Thursday, September 18, 2008

Passed Without Debate - September 2008

Wednesday - September 17, 2008

Thursday - September 18, 2008

S.3001 appears to have been split into parts for some reason:

A bill (S. 3001) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes. ...

The bill (S. 3001), as amended, was passed, as follows:

(The bill will be printed in a future edition of the Record.)


The bill (S. 3002) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of Defense, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes, was considered, ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, read the third time, and passed, as amended, as follows:

(The bill will be printed in a future edition of the RECORD.)


The bill (S. 3003) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for military construction, and for other purposes, was considered, ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, read the third time, and passed, as amended, as follows:

(The bill will be printed in a future edition of the RECORD.)


The bill (S. 3004) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for defense activities of the Department of Energy, and for other purposes, was considered, ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, read the third time, and passed, as amended, as follows:

(The bill will be printed in a future edition of the RECORD.)

Dirty Harry's schedule for the rest of the 110th Congress ...

  • I will file cloture on the Coburn package
  • We are going to move to the tax extenders
  • We have an economic recovery package
  • We have a CR [Continuing Resolution] that we have to complete to fund the Government
  • There are a lot of other things the CR may take care of that we have not finished, including MilCon, VA, and Homeland Security appropriations; and there are people out there who are concerned about things we should do before we leave here, such as LIHEAP. Hopefully, that could be included in either the stimulus package or the CR.
  • We hope to work something out on mental health parity, the Ledbetter issue. We could have another vote on that, if I decide that.

Cloture motions were filed on "the Coburn Package," S.3297 - Advancing America's Priorities Act (this is the second cloture motion on a motion to proceed, the first went down in flames in July); and on H.R.6049 - Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (three cloture votes have already taken place, one of them being on reconsideration - this is the third cloture motion and it precedes what will be the fourth cloture vote on a motion to proceed ... this time most likely with the intention of substituting language that parallels the recently-passed House energy bill, H.R.6899, that includes the Democrats' phony and cynical "drill drill drill" provisions).

September 19, 2008

Mr. REID. Mr. President, for the information of Senators, we are trying to work things out here. It has been very difficult. At this stage, it appears that the vote on cloture on the Coburn package will be vitiated. We will not have that vote tonight or in the morning.

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that on Tuesday, September 23, following a period of morning business, the Senate proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 767, H.R. 6049, the energy extenders, that the bill be considered under the following limitations: [3 amendments with one hour debate each and 60-vote thresholds for adoption, one additional hour of debate, one budget point of order, vote on final passage]


President Bush communicated the Congress that the nation is still formally in a state of emergency flowing from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The crisis constituted by the grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks in New York, in Pennsylvania, and against the Pentagon committed on September 11, 2001, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on United States nationals or the United States that led to the declaration of a national emergency on September 23, 2001, has not been resolved. These actions pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.


Senator REID yesterday: "I would further say, one reason we are not going to be in session tomorrow is we are waiting to get a response from the administration as to what they think should be done as the next step in the financial problems we have facing this country. We need to hear from them."

President Bush and the administration are in fact preparing legislation. President Bush just wrapped up a "have confidence" speech - not a good sign, to me, when the president feels an urge to give a "have confidence" speech to the nation. And whatever the Secretary of Treasury has up his sleeve is dramatic. "I am convinced that this bold approach will cost the American people far less than the alternative," Paulson said ...

President Bush Discusses Economy - Sept 18

[Presidential] Memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury - Sept 19

Pursuant to section 10(b) of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, as amended, 31 U.S.C. 5302(b), I approve the use of funds from the Exchange Stabilization Fund to provide up to $50 billion as a guaranty facility for certain money market mutual funds, consistent with your recommendation to me and the terms and conditions set out in your memorandum to me dated September 18, 2008.

President Bush Discusses Economy - Sept 19

Secretary Paulson, Chairman Bernanke, and Chairman Cox have briefed leaders on Capitol Hill on the urgent need for Congress to pass legislation approving the federal government's purchase of illiquid assets, such as troubled mortgages, from banks and other financial institutions.

