Monday, June 18, 2007

H.R.6 - CLEAN Energy Act (Week 2)

The Senate will open at 2:00 p.m., and will resume consideration of the energy bill at 3:30 p.m.

The early part of this week will be dedicated to completion of H.R.6 - CLEAN Energy Act of 2007. Previous discussion here.

Following completion of the energy bill, the Senate will again take up the subject of comprehensive immigration reform.

H.R.6 - Summary of Action
June 11: S.Amdts. 1500 - 1504
June 11: (S.Amdt.1502 is in the nature of a substitute)
June 12: S.Amdts. 1505 - 1527
June 13: S.Amdts. 1528 - 1561
June 14: S.Amdts. 1561 - 1609
June 15: S.Amdts. 1610 - 1622
June 18: S.Amdts. 1623 - 1654
June 19: S.Amdts. 1655 - 1715
June 20: S.Amdts. 1716-1804, 1817-19
June 21: S.Amdts. 1820-43, 1856-61

Debate of June 12: Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV
Debate of June 13: Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV
Debate of June 14: Part I
Debate of June 15: Part I - Part II
Debate of June 18: Part I - Part II - Part III
Debate of June 19: Part I - Part II - Part III
Debate of June 20: Part I - Part II
Debate of June 21: Part I

H.R.6 CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, was
PASSED on June 21st, on a 65 - 27 vote.

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The final few pages of Senate - Week of June 11, 2007 touch on the renewal of the debate on comprehensive immigration reform, in particular reviewing predictions for the parliamentary procedure that will be used to bring the subject of comprehensive immigration reform back to the floor of the Senate. I think the Senate will simply pick up S.1348 (currently pending) where it left off. On the other hand, some Senate staffers have been spouting via NRO that the Senate will introduce a new bill and repeat the "motion to proceed" jig.

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HT to howappealing.law.com, a good essay on last weeks al Marri decision: The Al-Marri Decision: A Victory for One Man, and for a Principle, But One With Limited or Nonexistent Practical Consequence - By JESSELYN RADACK.

On the same subject, another HT to howappealing for a link to When 'enemy combatants' aren't - By ROBYN BLUMNER. This one doesn't offer solutions, and is phrased as a stinging rebuke against unfettered executive power. Still, I found it a good read for the accurate factual summary, and for the examples of other bad guys that the US contends with.

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Great headline (and encouraging news for the GOP) from Washington Times: Democratic Congress shows cracks. They're mooning the public?!!

UPDATE @ 14:10

No roll call votes today. Managers will work on disposing of non-contentious amendments.

Heh - Senator Reid pronounces "Amish" with a long "A" sound. Mr. Reid, it's "Ahhh-mish." At any rate, I'm listening for clues as to the timing of energy bill wrap up. "Sometime this week," he says, "unless something goes haywire ... then we're gonna move on to everyone's favorite subject, immigration."

Okay, he provides his calendar time/estimate. Senator Reid says the immigration bill will probably come up late in the day, Thursday, with debate and voting carrying through the weekend, and even votes before 5:30 p.m. on Monday, the 25th.


UPDATE @ June 19

Five votes are scheduled, beginning just after the party luncheon period (after 2:15 p.m.). The first two votes will be on the two amendments offered yesterday, Bunning's S.Amdt.1628 then Tester's S.Amdt.1614. After a period of debate, votes follow at about 5:00 p.m. on Kohl's S.Amdt.1519 (NOPEC), Thune's S.Amdt.1609, and Cardin's S.Amdt.1610.

There may be additional votes, and I sort of expect Senator Reid to file cloture motions on the substitute amendment and the underlying bill.

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I'll be eating crow, and anonymous Senate staffer is right on the money regarding ignoring the currently pending no longer pending S.1348 (on immigration) and introducing the same thing under a new number. The old bill, S.1348, is no longer "pending" according to the Senate's legislative calendar - it was listed as "pending" on the June 18, 2007 legislative calendar (170 kb pdf/fancy version) ...

... but doesn't appear in the June 19, 2007 issue. Apparently it's leadership prerogative to remove "pending" status. "Poof" without any visible accounting for the change.

And a new Senate immigration bill number appears in yesterday's Record ...

The following bill was read the first time:
S. 1639. A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.

