Skip to comments.Senate Coverage -- (February '06)
Posted on 02/01/2006 6:09:12 AM PST by OXENinFLA
Since "Free Republic is an online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America.", I and others think it's a good idea to centralize what the goes on in the Senate (or House).
So if you see something happening on the Senate/House floor and you don't want to start a new thread to ask if anyone else just heard what you heard, you can leave a short note on who said what and about what and I'll try and find it the next day in THE RECORD. Or if you see a thread that pertains to the Senate, House, or pretty much any GOV'T agency please link your thread here.
If you have any suggestions for this thread please feel free to let me know.
Here's a few helpful links.
C-SPAN what a great thing. Where you can watch or listen live to most Government happenings.
C-SPAN 1 carries the HOUSE.
C-SPAN 2 carries the SENATE.
C-SPAN 3 (most places web only) carries a variety of committee meetings live or other past programming.
OR FEDNET has online feed also.
A great thing about our Government is they make it really easy for the public to research what the Politicians are doing and saying (on the floor anyway).
THOMAS where you can see a RECORD of what Congress is doing each day. You can also search/read a verbatim text of what each Congressmen/women or Senator has said on the floor or submitted 'for the record.' [This is where the real juicy stuff can be found.]
Also found at Thomas are Monthly Calendars for the Senate Majority and Senate Minority
And Monthly Calendars for the House Majority and Roll Call Votes can be found here.
The Founders' Constitution
THE WHITE HOUSE
THE WAR DEPARTMENT (aka The Dept. of Defense)
LIVE DoD Briefings
NEWSEUM: TODAY'S FRONT PAGES
The Committee's website gives a good summary of how (and why) it reaches decisions. But the details pertinent to any given decision aren't widely disseminated.
Information provided by companies contemplating a transaction subject to Exon-Florio is held confidential and is not made public, except in the case of an administrative or judicial action or proceeding. Nothing in section 721 shall be construed to prevent disclosure to either House of Congress or to any duly authorized committee or subcommittee of the Congress.
Reid is up now complaining about the Pension Bill
Did Bush capitulate??
How did Harry Reid ever get where he is. He can barely articulate his words. He keeps saying that there is no reason that the Senate cannot move forward on the Pension Bill, no reason at all...as long as HE gets what HE wants.
Harry Reid is "begging" the Majority to work with him on this Pension reform bill...
BWAHHHHHHAAAAAAAA--- After all of the smart ass stuff that he has said...like "We KILLED the Patriot Act"??...he NOW wants the Maj. party to play with him...
BTW..Republicans better NOT go along with subsidizing these inflated pensions plans...that these businesses are wanting bailed out of !!!
open an investigation might have had something to do with it
We don't want these documents to be open to all to see .. including the terrorists
I'll wait till more information is known
But it does look like Congress just screwed the american people because of their ego's and their need to know
The traitors that are leaking this classified information should be prosecuted
CONGRESS IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW !!
I saw this guy on TV last night; a complete freak; he insinuated that Cheney was having an affair and dead drunk.
But, then, so did Paul Begala on CNN this afternoon; he's demanding that Bush get Whittington to release his blood alcohol level.
are you kidding me???
Geee .. didn't take long to throw the "Privacy Act" out the window
No, I am not; it was amazing to see; reality means nothing to these people.
To them ... it's all about regaining power .. even if they have to lie, steal and cheat to get it
I don't know; my trust in Congress is 20 below zero.
The same people who are so concerned about privacy and a woman's right to choose have no such regard for a person's medical privacy, provided the person is a Republican, of course.
Carol Dinkins (Cal. No. 521) and Alan Charles Raul Cal. No. 522), to be chair and vice-chair of of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Both were reported out of the Committee on Judiciary on February 16, 2006.
