Senate committee to assess progress of Wall Street reform legislation

The Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday will continue assessment of progress on the implementation of Democrats' Wall Street Reform Act 18 months after President Obama signed it into law.

Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Schapiro will act as a key witness of that hearing. Expect Republicans on the committee to argue that regulations resulting from of the legislation are impeding economic progress and prolonging the recession.


Paul calls Senate’s bluff, kills terrorist detainee amendment

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday — simply by asking for a recorded vote — managed to kill an amendment that would have clarified that the military can indefinitely detain enemy combatants.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), called the amendment to the floor, explaining it ought to garner the support of all senators because it would simply “clarify” that enemy combatants acquitted of crimes in a court can still be held in military detention until they are no longer deemed a threat. 


Senate approves bill to aid soldiers struggling with bankruptcy

The Senate late Thursday evening cleared a bill by unanimous consent easing bankruptcy rules for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

The National Guard and Reservist Debt Relief Extension Act, H.R. 2192, would allow qualifying soldiers to obtain Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief without having to go through a "means" test imposed on most Americans, which is designed to ascertain an individual's ability to pay back his or her debt. 


Lautenberg casts 9000th vote to standing ovation

Progressive Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) cast his 9000th vote on an amendment to the the Department of Defense Authorization bill for fiscal year 2012 on Thursday night to the applause and praise of his colleagues. 


Senate votes unanimously to stiffen sanction on Iran's central bank

The Senate Thursday evening cleared an amendment that requires the imposition of harsh sanctions on the financial sector of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran as a reprisal for that country's persistent nuclear program. 

Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), both original sponsors of the amendment, argued just prior to the vote that the sanctions could represent the final chance to avoid armed conflict.


Senate clears detainee compromise setting stage for Defense authorization passage

The Senate on Thursday night overwhelmingly cleared an eleventh hour compromise on the terrorist detainee provision of the defense authorization bill clearing the way for passage and possibly dodging a veto from the White House.

The compromise amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), cleared 99-1, clarifies that the controversial section of the bill that suggests individuals apprehended in the U.S. who are suspected of terrorism ought to be detained by the military, would in no way pertain to U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens or anyone captured or arrested in the U.S.