Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

Senate Rule Waives Reading of Amendments

On Thursday, January 27th, 2011, the US Senate passed Senate Resolution 29 which reads as follows: The reading of an amendment may be waived by a non-debatable motion if it has been submitted at least 72 hours before the motion; and is available in printed or electronic form in the Congressional Record.

The resolution passed by an 85-15 roll call vote with all Democrat and Independent Senators voting for it, and the following Republicans voting against it: Coburn (R-OK), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Hatch (R-UT), Inhofe (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Rubio (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Toomey (R-PA), and Vitter (R-LA).

This resolution has the effect of limiting public exposure of amendments before they are placed into bills.

January 26, 2011

Resolution to End Taxpayer Financing of Elections

H. Res. 359, which terminates taxpayer funding of Presidential elections an party conventions, was passed in the House Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by a vote of 239-160. The CBO estimates it will save taxpayers $614 million over the next 10 years.

All Republicans except Walter Jones (NC-3) voted for it, in addition to ten Democrats: Altmire (PA-4), Boren (OK-2), Chandler (KY-6), Cuellar (TX-28), Donnelly (IN-2), Matheson (UT-2), Rahall (WV-3), Ross (AR-4), Schiff (CA-29, and Shuler (NC-11).

January 25, 2011

Setting the 2011 Budget at 2008 Levels

House Resolution 38 was passed by a vote of 256-165. This Resolution instructs the House Budget Committee to write the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 so as to be in accord with non-security spending levels of fiscal year 2008.

All of the Republicans present voted for H.Res. 38, as well as 17 Democrats: Altmire (PA-4), Barrow (GA-12), Boren (OK-2), Chandler (KY-6), Cooper (TN-5), Costa (CA-20), Costello (IL-12), Donnelly (IN-2), Holden (PA-17), Kissell (NC-8), Lipinski (IL-3), Matheson (UT-2), Peterson (MN-7), Quigley (IL-5), Ross (AR-4), Schrader (OR-5), and Shuler (NC-11).

It is interesting to note that three Illinois Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with their 11 Republican colleagues in Illinois for the spending cuts; in effect, 74% of the Illinois delegation voted for the spending cut.

January 22, 2011

Instruction to Committees for Obamacare Replacement Legislation

H.Res. 9 was passed Thursday, January 20th, 2011, instructing the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Ways and Means to write proposed legislation that addresses the following points: eliminating job-killing policies and regulations concerning the health care industry; increased competition and choice among private health care insurance providers; pre-existing condition access; tort reform; tax incentives for medical savings and expenses; prohibit government funded abortions; eliminate duplicative government programs; no legislation proposed shall increase the tax burden.

The Resolution passed on a vote of 253-175, with all Republicans voting for it, and the following 14 Democrats also voting for it: Altmire (PA-4), Barrow (GA-12), Boren (OK-2), Brown (FL-3), Chandler (KY-6), Critz (PA-12), Holden (PA-17), Kissell (NC-8), Lipinski (IL-3), Matheson (UT-2), McIntyre (NC-7), Peterson (MN-7), Ross (AR-4), Shuler (NC-11).

I would note that Brown, Critz, Kissell, and Lipinski are not in the Blue Dog Coalition; this vote may signal a turn toward center for these Democrats.

January 20, 2011

ObamaCare Repeal Passed In House

H.R. 2, Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, was passed on a 245-189 vote January 19th, 2011. All Republican members voted yea, along with three Democrats: Dan Boren (OK-2) Mike McIntyre (NC-7), and Mike Ross (AR-4).

Larry Kissell (NC-8), who was one of four Democrats who voted to bring the bill to the floor for debate in H. Res. 26, and also voted against the original Affordable Health Care Act a year ago, declined to vote for the repeal in the final moment. Kissell’s district includes Ft. Bragg (home of the Special Forces), and Pope Air Force Base, which gives a conservative cast to his electors. But it does not explain his flip-flopping on this measure. Let us trust that the voters in his district remember this vote 21 months from now.

January 18, 2011

ObamaCare Repeal Bill Admitted to House Floor

The last measure taken in the House before the week-long hiatus caused by the shooting of Representative Giffords in Tuscon was House Resolution 26, which provides for consideration of H.R. 2, to repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; it also provides for consideration of H.Res. 9, instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law.

In essence, H.Res. 26 brings the ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor for debate. The House Rules Committee has scheduled seven hours for the debate. All Republicans present voted to open it for debate, and all Democrats present except the following four voted to keep it from debate: Dan Boren (OK-2), Larry Kissel (NC-8), Mike McIntyre (NC-7), and Mike Ross (AR-4).

It remains to be seen whether these four follow up in their commitment to repeal ObamaCare, and whether more Democrats will follow their lead in the final repeal bill. I would note that these four Democrats also voted against Pelosi in the House Speaker vote.

January 10, 2011

Pay Reduction Passed

House Resolution 22 which reduces House member allowances by 5%, and reduces House Committee staff salaries by 9% was passed 408-13.
No Republican voted against it.
The following Democrats voted against this spending reduction:
Ackerman (NY-5), Clarke (NY-11), Conyers (MI-14), Ellison (MN-5), Filner (CA-51), Honda (CA-15), Jackson (IL-2), Lee (CA-9), Moran (VA-8), Payne (NJ-10), Schakowsky (IL-9), Towns (NY-10), and Woolsey (CA-6).
Apparently, they felt unable to take a hit in the wallet like other Americans. Though it is more of a gesture than any real reduction in Federal spending (it saves the taxpayers approximately $25 million), it signals just who will not compromise at any level for more responsible government.

January 5, 2011

Legislators Must Cite Constitutional Power to Enact Bills

House Resolution 5 passed 240-191 on a strict party line. The resolution contains a number of housekeeping rules that the current Congress has decided to enact, but the most important is the requirement that a bill’s sponsor shall place a statement in the Congressional Record citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.

January 5, 2011

Election of House Speaker

As anticipated, John Boehner (OH-8) was elected Speaker of the House. The vote tally was strictly on party lines, though 18 Representatives declined to vote for Pelosi (CA-8), and instead voted for a number of other Democrats, along with one who voted present (Sanford Bishop (GA-2)). It is interesting to note that Boehner declined to vote, but Pelosi voted for herself.

The speculation is that the 19 Democrats who did not vote for Pelosi come from conservative districts and did so as not to alienate their voters, recognizing that an association with Pelosi and other hard-line Progressives would fare poorly in the 2012 election. It may behoove the Republican leadership and conservative voters as well to keep an eye on these 19 Democrats and perhaps use them as possible allies.
The 19 Democrats are as follows:
Altmire (PA-12), Barrow (GA-4), Bishop (NY-1), Boren (OK-2), Cardoza (CA-18), Cooper (TN-5), Costa (CA-20), Donnelly (IN-2), Giffords (AZ-8), Holden (PA-17), Kind (WI-3), Kissell (NC-8), Lipinski (IL-3), Matheson (UT-2), McIntyre (NC-7), Michaud (ME-2), Ross (AR-4), Schrader (OR-5), and Schuler (NC-11).

January 4, 2011

Repealing ObamaCare

It seems that a few in Congress have plans to repeal ObamaCare; they count on the handful of Democrat Senators who wavered in the original vote for it to change their minds and flip-flop. This plan has some merit, but they will still have to mount a massive campaign in public to put pressure on Obama to not veto it. Can they articulate a credible argument against ObamaCare in the MSM? It remains to be seen.

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