levin

CNN: Late Edition
Reps. Peter King and Barney Frank
Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin
Singer Tony Orlando

Fox News Sunday - Reed and Graham,2933,201851,00.html
Fox News Sunday - NASA Administrator Michael Griffin,2933,201849,00.html

Fox News Sunday Podcast (MP3 - 20 Mb),4369,118,00.xml

NBC: Meet the Press (MP3 podcast - 12 Mb)
McConnell, Schumer
Bill Bennett, John Harwood, Dana Priest, William Safire

NBC - Meet the Press July 02, 2006 Transcript

Talk Show Transcript Archives

Fox News Sunday Show,2976,108,00.html

Meet the Press

Real Clear Politics Transcript Archive

More on the Hamdan Decision

Hat tip to for noting the below article.

What the ruling says--and what it doesn't say
By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

... Indeed, none of the justices questioned the government's right to detain Salim Ahmed Hamdan (once Osama bin Laden's driver), or other Guantanamo prisoners, while hostilities continue. Nor did any of them suggest that Mr. Hamdan, or any other Guantanamo detainee, must be treated as civilians and accorded a speedy trial in the civilian courts. ...

And in a bit lighter vein, this from Top Ten Things You Can Say About Hamdan Case

9. How about the Chief Justice? Now he has to spend all summer thinking about how five of his colleagues on the bench think he got the most important case of his life, so far anyway, completely wrong. Yes, it was John G. Roberts, Jr.'s appeals court ruling, announced last July when he still was on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that the Court's majority eviscerated Thursday.

The above found by navigating this post at, which is loaded with informative and thought-provoking links.

UPDATE - July 4 @ 8:50

More Snips from June 29 Congressional Record

Most of the below speaks for itself. Reid in favor of more guns in airplanes? Senator Cornyn thinks taxes in Mexico need to be doubled? Senator Landrieu chimes in with another option for estate/death tax reform. And Senator Frist rewards parliamentarian Frumin by causing the authoritative set of Senate Rules (now "Riddick's") to be reissued as "Frumin's".


By Mr. REID:

S. 3621. A bill to permit certain local law enforcement officers to carry firearms on aircraft; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I rise today to reintroduce legislation I originally introduced last Congress, a bill to make air travel safer by allowing local law enforcement to carry their firearms on aircrafts, the Safer Skies Act of 2006. ...


By Mr. CORNYN (for himself and Mr. COLEMAN):

S. 3622. A bill to authorize the President to negotiate the creation of a North American Investment Fund between the Governments of Canada, of Mexico, and of the United States to increase the economic competitiveness of North America in a global economy; to the Committee on Foreign Relations. ...

I have come to view the creation of a North American Investment Fund as both central to our relationship with Mexico and necessary to ensure the economic prosperity of North America as part of an ever-changing and growing global economy. I hope that this legislation will be a useful vehicle to help jump-start discussions on this very important topic.

My bill authorizes the President to negotiate the creation of a North American Investment Fund with the governments of Canada and Mexico. The fund can only be created if Mexico satisfies two conditions.

First, the Government of Mexico must raise tax revenue to 18 percent of the gross domestic product of Mexico. Their current tax rate is approximately 9 percent.

Second, Mexico must develop and execute a program of economic reforms to increase private investment and economic growth, while also maintaining economic stability in Mexico.

These steps are of the utmost importance because any lasting changes in Mexico must start from within.

The purpose of this fund is to reinforce efforts already underway in Mexico to ensure their own economic development. The funding would make grants available for projects to construct roads in Mexico to facilitate trade, to develop and expand their education programs, to build infrastructure for the deployment of communications services and to improve job training and workforce development for high-growth industries.



S. 3626. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide estate tax relief and reform, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance. ...

... If you are an estate of less than $10 million, you will pay no tax. If you are a single person with $5 million or an estate worth $10 million, you have to pay income tax, you will pay capital gains tax, you will pay payroll tax, you will pay a lot of other taxes that come with the rights and privileges of being an American citizen, but you will not pay an estate tax. Only those estates over $10 million will pay the tax. And those over $100 million--which I would call superstates--would pay a little more than those that are in the middle.


By Mr. FRIST (for himself, Mr. Reid, Mr. Stevens, and Mr. Byrd):

S.J. Res. 40. A joint resolution authorizing the printing and binding of a supplement to, and revised edition of, Senate Procedure; considered and passed. ...


(a) In General.--Each of the following documents shall be prepared under the supervision of Alan Frumin, Parliamentarian and Parliamentarian Emeritus of the Senate, and shall be printed and bound as a Senate document:

(1) A supplement to ``Riddick's Senate Procedure'', to be styled ``Frumin's Supplement to Riddick's Senate Procedure''.

(2) A revised edition of ``Riddick's Senate Procedure'', to be styled ``Frumin's Senate Procedure''.

(b) Copies.--One thousand five hundred copies of each document described in subsection (a) shall be printed for distribution to Senators and for the use of the Senate.

The name "Frumin" likely doesn't ring a bell, because the parliamentarian is a relatively obscure position. But it wasn't obscure last May, when the Senate was wrangling with the application and abuse of cloture in the context of judicial nominations.

A Likely Script for The 'Nuclear Option'
By Mike Allen and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 18, 2005; Page A01

... The rule change Frist is seeking to bar the use of the filibuster for judicial nominations has been dubbed the "nuclear option" because of its potential to disrupt the Senate and shatter what little comity remains between Republicans and Democrats. ...

