- The Senate last night failed to invoke cloture on a "trifecta" bill which would have raised the minimum wage, permanently reduced the estate tax, and offered $38 billion in other tax breaks and aid. The vote was 56-42 (60 votes were needed to end debate), with Republicans Chafee and Voinovich siding with the Democrats; Dems Lincoln, Nelson, Nelson, Byrd. Senator Frist switched his vote to no at the last minute so that the measure can be brought up again in the future. I don't particularly disagree with this result - while I strongly support raising the minimum wage, I just as strongly oppose permanent reductions to the millionaire tax.
- Tom DeLay will be on the November ballot in his old district whether he likes it or not, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit said yesterday. The judges agreed with a lower court that the Constitution and Texas law prohibit tampering with candidate lists after primary elections - and that just because DeLay claims to have moved to Virginia, the Texas GOP can't replace him on the ballot. The decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court. On this one, I'm glad to see DeLay getting served with notice that the rule of law applies to him just like everybody else.
- NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg recently dined with key centrist Democrat Al From, increasing speculation that an '08 presidential bid may be in its infancy.
- In Tennessee, Republican voters chose former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker, a relative centrist, to take on Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in this fall's Senate race to replace the retiring Bill Frist. Corker defeated two more conservative opponents by a significant margin to get the nod. In recent polls, Corker had led Ford in general election matchups while the others had trailed by narrow margins; electability certainly came into play in this primary. This race will probably remain competitive through the fall, but this is probably the GOP's best chance for holding the seat.
- Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked a vote by that body on Senator Specter's NSA eavesdrop program bill; Specter said he'll move the legislation forward eventually, by a party-line vote if need be. As I've said, I oppose the Specter legislation because I think it gives too many inches to the Administration - so bully to the Democrats for holding it off for the moment.