Monday, July 16, 2007

Week Two on Defense Authorization Bill - H.R.1585

    Links to source material, including legislative action from the week of July 9, 2007; formally pending amendments; and a list of the amendments that are likely to result in extended debate.

Senate coverage of H.R.1585 from the Week of July 9, 2007.

H.R.1585 - Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
Senate Counterpart Bills
S.1547 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
S.1548 - Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

Text of H.R.1585
(Engrossed in House - 1.4 Mb pdf with page numbering)
House Report 110-146 (Main Report - 14.3 Mb pdf : CBO Estimate - 180 kb pdf)
Text of Senate Counterparts
Text of S.1547
(Reported in Senate - 1.1 Mb pdf with page numbering)
Text of S.1548
(Reported in Senate - 860 kb pdf with page numbering)
Senate Report 110-77 (Main Report - 8.4 Mb pdf)
Senate Report 110-125 (Intelligence Committee Addendum - 80 kb pdf - Revamp the CSRT process, removes the part of the bill that restricts the DoD granting of security clearance.)

White House Statements of Policy

On H.R.1585 - National Defense Authorization Act, FY 2008 (House 05/16/2007)
On S.1547 - National Defense Authorization Act, FY 2008 (Senate 07/10/2007)
On H.R.2956 - To require the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of the number of United States Armed Forces in Iraq to a limited presence by April 1, 2008 (House 07/12/2007)

Legislative Action
Text of Amendments

H.R.1585 Summary of Action

June 28, 2007: S.Amdt.2000
July 9, 2007: S.Amdts. 2003-2024
July 10, 2007: S.Amdts. 2026-2064
July 11, 2007: S.Amdts. 2065-2127, 2130
July 12, 2007: S.Amdts. 2131-2188
July 13, 2007: S.Amdts. 2189-2209
July 16, 2007: S.Amdts. 2210-2268
July 17, 2007: S.Amdts. 2270-2313

Debate of July 9, 2007: Part I
Debate of July 10, 2007: Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV
Debate of July 11, 2007: Parts I-III - Part IV
Debate of July 12, 2007: Parts I-II - Part III
Debate of July 13, 2007: Part I - Part II - Part III (Kyl)
Debate of July 16, 2007: Parts I-II - Part III (Kyl on detainees) - Part IV (Feinstein on GTMO) - Part V - Part VI
Debate of July 17, 2007: Part I - Part II Parts III


Formally Pending [DATED - as of July 13]:
  • Levin No. 2011, in the nature of a substitute.
  • Levin No. 2087, to provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq. [A cloture motion to limit debate on the amendment was filed on Monday, July 16]
  • Reed No. 2088 (to Amendment No. 2087), to change the enactment date.
  • Cornyn No. 2100, to express the sense of the Senate that it is in the national security interest of the United States that Iraq not become a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists.


    The tack of debate is crystallizing around these amendments:

  • Levin/Reed S.Amdt.2087 - to provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq.
  • McConnell S.Amdt.2241 - a sense of the Senate as to the policy of the US toward Iraq, that it is in the national security interest of the United States that Iraq not become a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists [filed on July 16 - cloture motion to limit debate on the amendment filed on July 16]
  • Salazar S.Amdt.2063 - to implement the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group: The bulk of the amendment is "Sense of Congress" resolutions, and what substantive language it contains is in the nature of policy statements, not implementation means. See also S.1545, which contains the same text.
  • Warner/Lugar S.Amdt.2208 - to urge the president to prepare a post-surge plan, update the justification for U.S. combat presence in Iraq to reflect the ouster of Saddam Hussein, and begin negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the government of Iraq. (previous discussion)
  • Specter/Leahy S.Amdt.2022 - Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007. See also S.185, which contains the same text. (previous discussion)
  • Graham/McCain S.Amdt.2064 - on the subject of Combat Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs). (previous discussion)
  • Feinstein S.Amdt.2125 - to require closure of detention facilities at GTMO within one year. [Will not be considered - read Senator Feinstein's speech of July 16]
  • (Not yet filed) Sponsor S.Amdt.20xx - to strike Section 1064 from the proposed substitute amendment, where Section 1064 is "Repeal of standards for disqualification from issuance of security clearances by the Department of Defense."