Unlike numerous other bills introduced yesterday, S.1639 was not referred to any Senate committee. It is noted as being introduced by Senators Kennedy and Specter. The text of the bill is not in the Record, but if anonymous Senate staffer is right, the new bill number represents what the Senate has considered and passed to date under S.1348. The new bill also is likely to include the 4.4 billion dollar appropriation ostensibly targeted at border security and immigration law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Democrats mull dividing House immigration bill. That AP story also reports:

In the Senate, Democrats took the first step to revive the debate yesterday, introducing a new bill that compiles all of the Senate's action over the past few weeks. The move is designed to overcome some of the procedural hurdles opponents are expected to erect.

Overcome some procedural hurdles, at the cost of risk of a do-over on the procedural hurdle of objection to proceed to the consideration. Either way, we'll see how determined the opponents are about erecting hurdles. They can start by erecting hurdles to moving the energy bill to completion, such as insisting on cloture and the full 30 hours of debate that follows Senate agreement to cloture - for the energy bill, and for the motion to proceed to the new immigration bill. I doubt we'll see that, because the objecting Senators can't win, and by delaying the inevitable consideration of the new bill, they might cause a delay in recess, and nothing is more likely to anger their fellow Senators than a delay in recess.

Over at the NRO, KLO has another post on the novelty of taking up a divisible amendment in the context of the immigration bill. The technique sounds devious on the surface, but I think, in practice, if 60 Senators agree to a package of amendments, that the form of getting those (and only or mostly those) considered isn't important, except as a matter of time management. The 60 Senators can vote down any poison-pill amendments, for example.

---===---

HT to howappealing for a thought-provoking counterpoint to the recent Circuit Court decision the limits presidential power to use military detention. Read Stuart Taylor Jr.'s A Judicial Overreaction To Bush Abuses?, which concludes

Congress ducked these hard issues when it passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Tangentially related because it touches on balance of powers (and another HT to howappealing), the GAO has released a study pertaining to Presidential signing statements, where other bone-headed congressional enactments are noted as impinging on executive power.

UPDATE @ 14:10

I think I've come to an understanding of the procedure that Senator Reid plans to use to manage the immigration redo-redo. Actually, it's unfair to stick him with sole responsibility, because "the plan" has to be agreed to by at least 60 Senators in order to work. At any rate, the value of this hitherto unused tactic is to manage debate time, ahead of bringing a bill up for consideration. Managing competing demands is ALWAYS done by the majority leader, as there is horse trading as to what bills will be brought up for consideration, which amendments will be permitted to come in, etc. But still, the process that the anonymous Senate staffers have been discussing has a rather "show of raw power" attribute that is sure to cause great irritation to a number of Senators.

Senator Reid will offer the new bill, and once it has been agreed to proceed (likely requiring a cloture motion and vote), he will "fill the amendment tree" with the equivalent of a package of agreed amendments (agreed by 60 or more Senators) and some do-nothing amendments. As I pointed out Sunday, Senator Specter spoke on the practice of "filling the tree," and provided statistics on the number of times each majority leader since Bob Dole in 1995 used the "fill the tree" technique to limit debate. Senator Reid isn't plowing any new ground with this practice of cutting off the ability of all Senators to offer amendments.

What IS different is that a collusion of at least 60 Senators has worked beforehand to craft a package of amendments that they will agree is sufficient grounds for them to support cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill, even when each and every one of them knows that Senator Reid plans to fill the amendment tree and freeze the ability of other Senators to contribute their proposed amendments for debate. It reminds me a little bit of the Gang-of-14 on judicial nominees, although Senator Frist gave force to that agreement by NOT bringing up contentious nominees.

At the same time, it's NORMAL for one group of Senators to freeze out objectors. In short, I don't see the tactic as any more obnoxious than the Senate's normal ways of limiting debate -- it's just more "in your face" to the objectors. As long as the 60 Senators stick together, there is nothing the objectors can do about it, except complain.

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Some Senate amendments that have been divided:

S.Amdt.2586 - Page S13517 - September 13, 1995
S.Amdt.2737 - Page S6839 - June 23, 1998
S.Amdt.4129 - Page S8161 - September 7, 2000
S.Amdt.4174 - Page S6534 - July 10, 2002
S.Amdt.1830 - Page S12509 - October 14, 2003
S.Amdt.3641 - Page S3557 - April 26, 2006
S.Amdt.210 - Page S1232 - January 26, 2007

UPDATE @ 15:00

Jurist.law.edu has more on the GAO report relating to presidential signing statements, including a link to the GAO report that purveyors of so-called "news" are citing.

