The Planned Parenthood P.R. Coup
April 08, 2011
All day Friday, there were two big, conflicting narratives floating around Capitol Hill about why there wasn’t yet a budget deal to keep the government open for the rest of the fiscal year. The Republican story: We’re still bickering over how much spending to cut. And the Democratic version: False! Both sides have basically agreed on an amount to cut—somewhere in the vicinity of $38 billion. The only holdup is that Republicans still want to slash federal funds for Planned Parenthood, and that’s an absolute no-go for us Dems. Someone had to be lying, right? But who?
April 08, 2011
Phillip Klein reads the tea leaves and thinks the shutdown will not happen: Moments ago, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh.., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., made public statements about the state of negotiations, with a shutdown looming at midnight Friday.
All the Hill’s a Stage
April 07, 2011
Around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, Nancy Pelosi fielded a question from a journalist who wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know: How, exactly, are the talks over a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown faring? The former Speaker of the House paused—back when Dems had a majority, after all, she would have been smack in the center of those negotiations. But now?
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Shutdown
April 05, 2011
Greg Sargent reports: A senior Senate Democratic aide tells me that in today’s private meeting at the White House, Speaker John Boehner signaled to the President and to Harry Reid that Republicans were not willing to support any budget compromise that can’t garner the votes of 218 Republicans in the House.
The Biggest Losers in the Budget Battle
February 28, 2011
Who's winning the political battle over the budget and federal spending? Damned if I know. Politico's Jonathan Allen says the score is "Republicans 1, Democrats 0." The reason: The temporary agreement that will keep the government running another two weeks includes $4 billion in cuts, which is more or less a pro-rated version of the Republican demand for $60 billion in cuts over the rest of the fiscal year. Democrats, in other words, caved. Or did they? The $4 billion comes from a list of cuts that President Obama himself had endorsed.
Sharron Angle Moves On
January 31, 2011
Defeated nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, having failed to knock off wildly unpopular incumbent Harry Reid on account of insanity, is now (per Political Wire) doing things like appearing at a makeup convention to share tips: Sharron will be sharing her beauty and makeup challenges during the campaign and how she overcame them! She had confidence that she would look great with 14 -16 hour days & with numerous appearances daily...so can you! At least she didn't respond to her loss by resorting to Second Amendment remedies.
January 29, 2011
When Congress convened earlier this month, senators Merkley, Udall, and Harkin introduced a package of proposals to reform Senate rules—including, most notably, the filibuster. But the proposal failed to gain traction in the Senate, and, on Thursday, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell announced a deal that confirmed what reformers feared: the filibuster as we know it will remain. The big mystery for me in all this is why the reformers were so insistent in their package of proposals on forcing “live,” or “talking,” filibusters.
Senate Reform Goes Dormant (But It's Not Dead)
January 27, 2011
Both Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent interpret today’s agreement on Senate reform -- in which Harry Reid explicitly and apparently unconditionally pledged not to attempt to change the rules with a simple majority vote -- as the end of the road for reform. The reasoning? Since neither party will ever reach the 67 votes it takes to unilaterally change the rules by using the rules, the only way significant reforms will happen will be through either a majority vote, or, perhaps more likely, in response to a threat of a majority vote.
The Long Game
January 27, 2011
Last week, on the same day that Hu Jintao was dining with Barbra Streisand and Jackie Chan at the White House, there was another piece of less welcome news about China: According to a statement issued by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a network of activists, Hu’s government had recently disseminated a list of “requirements and prohibitions” for journalists during the coming year. The rules included a ban on the use of the phrase “civil society.” This revelation was not front-page news, of course—and, in the sense that it represented nothing out of the ordinary, it shouldn’t have been.
Senate Dems Throw In the Towel
January 24, 2011
Last month, every member of the Senate Democratic caucus signed a letter signalling support for reforms that would end anonymous holds and force the minority to actually mount a continuous debate if it wanted to block a bill, rather than require a supermajority vote even to begin a debate: All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action to change long-sacrosanct filibuster rules. The letter, delivered this week, expresses general frustration with what Democrats consider unprecedented obstruction and as