Congressional Developments

(10 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)

There are 3 Congressional actions we need to keep our eye on today and in the near future-

  • FISA Compromise
  • FEC Appointments
  • Occupation Funding

FISA Compromise

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

by digby

5/07/2008 05:03:00 PM  

This is an piece of legislation which we can feel proud to have battled back since last August. But Bush wants this one very, very badly for some reason and he’s going to push it right up until the day he leaves office. It’s a zombie. And it’s not just about money. These are huge corporations that can easily afford to litigate these claims and since it is unlikely that any of the plaintiffs suffered huge damages they don’t face outrageous financial liability. They don’t even face much bad PR: if they lose, they just say they were trying to help the government fight terrorists and there won’t be a whole lot of customers who will switch to other carriers when they find out they violated the fourth amendment. This is about the Bush administration and keeping civil liberties lawyers from having access to discovery documents.


Dear Steny: We Won’t Get Fooled Again

By: Jane Hamsher

Monday May 5, 2008 1:30 pm

There is no public outcry to “free Dick Cheney.” There is no constituency ready to storm the halls of Congress unless the telecoms are given immunity, just a lot of K Street money pouring into the coffers of the Blue Dogs. If Steny, Jello Jay and Carney have their way, it will be virtually impossible to discover the extent of the crimes of the telecos (and the Bushies) for spying on American citizens.

plus the seminal

What backroom conniving are Steny Hoyer and the Chris Carney Blue Dogs up to on FISA?

Glenn Greenwald

May 2, 2008 07:50 EDT

The Steny Hoyers of the world need to realize that there will be a real cost when they enable lawbreaking and help to further eviscerate the rule of law, or else they will continue to do it. There’s no point in having Chris Carneys in Congress if — as he and his small band of like-minded comrades are doing now — they’re going to force the House Democrats to join with the most radical elements of the GOP in dismantling core constitutional protections and further entrenching our two-tiered system of justice where the most politically well-connected actors are literally immune from the rule of law.

The planned capitulation makes even less sense politically. Having picked this fight and then stood their ground for months while numerous caucus members were subjected to ad campaigns, a reversal and capitulation by Democrats now — and that is what any so-called “compromise” would be — would make them look even weaker and more devoid of convictions than is typical. It would severely exacerbate the greatest political liability Democrats have: namely, the perception that they are “weak” because they stand for nothing and/or lack the courage to defend their convictions.

FEC Appointments

Deal And No Deal

by dday

5/07/2008 04:39:00 PM

The one concession in this deal is that von Spakovsky will get a separate vote. Now, the Bush Administration fully believes he’ll pass under that standard, while Harry Reid’s office says they “expect” to defeat von Spakovsky. But I don’t know what they’re basing that on. As far as I can tell there’s no “upperdown vote” agreed to here, so his confirmation could be filibustered. Still, Mitch McConnell is wily and there are so many obstructions they’ve thrown up in the past, that I could easily see a scenario where they agree to move forward on some minor initiatives in exchange for von Spakovsky’s nomination. Alternatively, the Republicans will relent on von Spakovsky in exchange for retroactive immunity for the telecoms. There are a lot of balls in the air.


Today’s Must Read

By Paul Kiel

May 7, 2008, 9:57AM

Spakovsky remains a nominee. Instead, the administration has submitted a new nominee to replace the current chairman, David Mason. Mason is one of the only two seated commissioners, and it just so happens that he’s been creating a whole lot of trouble for John McCain lately.

In February, the McCain campaign notified the FEC that it was withdrawing from the public financing system for the primary. Although McCain had once opted in, his campaign said that it had never received public funds and so could opt out. The move meant that McCain would not be bound by the $54 million spending limit for the system.

But Mason balked. McCain couldn’t just opt out — the FEC had to approve his request before he could. And Mason also indicated that a tricky bank loan might mean that McCain had locked himself in to the system. That would be disastrous for the campaign, since the Dem nominee would have a tremendous spending advantage through August. So McCain’s campaign has continued to spend away, far surpassing the limit already. The Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the FEC and has also taken the matter to court.

And now Mason is getting the boot.

So where’s the compromise, exactly?

Occupation Funding

Would you believe that the House is going to vote tomorrow on a three tiered abortion of a bill designed to let our REPRESENTATIVES skate without ANY accountability for letting this war criminal administration continue it’s insane occupation policy without any restriction and I can’t find any outrage?

I can find news-

War funding would break Dem promises

By: Martin Kady II, Politico

May 6, 2008 04:38 AM EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is about to lead her party into a major showdown over Iraq funding by violating two Democratic campaign pledges in one fell swoop.

To the critics, whether anti-war activists or House Republicans, Pelosi has made her feelings clear: Get over it.

This week’s maneuvering over a $200 billion war spending bill has revealed Pelosi self-confidently playing what she believes – with increasing evidence – is a strong hand.

Obey Outlines Supplemental Strategy

By Daniel W. Reilly

May 6, 2008

(The Politico)  After a flurry of last-minute number changes, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) unveiled a three-step process Tuesday for the House consideration of an emergency $183.7 billion wartime spending bill, possibly as early as this week.

In a press conference, Obey said the House will hold three votes related to different components: the first on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the second on conditions to be imposed on the defense funds, and the third on a set of domestic initiatives, not all of which are reflected in the chairman’s price-tag.

Chief among these are an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, expected to cost between $11 billion to $12 billion over 10 years, and a landmark expansion of education benefits for veterans who have served since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

But where are the blog posts?

Buried under a blizzard of horserace.  I’m sure there’s a pony in there somewhere, there’s certainly enough shit.


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  1. I am extremely frustrated that I can’t find my final piece, but I’m publishing anyway because I need to nap.

  2. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere, I remember one.  But I’m sure not finding it.

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