Monday - September 22, 2008

Hey, how 'bout that bailout! Print money (or promise to) and viola, the price of commodities goes up as though by magic. This 700 billion (or maybe double or triple that) housing thing that Congress enabled (and that the Democrats encouraged) is small potatoes, compared with the angst that will emerge when Social Security goes belly up.

To say that the House and the Senate are worthless is to give them too much credit. They are damaging, and the entire lot of them ought to be run out of office so they can share in the joy their wisdom has bestowed on the people who made the error of electing them in the first place.

Tuesday - September 23, 2008

Here's Senator McConnell, yesterday describing the Senate's total and complete abdication of responsibility to legislate money policy:

Over the weekend, Congress received a straightforward four-page Main Street rescue plan ... Republicans have many serious questions about this plan, but this is the only concrete plan we have seen so far that aims to protect Americans on Main Street ... There will be many more questions about this plan. I have many myself. But we owe it to the American people to do our due diligence quickly and act swiftly ... The American people are counting on us. Let's not disappoint them.

I'm gobsmakcked at the hubris (American people are counting on Congress), particularly where it is attached to the role of playing follower in a game of follow the leader. Also, does he not see the tension inherent between "due diligence" and "act swiftly?" What the old saw? You can have it quickly, correct, or cheap, pick two.

I'd pick on the Democratic plan if I cared. If the public can only kick out half of Congress, please, God, let your plan be that the Democrats are first to be returned to private life.


Senator Reid complaining about Senator Coburn and his objection to passing S.3297, the [so-called] Advancing America's Priorities Act. Another pathetic act and tantrum by that little weasel, Senator Reid. At least he seems willing to pass the bill components that are not objected to, and reserve the fight for the others, but please, spare us the faux drama.

Just before the Senate closed last night, Senator Reid made a motion to proceed to this bill, S.3297. That Motion to Proceed is the pending business of the Senate.


Today will be Tax Extenders Day, H.R.6049 under a controlled period of debate with a handful of 60-vote threshold amendments.


10:31: Senator Coburn starts to explain his objections to some of the bills in the [so-called] Advancing America's Priorities Act (S.3297), and Senator Reid interrupts.


Baucus amendment 5633 [in the nature of a complete substitute for the bill] was PASSED on a 93 - 2 vote (Crapo and Kyl voted NAY)

Conrad amendment 5634 was REJECTED on a 53 - 42 vote (Party line except Coleman, Collins, Smith, and Snowe)

The Motion to Waive the Budget point of order PASSED on a 84 - 11 vote (Brown, Byrd, Carper, Conrad, Corker, Feingold, Kerry, McCaskill, Sanders, Voinovich, Whitehouse)

H.R.6049 - Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 was PASSED on a 93 - 2 vote (Carper and Conrad voted NAY)

Wednesday - September 24, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending.

I have no idea what Senator Reid plans for today (I quit watching the blowhard spendthrift liars in the Senate), and won't be around to watch today even if I wanted to.


President Bush's Address to the Nation

It will help American consumers and businesses get credit to meet their daily needs and create jobs.

So, we are a credit economy. ALL credit economies eventually collapse of their own weight.

Thursday - September 25, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending. (But parts of it have been passed under UC)

H.R.1199 - Drug Endangered Children Act
H.R.923 - Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (was passed twice, for emphasis perhaps)


09:37: Reid's plan for action for the day week:

  • Morning Business until the Consolidated Appropriations Bill [I think this is just another term of art for the Continuing Resolution] is delivered from the House
  • S.3001 - DOD Authorization
  • Continuing Resolution (embodied in H.R.2638), already passed by the House, will be available shortly. Reid will file a cloture motion for a Saturday cloture vote, but cloture can be vitiated with agreement to vote on the CR.
  • H.R.2095 - Amtrak & train safety
  • Watch for legislation to inflate currency for the purposes of bailing out irresponsible lenders, encouraging more lending and postponing the inevitable economic meltdown


Mr. NELSON of Florida. Is the Senator considering one of the things I talked about earlier, that we would not do the whole $700 million in one swat, but we take a part and say that is good for the next 3 or 4 months and come back and evaluate it?