    There has been some buzz about Hate Crimes legislation being "snuck in" to the Defense Authorization Bill. If the subject comes up (I doubt it will) the vehicle would be Senator Kennedy's S.Amdt.2067 - Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.

---===---

    Other subjects likely to remain in the political mix this week are: the ongoing Congress v. White House friction over the replacement of a number of US Attorneys, which now involves the assertion of executive privilege by Harriet Miers and complaints from the DoJ Inspector General; and continued pressure on Attorney General Gonzales for matters other than the replacement of US Attorneys (e.g., prevaricating about the use of National Security Letters).

    A few observations of scheduled committee meetings and hearings.

Committee on Foreign Relations: July 19, Full Committee, to hold hearings to examine the war in Iraq, focusing on an update from the field, 9:30 a.m., SD-419.
Committee on the Judiciary: July 17, to hold hearings to examine the prosecution of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, 10 a.m., SD-226. [This prosecution was justified, in my opinion. Border Agents Ramos and Compean failed to report the incident (which involved the discharge of firearms) to superiors, and were convicted for lying about the failure to report. One may dispute the sentence, or evidence at trial, but these border agents weren't "good actors."]
Committee on the Judiciary: July 18 & 19 full committee business meeting agendas include the consideration of judicial nominees, Leslie Southwick's name is not on the list of nominations to be considered.

---===---

    Recalling when Democrats were blocking up or down votes on judicial nominees, and the calls by some Republican observers to "make the Democrats stand up in the well of the Senate and TALK, if they're going to filibuster!", it's fascinating to see the same nonsensical demand being made today by Democrat observers.

    I've been mocked by Republicans for standing by my contention that Senate rules can't be manipulated in a way that forces a Senator to talk -- and even bothered to explain how the rules don't force a Senator to talk (be sure to follow the internal links). Today, I'm just grinning at the fresh "make them stand and filibuster" bluster.

UPDATE @ 14:05

Senator Reid said the Senate is apt to have votes on Fridays and Mondays between now and the August recess. He is planning to complete action on the following:

  • Pass H.R.2638 - the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
  • Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (S.1642?)
  • Reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, pronounced "ESS-Chip)
  • Pass the Conference Report on H.R.1, the Bill Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
  • Send S.1, Ethics and Lobbying, to conference - maybe vote on its conference report. Senator Reid says he'll file a cloture motion on appointing conferees if Senator DeMint continues to insist on the Senate adopting the earmark transparency rule it unanimously agreed to (on a roll call vote).

UPDATE @ 14:30

Senator Reid spoke of Iraq with his usual disparaging bias and conclusions, but added a point that "if the government of Iraq asked U.S. combat presence to be drawn down, we would do it, and Maliki has said his country stands ready to take up the task of maintaining civil order." (my paraphrase, not a direct quote). The governments of Iraq and the United States would formalize a "get out of Dodge" order in a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

He went on to propound a UC agreement having to do with H.R.1 (9/11 Commission Recommendations) and H.R.1401 - which ends up being NOT the proposal he had in mind. The wrinkled brow and look of confusion while he was reading the proposed order was precious.

Senator Reid propounds a US request for 6 hours of debate on Levin/Reed, followed by an up or down vote. Senator Kyl suggests taking up a Cornyn amendment as a side by side, each with a 60 vote threshold, as a matter of avoiding cloture votes. Senator Reid would object to this arrangement. He would agree to majority vote up-or-down votes on both Cornyn and Levin/Reed. Senator Kyl objects to the UC agreement as propounded.

Senator Reid says that the Republicans are filibustering the Levin/Reed amendment (Ohhhh, I can hear the howls of "make them stand up and talk! make them stand up and talk!"). Senator Reid announces that he will be filing a cloture motion on the Levin/Reed amendment sometime tonight. That puts the cloture vote at Wednesday morning.