Also, some Democrats have advanced evidence that the GOP gambit lacks support from the Senate parliamentarian, the official who typically rules on what is allowable under the chamber's rules and precedents.

Reid told reporters last month that the parliamentarian, Alan S. Frumin, had told him that he opposed the Republicans' plan and that "if they do this, they will have to overrule him."

Frumin, who was appointed by Republican leaders in 2001, has not been granting interviews. But a senior Republican Senate aide confirmed that Frist does not plan to consult Frumin at the time the nuclear option is deployed. "He has nothing to do with this," the aide said. "He's a staffer, and we don't have to ask his opinion."


Parliamentarian would oppose 'nuclear option'
By Geoff Earle
April 14, 2005

... When he was majority leader, Lott appointed the parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, after firing his predecessor, Bob Dove.

Reid received the assurance from the parliamentarian during a private conversation within the past few weeks, according to aides. Reid told reporters this week that the parliamentarian assured him that, if Republicans go through with the move, "they will have to overrule him, because what they are doing is wrong."

The brave founders of the United States held certain principles to be self-evident, needing no explanation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And on this fourth of July, I remind the reader that the definition of "unalienable" has no particularly lofty connotation. "Unalienable" simply means the "object" can't be transfered to another person. You can't cause your life-force to animate a dead or dying friend or relative - your life is yours, and yours alone. Sure, you can "give" it in the sense that you lose it, but it doesn't "go" to somebody else and can't bring the dead back to life.

Likewise liberty, the freedom to go where one chooses and do what one wants. Just try to swap your liberty for the lost liberty of a prison convict. And the "pursuit of happiness" is quite personal, none of us can transfer our pursuit to anybody else.

Some things are just so wrapped up in one's personal self that they may properly be labeled "unalienable." Even if one's personal life, personal liberty, and personal pursuit of happiness is taken, they cannot be given to another person. Indeed, governments routinely deprive people of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

But the wonderful Declaration of Independence stands for the radical proposition that the people are the ultimate master of their government, and that just powers of government depend on the voluntary consent of the governed.

Happy Independence Day!

UPDATE - July 5 @ 9:05

The Senate Judiciary Committee is working over the July 4th recess, and has scheduled several meetings for later this month.

FIELD HEARING--Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will conduct a field hearing on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. on "Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Examining the Need for a Guest Worker Program" at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, PA.


Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: Establishing a Constitutional Process

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: Establishing a Constitutional Process" for Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 216 of the Senate Hart Office Building.

I thought this was an interesting paragraph, near the end of a rather predictable (but informative) article.

Washington Prowler - SWIFT Deposits
Published 7/5/2006 12:09:19 AM

To that end, the Justice Department has quietly and unofficially begun looking into possible sources for the leak. "We don't think it's someone currently employed by the government or involved in law enforcement or the intelligence community," says another Justice source. "That stuff about 'current and former' sources just doesn't wash. No one currently working on terrorism investigations that use SWIFT data would want to leak this or see it leaked by others. We think we're looking at fairly high-ranking, former officials who want to make life difficult for us and what we do for whatever reasons."

And another one from The American Spectator ...

In the Name of God, Go
By Jed Babbin
Published 7/5/2006 12:08:15 AM

For all the political hype surrounding the Supreme Court's decision last week in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, there's nothing in it that places time constraints on what comes next. In that opinion, and the preceding decision in Hamdi, the court confirmed that we can keep terrorist detainees behind the wire until the conflict is over. And -- given the rate at which we're prosecuting this war -- that may be in 2525. The military tribunals are aimed to try and punish a very small number (less than a dozen of 450-odd detainees at Gitmo). So why rush into legislation a law reconstituting the military tribunals when so few are affected? Let's take our time and do it right. Over the next three or four years.

But, you say, what about confirming all the judges the President has nominated? Well, sad to say, there are only three ready for a Senate floor vote: Boyle, Myers and Smith. Seven more -- including Defense Department general counsel Jim Haynes -- are being considered by Specter's Judiciary Committee. Four of them were nominated in May of this year so we can't say they're being held up unreasonably, and to get them confirmed this year is a pipe dream. Haynes is caught -- thanks to preening putz Lindsey Graham and a couple of others -- in a maze he'll never escape. Would it be great to get even the three floor votes? Sure. But don't bet on it, even if Congress stays through its current October 6 adjournment date. McCain's group still controls floor votes and confirmation of conservative judges is not one of its priorities.

UPDATE @ 11:30

C-SPAN is carrying the Senate field hearing live. The prepared testimony is online, at the link above (FIELD HEARING--Comprehensive Immigration Reform)

The witnesses today are all strongly in favor of increased immigration levels. This hearing is a farce, compared with the more balanced "Immigration Hearing - Tuesday, April 25, 2006", where a set of information more useful for policy-making was presented.

A House hearing (by the Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation) is scheduled for today as well, at noon eastern time. Hopefully it will be televised too. See Immigration hearings to stir pot by Nicole Gaouette of the Los Angeles Times for a brief rundown of the House plan, and the proposed response by (some) Democrats.

Link to Subcommittee on International Terrorism House hearing of July 5, and Link to House hearing scheduled for Friday, July 7.

UPDATE July 9 @ 14:25

Links to today's talk show transcripts and podcasts (not all of which are online, as of yet), and a snip of a news story that isn't apt to make much in the way of a splash.

