Thursday, June 16, 2005

Deep Breath

Whew. It's been a long couple of days. Here's where we are.

The Senate has debated the energy bill and assorted amendments, passing one that will increase use of ethanol (sponsored by Senator Domenici) and another that requires 10% of U.S. electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2020. Defeated were two efforts to change the ethanol amendment and today's Cantwell amendment that would have required the president to develop a plan to bring about a 40% reduction in imported petroleum by 2025. Discussions on the energy bill will resume at 2 p.m. on Monday. Carl Hulse reports for Friday's New York Times about how the Senate has thus far taken a much more pro-conservation route with its energy plan than the House's version (quite a good article).

As I've said before (in case you can't tell) I really like paying attention to the debate over energy legislation, since I think it more closely models the kind of debates we ought to be seeing in the Senate all the time. By that I mean senators speaking on behalf of their states and their constituents, rather than just reading party-line talking points. It's parochial, but it's different.

On John Bolton: as I mentioned earlier, Senator Frist announced this evening that a second attempt to invoke cloture on Bolton's nomination will be held at 6 p.m. Monday after one hour of debate. At this point, no votes seem likely to change in Bolton's favor, while some more conservative pundits seem to be seriously urging the idea of a recess appointment during the Senate's July 4 recess.

There is more reason for President Bush and members of Congress to seriously consider the direction they're leading the country: a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that "Americans are in a season of political discontent, giving Mr. Bush one of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and Congress one of its lowest rating in years."

I haven't yet had time to start thinking about what impact recent moves on Iraq (including discussions about the so-called Downing Street Memo or about the bipartisan introduction in the House of a resolution demanding the formulation of an Iraq exit strategy) will have on the state of things in Washington over the summer. Nor have I followed particularly closely the kerfluffle caused by Senator Durbin in using some unnecessarily hyperbolic language in describing American interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. I'm trying to read up on all those things now that I've got a break from Bolton for a few days. If you're interested in much more on the Iraq front, I would urge you to take a look at a great debate series underway at The Yellow Line.

If your musings take a historical bent, check out ModoBlog's first of four projected posts covering some very intriguing ideas about English migrations to the U.S. and how they have impacted our political climate through to the present.


Post a Comment

<< Home