He retries the H.R.1/H.R.1401 UC request. Senator Kyl notes that H.R.1401 is "new material" that has never been in the Senate for debate, and until such time as the contents of H.R.1401 are understood, he must object on the part of Senate Republican leadership. [Darn homework ... looking up H.R.1401 - Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 (read the CRS summary of the bill)]

Senator Kyl spoke on Graham/McCain S.Amdt.2064, which simply removes Section 1023 (revised CSRT provisions) from the proposed bill. S.Amdt.2064 is not pending, and last week, Senator Graham and Senator Levin had a dialog indicating that Senator Graham was working on some sort of compromise language. In other words, Senator Graham may offer an amendment that is more involved/different from just striking all of Section 1023 from the currently pending bill.

President Bush has indicated that he would veto the Defense Authorization Bill if it is passed with the language of Sec. 1023 as it stands, unamended.

UPDATE @ 14:50

From the substance and tenor of Senator Feinstein's speech, her amendment requiring a shutdown of the detention facility a GTMO will not be brought up in the context of the Defense Authorization Bill.

As for her concerns about SCOTUS finding fault with the CSRT and/or habeas and/or Military Commissions legislation recently passed, I think she's right to wonder what the Court will do. My position has been, from the start, that the MCA and DTA represent radical changes made in haste. Such things have a way of turning around and biting one on the ass. GTMO isn't per se a problem, the first issue is whether the current legal system of a military/civilian hybrid nature, under the sole control of the executive branch, IS fair and just. Other issues swirl in the long run, such as the extent of cases to be brought into its jurisdiction, and the extent and circumstances such a legal system is to be trusted to be self-checking.

GTMO is a diversion from the bigger issues involved.

UPDATE @ 16:30

Senator McConnell spoke on the possibility of filing of a cloture motion on the Levin/Reed amendment, and said he would hope (prefer) to have the Levin and Cornyn amendments both under 60 vote hurdles by consent. That not being in the cards, we'll have dueling cloture motions.

Senator McConnell sent S.Amdt.2241, a second degree amendment to Cornyn's S.Amdt.2100, which is a counterpoint to the Levin/Reed.

The Democrats file a cloture motion on Levin/Reed S.Amdt.2087

The Republicans file a cloture motion on McConnell S.Amdt.2241

This has the same ultimate effect as having 60 vote thresholds by unanimous consent, EXCEPT the amendments that fail to obtain cloture remain pending, unless they are withdrawn.

Now the same tired old debate about when the Senate ought to vote on majority, and when the minority rights ought to be protected (i.e., via cloture or agreement to a 60 vote supermajority for adoption).

Senator Durbin says that the Democrats are going to have "a real filibuster." An all nighter! One night? That's it? That's a "real filibuster?" Oh my, too funny. The winner of a filibuster is the side that gets its way. Watch to see who speaks during the Tuesday overnighter. Fire up the calliope! Call the carnival barker! See the Democrats force the Republicans to the floor in shame!

If it's anything like the nuclear fizzle (run up to the odious Gang of 14 Memorandum of Understanding) of May 17-26, 2005, most of the time will be spent in quorum call. I'm sure the Republicans will manage to rebut arguments from the Democrats, and I'm also sure we won't see any Republican being "forced to hold the floor until there is a majority up or down vote."


"Ick Durbin and the amateur cravat knot"


17:55 - Senator Grassley is planning to propose an amendment that requires DoD contractors to not be (or employ) illegal aliens, by requiring the DoD and its contractors to check the Social Security bona fides for all employees.

UPDATE @ 19:10

Senator Reid offered an agreement to pass the McConnell and Cornyn amendments without a vote. Senator Warner objected on behalf of Republican leadership. Senator Reid then offered a few hours of debate followed by an up or down vote on those amendments (basically saying the Democrats will not oppose McConnell's cloture motion), and this too was objected to by the Republicans.

19:45 - Adjourned until 10:00 a.m. I wonder if the Republicans are willing to move the cloture vote on the McConnell and Cornyn amendments up to tomorrow, or vitiate them on the way to votes on the amendments. Senator Reid is willing to let those amendments pass on a simple majority, which is a rock-solid clue that trying to trade a high-hurdle on a non-contentious amendment (Cornyn and McConnell's sense of the Senate about not leaving a failed state in Iraq) in order to get agreement for a high-hurdle on an opponent's contentious amendment (Levin/Reed mandatory drawdown) isn't smart politics.

