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This Week in Washington – August 2, 2010

Many liberals are fleeing President Obama.  Gallup has the President at 45% approval and 47% disapproval for a -2% gap today.  In a story titled “Democrats Scatter Monday as Obama Comes to Town,” on the NBC affiliate for Atlanta, GA, further evidence is provided of this emerging phenomena:

If you think this will be a time for Democrats running for office to rally around the chief executive- -you probably haven’t been following the campaigns this summer.  Former Governor Roy Barnes will not be available to meet Mr. Obama. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate will be somewhere in Georgia- – far from Atlanta.  Campaign manager Chris Carpenter released a statement:  “Roy has a busy campaign schedule in Middle and South Georgia on Monday where he’ll be talking to farmers and local law enforcement. Roy’s priority is to continue traveling across the state, talking to voters about jobs, education, and transportation- his plan to make Georgia work.”

The President of the United States comes to your state on a campaign stop and candidates for office refuse to attend this campaign event — not a good sign for liberals.  Speaker Pelosi should be nervous.  The House is out of Session until September 13th.  The Senate, “in addition to considering the Teacher funding and FMAP amendment, the Majority Leader would like to consider an energy bill, the nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States” and some other smaller measures.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee may vote on the New START Treaty this Wednesday.  The Senate is expected to break by the end of the week and will not reconvene until September 13th.

The Senate is scheduled to take up four big issues this week:

  • Education and Medicaid – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled a vote on Amendment 4567 to H.R. 1586, the FAA Reauthorization Bill.  The Amendment has education and Medicaid money and is completely unrelated to the FAA.  The bill contains $10 billion in education funding and an expensive Medicaid proposal.  The Hill reports, “The Democrats’ $16.1 billion (Medicaid) proposal — like the one attached to last month’s failed tax extenders bill — would hike the federal share of Medicaid payments by 3.2 percent for the first three months of 2011, and by 1.2 percent over the second three months. The current federal boost of 6.2 percent — included as an $87 billion provision of last year’s economic stimulus bill — expires at the end of 2010.”   If the cloture vote fails, the Senate will move on to the other two issues facing the chamber this week.
  • Energy - The Senate likely will have a cloture vote on Senator Reid’s so called energy bill.  As NPR reports, this bill contains some noncontroversial and controversial measures.  “The bill does have a few noncontroversial measures promoting energy-efficient homes and natural gas-powered trucks. Far more divisive, though, is its proposal to do away with the current $75 million liability limit for firms that cause disasters such as the BP blowout in the Gulf.”  There is also a provision, as Rob Gordon of The Foundry points out, for $5 billion in slush funds for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  “Reid’s bill would fill the fund with a minimum of just under $5 billion through fiscal year 2016. Spending these funds would no longer require congressional approval.”  An entitlement program that allows the federal government to buy up more private land is a terrible idea and something conservatives should watch.
  • Elena Kagan Nomination – The Senate is expected to schedule a full Senate vote on anti gun activist Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Bipartisan opposition has emerged as Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced his opposition to the nomination late last week.  Nelson said, “I have heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding Ms. Kagan, and her lack of a judicial record makes it difficult for me to discount the concerns raised by Nebraskans, or to reach a level of comfort that these concerns are unfounded. Therefore, I will not vote to confirm Ms. Kagan’s nomination.”  It will be interesting to watch this debate later this week.    
  • New START Treaty – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a vote on the New Start Treaty for Wednesday.  The New START Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russia that purports to reduce nuclear weapons between two superpowers and may contain a side agreement for the U.S. to dismantle missile defense.  Ratification of this Treaty hinges on a few issues, one of which is whether we can trust the Russians.  Owen Graham of The Foundry reports points to a few examples of Russia not acting as a trust worthy country.  “The recent discovery of the Russian spy network inside the U.S. and their celebration by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin upon their return to Russia, courtesy of President Obama, indicates that Russia is set in a Cold War mentality, viewing U.S. as an intelligence collection target, not a friend and a partner.  Russia’s strong ties with bad actors are also something to keep in mind when considering the big picture. Moscow provides diplomatic recognition for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and political-military ties with anti-American ‘rogue states’ such as Syria, Venezuela, and Iran.  While Russia voted with the U.S. at the U.N. Security Council to pass sanctions on Iran, it did so only after working hard to water them down and making them toothless.”  These are three, of many, examples that should make Americans think twice about the New START Treaty.  For more more information about the New START Treaty, please read The New START Treaty May Harm National Security.

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