Sen. Hatch Helps Secure Release of Music Producer Dallas Austin

Hatch spokesman Peter Carr said he did not know whether the senator and Austin had ever met, but he confirmed that both employ Atlanta entertainment lawyer Joel A Katz. Hatch has written and recorded hundreds of religious and patriotic songs.

Talk Show Transcript Links - Jul 09, 2006

CBS: Face The Nation
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns
McCain, Dodd

CNN: Late Edition
Lindsey Graham, Barbara Boxer
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns
Iraqi Ambassador Samir Al Sumaidaie
Alexander Haig, Zbigniew Brzezinski

Fox News Sunday - Nicholas Burns,2933,202692,00.html
Fox News Sunday - Wendy Sherman, Peter Hoekstra, James Woolsey

Fox News Sunday Podcast (MP3 - 45 Mb),4369,118,00.xml

NBC: Meet the Press (MP3 podcast - 12 Mb)
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns
Robert Galluci, dean of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service
Ashton Carter
Bill Richardson

NBC - Meet the Press July 09, 2006 Transcript

UPDATE July 10 @ 7:15

Time to start a new month in the Senate, and soon a new post, but noting here that the talk show links have been updated and corrected so all the links are working, I think. Also noting that the leak of Hoekstra's letter of May 18, 2006 has set off an interesting chain of talk.

The best commentary I've found on the subject is at Tom Maguire's "Justoneminute" blog, at Hoekstra - CIA Group "Intentionally Undermined" Administration and the more speculative What Is Heating Up Hoekstra? The second piece suggests the "program" that Hoekstra is requesting more cooperation on is the finding of WMD's in Iraq.

I don't think the finding of WMD in Iraq is the "program" Hoekstra is noting in his letter, but it is a bit of fun speculation.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Senate Live - June 29, 2006

The Senate is scheduled to open at 9:30. Morning business is scheduled for the first 2 hours. After that, debate and vote on S.3569 - A bill to implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement, with a vote expected sometime in the afternoon.

I expect the Senate to wind down its business this week with its customary whimper.


The President made nominations to fill four Circuit Court vacancies, raising the total number of open nominations to Circuit Courts to thirteen, three of which remain from the 1st session (2005) of the 109th Congress.

  • Kent A. Jordan to the 3rd Circuit
  • Raymond M. Kethledge to the 6th Circuit
  • Debra Ann Livingston to the 2nd Circuit
  • Stephen Joseph Murphy, III to the 6th Circuit

The Circuit Court Nominations Summary will be updated to reflect these nominations.

And in the same vein, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings yesterday on the nominations of Bobby E. Shepherd and Kimberly Ann Moore, and is scheduled to have an executive meeting starting at 9:30 today where it may report out the nominations of Gorsuch and/or Holmes.

But get a load of this ...

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy
Hearing on Judicial Nominations
June 28, 2006

... I have praised the Republican Senate leadership this past month for wisely passing over the controversial nominations of William Gerry Myers III, Terrence W. Boyle and Norman Randy Smith to turn to well-qualified nominees that could be easily confirmed. The Republican leadership was right to have avoided such controversial nominations that were only reported on a party-line vote.

However, I am concerned that again the Republican leadership is heeding the clarion call of the far right-wing to pick a fight over the nomination of Judge Boyle to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Senator Leahy goes on to call for the Boyle nomination to be withdrawn, or if not withdrawn, to conduct a second set of hearings. In Leahy's letter, one can see the reason that the Senate GOP leadership is calling for more nominees - it prefers to reject nominees through inaction, and is not prepared to take up the contentions nominations.

T.R. Goldman of the Legal Times has this piece that well summarizes the approach being taken by Senators Specter, Frist and certain members of the Gang of 14 - and includes a fascinating history that shows the depth of Senatorial pique.


Awaiting SCOTUS to hand down its opinion and order in the Hamdan case as well, scheduled timing for that release is 10:00 AM, with news reports to no doubt follow very quickly thereafter.


Some context for Senator Murray's speech of Tuesday, June 27, relating to EU taxpayer subsidies for Airbus ...

Boeing sees Airbus aid ploy to build rival jet
By Jeffrey Sparshott - THE WASHINGTON TIMES
June 29, 2006

... Industry analysts expect Airbus to announce a new aircraft design, possibly called the A370, at the Farnborough International Airshow, which runs from July 17 to 23 in England. ... A request for government aid likely would follow, Mr. Aboulafia said.

The Bush administration in October 2004 filed its WTO case, saying European governments had subsidized Airbus with $15 billion in loans for new projects since 1992.

The European Union responded with its own WTO suit. The 25-nation bloc said Boeing had received $23 billion in subsidies since 1992, including local tax breaks, defense contracts, NASA research and other support.


Here is an example of typical government bureaucracy and scapegoating.

VA Worker Had OK for Data Later Stolen
By HOPE YEN - Associated Press Writer
June 29, 2006

VA Secretary Jim Nicholson and other top department officials were to testify Thursday before a House committee investigating the government's largest computer security breach.

According to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press, the VA data analyst faulted for losing personal data for up to 26.5 million veterans had the department's approval to access millions of Social Security numbers on a laptop from home. ...

VA officials have said the firing was justified because the analyst violated department procedure by taking the data home. ...

The VA has spent more than $16 million to set up a call center and to notify veterans by letter. It is spending an additional $200,000 a day to maintain the center.


And a couple Op/Ed columns that are worth reading in their entirety. Watch for the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act to appear before the Senate at some point in time, maybe a couple years from now.