UPDATE @ 15:42

Bunning/Domenici S.Amdt.1628, to provide standards for clean coal-derived fuels, was
REJECTED on a 39 - 55 vote.

UPDATE @ 16:07

Tester S.Amdt.1614, to establish a program to provide loans for projects to produce syngas from coal and other feedstocks while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reliance of the United States on petroleum and natural gas, was
REJECTED on a 33 - 61 vote.

Next up is an hour and half of debate, first half an hour on the odious NOPEC proposal.

UPDATE @ 17:48

Kohl S.Amdt.1519, to amend the Sherman Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal, was
PASSED on a 70 - 23 vote.

I wonder if it will survive the House/Senate conference process.

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From Jurist (parroting AP somewhat), US appeals court rules against warrantless search of e-mail.

Um, misleading headline alert. The so called "warrantless" search was signed off by a Magistrate Judge, and the issue is one of the difference between having probable cause (one of several constitutionally-proper justifications for a search) and having "reasonable grounds to believe ... the information sought is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."

UPDATE @ 18:11

Cardin S.Amdt.1610, to provide for the siting, construction, expansion, and operation of liquefied natural gas terminals, was
REJECTED on a 37 - 56 vote.

Senator Baucus attempted to introduce the tax package amendment, and Senator Enzi objected. Short-term speed-bump here, but entertaining.

The tax package is S.Amdt.1704, passed out of the Finance Committee on a 15-5 vote. (link to Executive Meeting) There are many issues in this amendment, as it uses tax code to incentivize and penalize a range of energy production and consumption activities.

UPDATE @ 19:50

Senator Reid asserts that the slow progress in the Senate is due to Republicans forcing a need to file cloture motions on everything. He files four cloture motions:

  • Tax Package Amendment S.Amdt.1704
  • Substitute Amendment S.Amdt.1502
  • Underlying Energy Bill H.R.6
  • Motion to proceed to H.R.800 - To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. (Employee Free Choice Act of 2007)

The Senate adjourned at 20:18, and is scheduled to resume tomorrow at 9:30. It will debate and then vote on DeMint S.Amdt.1546.


UPDATE @ June 20

The Heritage foundation is hosting the text of the proposed immigration bill, S.1639. That page has a link to the proposed language, which is a 20 Mb pdf file. I grabbed it, and see at the very top it includes the 4.4 billion dollar appropriation, and creates a federal "Immigration Security Account" to house that appropriation and for accounting purposes.

I'm curious about the form of the "twice handled" Dorgan amendment in the new bill - does the new bill have the rejected amendment that sunsets the temporary Y-1 visa program after five years (S.Amdt.1181), or the one that passed that has a "one-day hold" (S.Amdt.1316), or nothing as to sunsetting the program? Found it at page 169 of the pdf file, the new bill has the S.Amdt.1316 "this has to be a joke" version.

The new bill is on the Senate's legislative calendar as of June 19.

  208    S. 1639         A bill to provide for      June 19, 2007.-- Read the
         Messrs.         comprehensive              second time and placed
         Kennedy and     immigration reform and     on the calendar.      
         Specter         for other purposes.

And in the "watch what they do, not what they say" category, I wonder why a cloture motion was filed on the motion to proceed to the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 (H.R.800), if immigration is "next up" after the energy bill?

UPDATE @ 09:43

Senator Reid continues with his assertion that the Republicans are the reason that he is filing cloture motions on an unusual number of motions to proceed, as well as on bills when the bill is gutted and replaced with a substitute amendment.

He spends more time complaining about President Bush's veto of the Stem Cell Bill - he doesn't sound confident anymore about the prospects of a veto override.

Senator Reid didn't provide any specifics on the timing of taking up the new immigration bill.

Senator McConnell didn't rebut or comment on any of Senator Reid's statements - meaning he didn't speak at all. I'd like to hear him refute Senator Reid's contention that the GOP is objecting to the taking up of bills, and forcing Senator Reid to file cloture petitions on motions to proceed to the consideration, except where there has been debate on an issue in advance, such as Iraq war resolutions, the no-confidence stunt against Gonzales, and immigration.

UPDATE @ 10:34

DeMint S.Amdt.1546, to provide that legislation that would increase the national average fuel prices for automobiles is subject to a point of order in the Senate, was
DEFEATED ON A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER on a 37 - 55 vote. (60 Aye votes are required to waive the point of order)

A new amendment, Gregg S.Amdt.1718, to undo the tariff on ethanol produced outside of the US. 40 minutes of debate, followed by a vote. This amendment won't pass.

