Friday, June 19, 2009

Legislative Update XVII

After lots of arm-twisting on anti-war Democrats in the House of Representatives, Congress voted to approve funding for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan in an emergency supplemental. This is supposed to be the last time such funds will be provided for outside of the normal budget. IMF funding and the "cash for clunkers" program made it into the final bill, but it does not include the $80 million the White House requested to start effort to close Gitmo. The bill also prohibits detainees from being released in the United States and allows the transfer of detainees for prosecution only after Congress receives a plan detailing the risks.

The Senate passed a separate bill to block the release of detainee abuse photos. President Obama had given his formal word to classify the photos to placate those who wanted to put the prohibition in the war funding bill, which would have further weakened its chances of passing. If and when it will come up for a vote in the House is unknown.

Senate Republicans blocked a resolution condemning violence against women's health-care providers. The Senate did pass a formal apology for slavery, and will be followed by the House next week. It's hard to believe this hasn't happened already. The House did pass a resolution knocking Tehran's crackdown on protesters, with Rep. Ron Paul being the only "nay" vote.

Lastly, on the health care front, House Dems presented a plan that does have a public option, but that was left out of the Senate version. What ultimate comes out of Congress is anyone's guess at this point, assuming that something does that is. The only thing we know for sure is that it appears it's a long road ahead...

UPDATE: For the first time in 20 years, the House unanimously approved four article of impeachment against U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of Texas accusing him of sexually assaulting two female employees and lying to judicial investigators and Justice Department officials. This now sets up a trial in the Senate.

1 comment:

Xanthippas said...

FYI, from what I understand Kent had already agreed to step down next year, but was holding out for his federal pension. The House apparently believes it is unseemly for a sitting judge convicted of sexual assault to collect $180,000 or somesuch a year for the rest of his life.