Spending virus
By Steve Chapman
Published June 25, 2006

... The average Republican member of the House voted to boost spending by $168 billion, while Democrats averaged $178 billion. In the Senate, Republicans were even less frugal than in the House, voting for $183 billion in new spending on average. But Senate Democrats bid even higher, averaging $217 billion. These figures don't even count spending on entitlements and other "mandatory" programs, which are also running out of control.


Budding oil price relief?
By Lawrence Kudlow
Published June 29, 2006

... There's even good news from Washington on the energy front. The House Resources Committee, chaired by California Republican Richard Pombo, has just delivered the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, which will give coastal states the authority to drill 100 miles or more offshore. This will allow for exploration and production in the deep seas and on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), where kajillions in oil and gas reserves are waiting to be siphoned. It also will provide the coastal states with significant oil and gas royalties. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi opposes this, but the bill has strong bipartisan support.

UPDATE @ 9:40

As usual, a number of interesting conversations at, including this comment by "Gregg":

Insider said last year at this time that there would be two retirements with Rehnquist and O'Connor in the summer and that a third retirement [interpreted to be Souter] may be made later in the term [January, 2006] or at the end of the term. Souter may be trumped again by Stevens. I think Stevens will announce his retirement within days followed immediately by Souter.

One can always hope.


With regard to the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, ScotusBlog has a preview of "what to look for". Be sure to click through to The Importance of Geneva Common Article 3 and Battle Royale at the Pentagon at the "Balkanization" site. Hamdan is a very important decision that aims to flesh out the grey area between civil law and the law of war.

From The Importance of Geneva Common Article 3 ...

The Hamdan court defers to the President's judgment, reasoning that the conflict with Al Qaeda is not limited to Afghanistan, but extends to "other regions, including this country," as well. The court, in other words, construes the phrase "not of an international character" to refer to a geographical condition. This is the only holding of the Hamdan court that prompted a dissent. Judge Williams concludes, by contrast, that the word "international" means "between nations," and that because Al Qaeda is not a nation, Common Article 3 applies to our conflict with that organization. ...

First, the President concluded and decreed that Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions] does not apply by its terms to our conflicts with al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is this conclusion that the divided court of appeals affirmed on Friday. ...

What is very new -- and very ominous -- is the President's determination that the United States will not uniformly apply the standards of Common Article 3 as a matter of policy, thereby deviating from more than a half-century of consistent U.S. practice.

A considerable amount of background for the informed speculation of outcome (the administration will be defending some "habeas corpus" aspect of Gitmo cases in Article III Courts) can be found in this piece of March 28 - also from ScotusBlog - indicating that the administration met with what appeared to be strong disagreement during oral argument.

UPDATE @ 9:50

It appears the Senate is moving toward a vehicle to move the immigration bill to conference, but it is no surprise that Senator Brownback, a proponent of relatively open borders and an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, agrees with Senator Reid on this.

I do too - better to move something into conference so negotiations can continue.

Senator Brownback goes on to deliver about 20 minutes of speech against funding for embryonic stem cell research, but in favor of umbilical blood cell research, and adult stem cell research.

UPDATE @ 10:20

From yesterday ...

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I understand there is a bill at the desk. I ask for its first reading. ...

A bill (S. 3590) to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to delay the effective date of the amendments made by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 requiring documentation evidencing citizenship or nationality as a condition for receipt of medical assistance under the Medicaid program.

Figures. A bill to delay a date of implementation. This will be passed on unanimous consent at some point in the future. Likely without debate. There isn't even any language to accompany its introduction.

UPDATE @ 10:21

Hamdan was decided.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Congress did not take away the Court's authority to rule on the military commissions' validity, and then went ahead to rule that President Bush did not have authority to set up the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the "military commissions" illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention. The vote was 5-3, with the Chief Justice not taking part.

The Court expressly declared that it was not questioning the government's power to hold Salim Ahmed Hamdan "for the duration of active hostilities" to prevent harm to innocent civilians. But, it said, "in undertaking to try Hamdan and subject him to criminal punishment, the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction."

Here is a (future) link to the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (05-184), 2006

More links, later, as news reports and commentary filter out.

UPDATE @ 10:56

Andrew McCarthy agrees with the administration, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions does not apply to the people held at Gitmo.

Keep clicking on the ScotusBlog announcement - it is being updated periodically as the blog authors (hat tip to Marty Lederman - I am a big fan of ScotusBlog) read and analyze the ruling.

See also, just printed Hamdan Summary -- And HUGE News, which says, in part:

The Court appears to have held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"--including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administration has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

I think I will avoid linking to mainstream media reports on this subject for now, on the principle that their first reports, especially on complex legal matters, are ill informed and inaccurate. There are plenty of political chatboards that will occupy themselves with the initial drek put out by the press. As a caveat, if I read one that appears well composed and analytical, I'll link it here.


Meanwhile, in the Senate, Senator McCain is trumpeting the success of the McCain-Feingold law, as the amount of money donated to politicians has increased the number of small donors. McCain is on a rail against 527 organizations.

UPDATE @ 11:15

The Hamdan decision is now online - 1.4 Mb in size. Read it, and bypass the pundits.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (05-184), 2006

UPDATE @ 16:20

Senator Specter is on the Hamdan case. He points out that the Graham amendment relating to jurisdiction did not accomplish what Senator Graham purported, and that SCOTUS took the case in spite of the Graham amendment. He's rubbing salt into Senator Graham. This may play out, looking forward, as Senators Graham and Kyl aim to legislate tribunals that comport with the Hamdan decision.