It would be more transparent and honest to obstruct the contentious amendment outright, and let the non-contentious one be taken up and passed without trumping it up it as contentious with the false drama of filing a cloture motion.


UPDATE @ July 17

Formally Pending:
  • Levin No. 2011, in the nature of a substitute.
  • Levin No. 2087, to provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq. [A cloture motion to limit debate on the amendment was filed on Monday, July 16]
  • Reed No. 2088 (to Amendment No. 2087), to change the enactment date.
  • Cornyn No. 2100, to express the sense of the Senate that it is in the national security interest of the United States that Iraq not become a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists. [Passed 94-3 on July 17]
  • McConnell No. 2241, relative to a sense of the Senate on the consequences of a failed state in Iraq. [Withdrawn on July 17]
  • Durbin No. 2252 (to Amendment No. 2241), to change the enactment date.
Also pending are two cloture motions; both to be voted on Wednesday, unless otherwise agreed. One cloture motion to limit debate on the Levin/Reed amendment (2087), the other cloture motion is to limit debate on the McConnell amendment (2241) [the cloture motion on McConnell was mooted when the Cornyn amendment was passed and the McConnell amendment was withdrawn]

---===---

Not likely to be brought up in the context of Defense Authorization, but the substance of amendments caught my eye because the summary page of "Text of Amendments" showed the DREAM Act. Senator Durbin's S.Amdt.2237 would implement the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). Republican co-sponsors are Hagel and Lugar. His S.Amdt.2238 (co-sponsored by Grassley) is on the subject of preventing fraud under H-1B and L-1 visas.

Another interesting amendment is Senator Specter's S.Amdt.2239 on the subject of return, expulsion or extradition to countries that practice torture. It has an interesting interaction with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. I won't bother with dissection of the proposed amendment here (it won't be taken up during the consideration of H.R.1585, of that I'm confident) - you know where to find the amendment if the subject piques your interest.

Senator Biden's S.Amdt.2242 is on the same subject as recently-passed amendments (S.Amdt.3717, S.Amdt.3855 and S.Amdt.4423 - all provide no funding for permanent bases, all were stripped in conference), with this iteration bing in the nature of a "sense of the Senate to make it US policy to NOT establish any permanent military base in Iraq.

In looking to confirm that S.Amdt.4423 was in fact stripped out of Public Law 109-364, I ran into this point that will have play in the eventual crafting of a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq ...

Sec. 1224. Sense of Congress opposing the granting of amnesty by the government of Iraq to persons known to have attacked, killed, or wounded members of the United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

---===---

In the run-up to an all nighter (after which cloture will be rejected on the Levin-Reed amendment), Senator Durbin has the majority leader's reins at the opening. He makes his pitch for conducting a majority vote.

Senator McConnell brings up the historical observation made by Senator Reid in January, that nearly every contentious issue in the Senate takes 60 votes to pass. True, that.

Senator McConnell agrees to vote on the Cornyn amendment, and Senator Durbin offers a 2:45 p.m. vote with a majority vote required to pass it - this is agreed by Senator McConnell. Senator Durbin says the Republicans should therefore also agree to a majority vote on the Levin-Reed amendment.

Debate on Cornyn S.Amdt.2100 scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. with a vote at 2:45 p.m.

UPDATE @ 10:30

Senator DeMint again propounds a UC request involving S.Res.123 and S.Res.260 (these are the earmark transparency reforms - cast outside of the S.1 venue) - and predictably, the Democrats object.

Senator Kerry seeks but does not obtain unanimous consent to pass a bill in the nature of prospective hurricane relief disguised as small business reform. Easy money from the Feds - another Landrieu whine/begathon.

UPDATE @ 12:45

Senator McCain said that Rumsfeld's strategy in Iraq was a failed strategy. I differ vigorously. The military strategy was brilliant and adequate. The State Department and other "civilian/diplomatic" aspects (which, post regime-toppling, have significant say-so over how military force will and won't be applied) have not performed well. As Iraq stands up, transition responsibility should fall more to the State Department than to the Pentagon - President Bush has decided to keep the ball in the Pentagon for an indefinite period of time.