Being curious about these new positions, I performed the following brief research, shared here without commentary. Some of the LINKS are very informative. If the subject interests you, please "read beyond" this post.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 10, 2005
President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate two individuals and appoint three individuals to serve in his Administration:
The President intends to nominate Carol E. Dinkins, of Texas, to be Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Ms. Dinkins is currently a Partner with Vinson and Elkins, LLP in Houston, Texas. From 1984 to 1985, she served as Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, where she previously served as Assistant Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division. The President intends to nominate Alan Charles Raul, of the District of Columbia, to be Vice Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Raul is currently a Partner with Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood, LLP in Washington, D.C. He served as General Counsel at the Department of Agriculture from 1989 to 1993. He previously worked at the Office and Management and Budget from 1988 to 1989. Prior to that, Mr. Raul served as Associate Counsel to the President at the White House.
The President intends to appoint Lanny J. Davis, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Davis is currently a Partner with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP in Washington, D.C. He served as Special Counsel to the President at the White House from 1996 to 1998.
The President intends to appoint Theodore B. Olson, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Olson is currently a Partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in Washington, D.C. From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Olson was the Solicitor General of the United States. He previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.
The President intends to appoint Francis X. Taylor, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Taylor currently serves as Chief Security Officer for The General Electric Company in Fairfield, Connecticut. From 2002 to 2005, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions with the rank of Ambassador. Prior to that, Mr. Taylor was Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State with the rank of Ambassador at Large.
S. 2845, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, was passed in the House of Representatives on 12/07/04, with a vote of 336-75. It was passed in the Senate on 12/08/04, with a vote of 89-2. It was signed by President Bush on December 17, 2004, becoming Public Law 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638.
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/intel_reform.html <- Good summary here
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA)
See Section 1061 - Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
H.Rpt. 108-796 - Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
9/11 Commission Recommendations: A Civil Liberties Oversight Board - CRS RS21906
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board - CRS RS22078
Federal Rules for Identification (by IRTPA of 2004) CRS RL32722
"Lone Wolf" Modification to FISA (by IRTPA of 2004) CRS RS22011 http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS22011.pdf
I know you haven't officially started the thread yet...but, I just have to say...that Sen. Salazar has been talking for an HOUR....and I haven't understood anything he has said...
because his DRONING, is way to borring...
Mr. FRIST. ... In Senate tradition tomorrow, we will also hear Washington's Farewell Address which will be read by Senator Salazar when the Senate convenes.
Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I rise to address some troubling information about natural gas, energy, and the prices of energy as well as its availability. This information came from a hearing held in the Air subcommittee of the EPW Committee last week, and I think it is of sufficient importance to all Members and all States in the Nation that I rise to speak to my colleagues about it. ...
The people I am talking about include manufacturing workers who used to make chemicals, plastic products, automobile parts or fertilizer. Many of them are now out of work because their employer moved to a foreign country with cheaper natural gas prices. ...
Some have said we should tell our workers and their families that we are going to hurt them even more in order to fight climate change. We will pass proposals to cap carbon emissions which, by the way, will raise energy prices even more. For some, I guess today's energy prices are not high enough. Some are willing to drive power and heating bills even higher in their fight against global warming. Some do not care that there are no technologies currently available to capture and store carbon dioxide. But they are working on finding those. We are not there yet.
Some are willing to stop using cheap and abundant fuels, such as coal, and force ourselves to use only the expensive and very limited supply of natural gas. Every year, recently, we have had an opportunity to vote on the McCain-Lieberman proposal. Every year we hear about how it will deliver a $100 billion hit or more to the economy. Thankfully, every year the Senate kills this job killer. ...
Europe's system to cap carbon is certainly in a shambles. European countries are failing miserably to meet their Kyoto carbon-cut requirements. Thirteen of the fifteen original EU signatories are on track to miss their 2010 emissions targets--by as much as 33 percent in Spain and 25 percent in Denmark. Talks to discuss further cuts beyond that, when Kyoto expires, have only produced agreement to talk further. It sounds similar to the Senate these days. We can talk well, but doing things is difficult.
If Europe is, for all practical purposes, ignoring their Kyoto carbon commitments and there is no agreement to continue with carbon caps after Kyoto, how can we expect the creation of enough credits? In the alternative, if Europeans suddenly decide to rush and meet their commitments by buying up massive amounts of credits to meet their shortfalls, how will there be enough credits for a U.S. demand bigger than all of Europe combined? ...
