Lawmaker News

Senate Republicans capitulate

Welcome to the new Senate, the formerly august body where the minority used to be able to influence executive branch nominations through a vetting process and the threat of blocking confirmation is no more.

In their quest to “save” the institution, John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his merry band of quislings have given the president carte blanche to submit anyone he wants for confirmation with a guarantee of quick and easy passage.

Incredibly, McCain and friends even appear to have agreed to not filibuster unknown future NLRB nominees, with a return of former pariah Craig Becker even a possibility. After all, it would be a shame to actually do your constitutionally mandated job and stop nominees who have a proven willingness to put personal agenda over the law.

In my reading of the Constitution, it calls this process advice and consent, not advice and concede.


Why Wendy Davis is the second-most important Democrat in America and Elizabeth Warren is the third

Polls are beginning to suggest that if Hillary Clinton, the most important Democrat in America, does not run for president in 2016, the leading Democratic prospect could well be Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

Meanwhile, Democrats across Texas are thrilled beyond description by the fighting spirit of new political star of the Lone Star State, Sen. Wendy Davis (D). Major donors and Democrats across the nation are taking note of the Davis surge.


Harry Reid's moment, Mitch McConnell's choice

There are two possible outcomes to the controversy surrounding the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by Republicans in the Senate.

Either Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will reach and honor a "gentleman's agreement" with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to limit the abuse of filibusters, or Reid will win a "nuclear option" vote to change the rules with a simple majority of senators voting yes.


Filibuster showdown looms over Obama appointments to agencies, judgeships

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Democrats are approaching their rendezvous with destiny on the matter of GOP filibusters.

The Senate battle will begin with Reid bringing before the Senate President Obama's nominees to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency. The battle will continue over pending nominations to the National Labor Relations Board and will reach a crescendo over confirmation votes for pending judicial nominations, especially the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

This partial list of filibuster issues dramatizes the magnitude of Senate GOP obstruction and the driving force behind the loss of patience of Democratic senators.


James Gandolfini, Bill Clinton and their friend the German watchmaker

When I was writing Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House, my post-presidency book on Hillary’s husband, I was looking to explain the profound change in Bill Clinton’s attention to his clothes and accessories.

While governor of Arkansas, he bought shoes at a discount self-serve, one brown pair and one black. But the most celebrated symbol of his frugality was his cheap Timex Ironman. Post-presidency, he traded way up to mechanical watches that often cost in the six-figure range, to Rolex or Patek Philippe or Cartier or Audemars Piguet or — and this is where the late James Gandolfini comes into the picture — a “timepiece” by the German born and bred watchmaker Michael Kobold.


Darrell Issa should share chair of House Oversight Committee with Elijah Cummings

Enough is enough. The House Oversight Committee under Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been discredited as a fair and neutral source of investigations. 

The abuses of the committee majority have descended into a derecho of undocumented innuendo, petty slanders, political cheap shots, false charges, partisan propaganda and abuses of power that bring discredit to the committee, the Congress and the Republican congressional leadership. It is time for reform. 


Thanks, Frank

Frank Lautenberg died today. He was 89.

Most political pundits will immediately turn their attention to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and whom he will appoint to the Senate to replace Sen. Lautenberg (D).

There’s not a lot of sentimentality in Washington, so that’s not that unusual. You die in Washington, and the first thing people think about is who will take your place.

But I learned something about Lautenberg’s career that I found to be fascinating and important to anybody who gets on an airplane.


The quitters: The Bachmann and Palin pathology

It is one thing to raise millions from grassroots activists or appear on record numbers of TV talk shows or give rhetorically charged speeches before adoring crowds – it is quite another to do the hard work of governing.

Both Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin were political lightweights who were full of sound and fury and accomplished very little. Both quit their posts like spoiled children, after meteoric rises that had precious little to do with actually getting anything done.