Mr. DODD. I don't want to negotiate with you on the floor of the Senate. There are a lot of ideas kicking around. I know that is one that has received some consideration.

September 26, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending. (But parts of it have been passed under UC)


Mr. SCHUMER: So, again, to reiterate my three points: No. 1, we will work until we have a product. The perilous state of our financial markets and our national economy, the danger to average Americans, now unforeseen but real and lurking behind the shadows, says we can do nothing else. No. 2, we will continue to work for a better plan than the one the President proposed, with protection for taxpayers, homeowners, and real oversight. No. 3, the President must get his Republican House in order by getting the House Republicans in line and asking Senator McCain, respectfully, to leave town. Because without Republican cooperation, we cannot pass this bill.

The Democrats can most certainly pass a bill without much Republican cooperation. All they need is a few to invoke cloture, in the Senate. And that will be a cakewalk.


Mr. SPECTER: Mr. President, at the outset, I wish to thank my distinguished colleague, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for the committee's action in considering the judicial nominees and for moving ahead with their confirmations today. Senator Leahy is used to being generous and statesmanlike, but to confirm all these judges at this time, on September 26, considering the background of the controversies in the Senate, is an act of statesmanship. If they wrote a book "Profiles in Statesmanship," as well as the book "Profiles in Courage," Senator Leahy would be at the top of the list.


Mr. REID: We are going to complete, before we leave here, the Defense Department authorization bill. ... Rail safety, Amtrak--we will complete that before we leave. I have had a number of conversations with the White House. We are going to complete the India nuclear agreement before we leave.

Saturday - September 27, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending. (But parts of it have been passed under UC)


Cloture was invoked on H.R.2638 - the Continuing Resolution and whatnot bill.

Mr. COCHRAN: We have adopted, strictly speaking, an amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2638, an act making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2008. But most Members are aware that what this bill actually contains is the fiscal year 2009 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. It also contains a continuing resolution to fund the rest of the Government through March 6, and a substantial disaster supplemental in response to floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.

I highlight the title of the bill because it is indicative of the sometimes opaque and convoluted process by which the bill was drafted. Its contents were determined almost exclusively by staff members and a small handful of Members of the Senate. There was no opportunity for most Senators to advocate for a specific request. There was no forum in which to offer amendments. There were no meetings in which to argue policy or discuss grievances that Members may have had with the provisions of these bills. There was no meeting of the conference committee. Only a few elements of the bill have been previously considered on the floor of the Senate. Only the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs chapter was debated on the floor of the other body. Yet we have only a few days remaining in the fiscal year, and we have been compelled to either concur in the House amendment or risk the shutdown of the Government. ...

This year, we have thrown regular order completely out the window. In the process, we have failed both the Senate and, in my opinion, the people we represent. Not any of the 12 fiscal year 2009 appropriations bills have been brought to the Senate floor. Only one appropriations bill was brought to the floor of the House.


Speaking of gross absence of transparency (and accountability) ...

Lawmakers Reach Accord on Huge Financial Rescue - WaPo

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), the senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, who has refused to participate in the talks, said a "critical mass" was forming behind the measure because of fears that Congress's failure to act would cripple financial markets and devastate the economy.


... at 12:30 p.m. Monday, the Senate will proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R.2095 - the Federal Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2007.

Monday - September 29, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending. (But parts of it have been passed under UC)


Republicans object to Senator Reid's request for a UC agreement to pass an Energy bill, and Senator Reid notes that if he were in the House, his majority status would permit this bill to be passed. Business as usual in the Senate, while the House is going through some motions incidental to a 2/3 trillion dollar "emergency" "off budget" infusion of credit to the US and world economies, backed by the ability of the US government to extract wealth from US citizens at the point of a gun.


The House is handling the 700 thousand million dollar "bailout" under an old bill number, H.R.3997 - Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2007. No senator has the right to object to taking up a bill in this procedural posture - that is, Senator Reid just calls it up, and there is no possibility of a need to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed. Not determined at this point is whether or not any Senator will object to a time certain for voting on final passage, thereby provoking a cloture motion and cloture vote on final passage.


