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Today in Washington – May 25, 2010

The House and the Senate will be working frantically to get work done by the end of the week on some defense measures and a tax extenders bill before the pending Memorial Day recess.  “Train wreck” — That is what Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said is on the horizon for the confirmation of Elena Kagan. The Senate will commence work today on a $59 billion War Supplemental.  ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is back on the agenda for both the House and the Senate for this Thursday. 

With all of these important issues being debated by Congress, many Americans will be discussing the growing perception that the Obama Administration is not doing enough to address oil spill problems in the Gulf of Mexico.  

  • Elena Kagan- The Senate continues consideration of the nomination of Elena Kagan to be justice on the Supreme Court in anticipation of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled for June 28th.  That hearing date may slip if Obama Administration officials do not produce documents requested by Senators.  From the Associated Press, “the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee warned Monday that he would seek to slow Supreme Court nomineeElena Kagan’s path to confirmation unless senators get full access to her files as a Clinton administration aide.”  It is going to be very difficult for Senators to asses Kagan’s judicial philosophy when Senate Judiciary Committee memberse are being denied access to important documents relating to Kagan’s tenure as a senior official of the Clinton Administration.  More from AP, “Senator Jeff Sessions said that ‘we’re heading to what could be a train wreck. I don’t believe that this committee can go forward with an adequate hearing’ without all records from Kagan’s tenure as a White House counsel and then domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton.”  This story has an interesting twist because President Obama and former President Bill Clinton may be playing the classic — “Good Cop, Bad Cop” con on the Senate.  The APreports that the ”nation’s archivist told Leahy and Sessions in a letter last week that his staff would begin releasing the documents, which are held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Libraryin Little Rock, Ark., by June 4 and try to accommodate the panel’s June 28 deadline” with an important condition.  It is not clear whether former President Bill Clinton will block documents claiming executive privilege.  Expect a slow walk of the release of the Kagan documents and for former President Bill Clinton to emerge as the bad guy. 
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – The Obama Administration has cut a deal on allowing gays to openly serve in the military.  The Los Angeles Times reports, “the proposal would let lawmakers vote now to repeal the law and allow people who are openly gay to serve, once the president and top military leaders certify that the repeal wouldn’t threaten the military’s ‘readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention,’ according to documents the sponsors sent to the administration.”  This is not much of a compromise, because the Administration has wanted to complete this campaign promise and they have been provided an opportunity on the Defense Authorization bill.  Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) as quoted by MSNBC said “the American people don’t want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda. And House Republicans will stand on that principle.”  The House may vote on this as part of the Defense Authorization Bill, H.R. 5136, and the Senate Armed Services Committee will be marking up a Defense Authorization bill the same day.  
  • Repeal ObamaCare- The repeal message on ObamaCare is picking up steam and the American people have not been convinced by Washington insiders that federally run health care is a good idea.  Rasmussen reports that the repeal movement is growing.  “Support for repeal of the new national health care plan has jumped to its highest level ever. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of U.S. voters now favor repeal of the plan passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama in March.  Prior to today, weekly polling had shown support for repeal ranging from 54% to 58%.  Currently, just 32% oppose repeal.”  More bad news for the Obama Administration.

Talk in Washington will shift from pending legislative matters to the Gulf of Mexico as this Administration attempts to stem the flow of criticism on their failed efforts to take control of the disaster.  Can you imagine the screams from the media and Democrats if President Bush was still in charge?

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