UPDATE @ 18:35

Senate is onto stem cell stuff, with Reid and Frist exchanging kudos. It's clear (again) that Senator Frist favors, strongly supports, embryonic stem cell research.

UPDATE @ 18:58

Senate is done for the weekend Homeland Security Approriations Bill will be up at 5:30 PM on Monday, July 10.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Senate Live - June 28, 2006

The Senate is scheduled to open at 9:30 AM for a period of morning business to last 2 hours.

Senator Frist laid out two items of business that he expected to occur in the next hours.

One item relates to a Free Trade Agreement with Oman, which was sent to Congress by President Bush on Monday; and the other being a nomination of Henry Paulson. Mr. Paulson has been nominated to eight different positions over the course of the Bush administration, and was nominated for the position of Secretary of the Treasury on June 19. His nomination is currently before the Committee on Finance.

Other items recently elevated as if for consideration are an estate/death tax bill (H.R.5638, which is on the Senate's legislative calendar) and a legislative line-item veto (H.R.4890), which was passed by the house but has yet to be read first and second times in the Senate.

In other news, if I was in Chris Cannon's district in Utah, my vote against him would have come down on the losing side of the race -- Chris Cannon won his primary challenge handily.

UPDATE @ 13:30

Some reading to pass the time while the Senators drone about whatever floats their boats.

Paulson Gives Pause
By The Prowler - Published 6/28/2006

According to sources familiar with the prep sessions with Paulson, the former Wall Street executive and well-known supporter of and financial contributor to Democrats could not get in line with the Bush administration's support for ending the estate or "death" tax, and permanent extension of the capital gains tax and other tax cuts that are due to expire in the next three years.

Link to Senate Hearing regarding Presidential Signing Statements

Iraq PM says insurgents who kill denied amnesty under reconciliation plan

"The fighter who did not kill anyone will be included in the amnesty, but the fighter who killed someone will not be," Maliki said ...

Judge Boyle deserves a vote
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole

I hasten to add, Haynes, Myers, and a further half a dozen other Circuit Court nominees deserve votes, too.

UPDATE @ 16:35

Henry Paulson was CONFIRMED for the position of Secretary of the Treasury on a voice vote. I think only Frist and Coburn were in the chambers.

Waiting now for Senator Frist to describe the schedule of events for the balance of the week.

UPDATE @ 18:26

Senator Frist closed shop. Some bill (number escaped me) with a purpose to condition Medicaid (Medicare?) payments on being a citizen was read a first or second time; and H.R.4912 (to amend section 242 of the National Housing Act to extend the exemption for critical access hospitals under the FHA program for mortgage insurance for hospitals) was passed.

The Senate will open tomorrow at 9:30, followed by 2 hours of morning business. After that, debate and a vote on S.3569, the Free Trade Agreement with Oman.

It appears that neither the estate tax measure, nor the legislation line item veto, nor any judicial nominations will be taken up by the Senate. Winding down for the Fourth of July recess.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Senate Live - June 27, 2006

The Senate resumes at 9:45.

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, today the Senate began the debate on the flag resolution. Tomorrow we will be rotating half-hour blocks of time, starting at 11 with the majority side for 30 minutes and the minority side for 30 minutes, rotating back and forth in this fashion until 5 p.m. There will be no votes until after the policy luncheons tomorrow.

Even the Senators seem bored with this matter. There is plenty of quiet time without being driven by some parliamentary maneuver.

Specter puts borders first
June 27, 2006

Mr. Specter said that although the Senate would insist on a guest-worker program and a path to citizenship for many illegal aliens in the final compromise bill, he is open to legislation that would make those proposals contingent on having a secure border and improved interior enforcement.

"It may be down the line that we will come to some terms on a timetable, with border security first and employment verification first," he said.

Such an amendment was offered during the Senate floor debate, but failed by a vote of 55-40, with Mr. Specter joining most Democrats and some Republicans in defeating it. Yesterday, Mr. Specter said he understands the sentiment of those who want enforcement first.

I'll be watching the Utah GOP primary race involving Chris Cannon. If I lived in Utah, I would be voting against him. With vigor.

Immigration the Utah House Battle Issue
Associated Press
By BROCK VERGAKIS , 06.26.2006, 02:38 PM

... Cannon won the seat in 1996, in part by arguing that the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bill Orton, was soft on immigration. In 2004, Cannon's actions on the issue prompted conservatives to back Matt Throckmorton, who managed 42 percent in his GOP primary loss.

On a separate subject, Senator Murry is up, arguing that market forces should predominate the aircraft building industry (Airbus v. Boeing), and that the US should intervene in the European government subsidies granted to Airbus.

UPDATE @ 17:38

All this talk about protecting the Bill of Rights makes me want to puke. Personal independence and freedom are vastly diminished due to the "work" of Congress and the rest of the federal apparatus. See serious incursions to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th and 10th amendments. How anybody can, with a straight face, assert that the 1st amendment has been protected, while at the same time McCain/Feingold is the law of the land, enforced at credible use of force, is NOT amusing to this writer.

Not that I'm for the anti-desecration amendment, I am strongly against it, but the assertion that the Congress has properly cared for and supported the Constitution is insulting to those who understand the Constitution.

UPDATE @ 17:55

Vote is on the Durbin amendment. Senator Byrd calls out, loud enough to be picked up by C-SPAN2's microphone, "Why don't we have the clerk read the amendment before the Senate votes on it?" He didn't get his wish.