The White House casts victory in Iraq as fundamentally equivalent to defeating terrorism in Iraq (See National Strategy for Victory in Iraq), and asserts in a conclusory fashion that sectarian strife is driven by terrorist actions; and that sectarian strife will chill as "the enemy" (a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida) is neutralized. I'm thinking that "rejectionists" might be synonymous with "sectarian strife."

I have an aversion to labeling the reaction to every human-generated condition as a "war," such as "war on poverty," "war on drugs," and even "war on terror." My aversion is rooted in the fact that those wars will never be concluded - poverty, drugs, and terror are an everlasting aspect of the human condition. On the other hand, we did, as a nation (with allies), defeat Hitler's regime, Tojo's regime, and the Barbary Pirates, and we did so in named wars. With that aversion in mind, I am wary of defining success in Iraq as defeating terrorism in Iraq.

My bottom line, having given the Iraq war considerable thought, is that I'm not qualified to form a reasoned opinion on what represents the better paths forward, in the interests of the United States and Western Civilization - and so I pray that our leadership be granted wisdom. My impression of the political wrangling is that it's shallow, on both sides of the argument.

---===---

Senator Specter spoke on the subject of the nomination of Leslie Southwick, with the stated objective of acquainting the Senate and the public with the nominee. His argument will be "on the merits," and as far as I could discern, contains no threat of retaliation (holding up legislative business) if the nomination isn't moved out of Committee and voted on by the full Senate.

Senator Klobuchar spoke on a bill that will reduce the danger of being entrapped in a pool drain. On a similar subject, it is a violation of federal regulation to sell lawn darts. In Canada, a similar ban applies to the sale of lawn darts and other goods.

---===---

Thinking about this all nighter, I just have to laugh. It is so premature to have an all nighter on the first cloture motion. It would be much better to file repetitions on cloture motions, and debate other amendments during the interim, and after about three failed cloture votes, have an all nighter as a publicity drawing stunt.

I hear a recording of Ann Flannerty of the AP on C-SPAN2 recognizing the power of the Senate (on a majority vote of Senators present) to order the Sergeant at Arms to request, and only if necessary (the individual Senator flouts the request), to order the Sergeant at Arms to compel attendance (this is arrest) of absent Senators. See Rule VI of the Standing Rules of the Senate. The formal procedure is well defined, involving reading the roll twice, then directing the clerk to read off the names of the absent Senators before adopting an order to the Sergeant at Arms. Lots of fun reading at Riddick's Senate Procedure. Senate practice relating to attendance (Rule VI) is in this 600 kb pdf file. Quorum call material is tightly related to attendance rules and practice, Riddick's quorum material is in this 2.5 Mb pdf file. All pretty much as a curiosity - I don't expect any "extreme rules" action.

---===---

There is however, a "rules curiosity" that may happen tomorrow morning, that being a brief adjournment for the purpose of creating a new legislative day. According to Riddick's Senate Procedure, the Senate adjourned for 10 seconds on October 5, 1977 and on September 28, 1978 -- and for 2 seconds on June 12, 1980.

UPDATE @ 15:10

I had guessed the vote to be done at 3:12 p.m., to be 95-1 with Boxer being the sole NAY vote.

Cornyn S.Amdt.2100, to express the sense of the Senate that it is in the national security interest of the United States that Iraq not become a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists, was PASSED on a 94-3 vote.
Nay votes: Byrd, Feingold and Harkin

Senator Kennedy voted NAY, later (when Feingold's NAY vote was announced) changed his vote to Aye.

---===---

Senator Reid reads a letter (I so much wanted to type "Reid reads a reed") he sent to Senator McConnell on the subject of preventing a vote on the Levin-Reed amendment, urging Republicans to reconsider their decision to resist taking a straight up-or-down vote on Levin-Reed. In exchange, he offers up or down votes on Salazar (S.Amdt.2063), Warner-Lugar (S.Amdt.2208), and Nelson-Collins (S.Amdt.2124 "Immediate start to transition of the mission in Iraq, with a target completion of March 31, 2008").