UPDATE @ 11:49

Gregg S.Amdt.1718, to eliminate the import tariff on ethanol, was
DEFEATED ON A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER on a 36 - 56 vote.

Passing on unanimous consent, amendments 1528, 1529, 1533, and 1551 as modified.

A new amendment, Schumer S.Amdt.TBA, to impose federal building standards, by way of mandating a certain percentage improvement in energy use for all new construction. He has parallel amendments to mandate efficiency improvements for appliances and for utilities (energy producers).

UPDATE @ 15:14

President Bush vetoed S. 5, the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007" in this Message to the Senate of the United States. Many more statements, and a stem-cell related Executive Order at June 20, 2007 of White House News - June 2007.

UPDATE @ 16:25

There is unanimous consent that a couple of amendments may be made pending, Bingaman S.Amdt.1693 (to authorize grants and environmental impact studies to advance the use of biofuels) and Inhofe S.Amdt.1666 (to require a agricultural assessment (e.g., probability of depressed yields due to drought) relating to corn, and using corn availability variables to permit adjustment of statutory biofuel content targets); followed by votes on those two amendments and on also to be made pending Kyl S.Amdt.1800.

UPDATE @ 17:55

Bingaman S.Amdt.1693, to authorize grants and environmental impact studies to advance the use of biofuels, was
PASSED on a 58 - 34 vote.

Senator Durbin telegraphs that he will raise a budget point of order against the Inhofe amendment. That amendment was going to fail anyway, but even more so with a need to obtain the 60 votes required to waive a budget point of order.

UPDATE @ 18:15

Inhofe S.Amdt.1666, to require a agricultural assessment (e.g., probability of depressed yields due to drought) relating to corn, and using corn availability variables to permit adjustment of statutory biofuel content targets, was
DEFEATED ON A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER on a 31 - 63 vote.

Senator Kyl's amendment is motivated by a desire to reduce the cost of animal fat to food producers, as the owners of animal fat get a better price by diverting the animal fat to crude oil refiners, and crude oil refiners buy the animal fat because the IRS gives them a $1.00/gallon tax credit by considering a mixture of animal fat/refined crude to be renewable diesel fuel.

UPDATE @ 18:40

Kyl S.Amdt.1800, to removes a $1.00/gallon tax credit that the IRS applies to renewable diesel when some fuel companies add animal fat to diesel refined from crude oil, was
REJECTED on a 45 - 49 vote.

Senator Bingaman working on a unanimous consent agreement, after which Senator Kyl will be permitted to (try, at least) offer another amendment.

The unanimous consent agreement provides 2 hours 10 minutes of debate on a Kyl second degree amendment to Baucus's tax package amendment, S.Amdt.1704. The debate is divided between today and tomorrow, 60 minutes of debate today, 70 minutes of debate tomorrow. Following debate, there will be vote on Kyl's amendment; and following disposition of that, the Senate will have a small amount of debate before proceeding to voting on the motion to invoke cloture on the Baucus tax package, S.Amdt.1704.

Senator Kyl's S.Amdt.1733 is offered. This one requires that any clause in the tax amendment must first be certified as not increasing gas prices and not increasing dependence on foreign oil, before the tax proposal (typically incentives to renewable fuels) can be put into effect. At first blush, this is an asinine amendment.

UPDATE @ 20:20

Senator Reid filed a cloture motion on a motion to proceed to the consideration of the new immigration bill, S.1639. This cloture vote would be Friday morning if held according to the timeframe spelled out in Rule XXII, although the timeframe is often modified by unanimous consent. Reid can hold the Senate to the Rule if he wants.


UPDATE @ June 21

The first stack of cloture motions is ripe for voting today. This stack of cloture motions is designed to expedite conclusion on the energy bill. Following a little over an hour of debate on Senator Kyl's S.Amdt.1733, which amends the Baucus Tax Package S.Amdt.1704, the Senate will vote on Kyl's S.Amdt.1733, followed by short debate and a vote to invoke cloture on the Tax Package Amendment. But other cloture motions are ripe for a vote today:

  • Tax Package Amendment S.Amdt.1704
  • Substitute Amendment S.Amdt.1502
  • Underlying Energy Bill H.R.6
  • Motion to proceed to H.R.800 - To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes. (Employee Free Choice Act of 2007)

Senator Reid's opening comments today may provide information relating to his planned timing for conducting those votes, and failure to obtain cloture on the tax amendment can be mooted by obtaining cloture on the substitute amendment - an interesting opportunity for the Senators to "stand strong against taxes," while agreeing to move on anyway.