This amendment will not pass. The resolution itself might (it needs 2/3rds), but shouldn't. If all 50 states have laws, why bother with a constitutional amendment?

UPDATE @ 18:14

The DURBIN amendment No. 4543 was REJECTED on a 36 - 64 vote. Purpose: a substitute for a constitutional amendment, creating a statutory violation for flag desecration.

The Durbin amendment had a number of GOP supporters. I notice 100 votes too, Senator Rockefeller must be back.

Next ... voting on S.Res.12

UPDATE @ 18:32

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 was REJECTED on a 66 - 34 vote.

It doesn't get any closer than that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Senate Live - June 26, 2006

The Senate is scheduled to open at 2:00 PM today, and its business is expected to be short and simple. In order to obtain some entertainment, I clipped material from recent issues of the Congressional Record, and recent stories in the news.

First a peek into action scheduled for today ...

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.)

H.J.Res.10, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, passed Thursday, June 22 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.

Senate Debate - Amnesty for Iraqis

  • Expressing opposition to Prime Minister Maliki plan for amnesty: June 15: Menendez, Nelson, Schumer, Nelson, Reid -- June 20: Levin -- June 21: Boxer
  • Repudiating assertion of plan for amnesty, with repudiation based on denial by Dr. Rubaie, National Security Adviser in Iraq: June 15: Sessions, McConnell, Cornyn, Warner
  • Asserting that Iraq should be free to negotiate terms of amnesty in order to facilitate internal reconciliation: June 15: Stevens, Alexander, McCain

Debate of June 15, 2006

Nelson/Menendez amendment No. 4265 introduced.

Mr. STEVENS. ... I wonder seriously about what the Senator from Florida is doing by telling this new fledgling democracy that they cannot go through the process of cleansing, go through the process of trying to get people who were misguided, who were part of coalitions that they now are willing to recant, if they are, to come forward and support this new democracy. What are we doing anyway on the floor of the Senate trying to tell the new democracy what they can and can't do? I didn't like that story when I read it in the paper this morning, but I was happy to see the new statement from the security people that clarified what they intend to do.

But the time will come, if that democracy is going to succeed, when they are going to have to fold into their population those who are willing now to give up terrorism, those who are willing to put aside the activities of the past which led them to attack Americans as well as any other--there are 34 other nations over there. Are we saying just those who did kill Americans, they can't get amnesty, but the rest of them can?

What are we doing on the floor of the Senate trying to debate an issue as to how this country is going to come back together again? I am sort of appalled at it, really. I don't know if anyone else is. But it seems to me that we ought to do everything we can to encourage them to bring their people together, to forget the sins of the past, to forget the terrorists of the past, and to pledge themselves to a new future of democracy and have people come forward and say: I am willing to support this new democracy. And if they do, and demonstrate that they do after a period of time, shouldn't they be recognized as being loyal citizens of the new democracy? ...

I really wish the Senator from Florida would have the courage to withdraw the amendment, just withdraw it and say it was a political effort. This is nothing but politics. I will vote to table it or vote against it in good conscience.


Mr. McCAIN. ... But the larger issue here is, I believe, that our goal is to bring an end to the conflict as quickly as possible in Iraq. If that means, in return for laying down their arms, that some are allowed an amnesty or allowed to reenter the society of Iraq, in a peaceful manner, in a productive manner, as has happened in South Africa, El Salvador--and is happening in Colombia--and many other insurgencies throughout history, then I think we should welcome it. And as we place our confidence in the new Government of Iraq, perhaps we should give them some latitude.

McConnell amendment No. 4272 introduced.

Debate of June 16, 2006

Mr. REID. ... Yesterday, Democrats offered an amendment to express the sense of the Senate that Iraq not grant amnesty to terrorists who kill our troops as part of their reconciliation plan. The amendment came in response to reports that the Iraqi Prime Minister was in favor of such a proposal.

But instead of joining us in a debate about this amendment, the majority, the Republicans, decided to play a political game and quickly claimed the Iraqi Prime Minister had been ``misquoted'' and offered some procedural gimmicks to stop a vote from taking place on this amendment.

But, just this morning, there is more news that the Prime Minister has talked about and does favor amnesty to those Iraqis who kill American troops. It is all over the country in the news. For example, it is on page 22 of the Washington Post. The aide who first leaked the story has now resigned, but he stands by what he said. Today, he is quoted as saying:

The prime minister himself has said that he is ready to give amnesty to the so-called resistance, provided they have not been involved in killing Iraqis.

Debate of June 20, 2006

Mr. McCONNELL. So I ask one final question of my friend from Virginia. Since the Nelson amendment basically addresses a nonexistent problem and the McConnell amendment simply asserts what we already know to be the policy of the Iraqi Government, that it would likely be a good idea for the Senate to go on record as supporting both of these amendments at this juncture?

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I think, certainly in my judgment, that would be an acceptable situation because there is clarity in the amendment of the Senator from Kentucky about a point that is very important to me; i.e, sovereignty, exercise of that. With no disrespect to the Senator from Florida, I believed his amendment as originally drafted, and the intent, was to reach across the ocean and have the U.S.A. reach into the Government and try to dictate what was to be done. So I believe the Senator is correct in that, and I join him in that suggestion to our colleagues.

McCONNELL amendment No. 4272 was
PASSED on a 64 - 34 vote
No Republican voted NAY.