I ask unanimous consent an article on that subject be printed in the RECORD at the conclusion of my remarks.
Mr. BOND. This means that not only more cheap foreign chemicals, but it means potentially more closed U.S. plants. We must also ask whether we want to add to our oil addiction a new chemical dependency on Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East.
Before we make any hasty decisions, I believe we must have answers to these questions, and we must answer these questions as we begin to debate further carbon cap proposals.
9 . ENERGY -- (Senate - February 16, 2006)
[From MEHRNEWS.com, Jan. 2, 2006]
Iran Striving to Rank First in Ethylene Production
Iran plans to be number one in producing ethylene in the world--reaching 12 million tons output within the next 10 years--by allocating 17.5 billion dollars in investment for development of petrochemical projects in the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010). ...
Out of the 25 projects under implementation, the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) have completed 17 and would finish the rest soon, said Hassan Sadat, manager of plans in the NPC.
NPC plans to have an output of 25.6 million tons capacity by March 2010 jumping up from 7.3 million tons in 1999, he added.
The investment in the sector is forecast to increase by 40 percent in the fourth plan.
Sadat said that the output of polymers would reach 10 million tons within the next 10 years. The production of chemical fertilizers, methanol, and aromatic materials would increase to 8 million tons each. NPC has estimated that the country earns some 20 billion dollars from export of petrochemicals only by the date.
At present, nearly 52,000 employees work in petrochemical sector that enjoys modern technologies such as ABS, PET--PAT, engineering polymers, isocyanides, DME, and acetic acid.
The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the motion to proceed to S. 2271, the USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006, shall be brought to a close? The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. The clerk will call the roll.
Roll Call Vote No. 22
Mr. TALENT. Mr. President, I have come to the Senate floor this afternoon to speak for a few minutes about a specific provision, a significant provision in the PATRIOT Act, the Combat Meth Act. This is the most comprehensive antimethamphetamine legislation ever to be introduced, much less passed, in the Senate. I am hopeful that it will be passed in the Senate, of course, in this legislation and be sent to the President's desk for his signature and then for implementation. ...
That is a piece that we need to work on, and I think we will work on it. We have had assurances from the relevant Committee chairs and ranking members that we can do that. We need to pass this bill now. I am grateful--and I know Senator Feinstein is as well--to the leaders in both parties for their bipartisan leadership and to the Judiciary Committee, Senator Specter and Senator Leahy, for allowing us to put this bill on the PATRIOT Act. We are grateful, also, to the Senate for its unanimous support of this bill over the last few months.
Mr. SUNUNU. Mr. President, I am pleased to be on the floor today and pleased to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel on PATRIOT reauthorization, thanks to the work of Senator Durbin and others. We have legislation before us that will make the adjustments to the PATRIOT Act reauthorization conference report mentioned by the Senator from Illinois. He specifically mentioned section 5 of our legislation. As he began to describe, section 5 is intended to clarify current law regarding the applicability of National Security Letters to libraries.
A National Security Letter is a type of administrative subpoena, a powerful tool available to law enforcement officials, to get access to documents. It is a document signed by an FBI agent that requires a business to provide certain kinds of personal records on their customers to the Government. These subpoenas are not approved by a judge before being issued.
What we did in this legislation is add clarifying language that states that libraries operating in their traditional functions: lending books, providing access to digital books or periodicals in digital format, and providing basic access to the Internet would not be subject to a national security letter. There is no National Security Letter statute existing in current law that permits the FBI explicitly to obtain library records. ...
Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Senator from New Hampshire. It is my understanding that most public libraries, as he explained, offer Internet access to the public. Because of this, they are concerned that the Government might consider them to be communications service providers similar to the traditional providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and AOL.
So if I understand it correctly, your bill clarifies that libraries, simply because they provide basic Internet access, are not communications service providers under the law and are not subject to national security letters as a result. I ask the Senator from New Hampshire, through the Chair, is that a correct conclusion?
