Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday Updates

A few things from today and the weekend, as Congress prepares to reconvene this week.

- Don't miss Elisabeth Bumiller's 'White House Letter' in today's NYTimes. She discusses this president's use of the extra-constitutional "signing statement" to "clarify" the administration's position on various laws, most notably the torture ban he signed recently but then pledged to ignore at his discretion. Bumiller notes that Bush has greatly expanded the use and scope of signing statements, which are most often "attached to national security and intelligence legislation and that he frequently uses them to assert that the administration regards requirements to turn over information as purely advisory."

- As you've no doubt heard, Bob Ney (aka "Representative # 1" from the Abramoff plea deal) has stepped aside "temporarily" from his post as Chairman of the key House Administration and Rules Committee. The only consolation for those of us who know he should be ousted permanently - remember that DeLay only stepped down temporarily at first too. More on Ney from Hotline On Call.

- Most appropriately, Senator Specter said yesterday that he'll hold full and comprehensive Senate Judiciary hearings over the president's NSA domestic spying program, expressing doubts about the activity's legality. Just when those hearings will begin is still unclear.

- Senator Feinstein shares my position on Alito - she said yesterday she did not think a filibuster of Alito was a smart idea, but that she will oppose his confirmation.

- John Shadegg (AZ) jumped into the House Majority Leader race on Friday (a bit late, in my opinion). I'm still not "happy" with any of the contenders, and don't know yet which way I'll finally decide to go; it could well be Shadegg. On other House leadership notes, Reps. Dan Lungren and John Sweeney have now both called for full caucus elections, from speaker on down. I think this would be a good idea. So far, says The Hill, 15 members have signed a petition calling for full elections.


At 10:02 PM, Blogger Phil S said...

Welcome back, Jeremy!! I just happen to check in--and there you were blogging again!!
A full caucus on House leadership would be something--Hastert has to go, but don't hold your breath.
The use of signing statements by Bush is one of the most egregious displays of arrogance by any president in history--just disgusting.


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