Harry Reid gets it: We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It's a long clock. He can only pass things (barring a successful bluff to go nuclear, which is highly unlikely at this point) if he has 60 votes (and more for START), and he can only pass as many things as he can pack in to the space available.
WASHINGTON—The "No Labels" group that held its inaugural meeting this week in the name of the political center fills me with passionate ambivalence. My attitude is moderately supportive and moderately critical—accented by a moderate touch of cynicism. Who can disagree with a call to put aside "petty partisanship" and embrace "practical solutions"? Let's cheer the group's insistence on "fact-based discussions." Too much political talk these days is utterly disconnected from what's actually true.
A moment of high drama interrupted the Supreme Court’s summer recess last year. Troy Davis, a Georgia death-row inmate, had filed an emergency appeal in May arguing that he was innocent of the 1989 murder for which the state condemned him—and that new evidence proved it. His lawyers asked the justices to override the usual limits on death-penalty appeals and give Davis an opportunity to make his case. On August 17, to the astonishment of Court watchers, the justices granted Davis a stay of execution and a new hearing before a federal district judge.
I love Matt Yglesias's response to Jon Kyl's suggestion that having the Senate work on December 27 would somehow be an insult to Christians: Yglesias proposes a Jews-only session on Christmas Day. Although note that Christmas happens to fall on a Saturday this year; I believe Joe Lieberman will only show up and vote on Shabbat if his vote is really necessary.
It’s always an exciting opportunity when the federal government can raise revenue and protect the environment while simultaneously increasing profits at private businesses. That’s why a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on waste from the energy production processes is encouraging, even if it’s irritating. When energy companies like Shell, BP and the hordes of other, smaller firms drill for oil and natural gas, some gas inevitably bubbles to the surface or seeps out through leaky pipes and ineffective storage systems. The companies burn off some of the bubbles.
Mitt Romney, as my colleague Jonathan Chait keeps pointing out, has a big problem as he pursues the 2012 Republican presidential nomination: His signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts was creating a universal health coverage scheme that looks a lot like the Affordable Care Act. In particular, the Massachusetts reforms include an individual mandate--a requirement that everybody get health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has one of those too.
Jonathan Chait and Ezra Klein both speculate today about the possibility of a GOP revolt against the tax cut deal, and tie it to economic growth and the presidential election (as Chait accurately characterizes my post yesterday, I made a wimpy "prediction" that the GOP might defect). I think they are both correct that it is in the interest of the Republican Party to have the economy tank over the next two years -- especially in 2012. However, I very much doubt that individual Republican pols will care about that. And I specifically include the presidential contenders. I'd be shocked if they
Source: Urban Institute The requirement that everybody buy health insurance remains unpopular and, based on Monday's court ruling in Virginia, it may be legally vulnerable, as well. But it's worth noting that the individual mandate, as it's known, seems to be working pretty well in the one state that already has it: Massachusetts. A new state survey conducted by the Urban Institute confirms what national surveys have already shown: Nearly everybody in Massachusetts now has health insurance.
Jamelle Bouie has been following judicial confirmations, and he has an excellent post up today criticizing the possible deal Harry Reid has been negotiating with the Republicans over the remaining judges. With good reason: the deal reportedly would allow confirmation of some—but not all—of the nominees who sailed through the Judiciary Committee with no opposition at all, while leaving the rest of them to rot, along with other nominees who had bipartisan (but not unanimous) support, not to mention the handful of actually controversial nominees. Bouie notes: Of course, if there's anyone to bla