Breaking News: Senate filibuster leaves DREAM Act in limbo

From the Restore Fairness blog-

When Sen. Harry Reid announced last week that he would be adding the DREAM Act and a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as amendments to the Defense Authorization Bill that was being put before the Senate, it sent waves of excitement and hope through the immigration world and around the nation, especially with respect to the 800,000 youth that have a lot at stake with the passage of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act). The DREAM Act, which is a very crucial first step towards much needed immigration reform in the United States, would allow current, former and future undocumented high-school graduates a pathway to citizenship through college or the Armed Forces.

Today, as people waited to see how the Senate vote on the Defense Authorization Bill would proceed, the excitement mounted. Although Sen. Reid had put the DREAM Act up as an amendment, it could only come up for vote once the Democrats had the 60 votes needed to begin debate on the $726 billion Defense Authorization Bill. Unfortunately, at 2. 15 pm today, the Republicans led a successful filibuster of the Defense Authorization Bill in the Senate, killing the chance of a vote and passage of the DREAM Act this time around. While all Democrats voted to bring the bill to the floor, they were unable to win the support of enough Republicans to move the bill forward. The Senate filibuster on the Defense Authorization Bill has also held up passage of a repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy of gays in the military.

Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, expressed his frustration at the Senate vote saying-

Today’s vote should have been a simple one. This wasn’t going to change any laws, but merely allow the DREAM Act a chance to be fully debated. The Republicans couldn’t even allow that. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising considering they’ve held steadfast to their adopted role as obstructionists. Their behavior today was appalling. They failed the youth of America; they failed the country. Many of these venerable senators will say they support the DREAM Act but opposed the procedure…The GOP shut down debate on the DREAM Act because they hope the incredible and unprecedented activism seen all across the U.S. this past week will disappear. It won’t. Activists showed how quickly a movement can coalesce and be a driving a force…The GOP can’t filibuster this energy and enthusiasm. We are a powerful movement, and our movement will be felt come November.

The story is far from over. While it is hugely disappointing that just a few Republican votes kept the DREAM Act from being brought to the floor, today’s vote signaled a momentous step in the progress of the “dream.” Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people around the nation have worked tirelessly to get the “dream” passed. They have signed petitions, held vigils and made countless calls to Senators, urging them to support the DREAM Act. Now more than ever, it is important that we keep the pressure on Senators and those in positions of leadership so that they show their support for the DREAM Act so that the next time that it is brought to the floor of the Senate, we have a very different outcome.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

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The Regrets of Mitch McConnell

“I am amused with their comments about obstructionism,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview over the weekend with the New York Times. “I wish we had been able to obstruct more. They were able to get the health care bill through. They were able to get the stimulus through. They were able to get the financial reform through. These were all major pieces of legislation, and if I would have had enough votes to stop them, I would have.”

Don't fret Mitch come January you'll have the opportunity to obstruct to your heart's content and to the benefit of the narrow wealthy elite you serve. And let's be frank, obstruct is all you are capable of because a new idea to call your own you have not a single one.

But just for the record let's stroll down memory lane and recall some of Mitch's accomplishments this session. As of July 31st, only 42.8 percent of President Obama’s judicial nominees had been confirmed. No other President in recent memory even comes close to such a dismal number. The next lowest confirmation rate was that of George Herbert Walker Bush who 79.3 percent of his judicial nominees confirmed at 18 month mark of his Presidency.

In the Senate, the GOP has waged a war on any and all Democratic intiatives that makes Sherman's march through Georgia look like a walk in the park. In this Congress, we were treated to Senator Shelby record-setting blanket hold on all executive appointments. At that time Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic wrote that Shelby's move represented "a seminal moment in the evolution of Republican obstructionism." He might have also called it what it really was: hostage taking and extortion. Outside the Senate, those are felonious acts; inside the Senate, it is how the GOP operates.

Worth recalling is the three-page memo that New Hampshire's Judd Gregg penned and circulated to his Republican colleagues, reminding them of various procedural tactics they can utilize to obstruct, delay, and undermine the debate on health care. Sam Stein of the Huffington Post called it "the equivalent of an obstruction manual -- a how-to for holding up health care reform."

