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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Delegation Votes Against Keeping Federal Government Open

For John, BLUFSo why did the Mass Delegation vote against funding the Government?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This mornings edition of The Boston Globe, page A-2, had an article by Reporter Noah Bierman, headlined "Spending bill had no fans in Mass. delegation."  This is about the $1.1 Trillion spending bill, the so called CROmnibus Bill.

Why?  Well there is the Senator E Warren articulated concern about weakening the Dodd-Frank Bill, which was supposed to fix Wall Street, but didn't.  Then there was concern about weakening McCain-Fiengold Campaign Finance Regulations.  And probably a million other little items.

The big thing is, the US Congress funded the Federal Government to the end of the Fiscal Year, except for the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded into February of 2015.  And, the President was in agreement.

So, when someone talks about partisanship, it might be good to reflect back on the CROmnibus and how Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the bill, or to oppose the bill.  Sometimes partisanship is just ideological divide and one side or the other is willing to run the wagon right up to the edge of the cliff to make their point.

For those interested in some of the Senate machinations over the past weekend, here is the view from Texas, via Senator Ted Cruz.

One more item of interest.  The graphic in The Globe records the Senate vote as one of three combinations:

  • Two Nays
  • One Nay, One 'No Vote'
  • One Nay, One Yea
  • One Yea, One 'No Vote'
  • Two Yeas
Per Wikipedia, in the US Senate the Clerk calls the "Yeas and Neys", but the responses are "Aye" or "No".  That gives three possible combinations—Both Senators from a given State vote Aye, One votes Aye and one votes No, or both vote No.  Where did the other options come from and what do they mean.  The reporter, Mr Bierman, says he doesn't know.  I went to the web site mentioned in the graphic and found that the other option wasn't a form of "No" but rather an abstention or an absence.  Four Senators, two from Oklahoma, one from California and one from George, did not vote.  One Democrat and three Republicans didn't vote. One wonders if one of the Republicans formed a "live pair" with Diane Feinstein?

Regards  —  Cliff

  The CR stands for Continuing Resolution, which, when the US Congress can't actually vote out a real budget, they use to continue things from the way they were last year.  The Omnibus part is that it is a single large bill, incorporating all sorts of Departmental Budgets.
  The idea that more regulation will mean better control of Wall Street misses the point that the Wall Street types can afford to hire a lot of very bright quants to find the paths between the words of the laws to allow Wall Street to make even more money.  Sadly, laws tend to not just shut down bad activities but to also open up new areas for questionable behavior.
  Turns out the DNC and RNC both supported this change, since the newly empowered PACs were draining money from the National Level Party Organizations and causing them to run up debt.  Frankly, making the PACs more powerful might not have been a good idea.

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