Saturday, December 13, 2014

And Now, the Senate Show

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, appropriately on the left. And Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who really should be farther right, right off the page
Still Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, has not got the Cromnibus passed yet. The House passed it and now it's t It's the Senate's turn. It's still a bit mired in procedural ploys so Reid is now trying to get as many cloture votes (requiring 60 to stop action) as possible to move forward with his still democratic majority for confirmation of President Obama's nominees to staff vacant political positions in this administration. The big show is at 1 a.m. tonight (technically tomorrow in DC time, and 11 p.m. here in Mountain) when he will call for a vote on Cromnibus. There are two obstacles in the way pictured above.

The one who does not look anything at all like the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, is Elizabeth Warren, a liberal populist, something we haven't seen in a long time, well, I guess since Ted Kennedy died. I will admit that I like her. Her politics are decidedly left of center and I hope she represents a new movement that will inch the nation in that direction. Heaven knows the likes of Ted Cruz have nearly taken us over a cliff the other way.

So, I'll probably be up late tuned to C-Span 2, watching to see if I go to work on Monday. Oh wait, that's a telework day making it a lot easier. We were told last Thursday that if we were teleworkers and there was a shut-down, we would have to officially report in at the office to implement shut-down procedures. That's basically turning off our computers and going out to breakfast. I think I'll just not answer the phone or check e-mails from work this weekend.

It is such a sarcastic joy to be a federal employee these many years. Government used to be held in respect. Now we're all Rodney Dangerfield. I found this great article on a statistical analysis of bad words used in public comments to federal agencies. Please note our Fish and Wildlife Service is No. 2 right after the IRS:
F@&% the Government!
     Apparently, Munchkin Senators Cruz and Lee were outmaneuvered on a procedural point from their grandstanding in-eloquence and that's why Reid is going through a weekend session to get as many Presidential Appointments confirmed as possible. And the Cromnibus will likely pass on Monday.

Update No. 2:
     With C-Span 2 going on as I do laundry and occasionally nap, I am enjoying the process of the Senate confirming the President's numerous nominees for positions in the Executive Branch. This was all brought about by the sheer stupidity of Senators Cruz and Lee and now there is more political reporting catching up. From Vox:

Last night, the Senate was supposed to pass a bill funding the government through Wednesday. Then,they would adjourn for the weekend, and come back on Monday to pass the $1.1 billion "CRomnibus": the bill to fund most of the government through September, 2015.
This plan got worked out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday. The way the Senate works, votes need to be scheduled a certain number of hours in advance, in order to "ripen" — but under the terms of the deal, senators would agree to waive the waiting period in order to get the short-term bill passed Friday night. The problem is that waiving the waiting period requires unanimous consent of all 100 senators.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) took to the Senate floor to call for an immediate vote to stop President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration. Reid refused to give them the vote. As a result, they refused to consent to the procedural plan Reid and McConnell had worked out. No unanimous consent meant that the waiting period applied again, and the Senate had to stay in session through the weekend to allow the votes to happen as scheduled.
Congressional expert Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution describes the result as "full bloom procedural nuttiness." But it's also, she notes, a demonstration of what happens when you can't get all 100 senators to go along with a plan: "the Senate doesn't work very well when Senators refuse to cooperate."
The Senate did pass a CR this afternoon to keep us feds working until Wednesday hoping they will get the Cromnibus passed by then. But there's always the chance Cruz and Lee could blow some procedure again.

There is no better parliamentarian in the Senate today than the Honorable Majority-soon-to-be-Minority Leader Harry Reid. And none worse than Cruz and/or Lee. The next couple of years could be highly entertaining for political junkies.

Don't believe me? Check these quotes from some of Senator Lee's close associates in the Senate:
Best quote:
"Asked if he thought the Cruz-Lee plan was effective, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said: “The answer is no.”'
Second best quote:
“I don’t see how conservative ends are achieved,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a fiscal hardliner. “I think it’s counterproductive. Some of the nominations that we had issues with, like the surgeon general, were not going to move forward. Now they’re going to move forward. “
From Politico.

Update 7:35 pm Mountain Time:
     It's over, Baby! Reid just got cloture on Cromnibus 77-19 or something. Bi-Partisan. Holdouts on the far right and not so far left.

Reid now taking Cruz to task on the floor. Final vote now!!! It will pass.

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