14:06: Roll Call Vote No. 674, I'll be dipped. The House rejected the 700 billion rescue plan ordered by the Masters of the Universe.


OIG/OPR Report on U.S. Attorney Firings

In sum, we believe that the process used to remove the nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 was fundamentally flawed. While Presidential appointees can be removed for any reason or for no reason, as long as it is not an illegal or improper reason, Department officials publicly justified the removals as the result of an evaluation that sought to replace underperforming U.S. Attorneys. ...

I'm sure the Department of Justice is happy to have that issue off their hands. "Mistakes were made." Kyle Sampson is fingered as the culprit who selected the US Attorneys who were to be replaced.

... we determined that the process implemented largely by Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, was unsystematic and arbitrary, with little oversight by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, or any other senior Department official. In choosing which U.S. Attorneys to remove, Sampson did not adequately consult with the Department officials most knowledgeable about their performance, or even examine formal evaluations of each U.S. Attorney’s Office, despite his representations to the contrary.

More at Balkinize: The DOJ IG/OPR Report on the U.S. Attorney Firings


Most of the Republican Senators will follow President Bush's orders without question. Senators Alexander and Domenici spoke in favor of passing whatever the House passes:

Mr. DOMENICI. ... Fix [the financial system by passing the Paulson bill] or be charged with letting it break down. Vote for this and fix it. Do the rescue plan or walk out of here as a Senator who can claim no victory, can claim they didn't see fit to lend their vote to a rescue plan of this type. And I believe, no matter how much guff you are getting from your constituents, no matter how much they are talking to you on the phone and in letters and other ways, you have to explain it to them right and then you have to vote what is right for the United States. That is why we are here.

Tuesday - September 30, 2008

The Motion to proceed to the consideration of S.3297 "The Coburn Package" is still pending. (But parts of it have been passed under UC)


House Debate of Monday, for the rhetoric pertaining to the latest installment in the series, "Never-ending Bailout/Rescue Plan."

  • 25 billion FORD GMC .. wasn't enough, need more
  • 30 billion BEAR ...... wasn't enough, need more
  • 85 billion AIG ....... wasn't enough, need more
  • 138 billion LEHMAN .... wasn't enough, need more
  • 200 billion FANNIES ... wasn't enough, need more
  • 300 billion House RESCUE PLAN (kicks in on Oct 1)
  • 700 billion ... pending Congressional kabuki


08:50: President Bush, Senator McCain, and the other "Masters of the Universe" are putting on the hard sell, convincing the public that the government must take over troubled assets (non-performing loans) and associated property used for security.

10:12: Senators Reid and McConnell promise passing the bailout bill. Senator McConnell cites Senator McCain, as well as the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average "speaking loud and clear" that Congressional action (taxing and transferring the proceeds to banks) is necessary.

Senator Domenici saying the proposed bill isn't a bailout, it's a purchase. The government, says he, is buying "toxic" paper. And if the government doesn't do this, then Americans won't have the luxury of buying things, because nobody buys on cash, everybody buys on credit.

Senator Kyl is his usual dysfunctional self - arguing that the public needs more financial credit because the public runs its households with too much debt. At any rate, it is perfectly fitting that the Republicans be take the lead in adding another government program to the heap.

Now Senator Kyl is reading a letter that describes the real world consequences, and man, is it ever an eye opener. The writer says due to loss of appraised value in his house (his collateral), his credit line has been reduced. I ask, what is Senator Kyl going to do to maintain the value of the writer's collateral? Or does he propose to relax lending rules so that one can borrow more than the collateral is worth? I wonder how many people will fall for the dumb-ass argument that Kyl is trying to make.

12:28: Senator Bond is saying he doesn't want to be voting AYE for the bailout / rescue, but it'll be good for the people if he does support it. His argument is as disconnected as Kyl's, expressing reluctance for supporting something he sees as good for the public.

