Friday Faxline September 21, 2007
Coming Budget Showdown
This week, Representative Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) introduced legislation that would prevent a government shutdown if the President and Congress are unable to come to an agreement on spending legislation before the end of the fiscal year. Under current law, all non-essential services of the government would shut down at the end of the fiscal year, if the relevant appropriations bills have not been passed in Congress and signed into law. The fiscal year ends on September 30, and not one of the 12 spending bills has been sent to the President for his signature this year. The Hensarling legislation would provide for spending levels to continue at the previous year's levels until a budget is approved. Without the possibility of a government shutdown to make their constituents nervous about government services, lawmakers would not feel pressured to accept appropriations bills that spend too much of the taxpayers' money.
Senate Condemns Ad Slandering General
On Thursday, 72 Senators, including 22 Democrats, voted for a resolution that condemned the ad run by liberal group MoveOn.org that personally attacked the integrity of General David Petraeus. The resolution strongly condemned "any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces." The resolution included facts about the General's distinguished career, including his Ph.D. from Princeton University. The House of Representatives, usually the legislative body more prone to take up such controversial measures, is not likely to vote on a similar resolution any time soon. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05) said he had no intention of considering a similar resolution in the House sponsored by Representative Phil Gingrey (GA-11).
Attorney General Nominee Received Well on Capitol Hill
President Bush's nomination for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, has received a warm response from Members of Congress. Mukasey, a retired federal judge, was well respected as a judge for his impartiality and expertise on terrorism and homeland security issues. Even New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a consistent critic of the Bush administration, has received Mukasey well. However, Some Democrats in the Senate, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), have indicated that Mukasey's confirmation may be held up because of the fight with administration officials over documents relating to the firing of federal prosecutors during Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' tenure.
Senators on Standby
A new ruling by the Air Transport Association means that Senators may no longer be able to double and triple book flights when they fly home from Washington. Because of the shifting schedule of meetings, committee hearings and floor votes in Congress, airlines have often held seats on several flights for Members of Congress but only charge them for the flight they finally take. It is also a service offered to other frequent flyers by some airlines. But, the Air Transport Association has decided the practice might conflict with new Senate ethics rules banning gifts. At least three airlines, Continental, Northwest, and Delta, have decided to adhere to the decision. Senators may soon find themselves dealing with the difficulties of flying along with the rest of the public.
Quote of the Week
"The clergy boycotts the violent, mean, cruel, ruthless, pitiless kings, the great thieves who live by stealing from the national treasury."
- Burma's Buddhist Monks, in a statement on their nationwide protests against the country's brutal military junta.