Friday, May 01, 2009

Legislative Update XII

This week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved a budget blueprint closely following President Obama's outline. No Republicans voted for it, but this time, no one really was surprised or cared.

The House voted to approve a bill that provides more consumer protections from credit card companies while the Senate defeated mortgage "cram-down" legislation that would allow a bankruptcy judge to spare people from home foreclosures. The Senate did overwhelmingly approve a bill that gives financial investigators more tools to deal with mortgage and other types of financial fraud. The House will take it up soon. The Senate will also take up the credit card bill next week.

I'll note that new-Democratic Senator Arlen Specter voted against both the budget and the homeowner relief measure, further illustrating that having 60 seats doesn't give you 60votes.

Lastly, Kathleen Sebelius was finally confirmed 65-31 as the new HHS Secretary (just in time to deal with the h1n1 "swine flu" virus and, you know, health care reform), completing President Obama's cabinet. However, there are still many positions left that require Senate confirmation (such as assistant secretary to the VA, for which Tammy Duckworth has still not gotten a vote).

UPDATE: Case in point, President Obama's FEMA director nominee is being held up by Sen. David Vitter.

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