The parade of Republican support continues with Senators McConnell and Bennett.

14:14: A Democrat speaking! Senator Dorgan noting the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, right after saying that it's not time to cast blame. He names names, Senator Gramm. Then he takes credit for predicting a need for massive taxpayer funded bailouts. Dorgan was one of 8 Senators to vote against the repeal, McCain was the sole "not voting" Senator.

November 4, 1999 ...

... I do not know if many know it, but we have something like $33 trillion in value of derivatives held by U.S. commercial banks in this country.

Federally-insured banks in this country are trading in derivatives out of their own proprietary accounts. You could just as well put a roulette wheel in the bank lobby. That is what it is. I offered amendments on the floor of the Senate when this bill was originally here to stop bank speculation in derivatives in their own proprietary accounts and also to take a look at some sensible regulation of risky hedge funds, but those amendments were rejected. You think there is not risk here? There is dramatic risk, and it is increasing. ...

Let me describe the ultimate perversion, the hood ornament on stupidity. The U.S. Government owned nonperforming junk bonds in the Taj Mahal Casino. Let me say that again. The U.S. Government ended up owning nonperforming junk bonds in the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. How did that happen? The savings and loans were able to buy junk bonds. The savings and loans went belly up. The junk bonds were not performing. And the U.S. Government ended up with those junk bonds.

"Too big to fail, so we make them bigger. Doesn't makes sense to me," says Senator Dorgan, again today.

Senator Dorgan advocates legislation that regulates hedge funds and derivatives.

Recovery, Reform, and Regulation. He won't vote for Recovery without Reform and/or Regulation.

14:50: Senator Domenici challenges Senator Dorgan, asking whether the purchase of toxic securities isn't in fact a good deal for the buyer (the taxpayer). Senator Dorgan uses the sausage analogy, "we don't even know what's inside those securities." Ultimately, he advocates relief to the "deadbeat" borrower in bankruptcy court, as it provides stability in housing value (compared with housing vacancies).

16:26: Senator Dodd says that the order of business (where the bailout bill will originate) is being discussed between party leaders; and that those who voted NAY yesterday are having second thoughts about their NAY votes. He expects a "positive result in the next 24 to 48 hours." Senator Warner indicates that he would have endorsed the language that Dodd circulated yesterday.

19:14: Senator Reid propounds a UC request to take up the bailout bill, with times certain for debate and voting on final passage. I missed the details - check the Legislative Calendar at about midnight for full details of UC agreements - but I think the roll out is set up for Thursday. Senator Reid thanks Dodd and Gregg for their work. Senator McConnell said this represents one of the finest moments of the Senate (obviously, no objection). All's been cleared with House leadership as well.

Wednesday - October 1, 2008

There is a pair of UC agreements that intertwine passage of the US-India Nuclear Power Agreement (H.R.7081) and "the bailout." Debate India-nuclear-power; debate bailout; vote India-nuclear-power; vote bailout.

The bailout language is being negotiated, and probably will be until "the last minute." It's to be an amalgamation of the recently Senate-passed energy-tax extenders (H.R.6049) with modifications to make it acceptable to House Democrats, and House-rejected "bailout" language with decorative tweaks like increasing the FDIC insurance limit. This amalgamation is in the form of a substitute amendment, the "Dodd" amendment.

Besides the Dodd substitute amendment, a Sanders amendment re: tax on high income individuals to be debated and voted under bailout. Passage of the Sanders amendment to be on simple majority, and passage of the bailout ("Dodd amendment" and final passage) to be on a 60 vote supermajority basis.

I think the people who are calling Congress to complain about passage of this bill are wasting their time. Congress is utterly indifferent as to public sentiment, and holds the public in disdain.

14:38: Debate on the bailout begins, with dickering over order of speeches. Senator Clinton goes first, in favor of the plan. Senators Dodd and Gregg are managing the debate (both of them are in favor). Total time for debate is on the order of two and a half hours, with an hour of that on the Sanders amendment.

Other talkers (in order): Gregg (for), Baucus (for), Isakson (for), Mikulski (for) ...