Senator Reid again requests a vote on Levin-Reed, and Senator Lott objects. The exchange is testy, as Senator Lott is refused time to explain his objection - although he can certainly explain his objection after Senator Reid completes his monologue.

UPDATE @ 15:28

Senator Durbin is using the "let's check history of votes" tactic of argument (what bills and amendments were done with agreement in advance for 60 vote hurdle, etc.) against the Republicans. One could see that one coming from a mile away -- historically, the Defense Authorization Bill isn't used as a vehicle for contentious points of the magnitude of conduct of the Iraq war, so any reference to the historical Defense Authorization Bills is a canard. On this, Senator McCain was right on, and he repeats this point again.

UPDATE @ 16:01

Senator Lott asks unanimous consent to take the cloture vote on the Levin-Reed amendment at 5:30 tonight instead of tomorrow, Senator Durbin objects and starts to explain why, and Senator Lott cut him off. Tit for tat, that one was.

Dueling UC requests - Senator Durbin asks consent to vote on the underlying amendment at 5:30, to which Senator Lott objects.

UPDATE @ 16:26

Speaking of history, here is Senator Reid offering 60 vote hurdles on competing Iraq resolutions ...

Senate - March 08, 2007

Mr. REID. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that Monday, this coming Monday, March 12 at 3 p.m., the Senate begin debate on the following: S.J. Res. 9, sponsored by Senator Reid of Nevada; S. Res. 101, sponsored by Senator Reid of Nevada; S. Con. Res. 7 by Senator Warner; S. Res. 70 by Senator McCain; S. 641 by Senator Gregg; that there be 6 hours for debate on these items en bloc on Monday, equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; that no amendments or other motions be in order to any of the above; that on Tuesday, March 13 there be 6 more hours for debate on the above, divided in the same way; that at the conclusion or yielding back of that time, the Senate vote on each of the above in the above order; and that the preceding all occur without intervening action or debate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. ... Therefore, I object. [back and forth debate snipped, resuming with Senator McConnell]

I don't think we ought to say to our troops in the middle of this new mission we are not going to support them. That is what this is all about. We will get back to the Iraq debate in due time. Members on my side of the aisle will be happy to engage. We think this is the most important issue in the country, and we look forward to having that debate, at the latest in the context of the supplemental appropriation.

I yield the floor.

Mr. REID. Before my friend leaves, I renew my consent making it 60 votes rather than 50 votes. Does that affect anything?

Mr. McCONNELL. I object.

---===---

Order of Procedure: Senate - March 15, 2007

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 9 be agreed to and that the Senate now begin debate en bloc on the following: S.J. Res. 9, S. Res. 107, and S. Con. Res. 20 by Senator Gregg; that there now be 4 hours for debate on the above items equally divided between the two leaders or their designees; that no amendments or motions be in order to any of the above; that at the conclusion or yielding back of that time, the Senate vote on each of the above in the above order; and that the preceding all occur without intervening action or debate; further, that there be 2 minutes for debate equally divided between each vote.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. McCONNELL. I object.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, since a filibuster is any Member's prerogative, I renew my consent with 60 votes required to pass each measure; and that if any measure fails to get 60 votes, the vote on passage be vitiated and the item be returned to its previous status.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered.

And here again, 60 vote threshold, NO CLOTURE INVOLVED, although neither example is on an Iraq measure ...

Immigration - June 5, 2007

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 7:20 this evening be for debate to run concurrently with respect to the McConnell amendment No. 1170 and the Feingold amendment No. 1176, with the time equally divided and controlled between Senators McConnell, Feingold, or their designees; that no amendment be in order to either amendment prior to the vote; that each amendment must receive 60 affirmative votes to be agreed to; that if they do not receive 60 affirmative votes, then the amendment be withdrawn; that the amendments be voted in the order listed in this agreement; and that there be 2 minutes equally divided prior to the second vote and that the second vote be 10 minutes in duration.

