Fight Over Obama’s Recess Appointments Puts Stranglehold on Key Nominees

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Marian Wang: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to block the confirmation of three uncontroversial nominees for key banking regulator positions.

Drinks Are on the House (and Senate)

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Walter Brasch: “As long as the Republicans control Congress,” said Marshbaum, “the American way of life will be preserved. Want a drink now?”

Al Gore for President

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Brent Budowsky: Let me be the first to propose a national movement to draft Al Gore for president in 2016, carry the banner of the New Frontier heritage of the Democratic Party, and mobilize to elect true Democrats to the House and Senate in 2012.

Why Mitch McConnell Will Win the Day

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Robert Reich: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s compromise on the debt ceiling is a win for the President disguised as a win for Republicans. But it really just kicks the can down the road past the 2012 election – which is what almost every sane politician in Washington wants to happen in any event.

America Held Hostage

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Tom Degan: In a move that is as transparent as it is outrageous, our Republicans representatives are so desperate to take back the White House and the senate in 2012, they are within twenty-six days of sending the American economy – along with the American people – into the abyss.

Republicans Giving Obama Re-Election Pass

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Randy Shaw: An obvious fact: the Republican Party is content with trying to take back the Senate in 2012 and does not see the presidential race as its top priority.

Filibuster Reform Dies a Quiet Death

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Paul Hogarth: By a slim vote of 46-49 on Thursday, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to actually require filibusters (as opposed to mere filibuster threats) before a 60-vote threshold is needed to end debate.

With Four Lawmakers Objecting, Senate Ends Practice of Secret Holds to Block Bills

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Marian Wang: The Senate’s new rule won’t prevent Senators from putting a hold on legislation—it’ll just make sure that senators who do so will have their name published in the Congressional Record.

Arizona Copycat Law Could Cost Kentucky $40 Million

Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel

Andrea Nill: Senate Bill 6 would cost Kentucky a net $40 million a year in court, prison and foster-care costs. Yet, the Kentucky senate voted 24-14 last week to pass the bill without knowing its cost.

The Urgency of a Senate Rule Change

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Joyce Appleby: More than 300 historians, political scientists, and law profs from colleges and universities throughout the country have signed a petition calling upon their Senators “to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation can be brought to the floor.”

Why Obama Wins on Foreign Policy and Gays but Loses on Economics and Taxes

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Robert Reich: When it comes to protecting the fortunes of America’s rich (mostly top corporate executives and Wall Street) and maintaining their strangle-hold on the political process, Senate Republicans, along with some Senate Democrats, don’t budge.

Whipping the DREAM Votes

Mario Solis-Marich: Dream Activists and Senate staffers are encouraged by signals that GOP Senators Lugar (IN) and Bennet (UT) will vote for the DREAM Act as a standalone bill.

Will Senate Republicans Produce Another International Disaster?

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Lawrence Wittner: As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this December on ratification of the New START Treaty, Republican legislators appear on the verge of producing an international disaster.

Rocky Road Ahead for DREAM Act

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Marcu Stern: even though the DREAM Act has drawn Republican support in the past, it’s unclear whether the White House can win over enough Senate Republicans to make up for the handful of Democrats who are expected to vote against the bill.

Pelosi, Reid to Push DREAM Act in Lame Duck

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Seth Hoy: If Reid can nudge the Dream Act through the Senate while Democrats are still in charge of the House, the bill has a real chance to become law, advocates say.

The GOP Is Blowing It

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas)

Brent Budowsky: Every time a Republican predicts the GOP will win the Senate and 70 seats in the House, more Democrats become scared stiff and decide to vote, and more moderates worry about partisan gridlock and the arrogance of Republican power.

Carl Levin: McCain Introduced a ‘Non-Relevant’ Amendment, Too

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan)

Andrea Nill: Levin also noted that the Senate has debated amendments to the bill on a number of issues. One of those amendments was introduced by McCain.

Harry Reid in the Arena

Brent Budowsky: Harry Reid led Senate Democrats to a large majority in historic elections, while Senate Republicans obstruct everything to negate those elections, which has never been done in the history of the republic. Voters who want more action to create more jobs should vote for more Harry Reids, and fewer Senate Republicans.

Call to Arms to the Nation’s Creative Communities

Brent Budowsky: When the polls show the Republicans have a strong chance of gaining control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the United States Senate, what they really mean is that so many of those who believe in real and lasting change are not planning to vote.

How Empathy Makes Superior Judges – and Justice

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Joel K. Goldstein: Critics ridiculed President Obama’s statement that judges should be empathetic. But as the Senate prepares to vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, legal historian Joel Goldstein argues that senators should be looking for that very quality.

Progressives Face Uphill Climb Designed to Make Them Fail

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Paul Hogarth: In Washington, the filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate have stalled our federal agenda. In Sacramento, the two-thirds vote requirement has given us a blue state with an Alabama budget.