NELSON amendment No. 4265
PASSED on a 79 - 19 vote
The 19 Senators AGAINST: Allard, Bond, Bunning, Burns, Coburn, Cochran, Cornyn, DeMint, Enzi, Graham, Hagel, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, McCain, Sessions, Stevens, Thomas and Warner.

Debate of June 21, 2006

Mrs. BOXER. ... I cannot believe it. They are still killing our soldiers, and the Republicans in the Senate are saying: Oh, give the Iraqi Government a chance. In their wisdom, they will do the right thing. Well, they are not doing the right thing when they are considering giving amnesty to those who are hurting, killing, brutalizing our troops. I cannot believe it.


Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from New Jersey for a really excellent summary and a terrific statement about what this is about and what is at stake. I thank him also for in the short time he has been here he has really proven to be indispensable for a number of different debates we have had and for his work in the last few days on no amnesty for those who have killed Americans. It had a major impact on our policy. We thank him so much for that contribution.

A selection of items from the debate of June 22, 2006, regarding (ostensibly) the defense authorizations bill.


WARNER amendment No. 4523 To extend the termination date for the exemption of returning workers from the numerical limitations for temporary workers

At the end of subtitle I of title X, add the following:


Section 402(b)(10 of the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2005 (title IV of division B of Public Law 109-13; 8 U.S.C. 1184 note) is amended by striking ``2006'' and inserting ``2008''.


(a) In General.--Section 214(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
``(9)(A) Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), an alien who has already been counted toward the numerical limitations of paragraph (1)(B) during any 1 of the 3 fiscal years prior to the fiscal year of the approved start date of a petition for a nonimmigrant worker described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) shall not be counted toward such limitation for the fiscal year in which the petition is approved. Such an alien shall be considered a returning worker. ...

(b) <<NOTE: 8 USC 1184 note.>> Effective Date.--
(1) <<NOTE: Termination date.>> In general.--The amendment in subsection (a) shall take effect as if enacted on October 1, 2004, and shall expire on October 1, 2006 2008.


BIDEN amendment No. 4458 To ensure payment of United States assessments for United Nations peacekeeping operations in 2005, 2006, and 2007

At the appropriate place, insert the following:


(a) In General.--Section 404(b)(2)(B) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 (22 U.S.C. 287e note) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(v) For assessments made during calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007, 27.10 percent.''.


FEINGOLD amendment No. 4526 To require the President to develop a comprehensive strategy toward Somalia


FEINGOLD amendment No. 4527 To require a report on the feasibility of establishing a United States military regional combatant command for Africa


TALENT amendment No. 4530 To extend the patent term for the badges of the American Legion, the American Legion Women's Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion, and for other purposes

The term of design patents D54,296 (patented Dec. 9, 1919), D55,398 (patented June 1, 1920) and D92,187 (patented May 8, 1934) to be extended another 14 years.


Page: S6393 (June 22, 2006)

Mrs. BOXER. This week, the military informed two California families that their sons were shot and killed by the very same Iraqi troops they were training.

SGT Patrick McCaffrey and 1LT Andre Tyson were killed near Balad in 2004. At first, the Army told the families that these two National Guardsmen were killed by Iraqi insurgents.

An investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command determined in September 2005 that both soldiers were shot and killed by members of the Iraqi security forces.

In addition to the fact that Iraqi security forces are killing U.S. soldiers, this situation raises several troubling questions.

First, according to his parents, there were two prior incidents in which Sergeant McCaffrey was fired upon by Iraqi security forces and the chain of command took no action. Why was nothing done? Are there other incidents where American troops are being shot at by the Iraqi forces they are training?

Second, why did the Army close its investigation in September 2005 but fail to inform the family until June 2006? Was there a coverup of this incident? What other explanation could there be?

Third, why were the families denied official government reports on the events that led to the deaths of these two soldiers? One of the families needed the help of my office to make any progress in learning the truth. How could the Army treat the families of dead soldiers in such a callous and dismissive way? Where are the military case officers who are supposed to help the families of slain U.S. soldiers?

And, fourth, a Defense Department spokesmen has called this incident ``extremely rare.'' How can the Department of Defense conclude that the incident is rare when such incidents are evidently not being reported up the chain of command? Members of Sergeant McCaffrey's unit told his father that insurgents were offering Iraqi soldiers about $100 apiece for each American they could kill.

I ask the Senator from Michigan, is he willing to work with me to get answers to these troubling questions?

Mr. LEVIN. I share the Senator's concern and will work with her to address these important questions.

A selection of four items from the Senate's Congressional Record of June 23, 2006.


At 11:16 a.m., a message from the House of Representatives, delivered by Ms. Brandon, one of its reading clerks, announced that the House has passed the following bills, in which it requests the concurrence of the Senate: ...

H.R. 5638. An act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the unified credit against the estate tax to an exclusion equivalent of $5,000,000 and to repeal the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes, and for other purposes.


Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I now ask for a second reading, and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule XIV, I object to my own request.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard. The bill will be read for the second time on the next legislative day.

H.R.8 was on the same subject (death/estate tax repeal or modification), and was most recently considered in the Senate on June 7 and June 8, 2006, when the cloture motion on the motion to proceed to consideration was rejected.


Also sent over by the House, H.R. 4890. An act to amend the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to provide for the expedited consideration of certain proposed rescissions of budget authority.

H.R.4890 - Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006 passed the House on Thursday, June 22, on a 247 - 172 vote. See also the House debate of June 22.

The Senate did not advance this measure to its legislative calendar.

