Skip to main content

Library of Congress - Interior -Photo by kempsternyc(DK ID) email: folmarkemp@gmail.com
One day you'll read about the long-ago insanity of
filibuster-driven obstructionism here, in the Library of Congress
Recapping the action from yesterday... and early today:

Lots of voting action in the Senate yesterday. Senators worked late into the night, plowing through a huge pile of amendments, and completing the traditional pre-recess dash to confirm backed up executive nominations. Twelve amendments to the appropriations bill got roll call votes, and almost all were rejected. But check out the vote totals (alongside the party affiliation of the Senators who offered the amendments) in the extended entry below. It wasn't the case every single time, but in general, the pattern that emerged was one where Republican amendments were rejected by majority votes, and Democratic amendments were "rejected" despite receiving 55+ votes. Just two amendments, one from Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and one from Sen. Coburn (R-OK), that faced 60-vote hurdles managed to pass. And just two, offered by Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Coburn, passed under the "normal" rules of the Senate, where a simple majority could carry.

WTF? Well, it's the old "painless filibuster" at work in most of these cases. That is, unanimous consent agreements requiring 60 votes to pass an amendment, in exchange for bypassing the actual cloture process and just imposing the 60-vote threshold directly on the vote on adopting the amendment instead. How many of the 12 amendments that got roll call votes were held under the same conditions? Ten. Just two got majority-rules up-or-down votes—one from Gillibrand, and one from Coburn.

In addition to the amendments and the executive nominations, there were three big votes on cloture motions as well. And likely to no one's surprise, just one of them passed. Not the motion to invoke cloture on the first part of the broken up American Jobs Act. Not the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Mitch McConnell's "alternative," either. (And by the way, it's pretty unusual for the Minority Leader to be filing cloture motions on his own. It's one of those things that's "simply not done" in the Senate. By golly gee, it is being done! Will you look at that?) But there was cloture on the big substitute amendment package on the appropriations bill, swapping the Senate's version of the bill (as amended last night) for the House's original text.

The last cloture vote, on the substitute, was expected to pass without much Republican opposition, even though normally Senate Republicans have come to oppose such measures by rote, just to cause trouble. Now, there was a time in the now-distant past where once the amendment process was over with, appropriations bills generally passed in the Senate with large, bipartisan majorities. But those days are over with, and I expected a large majority in favor of cloture on the substitute primarily because Senate rules say that when cloture is invoked on a measure, that measure remains the exclusive pending business of the Senate until there's a vote on passage. With the weekend coming, and a recess to follow, allowing cloture on the substitute means the Senate breaks for a week without any further consideration of any part of the American Jobs Act, including any reconsideration of the cloture motion on it that was rejected earlier yesterday. Not such a bad outcome, if you're a Republican. And if you're a Democrat, well, progress was made. So... cloture!

There won't be any more action today. The Senate meets in pro forma session twice next week, and reconvenes the week following. That puts us into November, with the bulk of the appropriations work still unfinished, about two weeks left (at that point) on the current continuing appropriations bill that's keeping the government open, and about three weeks from the supposed Super Committee deadline. So when the Senate returns on Halloween, we start the countdown on yet another government shutdown scare. Boo!

No committee meetings are scheduled for today. Details of the Senate's overnight session appear below.

The House is in pro forma session only today.

The Senate adjourned early this morning, and returns to working session on October 31.

Roll Call Votes

  • On the Nomination (Confirmation Heather A. Higginbottom, of D.C., to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget ). Nomination Confirmed, 64-36.
  • On the Amendment (Vitter Amdt. No. 769 As Modified ), S.Amdt. 769 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012). Amendment Rejected, 45-55.
  • On the Amendment (Webb Amdt. No. 750 As Modified ), S.Amdt. 750 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To establish the National Criminal Justice Commission. Amendment Rejected, 57-43.
  • On the Amendment (Merkley Amdt. No. 879 As Modified ), S.Amdt. 879 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To prohibit amounts appropriated under this Act to carry out parts A and B of subtitle V of title 49, United States Code, from being expended unless all the steel, iron, and manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States. Amendment Rejected, 55-44.
  • On the Amendment (Grassley Amdt. No. 860 ), S.Amdt. 860 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To ensure accountability in Federal grant programs administered by the Department of Justice. Amendment Rejected, 46-54.
  • On the Nomination (Confirmation John Edgar Bryson, of California, to be Secretary of Commerce ). Nomination Confirmed, 74-26.
  • On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 1723 ), A bill to provide for teacher and first responder stabilization. Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected, 50-50.
  • On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 1726 ), S. 1726 (Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011 ), A bill to repeal the imposition of withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities. Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected, 57-43.
  • On the Amendment (Vitter Amdt. No. 917 ), S.Amdt. 917 to S.Amdt. 857 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112, To reestablish the maximum aggregate amount permitted to be provided by the taxpayers to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Amendment Rejected, 41-57-1.
  • On the Amendment (Menendez Amdt. No. 857 ), S.Amdt. 857 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To extend loan limits for programs of the government-sponsored enterprises, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Veterans Affairs Administration, and for other purposes. Amendment Agreed to, 60-38-1.
  • On the Amendment (Gillibrand Amdt. No. 869 ), S.Amdt. 869 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To increase funding for the emergency conservation program and the emergency watershed protection program. Amendment Agreed to, 58-41.
  • On the Amendment (Sessions Amdt. No. 810 ), S.Amdt. 810 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To prohibit the use of funds to allow categorical eligibility for the supplemental nutrition assistance program. Amendment Rejected, 41-58.
  • On the Amendment (Coburn Amdt. No. 791 ), S.Amdt. 791 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To prohibit the use of funds to provide direct payments to persons or legal entities with an average adjusted gross income in excess of $1,000,000. Amendment Agreed to, 84-15.
  • On the Amendment (Coburn Amdt. No. 792, As Modified ), S.Amdt. 792 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To end payments to landlords who are endangering the lives of children and needy families. Amendment Rejected, 59-40.
  • On the Amendment (Coburn Amdt. No. 796 ), S.Amdt. 796 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To end lending schemes that force taxpayers to repay the loans of delinquent developers and bailout failed or poorly planned local projects. Amendment Agreed to, 73-26.
  • On the Amendment (Ayotte Amdt. No. 753 ), S.Amdt. 753 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), To prohibit the use of funds for the prosecution of enemy combatants in Article III courts of the United States. Amendment Rejected, 47-52.
  • On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Inouye Amdt. No. 738 ), S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012), In the nature of a substitute. Cloture Motion Agreed to, 82-16.

