How Congress’s Showdown With China Puts Obama in a Serious Bind
October 06, 2011
While all of Washington fastened its gaze on Chris Christie, the most important issue of the week—maybe of the year—was playing out on the floor of the Senate.
Getting Past ‘Goo-Goo’ on Freight Policy
July 25, 2011
A national policy for freight--one that recognizes the multi-modal and increasingly globalized nature of goods movement and accordingly directs federal spending based on rigorous and defensible criteria--is one of those classic goo-goo initiatives that everyone seems to want, but isn’t sexy enough to make it past the “Hey, that’s a good idea!” stage. Twice in the past year, Sens.
A Dem Palin? Not Needed
August 30, 2010
The Sunday NYT carried an unusually useless op-ed yesterday, asking for a "Palin of Our Own" for the Democrats. Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister note that Sarah Palin generates a lot of publicity, and conclude: The left should be outraged and exasperated by all this — but at their own failings as much as Ms. Palin’s ascension. Since the 2008 election, progressive leaders have done little to address the obvious national appetite for female leadership. And despite (or because of) their continuing obsession with Ms.
How Feingold Weakened FinReg
July 23, 2010
The Wisconsin Democrat supported a filibuster, giving more leverage to Scott Brown, who used his position to weaken the bill: This is where Senator Feingold's principles come into play. Because he refused to vote for cloture on the Dodd-Frank bill without major revisions, a coalition of 60 liberal votes became impossible. So Senator 61, Scott Brown, became the dealmaker. Since winning Edward Kennedy's Senate seat in a special election, Brown has certainly proved to be no conservative firebrand.
Beating the Street
May 05, 2010
Shortly after nine on a Monday morning in late April, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler filed into a meeting room with nine senior aides. The aesthetic was what you might call “bureaucratic drab”—fluorescent lights, beige carpeting, American flag—and the mostly middle-aged men did not seem out of place. Their suits ranged from gray to charcoal and the complexions were varying degrees of pasty.
Bringing the Heat
April 05, 2010
This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.
Are The Senate Climate Talks Leading Anywhere?
January 24, 2010
From chatting with people on the Hill these past few days, it's clear that there's a lot of pessimism about the Senate passing a big climate bill this year. (And if nothing passes in 2010, next year won't be any easier, given that Democrats will likely lose a bunch of seats in the midterms.) The dour predictions aren't surprising, given that even health care reform is in peril right now.
The Return of John McCain, Teddy Roosevelt Fan
January 05, 2010
Granted, too-big-to-fail is an issue that has populist resonance on both right and left. Still, given McCain's trajectory over the last few years, this isn't necessarily a fight I'd have expected him to pick. Good to see him involved. Politico's Victoria McGrane has the story: The anger at the nation’s financial behemoths is taking shape in a variety of ways, most notably in a bill from Sens.
Dueling Climate Bill Hit The Senate
December 11, 2009
Copenhagen's nabbing all the headlines, but there's been some big climate news in the Senate this week. Yesterday, John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman unveiled an outline of their "tri-partisan" climate legislation. You can see the rough framework here. As expected, it's similar to the House climate bill, only with more subsidies for coal, nuclear, and offshore drilling. Given that Graham, a conservative Republican, seems fairly committed to hammering out a deal, most of the Senate momentum is behind this bill right now.
December 11, 2009
Of all the different industry groups scrambling to shape climate policy in Washington--from electric utilities to Detroit automakers--one stands out as a bit unexpected: Wall Street. Financial giants like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have enlisted, all told, more than 100 lobbyists to roam the Capitol and influence the debate over how to curb greenhouse gases. There’s a reason for that: Any cap-and-trade bill that puts a limit on emissions and allows polluters to buy and sell permits will create a vast carbon market.