---===---

On Natural Gas exploration in the Atlantic - June 14, 2007

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time until 5:20 today be for debate with respect to the Warner amendment, No. 1566, and the Menendez amendment, No. 1578, with the time to run concurrently and be equally divided and controlled between Senators WARNER and MENENDEZ or their designees; that the Menendez amendment be modified to be a first-degree amendment; that no amendment be in order to either amendment prior to the vote; that each amendment must receive 60 affirmative votes to be agreed to; and that if each amendment fails to receive 60 affirmative votes, it will be withdrawn; provided further that the first vote occur with respect to the Warner amendment; that if the Warner amendment does not receive 60 votes, then the Menendez amendment, as modified, be withdrawn; that at 5:20 today, the Senate proceed to vote in relation to the Warner amendment without further intervening action or debate; provided further that Senator Lautenberg control up to 5 minutes.

UPDATE @ 17:42

Changing subject to the Ramos/Compean border agent prosecution and hearing ... a great summary at Patterico's Pontifications: DRJ Analyzes Johnny Sutton's Fact Sheet in Anticipation of Sutton's Testimony Today

UPDATE @ 18:12

Nominations Sent to the Senate - July 17, 2007

Robert J. Conrad, Jr., of North Carolina, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit ...
Catharina Haynes, of Texas, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit ...
Shalom D. Stone, of New Jersey, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit ...
John Daniel Tinder, of Indiana, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit

Comments and preliminary analysis of some of the nominees at confirmthem.com, New Nominations Sent to the Senate

UPDATE @ 19:16

Senator DeMint makes a UC request to conduct the cloture vote at 8:30 this evening. The Democrats object.

Senator Mikulski misunderstands "gag rule." Listening to her causes a gag reflex (just kidding) - a gag rule is when the talker is prevented from talking, and being prevented from reaching the vote on the merits is not "being gagged."

I still haven't heard a time split schedule, but have been wandering around and could well have missed it. No doubt the Senate will put on a good show at least through prime time. I look for debate to slow markedly (as in spells of 10-40 minutes with no speaker) around midnight Eastern time.

UPDATE @ 20:34

Cool - first roll call vote I've seen conducted without a quorum present. The Senate is voting on a motion to order the Sergeant at Arms to request the presence of absent Senators. Of course this will pass, but the total number of votes (Aye and Nay) will probably be less than 51. And the absent Senators will likely show up -- but, once ordered, the Sergeant at Arms' duty does NOT automatically end when a quorum is present. A majority of the Senate may vote to call off the order to request presence of still absent Senators, but absent that, the Sergeant keeps going until all of the listed absent Senators have been rounded up.

UPDATE @ 21:03

I sure blew the prediction that the total number of votes would be less than 51. Oh well, good news for the Sergeant at Arms, the motion failed (and even if it had passed, he wouldn't have had many Senators to round up).

The first motion to order the Sergeant at Arms to request the presence of absent senators was REJECTED on a 44 - 47 vote.

Not voting: Biden, Byrd, Cochran, Inhofe, Inouye, Johnson, Lott, Obama, Rockefeller

UPDATE @ 22:03

Shrill & Unhappy Senator


She, of elevated self-opinion, won't yield for anything. "Lettuce vote" says one of her posters. She has another prop that shows Osama bin Laden, and she goes on a comedy routine that describes his appearance and occupation. She is protesting too much, "this is not a stunt." Well, the debate isn't, per se, but running it overnight is.

Ahhh ... perhaps an agreement as to how time will be allocated. Lieberman, followed by Collins, followed by Brown, followed by Menendez (I think) ... Isakson and an unnamed Republican were "named" too ... it appears the night shift is enjoying itself so far, and playing fair by taking turns in front of the camera. At least a couple more hours to burn before "prime time west coast" is pretty well used up. They'll be able to slack off after that.

UPDATE @ 23:45

Lettuce Vote!


Any bets as to whether or not a quorum is present on the floor of the Senate? Or even in the building, for that matter. My money says straws were drawn to fill the night shift - or some suckers volunteered.

UPDATE @ 23:56

Senator Reid notes the absence of a quorum. The clerk will call the roll and either announce a quorum is or is not present. If a quorum is not present, Senator Reid will move to order the Sergeant at Arms to request attendance, and a roll call vote will be taken on that motion. Lather, rinse, repeat.

