S01E14: The Constitutional Option

We're nearing the end of our first season and to finish it off we are providing a couple summaries relating to changing the filibuster. Today we look at what is called the "Constitutional Option," which applies only to the first day of a new session of Congress. This is expected to come up at the beginning of the 112th session.

As always, one-pager below the fold...

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Next Up: A Climate Bill

Woo-hoo. The healthcare bill is done. People will see many of the provisions go into place immediately and then they can decide how they feel about these reforms based on realityinstead of frenzied, uninformed rhetoric. Let's just take a moment to recognize this historic occasion.

Unfortunately, just when we see Congress starting to pass bills promised during the last election, we get an unwelcomed glimpse of some of the ugliest parts of politics. It disgusts and frightens me that not only were Members of Congress spat upon as they walked to the Capitol, but lunatics threatened to kill the family members of our elected officials. I am disheartened by the actions of my fellow Americans in the last week but I am not without hope because despite all of these threats, they made real progress and that is something to celebrate.

Healthcare Reforms' passage also clears the way for the Senate to take up climate and they are thankfully wasting no time. According to E&E senior reporter Darren Samuelsohn, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is inserting himself into the energy and climate debate with a series of meetings [on Tuesday and Wednesday] with key players engaged in the closed-door negotiations."

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is also doubling down on climate saying, "In the wake of health care's passage, we have a strong case to make that this can be the next breakthrough legislative fight. Climate legislation is the single best opportunity we have to create jobs, reduce pollution and stop sending billions overseas for foreign oil from countries that would do us harm."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the undecideds are starting to vocally call for Congress to consider a bill. Earlier this week, Senator Tom Udall lead a group of 22 moderate Senators in calling on Senator Majority Leader Reid to bring up comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation for a vote. The letter is especially significant because most of these folks hadn't been saying much about climate legislation before. And if those in the middle remained silent, that would have deadened any momentum. But they didn't.

Although none of this guarantees that we will get a bill and it certainly doesn't guarantee that any bill that moves will be strong enough to address the problems, it represents significant progress. Members of Congress have had a hard week so I hope that they go home over the Easter recess and take a few days to recuperate. When they get back, there is much to do and a lot of momentum to build upon.

Why I Voted Against the Bailout

Tom Udall wanted me to get you this statement as quickly as possible, now that the bailout bill has gone to a vote:

I cannot in good conscience vote for a rushed $700 billion taxpayer funded bailout to shore up Wall Street while ignoring our middle class and the nation's underlying economic flaws that caused this crisis in the first place. I will, however, continue fighting to do what's right and fix our financial markets to prevent similar crises from occurring again.

Tom Udall laid out his priorities for any bailout bill that he could support last week:

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NM-Sen: Congressman Tom Udall Live Blogging Now!

Tom Udall will be live-blogging today at Democracy for New Mexico at 4:30PM mountain time.  Come share your comments, questions, and concerns with Congressman Udall, who will be on hand for a half hour to speak with you.

Click here to head over to Democracy for New Mexico now.

And let us know in the comments here what you thought of the live blog when it's over.

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GOOD Congressional challengers on FISA: The List

In the last couple days, there have been several posts across the blogosphere citing what various candidates running for Congress have said on FISA and retroactive immunity for the telecoms.  But so far, it's been all over the map.  I'll try to corral all their statements into this diary, so you can see who the "good guys" are.

First, let's start off with the current House and Senate members who voted against this bill.  They do deserve credit, as it's their jobs on the line.

Follow me below the fold to see the dozens of Democratic challengers who are standing up for the Constitution, and are against this FISA bill and retroactive immunity.

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Diaries

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