Demand hearings on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015

Featured image Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls the newly introduced Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (SRCA) “a landmark piece of legislation.” Julie Stewart, the president of an anti-mandatory minimums organization, calls it, correctly, “the most significant sentencing reform legislation in a generation.” So when do the hearings on this momentous act begin? Never, it appears — unless the demand for them becomes irresistible. As I noted »

The second time around

Featured image Senate Republicans oppose the catastrophic deal into which President Obama has entered with Iran, yet they have been unable even to secure a vote on the merits. Senate Democrats including Minnesota’s own Al Franken (who undoubtedly thinks it’s a good deal) and Amy Klobuchar (who knows better but acts out of pure political calculation) have blocked a vote on the merits of the deal by means of the filibuster. The »

Coping with Corker-Cardin — a reply to Andy McCarthy

Featured image Andy McCarthy, whom we admire, has responded to a post in which I argued (1) that Congress should not follow the voting procedure established by the Corker-Cardin legislation, but (2) if Congress does follow this procedure it will not, by doing so, repeal any sanctions against Iran. Andy has been the leading proponent of the first proposition, but he disagrees with the second. In his original post, which prompted mine, »

What’s Brewing in the Senate?

Featured image Senator Marco Rubio was scheduled to be in the Twin Cities tomorrow, briefly, and I was set up to interview him. But I got word a few minutes ago that he won’t be leaving Washington because Mitch McConnell has scheduled a major vote on the Iran deal for tomorrow. What, exactly, will the vote be? I am not sure. Intrigue is swirling around the Corker-Cardin bill, the predicate for Congress’s »

It’s game-over on the Iran deal until at least 2017

Featured image This week, as expected, support in the Senate for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran reached the level required to sustain a veto if the Senate votes the agreement down under the procedure established by the Corker-Cardin legislation. There’s also a good chance that Obama’s Senate support will be sufficient, in the end, for Democrats successfully to filibuster Senate consideration of the deal. Andy McCarthy argues, however, that it is »

Team Obama warns Schumer, unconvincingly

Featured image As John has noted, the White House didn’t take kindly to Chuck Schumer’s announcement that he opposes the Iran nuclear deal. The Washington Post didn’t exaggerate in today’s front-page headline (paper edition) that read: “Senator [Schumer] assailed on Iran stance: White House, allies go on the offensive.” Schumer has previously said that the timing of the passage of Obamacare was a political mistake. This makes the New York Senator 0-2 »

What Sen. Cruz said

Featured image The charter for the Export-Import Bank ended on June 30. That’s the good news. Congress now seems to be resurrecting the bank. That’s the bad news. The Wall Street Journal editorial reporting the events in process is “Raising Ex-Im from the dead” (accessible via Google here). The Journal editorial states that, as part of the trade bill jostling, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Democrats a vote on renewing the »

Menendez alleges Justice Department lied to grand jury in his case

Featured image Sen. Robert Menendez’s defense team has leveled what look like substantial allegations of misconduct against the Justice Department, which is prosecuting him for alleged corruption. According to the Washington Post, Menendez claims, based on internal FBI documents, that the lead DOJ prosecutor in his case allowed an FBI agent falsely to testify to the grand jury that it was “perfectly clear” that in meetings with top DHS officials, Menendez sought »

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz move to the left of Lindsey Graham on terrorist rights

Featured image Earlier this week, the Senate passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that limits the entire U.S. government to only the interrogation and detention techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual. The vote was 78-21. The Army Field Manual does not permit physical contact with detainees, not even a slap. The harshest method it permits the “Fear-Up (Harsh).” In this approach, “the interrogator behaves in an overpowering »

In which we hope it’s not worse than nothing

Featured image Omri Ceren writes to update us on today’s Senate vote passing the Corker-Menendez bill. The vote was 98-1 in favor, but the 1 was Senator Cotton, which raises the question whether the bill is worse than nothing. Omri writes: Cloture was 93-6 with only Sen. Boxer not voting. The final vote was 98-1. Sen. Cotton was the only no. The White House and its allies have mostly given up trying »

In which Rand Paul gives a snow job

Featured image This is what regular people hate about Washington: “How five Republicans let Congress keep its fraudulent Obamacare subsidies.” It’s an old story, updated most recently by Mark Leibovich in This Town. This particular case study comes to us via National Review’s Brendan Bordelon. Reading it all the way through, we achieves a highly unpleasant clarity. Bordelon reports: The rumors began trickling in about a week before the scheduled vote on »

Is Corker-Menendez worse than nothing?

Featured image National Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved yesterday to end debate on the Corker-Menendez bill, shortening what he had hoped would be an open amendment process out of concern that some “poison pill” amendment votes could potentially sink it. “We’re going to move quickly,” Senator McConnell explained. National Review’s Joel Gehrke explored the procedural maneuvering: After Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) »

At the NRI Ideas Summit

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton was interviewed by John O’Sullivan at the National Review Institute 2015 Ideas Summit this past Saturday morning. NR has posted the video here. I have embedded the video below. “You seem to me to be the exact opposite of a professional politician,” O’Sullivan says by way of introduction. The interview opens with the question of Iran and the Cotton letter. To quote Bob Dylan, “the wheel’s still »

Lynch confirmed: DOJ lawlessness to continue

Featured image Yesterday, as John noted here, the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Ten Republicans voted to confirm: Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Mark Kirk, Rob Portman, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Orrin Hatch. Ayotte, Johnson, Kirk, and Portman face difficult reelection campaigns in their Democrat-leaning or “50-50″ states. Note, though, that Pat Toomey, who likely faces an extremely tough race, cast a principled vote »

The Iran deal — treaty or not?

Featured image I have criticized the positive reaction to Corker-Menendez bill, arguing that the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to have a deal like this approved, whereas under Corker-Menendez it takes effect unless there is a two-thirds majority against. However, the estimable Jack Goldsmith argues that the Constitution does not require President Obama to muster a two-thirds majority to approve an “international agreement,” which is how he characterizes Obama’s pending deal with »

Obama is right, the Republican Senate is embarrassing

Featured image On Friday, President Obama lashed out at the Republican Senate for not confirming Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. “There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far,” Obama scolded. “This is an example of it.” Doing his best impression of Harrison Ford in “Witness,” Obama huffed: Enough, enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote, get her confirmed, let her do her job. This is embarrassing. You »

Cotton on Corker-Menendez

Featured image The Corker-Melendez bill is obviously an imperfect vehicle for introducing congressional oversight to President Obama’s catastrophic arrangement in process with Iran. Is it better than nothing, as the Wall Street Journal argues, is it much ado about nothing, as Paul argues, or is it worse than nothing, as Matt Continetti argues? I wanted to know what Senator Tom Cotton thinks and therefore reached out to his office for help in »