The lengths to which the GOP resorted in their aim to derail the President's health care agenda has been extraordinary. Never mind the rhetoric, which was beyond the pale, consider that in December 2009, Republican Senators attempted to block the renewal of all military funding in an effort to halt the passage of the health care reform bill. What can one say when Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham are willing to play politics with the welfare of those serving in uniform.

There's more...

Gibbs doesn't get it. Bashes the "professional" left

In this The Hill interview, Gibbs bashes the professional left and expresses bafflement why they would be mad about Obama's performance and then Gibbs does the Blue Dog/right wing trick of attributing it to "ideological purity".

Well, Gibbs,  I am an example of a "moderate" who voted for Obama and is disenchanted. I am pro-voucher, pro-Death penalty, am neutral on gay marriage(though I am for civil unions and for open gays in military), neutral on taxes(I am not necessrily in favor of more taxes, though if the government shows accountability, I am not againt it). I am not even that set on universal health care though there should have been some sort of public option.  The whole torture thing wasn't even on my top list of issues though I did want to see it addressed.  it's obvious I am not a classic lefty. So I gotta say this. After 8 years of Bush, I EXPECT more liberal policies to be implemented now ,not because I am very liberal, but for a need to balance out the neglect for liberal policies in the last 8 years.

There's more...

Obama To Politick

"We have spent the last 20 months governing. They spent the last 20 months politicking. Now we've got three months to go, and so we've decided, well, we can politick for three months. They've forgotten I know how to politick pretty good." —President Obama, at a fund-raiser in Texas on Monday

Speaking at a fundraising event for the Democratic National Committee in Austin, the President said that he will spend some time "politicking" to highlight differences between Democrats and Republicans. President Obama said he and Democrats have spent the last 20 months "governing" while Republicans have spent the last 20 months playing politics. Bemoaning the "fundamental lack of seriousness" on the part of the GOP, the President criticized the Republicans for not having any ideas different from those of former President George W. Bush. “The choice in this election is to go back or continue with the policies that are getting us out of this mess,” Obama said.

While the stepped up rhetoric is welcomed, the reality is that "politicking" is part of governing especially when the other side has done nothing but "politicking" the Obama Presidency not just into unpopularity but into near irrelevancy in the minds of too many Americans. It's not just that the lunatic fringe, if 27 percent is a fringe, thinks this President is a foreign born Marxist but that millions of Americans have been led to misunderstand his proposals and to discount the achievements of the Administration. For 20 months, this President has failed to wage the sustained day-in, day-out politicking battles required to have a successful, transformative Presidency.

In any case, cue the GOP's politicking attack line for the Fall:

Quick Hits

Here are some other news items making the rounds today.

The White House is announcing that Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will step down from the post next month. Ms. Romer is to return to California and her post as a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. The move seems more personal than a departure over policy differences. Ms. Romer has a son entering his freshman year of high school. The New York Times has more.

The Hill interviews California Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman, looking on the sunny side of the street as the Democrats face an tough electoral environment, believes the November elections will likely weed out some of the “most difficult Democrats” that leadership lawmakers have dealt with this Congress.

A conservative in Colorado asks Gay Marriage, Forgive Me But What is the Problem Here?

Mother Jones has an important article looking at how the Federal housing agencies—and some of the biggest bailed-out banks—are helping shady lawyers make millions by pushing families out of their homes.

Brian Beutler has an update over at Talking Points Memo on the infighting amongst the members of the White House's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Beulter writes that "a source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting.

The editorial of the day is from the Denver Post. Entitled GOP's Big Tent is a Real Circus, the editorial board writes that the "Republicans are without a credible candidate in the governor's race - but one candidate is even less credible than the other" adding that Dan Maes' "grand bike conspiracy, however, takes the cake. This man must not be governor." Meanwhile Business Week reports that Dan Maes told the Denver Petroleum Club he would cut at least 2,000 workers "just like that" from the state budget, with projected savings of $200 million as well as force a showdown with the Federal government over drilling for gas and oil.

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