Huge Thursday on the Hill

Holy hell, was it a big day in D.C. All manner of stuff flying around on Capitol Hill. We’ll start with the bad news, from the House.


The House of Representatives held a vote to override the President’s veto of the S-CHIP expansion bill. As y’all remember from 8th-grade civics, you need 2/3 of Congress to vote “Yea” in order to pass a bill over the veto. They fell 13 votes short. To reiterate what I mentioned in an earlier post on this bill, this means that almost 4 million children will continue to lack basic healthcare. 156 members of the United States House of Representatives, in collaboration with the President, have decided that if your parents have the audacity to make enough money to pay rent and buy groceries, but not enough to buy comprehensive private health insurance, then you don’t deserve access to medical care. “No asthma meds, vaccinations, chemo, or routine checkups for you, little Billy. Your parents make a whopping $25,000 a year.”

Best part of the whole thing may have been this sign, unveiled by Rep. Steve King (R-IA):


I don’t know what to do with this, really, other than to say come on, Iowa. You can do better than this schmuck. (For those wondering, no, S-CHIP doesn’t cover illegal immigrants.)
Now we move across the Rotunda to the Senate. As I mentioned earlier in the week, they’ve been debating a move which would grant retroactive immunity from prosecution to telecom companies that cooperated with the Administration in wiretapping the phones of millions of American citizens. Well, they agreed to the damn thing. Sure, they violated the privacy rights of millions, but that doesn’t mean they ought to be punished in any way for it, right? And that’s where it stood this morning, with the Senate fully prepared to declare that the 4th Amendment is negotiable if you really think you’re doing the right thing.

Until this dude stepped up:


That’s Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Upon hearing that the Senate Democratic leadership had caved on the telecom immunity bill, he announced that he would place a hold upon the bill. A hold, in Senate rules, is a method by which any Senator may prevent a bill from coming to a vote. It tends to be used on nominations and similar action. What Dodd is effectively saying to the Senate is “No, guys, I don’t care how many of you want to do this, I won’t let you give away the 4th Amendment.” It’s an astonishingly courageous act, maybe the ballsiest thing I’ve ever seen a politician do. To stand against 99 colleagues, in the face of constant GOP rhetoric claiming that enforcing our nation’s most basic law is a luxury that will get Americans killed? I’m new here, so I don’t know the rules on this, but is there any way to confer honorary ninja status? Because the good Senator’s certainly worthy in my eyes right now.

That’s it for tonight. There’ll certainly be more tomorrow, there’s always something going on in the world of politricks.

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