Democrats are blaming Wall Street greed and lax GOP oversight. Lying sacks of shit. Congress is responsible, both parties, but more DEM than GOP. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest Mikulski's brassiere.

Senator Dodd extended debate time about an hour, with voting to start at 7:00 pm.

More talkers: Corker (for), Dodd (enthusiastically, but reluctantly for), Coburn (for) ...

Coburn asserts that the power to be exercised by Congress (being in the mortgage business) is outside the enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8. He says Amtrak is a similar violation.

Senator Coburn says the unfunded liabilities for Medicaid (Medicare? I can't keep them straight) alone is 100 trillion dollars. He's railing against Congressional spending. Quite the lead in for justifying approval of a 700 billion dollar government purchase of toxic paper. I agree with him, Congress will reap what it sows. It's just a matter of timing.

More talkers: Conrad (for), Collins (for), ...

Each of them says something like, "None of us is happy," or "I share the anger of my constituents." None of them expresses shame, or anger at THEMSELVES. Well, Coburn chewed Congress a new ass, but he's a pariah in their midst. Collins is telling us what a GREAT job she's done. I live in Maine, and she'll never have my support. The reason the State of Maine couldn't get a 50 million dollar bond is that it's not reliably going to obtain enough revenue to repay per the terms of the bond.

More talkers: Reed (for), McConnell (emphatically for) ...

Senator McConnell's "every dime we get back will be used to pay down the national debt" is an empty sound bite. When spending exceeds income, as it does in the US, the notion of "paying down debt" is meaningless. The rest of his "comforting" words are likewise horse shit. "Close supervision by the government," "businesses will be allowed to fail," etc.

Krauthammer, George Will, Kudlow, National Review, WSJ, Newt Gingrich, and Heritage Foundation support the package, therefore it has the support of conservatives, concludes Senator McConnell.

More talkers: Casey (for), Vitter (NO) ...

Vitter thinks the proposed bureaucracy will invite corruption - Wall Streeters turned bureaucrat, later to return to Wall Street. First one to express "appalling lack of political leadership." He believes this bailout invites a repeat, or similar, financial collapse, at some indefinite future time.

More talkers: Obama (for) ...

17:12: Quorum call after a 15 minute Obama speech put Senator Sanders to sleep.

17:15: More talkers: DeMint (NO) ...

DeMint thinks the proposed bill will cause more harm than good. Whoa - he's accusing the Federal government of socializing, then wrecking: finance, education, and energy. He says Americans understand this. Well, I do, but I think I'm in a splinter minority. DeMint admits that the financial problem was caused by Congress, operating beyond its wisdom with good intentions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were lobbying us to turn a blind eye while our brain child turned into a Frankenstein. He is really pissed off.

He thinks Congress should admit its guilt and fix the flawed financial legislation. Government is at the root of this problem. He thinks telling people they are going to be rescued with their own money is flawed. This Congress refuses to change its policy, even though the policy caused the housing bubble. Refuse to pass tax laws that would attract capital investment and jobs. Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. Pass a law to expedite the development of our energy resources, freeze non-discretionary spending. None of that is on the table for discussion. Congress is being dishonest and arrogant. He strongly opposes this legislation.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Listen to DeMint's Speech

Now there are two pariahs in the Senate, but DeMint ends up being a bigger one than Coburn.

Sanders is up with his amendment. That gets an hour of debate, then the string of votes starts.

17:45: More talkers: Sessions (NO), Schumer (for), Domenici (for), Menendez (ANGRY and for), Shelby (NO) ...

18:32: Senator Dodd obtains unanimous consent to add an additional half-hour for debate. More talkers: Nelson (FL) (NO), Graham (for), Kerry (for), Martinez (for), Boxer (for - she is going to lay blame tonight - it's all Republicans fault), Gregg (for), Cantwell (NO - against turning the keys to the treasury over to the private sector), Durbin (for - reckless deregulation of financial industry, reckless behavior of Wall Street, and Republicans are to blame), Feinstein (for), Hutchison (for) ...