Mr. SUNUNU. Mr. President, I absolutely believe that the conclusion of the Senator from Illinois is correct. A library providing basic Internet access would not be subject to a National Security Letter as a result of that particular service and other services that are very much in keeping with the traditional role of libraries. ...
Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Senator from New Hampshire, as well, because that clarification is important. So if a library offers basic Internet access, and within that access a patron can, for example, send and receive e-mail by accessing an Internet-based e-mail service such as Hotmail, for example, that does not mean the library is a communications service provider and, therefore, it does not mean that a library could be subject to these national security letters of investigation.
By way of comparison, a gas station that has a pay phone isn't a telephone company. So a library that has Internet access, where a person can find an Internet e-mail service, is not a communications service provider; therefore, it would not fall under the purview of the NSL provision in 18 U.S.C. 2709. It is a critically important distinction. I thank the Senator from New Hampshire for making that clear and for all of his good work on this bill.
Mr. KYL. We are all aware of this current controversy regarding the briefing of select members of the Intelligence Committee over a particular surveillance activity involving international communications with members of al-Qaida or people suspected of being with al-Qaida. The reason not every member of the Intelligence Committee is briefed is because of what we would call ``sources'' in this case. Methods of surveillance are so secret, so classified, that it has been determined that even some members of the Intelligence Committee should not be fully briefed on exactly how this methodology works.
So you can imagine when the FBI has sources of intelligence to protect or certain methods of intelligence gathering to protect, the last thing you want is for a judge to decide that those should simply be made public.
That is why this conclusive presumption is in the law, why it is so important, and why we cannot have this section amended to open that to public disclosure of that sensitive information. Yet this amendment numbered 2893 would allow every one of the 800 Federal district judges in the country, in fact, to be their own director of national intelligence and decide for themselves whether exposing classified information would inappropriately reveal the sources and methods I discussed, whether that might tip off terrorists to what we already know about them, and whether it would harm relations with our allies who, perhaps, have provided us with the information. Obviously, that cannot be allowed. ...
Now, let's imagine what this means. Here is a scenario:
Let's imagine that intelligence agents have discovered that suspected Al Qaida agent Mohammed Atta is in the United States and that he has hired another individual to work for him. Under the Patriot Act legislation being considered now, it will be easier for the federal government to subpoena records in order to make sure that Atta is paying that individual the minimum wage than it will be to obtain records to find out if Atta is using him to engage in international terrorism.
That is not right. I was going to say something else. I will just say that is not right. This is the existing law. This is before we would make it even more difficult with the amendment I discussed a minute ago.
Mr. LEVIN. ... when an individual wants to buy a firearm from a private citizen who is not a licensed gun dealer, there is no Federal requirement that the seller ensure that the purchaser is not in a prohibited category. This creates a loophole in the Federal law, providing prohibited purchasers, including convicted criminals, with potential easy access to dangerous firearms. Fortunately, some States, including the five with the lowest rates of gun deaths, have enacted laws to help close this loophole.
Congress should work to enact national gun safety standards, including mandatory background checks on all gun sales, to help reduce the high rate of gun deaths across the country. The States who have already enacted commonsense gun safety legislation have shown that their laws make a difference and we should follow their lead.
The following concurrent resolutions were read, and referred as indicated:
H. Con. Res. 300. A resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit deplorably infringed on parental rights in Fields v. Palmdale School District. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for Gulf tax credit bonds and advance refundings of certain tax-exempt bonds, and to provide a Federal guarantee of certain State bonds. A concurrent resolution paying tribute to Shirley Horn in recognition of her many achievements and contributions to the world of jazz and American culture; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
[That H. Con. Res. 300 sure covers diverse ground! Bizarre.]
H. Con. Res. 341. Concurrent resolution condemning the Government of Iran for violating its international nuclear nonproliferation obligations and expressing support for efforts to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
The following bills and joint resolutions were introduced, read the first and second times by unanimous consent, and referred as indicated: ...