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Text of S.1639 - Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Here in pdf form for page numbering, all 761 pages worth. (1.4 Mb pdf file)

Senator Sessions filed twelve amendments against the proposed immigration bill, Amendments numbered 1805-1816 (Text starts at page S8150).

I see that Senator Dole really got a jump start on amending S.1639, her S.Amdt.1701 was filed on June 19th!

UPDATE @ 10:40

Senator Reid open with comments on Stem Cell. Just hold the veto override vote, Senator. I do wonder which side of the Congress the Democrats will choose as the one to be stuck with failing to override.

Then he moves on to cite troop deaths in Iraq, and calls out President Bush for unrest in the mid-east, "Iran is thumbing their nose at us," and all this directed to getting US military footprint in Iraq radically reduced.

Senator Reid gives no hint as to timing on votes or legislative action beyond the cloture vote on the Baucus/Grassley tax package, S.Amdt.1704. I predict Kyl's amendment will be rejected, and cloture will be obtained on the tax package - but note that failure to obtain cloture on the tax package is mooted if the Senate agrees to limit debate on the substitute amendment, because once the substitute is passed, everything that amends it becomes finally settled.

UPDATE @ 12:13

Kyl S.Amdt.1733, to require certification that before a tax code clause can become effective, it must be certified as neither increasing the price of gasoline nor increasing dependence on foreign oil, was
transmission corridors, was
DEFEATED ON A BUDGET POINT OF ORDER on a 38 - 55 vote.

UPDATE @ 12:38

The cloture motion to limit debate on Baucus/Grassley S.Amdt.1704, to modify IRS tax code in energy-related areas, was
REJECTED on a 57 - 36 vote.

Senator Reid voted Nay and made a motion to reconsider. He'll likely complain about GOP obstructionism, but first he praises Senator Byrd for having cast his 18,000th vote in the Senate, or something like that.

Now a cloture motion on the substitute amendment - this one, if passed, supersedes the rejected cloture vote above. I'll go out on a limb and predict that cloture IS invoked on this cloture motion, and that the last cloture vote in this stack, the one on the underlying bill, is vitiated by unanimous consent.

UPDATE @ 13:19

The cloture motion to limit debate on Reid S.Amdt.1502, in the nature of a substitute for the underlying bill, was
PASSED on a 61 - 32 vote.

Senator Collins switched her position from Nay to Aye during the course of the roll call.

Senator Reid says he appreciates the outcome of this vote (although I plan to check who voted NAY on the first cloture vote, then AYE on this one).

UPDATE @ 16:43

These are the Senators who voted against cloture on the tax amendment (supposedly meaning they want more debate on it), then turned around and voted FOR cloture on what amounts to the underlying bill. Technically, they voted for cloture on the substitute amendment, not the underlying bill, but as a practical matter, there is no distinction. By limiting the time for debate on the bill, they necessarily limit time for debate on something that amends the bill. "I need more than 30 hours time to ponder the amendment, but I'm okay with 30 more hours before I'm ready to vote on the bill."

Bennett, Corker, Domenici, Gregg, Martinez, Murkowski, Stevens, Sununu, and Warner. 100% GOP. Holding the line on taxes, NOT.

UPDATE @ 17:57

It happens in the blink of an eye. Senator Reid called an end to the quorum call, made a point of order that ALL pending amendments were either not germane, or were out of order, or were badly formed. And "just like that," all the pending amendments were swept aside.

Senator Steven's S.Amdt.1792 was passed without objection, following that.

At this moment, there is only one pending amendment, the Reid substitute (I think - it'll be something if the tax amendment was swept away by that move, and on my quick listen to the procedure on the floor, I believe it was swept away.)

UPDATE @ 18:10

Senator Reid says the managers are working to weed the energy bill amendments so only the germane ones remain. He opines that the energy bill might be accomplished this week, the Senate could take the weekend off, and immigration would be taken up next week, with a failed cloture motion on the motion to take up "card check," i.e., H.R.800 - Employee Free Choice Act of 2007, interposed. Now the cloture motion on the motion to proceed to H.R.800 makes sense, with the admission from Senator Reid that he filed the cloture motion with the expectation that it would likely fall.