Bush pushes for line-item veto
June 25, 2006

President Bush yesterday called for the Senate to send him a bill establishing a legislative line-item veto, saying the tool is important to restrain spending and keep the economy growing.

The House has passed a version of the line-item veto that would give the president new powers to strip projects out of spending bills. Mr. Bush, in his weekly radio address, said it is time for the Senate do the same.


The following bills and joint resolutions were introduced, read the first and second times by unanimous consent, and referred as indicated: ...

By Mr. SANTORUM (for himself, Mr. TALENT, and Mr. ISAKSON):
S. 3564. A bill to provide for comprehensive border security and for other purposes; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

(Senate - June 23, 2006)

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a bill that I believe offers us an opportunity to move forward in the immigration debate. My bill takes a first-things-first approach. It is imperative that we secure our borders now. This first step cannot--and should not have to--wait for a ``comprehensive'' solution. Once we secure our borders, we can look at all of the other illegal immigration related issues that remain. There is a bipartisan consensus on what needs to be done on border security and the provisions that make up this consensus were included with other more controversial elements in S. 2611--the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. While the other body is holding hearings on the ``comprehensive'' part of that bill, we should not hold our border security hostage.


SA 4542. Mr. FRIST (for Mr. MCCONNELL (for himself and Mr. BIDEN)) proposed an amendment to the bill S. 2370, to promote the development of democratic institutions in areas under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, and for other purposes.

The bill (S. 2370) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, was read the third time, and passed.

Stop the world; some want to get off
By Arnaud de Borchgrave - June 24, 2006

Iran, which has the world's second-largest proven oil and natural gas reserves, has already foiled U.S. attempts to isolate it diplomatically. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew off to China in mid-June where he was invited to attend the 10-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which claims to represent "half the human race." SCO's China, Russia, four Central Asian states, and members-in-waiting India, Pakistan and Iran, appear to be emerging as a riposte and counterweight to the expansion of NATO in former Soviet Republics. "An energy club," Russian President Vladimir Putin called it. SCO's agenda is "joint security, energy, cooperation against terrorism, Islamist extremism and separatism." Evidently, Iran is not considered extremist in the East.

Tehran appears to have cast its lot with Russia and China to help develop its oil wealth -- China for capital to pay Russia's $225 billion Gazprom giant to develop the oil resources China needs. This would be part of the 10-year, $100 billion deal Iran made with China last year.


How Not to Deal With Islamic Extremism


Specter: White House Close to Deal on Codifying Wiretap Rules
(Same article at Washington Times)
AP/FoxNews - Sunday, June 25, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The White House is nearing an agreement with Congress on legislation that would write President Bush's warrantless surveillance program into law, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday. ...

"We're getting close with the discussions with the White House, I think, to having the wiretapping issue submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Specter told "FOX New Sunday." ...

When the president's nominee to head the CIA had confirmation hearings in the Senate in May, Michael Hayden told Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that he would support a congressional debate on modifying the law.

"We're having a lot of conversations about that," Specter said Sunday. He added that he and Vice President Dick Cheney have exchanged letters and that Cheney has indicated that he was serious about discussing the issue.

"I've talked to ranking officials in the White House, and we're close," Specter said. "I'm not making any predictions until we have it all nailed down, but I think there is an inclination to have it submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and that would be a big step forward for the protection of constitutional rights and civil liberties."


Rep. King Seeks Charges Against Papers Over Terror Reporting
AP/FoxNews - Sunday, June 25, 2006

King, R-N.Y., said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the nation's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of The New York Times -- the reporters, the editors and the publisher." ...

King's action was not endorsed by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, GOP Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

"On the basis of the newspaper article, I think it's premature to call for a prosecution of the New York Times, just like I think it's premature to say that the administration is entirely correct," Specter told "Fox News Sunday."


A refresher on the Hamdan case.

UPDATE @ 14:20

Senator Stevens made some sort of announcement (microphone was very muted), and the Senate was recessed subject to the call of the chair. Back by 16:00, perhaps sooner. Meanwhile, C-SPAN2 indicates that the subjects of debate and voting this week will be the flag anti-desecration amendment, and the revisit to estate/death tax modification.

UPDATE @ 14:58

Senate is back. RedSox are winning v. Phillies, 2-0, bottom of the sixth with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. Make that 3-0, with runners and 1st and 3rd.

UPDATE @ 16:15

RedSox are still ahead, the score is 6-5 at the top of the 9th.

Senate Democratic Policy Committee
An Oversight Hearing on Pre-War Intelligence Relating to Iraq

(Page has links to prepared testimony of witnesses, FWIW.)

Senator Reid's comments at the hearing are here.

Senator Specter opens debate on the flag anti-desecration amendment.

UPDATE @ 18:35

RedSox won in the 12th inning. Walk-off single by David Ortiz.

Senator Durbin droned that the flag anti-desecration amendment is a political stunt, one of several pulled out in election years.

Senator McConnell rose to close shop.

H.Con.Res.367, Honoring and praising the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution on the 100th anniversary of being granted its Congressional Charter, passed.

H.R.5638, to increase the unified credit against the estate tax to an exclusion equivalent of $5,000,000 and to repeal the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes, was read a second time.

Dodd to speak for up to 20 minutes, then the Senate to be adjourned until 9:45 tomorrow. Morning business to 11:00 AM, after which the Senate will resume consideration of S.J.Res.12, with debate equally divided until 5:00 PM.

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 ...


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 ...


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.)


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

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

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.