Other Business

Senate Floor Wrap Up for Thursday, October 20, 2011 and Friday, October 21, 2011

LEGISLATIVE ITEMS

Passed Cal. #206, S.1412- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 462 Washington Street, Woburn, Massachusetts, as the “Officer John Maguire Post Office”.

Passed Cal. #207, H.R.1843- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 489 Army Drive in Barrigada, Guam, as the “John Pangelinan Gerber Post Office Building”.

Passed Cal. #208, H.R.1975- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 281 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, as the “First Lieutenant Oliver Goodall Post Office Building”.

Passed Cal. #209, H.R.2062- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 45 Meetinghouse Lane in Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts, as the “Matthew A. Pucino Post Office”.

Passed Cal. #210, H.R.2149- To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4354 Pahoa Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii, as the “Cecil L. Heftel Post Office Building”.

Discharged and Adopted S.Res.291, recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.

Adopted S.Res.304 supporting “Lights on Afterschool”, a national celebration of afterschool programs.

Adopted S.Res.305: Legal Counsel representation

Adopted S.Res.306: supporting the goals and ideals of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Adopted S.Res.307: honoring the men and women of the John C. Stennis Space Center on reaching the historic milestone of 50 years of rocket engine testing.

EXECUTIVE ITEMS

Confirmed the following calendar items:

OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION

#129 James A. Torrey – to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

#130 Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy – to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION

# 248 Roberto R. Herencia, of Illinois, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the

Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2012.

COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION

#289 Mark P. Wetjen – to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

#341 Luis A. Aguilar – to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (Reappointment)

#342 Daniel M. Gallagher – to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

#367 Janice Eberly – to be an Assistant Secretary for the Treasury

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

#417 Michael W. Punke – to be a Deputy United States Trade Representative, with the Rank of Ambassador

#418 Islam A. Siddiqui – to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

#419 Paul Piquado – to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce

UNITED STATES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

#423 Anne Terman Wedner – to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for a term expiring July 1, 2013

OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION

#424 Katherine M. Gehl – to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2013

#425 Terry Lewis – to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2011

#426 Terry Lewis – to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a term expiring December 17, 2014

UNITED NATIONS

#427 Russ Carnahan – to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

#428 Ann Marie Buerkle – to be a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

#442 Steven R. Frank – to be United States Marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania for the term of four years

#443 Martin J. Pane – to be United States Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for the term of four years

#444 David Blake Webb – to be United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

And all nominations on the Secretary’s desk in the Foreign Service, and NOAA

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Occupy the Senate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Fish in Illinois

    Republicans, aided by a small number of cowardly or dirty-energy dependent Democrats, think they can continue to block any jobs measure at no personal political cost. In Massachusetts where I live, for example, we have saturation coverage of the 'scandal' involving Red Sox pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken, but none of Senator Scott Brown's votes against job creation.  It's time to occupy congress. If the building itself cannot be occupied it's time to occupy any and all public spaces near the capitol. Unemployed and underemployed Americans need to confront the Senators with the consequences of their action.

  •  Practically speaking there's a filibuster evry day (0+ / 0-)

    Senate has basically built in the 60 vote minimum into everything.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 06:55:49 AM PDT

  •  Why is the Senate meeting? (0+ / 0-)

    Pro Forma? Another dirty deal with Republicans to keep Obama from recess appointments?

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 07:18:06 AM PDT

    •  Because they have to (0+ / 0-)

      The Senate can't go into recess, unless the House does as well.

      Boehner won't let that happen, so we're stuck.

      No deal, just the way the rules work.

      The Empire never ended.

      by thejeff on Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 11:00:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site