UPDATE @ 19:58

Have I mentioned that I think Senator Snowe is an elitist control-freak snob? Gawd, turn that non-responsive excuse for reasoned dialog off. I engaged in written correspondence with her shortly after the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen (she was on Senate Armed Services Committee at the time) - with follow-ups (because she hadn't responded) shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks using commercial aircraft. Her response was in the nature of "whatever happened at the USS Cole is a NAVY problem."

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"Vote on judicial nominee Southwick postponed again": The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi provides a news update that begins, "Sen. Patrick Leahy, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said today he agreed to hold over a panel vote on the nomination of Mississippi Judge Leslie Southwick for a federal appeals court seat. Leahy, D-Vt., said he had postponed the vote at the request of Republicans on the committee. He declined to elaborate. Thursdays postponement is the fourth time the Judiciary Committee has decided to put off a vote on the nomination."
Posted at 05:48 PM by Howard Bashman

UPDATE @ 23:24

The cloture vote to limit debate on the energy bill, H.R.6, was
PASSED on a 62 - 32 vote.

UPDATE @ 23:47

The energy bill, H.R.6, was
PASSED on a 65 - 27 vote.

And that, folks, is how sausage is made. Wait - it isn't sausage until after conference committee, and (sarcasm alert) we ought to be glad that Congress doesn't let us see the process.

Adjourned at 23:50, until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. And hey, what about that voice vote on a 40% change in Corporate Average Fuel Economy? Accountability, my ass. Most of the politicians are in for life, only a few outliers are picked off for sport, and the political party cheerleaders shun any voter who objects to retention of the party incumbent.


UPDATE @ June 22

I'll update the link farm at the top to include yesterday's debate and amendments, and I'll post here, any observations relating to the energy bill that I find interesting. One can peruse Congressional Action With Amendments to see the 7 amendments ruled "non-germane" and "out of order." But get this, not only was Senator Stevens's S.Amdt.1792 proposed and agreed to after that "point of order" event, an additional mess of amendments, 34 of them (not including Reid's substitute amendment), were proposed and agreed to by unanimous consent after the ruling from the chair. Without looking at all of the amendments taken up and passed, I see a twist that is interesting from a parliamentary procedure point of view.

Senator Collin's S.Amdt.1615 was, on a point of order raised by Senator Reid, ruled to be non-germane, and was thereby removed from pending status. Shortly thereafter, Senator Collins's S.Amdt.1615 (the same amendment) was "proposed by Mr. Bingaman for Ms. Collins to amendment SA 1502 by Unanimous Consent," and subsequently "Amendment SA 1615 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent." The same sleight of hand was applied to Senator Cardin's S.Amdt.1520.

The point being, watching what they do on the floor is interesting, and gives clues as to which issues are contentious, but watching the floor action does not disclose all of the contentious issues, nor does it disclose what they do. Read the record to find out what they really did, because the floor action is almost entirely for show, and is often deliberate deception and misdirection.

Off to a new post for observations on the action involving the pending cloture motions on the motions to proceed to the consideration of H.R.800 - Employee Free Choice Act of 2007 and S.1639 - Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

UPDATE @ 10:30

I wanted to visit the contention that the tax package would be "quietly added in conference," and provide the relevant assertion and exchange from the record:

Mr. CONRAD. ... No one should think we are not going to have another possibility on the legislation that came out of the Finance Committee. There will be another opportunity. We will have a chance in the House of Representatives, in the conference committee, to add back those provisions that passed on a strong majority vote, not only in the Finance Committee but on the floor of the Senate.

We didn't have a supermajority, we didn't have the 60 votes. We had 57. Of course the leader changed his vote to be on the prevailing side so he could move to reconsider. We are missing another Senator because of a family obligation and, of course, we are missing our colleague, Senator Johnson, because of his illness. But Senator Johnson will be back, and the Senator who was missing because of a family obligation will be back. And Senator Reid will switch his vote. Then we will have the 60 votes necessary.

One can't argue with his mathematics, but he's hanging onto a thin reed if he's counting on Senator Johnson to get this passed. The reality is passage is more likely if the tax package is one part of the bill, compared with voting on the tax package standing alone.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Zuleika said...

Well said.

11/10/2008 9:26 AM  

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