December 2, 2013
Council chores first In a city with so many problems, I find it outrageous that Councilman David Oh and most of his peers are considering a charter change that would let them run for higher office while on Council ("Resign-to-run change gains in City Council," Nov. 23). Before they figuratively line up again at the trough, Council members should devote themselves to efforts that promote growth and prosperity in Philadelphia. They should rethink the business-killing tax structure that has robbed us of so many employers, buy down the staggering pension-fund deficit and rethink pensions for new hires, design a public education system that works, and streamline a government that has nearly as many employees as when 2 million people lived here.
July 19, 2013
Watching lawmakers work is like watching sausages being made, according to a musing often attributed to Otto von Bismarck, the 19th-century German chancellor. Avoid it if you can. There certainly was nothing pretty in the way the Senate finally confirmed Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But the country will be better off as a result. Cordray was in limbo for two years as Republicans challenged his recess appointment by President Obama. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments that the Senate was not really in recess during the appointment because a Republican showed up every three days to convene it. Of course, Republicans took the opposite point of view when Senate Democrats were in the minority.
July 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A showdown looming, Republicans and Democrats groped for a compromise behind closed doors Monday over confirming stalled White House appointees in a dispute that threatened what little bipartisan cooperation remains in the Senate. Nearly all 100 senators attended the rare closed-door meeting in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, just down the hall from where they normally debate the issues of the day with the public and news media in attendance. After two hours, Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.)
June 28, 2013 |
AUSTIN, Texas - As she spoke late into the night, railing against proposed abortion restrictions, a former teen mom catapulted from little-known junior Texas state senator to national political superstar in pink running shoes. Wendy Davis needed last-minute help from shrieking supporters to run out the clock on the special session of the state Legislature and kill the contentious and sweeping bill, but her old-fashioned filibuster earned her widespread praise from fellow abortion-rights supporters - including a salute from President Obama.
June 26, 2013 |
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas' lieutenant governor late Tuesday suspended a senator's filibuster against wide-ranging abortion restrictions, but Democrats moved quickly to appeal the decision and set off a parliamentary fight over the rules. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, after determining that Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis strayed off the topic when she talked about a sonogram bill passed in 2011 and how the new abortion restrictions only compounded the antiabortion laws in Texas. Democrats immediately appealed the decision and set off a heated debate.
April 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate is poised to begin the most wide-ranging and ambitious battle over gun control on Capitol Hill in 20 years, with a vote scheduled Thursday that would formally start the debate. News of that vote was a boost for the Obama administration, which has lobbied hard for increased background checks on potential gun buyers, and new limits on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. All will face heavy opposition from the National Rifle Association and its Capitol Hill allies in both parties.
March 18, 2013 |
In choice of both topic and foil, Rand Paul's now legendary Senate filibuster was a stroke of political genius. The topic was, ostensibly, very narrow: Does the president have the constitutional authority to put a drone-launched Hellfire missile through your kitchen - you, a good citizen of Topeka to whom POTUS might have taken a dislike - while you're cooking up a pot roast? The constituency of those who could not give this question a straight answer is exceedingly small. Unfortunately, among them is Attorney General Eric Holder.
March 8, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A Republican critic of the Obama administration's drone policy mounted a filibuster Wednesday to block Senate confirmation of John Brennan to take over as CIA director. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) took the floor shortly before noon. With intermittent support from other conservatives, plus Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Paul spoke almost continuously for five hours before Majority Leader Harry Reid tried but failed to move to a vote on Brennan. Paul resumed his oration, snacking on candy at the dinner hour while continuing to speak.
February 22, 2013
YESTERDAY, on this page, former Gov. Ed Rendell called out Pennsylvania's members of Congress to answer some hard questions about what they will do to move on reducing gun violence. These are Sen. Bob Casey's answers to those questions. In the next week, we'll feature answers from other members of Congress. 1. Will you support mandatory universal background checks? Casey: Yes. 2. Will you support stronger laws to stop straw-purchase gun traffickers? Casey: Yes, there's a way to do that, though there's no bill to do that.
February 21, 2013 |
IN WHAT WAS clearly the emotional high point of his State of the Union speech last week, President Obama, citing many victims of horrific gun violence, told Congress that "they deserve a vote!" He was referring to legislation that would offer the American people various protective measures that would reduce the frequency of gun violence. His message was that Congress shouldn't filibuster or bottle up this legislation - that it should at least have the decency to bring it to the floor for a vote.