Senator Graham sounds like Arlo Guthrie singing Alice's Restaurant.

Feinstein reports her constituents are overwhelmingly against the bailout, but that they were looking at the wrong bill by looking at the original Paulson bill. Constituents in California run their businesses on credit.

Hutchison is shilling on the bailout bill, in part on account of the "goodness" inherent in the energy tax credits, disaster assistance, etc. - and neglects to mention that all those provisions were passed by the Senate last week under H.R.6049.


19:32: Shift to Amtrak, H.R.2095, for half an hour of debate, then voting starts.

20:08: Voting starts on the Amtrak bill. Passed 74-24 at 20:26.

20:33: Voting starts on the India nuclear-power bill. Passed 86-13 at 20:48. This was a really contentious bill when it came up last year. Funny how things change.


20:50: Sanders amendment on deck. Failed on a voice vote, no roll call. Senator Reid asks to speak before voting on the Dodd substitute amendment (this is really the only important vote for this bill), and uses the time to thank Senate staff for their hard work.

My prediction for passage of the Dodd substitute amendment is 79-19.

20:59: Senator Reid starts his closing remarks, prior to the vote.

21:07: Voting starts. Senators are ordered to vote from their chairs, all formal like the rules require.

21:18: Dodd substitute amendment (bailout plus energy tax extenders) was PASSED, on a 74-25 vote (predicted 79-19) (NAY votes: Allard, Barrasso, Brownback, Bunning, Cantwell, Cochran, Crapo, DeMint, Dole, Dorgan, Enzi, Feingold, Inhofe, Johnson, Landrieu, Nelson (FL), Roberts, Sanders, Sessions, Shelby, Stabenow, Tester, Vitter, Wicker, Wyden)

The Senate is conducting a roll call vote on final passage. I'd expect exactly the same or higher number of AYE votes.

21:41: Final passage of H.R.1424 (bailout plus energy tax extenders) PASSED, on a 74-25 vote (NAY votes: Allard, Barrasso, Brownback, Bunning, Cantwell, Cochran, Crapo, DeMint, Dole, Dorgan, Enzi, Feingold, Inhofe, Johnson, Landrieu, Nelson (FL), Roberts, Sanders, Sessions, Shelby, Stabenow, Tester, Vitter, Wicker, Wyden)


21:53: Senator Durbin closing the Senate. A big raft of bills to be passed, no doubt, as the Senate is done until after the election, and then only for lame-duck stuff. I'm gonna watch baseball. Maybe never to return. It's been fun!

Thursday - October 2, 2008

Life is good. The Boston RedSox won game 1 in the playoff series.

Link to Congressional Record for October 1 bailout speeches
Link to Congressional Record for some October 2 bailout speeches.


Faced with 7% unemployment in Nevada, and 9% unemployment in Michigan, the Democrats propose to extend federal taxpayer money to extend unemployment benefits. The Republicans object to Senator Reid's UC proposal to pass that legislation (S.3507) at this moment.

Mr. REID: In summary, if we could afford to authorize $700 billion last evening to assist financial forces to unclog credit markets, to begin to provide support for the economy, then we certainly can afford to help individuals who are looking for work and can't find it and are desperate.


H.RES. 1525 - Providing for the consideration of the Senate amendments to the bill H.R.1424

The House will consider the bailout/tax extenders bill with 3 total hours of debate, and no amendments to be considered. H.RES. 1526 provides that simple majority will determine the outcome, even though the vote is on the same day the rule is introduced.

Friday - October 3, 2008

The Senate stands in recess until Monday. The action is over in the House, on the bailout. I thought it would pass on Monday - and I think it will pass today.

Roll Call Vote No. 679 on ordering the question on voting passage of the Rule. Passes 235-190 at 10:30 am.

Roll Call Vote No. 680 on voting passage of the Rule. Passes 223-205 at 10:39 am.

Roll Call Vote No. 681 on voting passage of the Bill (H.R.1424). Passes 263-171 at 1:27 pm.

16:01: CNN reports the bailout bill has been signed into law. Two and a half hours from passage to being signed into law. Not bad!


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