23:59: The clerk announces the result - a quorum is not present. On to a Roll call vote on the motion to order the Sergeant at Arms to request attendance. A majority of Senators voting determines the outcome, even if a quorum is not present.


A New (Calendar) Day!
UPDATE @ 00:28

The second motion to order the Sergeant at Arms to request the presence of absent senators was PASSED on a 41 - 37 vote.
22 Not voting: Alexander, Allard, Biden, Bingaman, Burr, Byrd, Conrad, Cornyn, DeMint, Dole, Feinstein, Graham, Hutchison, Inhofe, Inouye, Johnson, Kyl, Lott, McCain, Nelson, Roberts, and Rockefeller

A quorum being present, there is no call for absentees.

Senator Reid announces that the next and last make-work vote won't be before 5:00 a.m., and the cloture vote will occur at 11:00 a.m. So, the dog and pony show is pretty much over. Republican speakers: Isakson, Coburn, Thune, Snowe. Okay, three out of four "Republican," and one infiltrator.

Senators Coburn and Thune are not regular speakers on this subject, and both are clear-spoken and thoughtful. I'll be reading their speeches.

UPDATE @ 05:13

The third motion to order the Sergeant at Arms to request the presence of absent senators was PASSED on a 37 - 23 vote.
40 Not voting: [too numerous to bother listing]

UPDATE @ 08:05

They're still talking? I checked in from time to time, and may have missed a new argument. I'm impressed that a senator was talking each and every time I did check in. That's different from a typical day in the Senate, because most days are 30 to 80 percent quorum call.

And it seems neither side will run out of speakers before 11:00 a.m.

UPDATE @ 11:25

The cloture motion to limit debate on Levin/Reed S.Amdt.2087, to provide for a reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq, was REJECTED on a 52 - 47 vote.
GOP Aye votes: Collins, Hagel, Smith, Snowe
Senator Reid voted Nay in order to make a motion to reconsider.

UPDATE @ 11:45

Senator Reid filed a cloture motion on a motion to proceed to the consideration of H.R.2638, Homeland Security Appropriations. Looks as though he's taking the Defense Authorization Bill out of consideration.

And so, debate will split on the propriety of dropping Defense Authorization (McCain is vindicated) and on the merits/demerits of the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

Senator Specter calls the overnight session a "colossal waste of time."

Senator Reid will go through a number of bills in order to give the Senate something to work on - now a roll call vote on the motion to proceed to H.R.2669 - College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.

UPDATE @ 12:14

I had guessed a wider margin (65-30), but this appears to be straight party-line.

The motion to proceed to the consideration of H.R.2669 - College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 PASSED on a 49 - 48 vote (it is pure party line).

And so, the Senate if formally off the Defense Authorization Bill for the foreseeable future. Friday vote on proceeding to Homeland Security Appropriations (that motion will pass).

UPDATE @ 17:08

Adjourned until 10:00 a.m. Thursday.


UPDATE @ July 19

There is not, and will never be a Congressional Record for the Senate, for the legislative day of Wednesday July 18, 2007. The calendar day of July 18 is contained in the legislative day of July 17. A legislative day begins with the opening of the Senate, following an adjournment, and there was no such event on July 18.

UPDATE @ 21:35

The past couple hours of Senate action are "for the books."

Amendments all over the map, immigration, tax, education, and even sense of the Senate as to "President Bush should not pardon Scooter Libby" and "President Clinton's pardons were morally objectionable." Reminded me of the Wild West. I can't do it justice with typed coverage - look for a replay.

2 Comments:

Blogger Charles said...

Thank you for the updates. Hopefully, if you are going to watch the "all-nighter" you are getting some rest right now : )

7/17/2007 1:01 PM  
Blogger cboldt said...

Thanks for reading. Not much to update overnight - I'm guessing the night will be mostly quiet time, as the Senate reaches an agreement as to how debate time will be allocated between the sides, there is nothing that says either side has to step up and actually use the time talking.
.
Maybe Senator Ried can set a Senate record for shortest adjournment tomorrow morning, by besting the current 2 second record. I'm off to see if I have a working stopwatch!

7/17/2007 2:53 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home