Senate

Amy Klobuchar, giant of the Senate

Featured image Former funnyman and current Minnesota Senator Al Franken titled his best-selling memoir Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He posed for the book’s self-mocking cover. The title and the photograph make a small concession to self-awareness, or to the public relations value of pretending self-awareness, but he deserves credit for the thought. It’s a joke. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar pretends no such self-awareness. With the active assistance of her hometown »

Trump’s endorsement not helping in Alabama Senate race

Featured image I don’t believe we have written about the race to fill the Senate seat in Alabama vacated by Jeff Sessions. The Republican primary initially featured three main candidates: Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat after Sessions became Attorney General; Rep. Mo Brooks, a Tea Party style conservative and member of the House Freedom Caucus; and Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore famously »

The Democrats’ Electoral Disadvantage Is Getting Worse

Featured image At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman has a heartwarming analysis of why the Democratic Party is pretty much hosed in Congressional elections for the foreseeable future: Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of »

Obamacare lives

Featured image Today is a day to be embarrassed to be a Republican, for Obamacare has survived every effort to repeal and replace it with the defection of Senator McCain in the last-ditch effort to keep the effort alive in the final vote on “skinny repeal” after midnight this morning. Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan report the story for the New York Times here. The defeat of Obamacare repeal efforts in the »

The Democrats’ Obstruction Continues

Featured image I wrote about the Democrats’ unprecedented obstruction of President Trump’s executive branch and judicial nominees here, and specifically about Democratic Senators blocking judicial nominations with the archaic “blue slip” practice here. One of the nominees being blocked by the Democrats is Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court. President Trump has appointed Justice Stras to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken »

Republicans Dodge a Bullet. I Think.

Featured image Fifty Republican senators voted today to begin debate on an Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. Vice President Mike Pence cast the 51st vote to allow the legislation to move forward. The two Republicans who voted No were Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. It remains to be seen whether any Obamacare repeal bill will actually pass the Senate. All 48 Democrats will vote No, regardless of the bill’s specifics. Amendments will »

The Senate repeal and replace fiasco

Featured image Last night, Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee announced that they would not vote for the latest Senate version of Obamacare repeal and replace. They argued, in effect, that the proposed legislation did not really amount to repeal. Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins were already “no” votes. Thus, the defection of Moran and Lee meant the demise of the bill. What now? President Trump has called for the straight »

Is the Senate About to Become More Diverse?

Featured image Liberals hate diversity and can’t stand change. So they are toiling 24/7 to assure us that the Trump administration–the aberrational election of a president who is not a professional politician–is a rapidly-unraveling disaster. I doubt that, but time will tell. In the meantime, more unorthodox candidates–better yet, more unorthodox non-liberal candidates–are coming forward, perhaps inspired by the election of a non-politician as president. Yesterday, Caitlyn Jenner said that she is »

Stop the Democrats’ Obstruction!

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has an important editorial about what it calls the “Schumer blockade.” For a while, President Trump was slow in making executive branch appointments. But he has nearly caught up, and the problem now is Democratic obstructionism. As the Journal says: The Trump Presidency is well into its seventh month but the Trump Administration still barely exists. Senate Democrats are abusing Senate rules to undermine the executive »

Time to Do Away With the Blue Slip

Featured image The “blue slip”–the power of senators to block judicial nominations within their states–is a venerable Senate tradition that has long outlived its usefulness. Similar to the filibuster, liberals view the blue slip either as incorrigible obstructionism or as the height of prudent constitutionalism, depending only on which party’s president is nominating judges. Thus, when Barack Obama was doing the nominating, Jeffrey Toobin, in a New Yorker article headlined “Blue-Slip Battle: »

Justice Kennedy considering retirement next year

Featured image In this NPR story, the headline of which is about how conservative Justice Gorsuch’s votes have been, we learn that Justice Kennedy has not hired law clerks for the term that will begin in October 2018. Moreover, he has let applicants for these clerkship jobs know he is considering retirement. This doesn’t mean Kennedy will retire before the October 2018 term begins. However, the fact that he’s seriously considering doing »

Claire’s compleat embarrassment

Featured image As Scott recounted here, Sen. Claire McCaskill stepped in it when, seeking to distinguish herself from Attorney General Sessions, she tweeted: I’ve been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years. No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign Rel Com. Sessions had said that his previously undisclosed encounters with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak took place as a part of his routine senatorial duties on the »

What’s next for Obamacare reform in the Senate?

Featured image Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that there would be no Senate vote on Obamcare reform legislation this week. Instead, the Senate will take up the matter of reforming Obamacare in July. Also yesterday, GOP Senators met with President Trump at the White House. The purpose was to see how the pending bill might be altered so as to get at least 50 of the 52 Republicans to vote “yes.” »

Is the GOP going about health care reform backwards?

Featured image In 2010, 2014, and (arguably) 2016, America elected Republicans because they wanted Obamacare repealed and replaced. They did not elect Republicans to revamp Medicaid. In fact, candidate Trump said he would not cut the program. Yet, neither the House nor the Senate health care bill repeals and replaces Obamacare. And both revamp Medicaid. Not wise. This is not to say that Medicaid won’t need to be revamped. It will. But »

The Senate health care bill: Yuval Levin’s take

Featured image Yuval Levin takes a close look at the Senate health care bill. He agrees with those of us who don’t consider it a repeal of Obamacare, Rather, like the House bill, the Senate version “addresses discrete problems with Obamacare within the framework it created, while pursuing some significant structural reforms to Medicaid.” Levin believes, as I do, that “the cause of good policy (almost regardless of your priorities in health »

Kamala Harris goes silent when confronted with true sex-based oppression

Featured image Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris became the left’s designated victim of the month because she was interrupted by Republican Senators during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Harris kept interrupting the witness, Attorney General Jeff Session, so it’s debatable whether she had a genuine grievance. Nonetheless, the Democrats and their media allies were quick to level hackneyed allegations that, once again, sexist patriarchs have tried to silence a woman »

The GOP Senate’s alternative to Obamacare — a first look

Featured image Senate Republicans today unveiled their health care bill. It’s 142 pages long. I have not yet read it. According to New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan, the Senate bill maintains the structure of its House counterpart, but is more “moderate.” For example, it offers “more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.” In addition, according to »