Yesterday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reluctantly pulled the 1,900 page $1.1 trillion omnibus bill laden with earmarks that would have funded the federal government through September 2011 from the Senate floor. Aware that the bill would face tremendous opposition and delays, Reid instead announced that he would work with Republican leaders on a smaller, short-term budget to avoid what would have become a government shutdown.
At approximately midnight on Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 277-148 to pass the tax cut legislation approved in the Senate on Wednesday. According to the Washington Post, the House vote was delayed on Thursday by a "last-minute uprising by liberal Democrats demanding an opportunity to express their fierce opposition to the measure."
In the wake of Michael Steele�s announcement that he would be seeking reelection for the position of Republican National Committee Chairman, a variety of opponents have come forward to challenge him, including former political director Gentry Collins, and former Michigan GOP leader Saul Anuzis. Steele has faced harsh criticism from a number of Republicans, particularly over his financial mishandling of RNC funds as well as his recent gaffes.
There is bad news and good news in the front offices of the rock 'n' roll franchise known as Bon Jovi. The bad news is that the band failed to make the cut for this year's Rock Hall of Fame inductees. The good news is that the band's front man, Jon Bon Jovi, was named by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of influential individuals from differing walks of life who essentially help think up ways to spend tax dollars on mostly wasteful social programs.
Is America destined to move from a two party system to a three or four party system? Is it moving towards a political system without political parties at all? The Huffington Post, with its predictable attack on the putative "Far Right," with special venom reserved for the John Birch Society, suggests that the rise of the Tea Party has produced an attack from the Right on the Republican Party which may -- with the Left disillusioned with Obama -- lead to four political parties.
In Federalist #84, Alexander Hamilton asked, "For why declare that things shall not be done, which there is no power to do?" To Hamilton (and his co-authors, John Jay and James Madison) such a question made sense. How could the national government exercise authority not granted to it by the newly proposed Constitution? It could not, they insisted.
There is more to the overwhelming $1.1 trillion spending bill than what initially meets the eye, including $8 billion in earmarks. What's worse is that the spending bill and presence of earmarks reveals the hypocrisy of elected officials who adamantly decried pork barrel politics and overspending.
Today, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the tax cut extensions approved by the Senate yesterday by a vote of 81 to 19. The House has allotted three hours for general debate and is expected to introduce a single amendment to the bill, one that would change the estate tax provision of the bill, believed to be "too generous" to the rich. While the House of Representatives is hammering out the details of the tax cut legislation, the Senate begins debate on the START treaty.
While the Senate is undergoing significant deliberation proceedings regarding the tax cut bill, Senate Democrats indicate that they have not forgotten about the U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Treaty, START. Much to the chagrin of Senate Democrats, however, Republicans are threatening to delay proceedings on the Treaty, as well as other pieces of legislation.
The Transportation Security Administration has undergone harsh criticism in recent months for its use of naked body scanners during screenings. The majority of the criticism has focused on the constitutionality and intrusiveness of the scanners. New studies reveal, however, that there is yet another reason to oppose the airport naked body scanners: they fail to secure airports.