By Mrs. FEINSTEIN:
S. 2298. A bill to facilitate remediation of perchlorate contamination in water sources in the State of California, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
By Mr. LOTT:
S. 2302. A bill to establish the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an independent agency, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
By Mr. WARNER:
S. 2310. A bill to repeal the requirement for 12 operational aircraft carriers within the Navy; to the Committee on Armed Services.
By Mr. OBAMA:
S. 2319. A bill to provide for the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
The following concurrent resolutions and Senate resolutions were read, and referred (or acted upon), as indicated:
By Mr. REID:
S. Res. 376. A resolution to authorize representation by the Senate Legal Counsel in the case of Keyter v. McCain, et al; considered and agreed to.
[See also S.Res 213]
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I'm pleased to introduce this bill today to help California drinking water providers address the growing problem of perchlorate contamination. ...
The bill provides: $50 million in grants for cleanup and remediation of perchlorate in water sources, including groundwater wells; and $8 million for research and development of new, cheaper, and more efficient perchlorate cleanup technologies.
The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that the Environmental Protection Agency should promulgate a national drinking water standard for perchlorate as soon as practicable.
The Defense Department and NASA use perchlorate in rocket fuel, missiles, and at least 300 types of munitions. ...
Today there is no Federal drinking water standard for perchlorate. In the absence of a Federal standard, States have acted independently to establish health-related guidance or regulatory limits for perchlorate in drinking water. ...
This Act may be cited as the ``California Perchlorate Contamination Remediation Act''.
(a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
(2) perchlorate, a naturally occurring and manmade compound with commercial and national defense applications, is used primarily in military munitions and rocket fuels, and also in fireworks, road flares, blasting agents, and automobile airbags;
(4)(B) [perchlorate has been detected in] many fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, wheat, tomato, cucumber, and cantaloupe, contain at least trace levels of perchlorate, as do wine, whiskey, soy milk, dairy milk, and human breast milk;
SA 2891. Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself and Mr. BINGAMAN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2271, to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table.
SA 2892. Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself and Mr. BINGAMAN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2271, supra; which was ordered to lie on the table.
SA 2893. Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself and Mr. BINGAMAN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2271, supra; which was ordered to lie on the table.
SA 2894. Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself and Mr. BINGAMAN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2271, supra; which was ordered to lie on the table.
SA 2895. Mr. FRIST proposed an amendment to the bill S. 2271, supra.
SA 2896. Mr. FRIST proposed an amendment to amendment SA 2895 proposed by Mr. FRIST to the bill S. 2271, supra.
SA 2897. Mr. LEAHY submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2271, supra; which was ordered to lie on the table.
SA 2895. Mr. FRIST proposed an amendment to the bill S. 2271 ... ; as follows:
At the end of the bill add the following: This Act shall become effective 1 day after enactment.
SA 2896. Mr. FRIST proposed an amendment SA 2895 proposed by Mr. Frist to the bill S. 2271 ... ; as follows:
Strike all after first word and insert: Act shall become effective immediately upon enactment.
Talking about the President's radio address of December 17, 2006. Says the President authorized wiretapping of US Citizens in order to protect the country, and that this action was fully within his duty under the US Constitution - using his inherent powers and the joint congressional resolution that authorized the use of force after September 11th.
"A huge swath, a huge swath of americans, legal minds, do NOT agree with the legal analysis"
... including many experts do not agree with the arguments transparently contrived ... served up like tripe in order to silence criticism, WH so infused with its own hubris ...
Really scathing language from Byrd.
This travesty must not stand. The peeping and snooping and spying must be investigated. He will submit legislation to form a commission to investigate (ala 9/11 commission) the activity.
Says that the President should ask Congress for the powers necessary to capture terrorists among us. "A little sunshine on this porcess is long overdue."
He's a man on a mission. See his NAY vote yesterday on cloture, to take up the USA PATRIOT Act for debate. "Unchecked executive, arrogantly acting ... tryanny" ... wants the text of the 4th amendment printed in the record following his remarks.
Boy..if FR SLOW today!!!
I heard Byrd's speech...calling for yet ANOTHER independent commission...to go along with the one that Hillary and Pelosi are calling for regarding Katrina...
Seems the DEMS PARTY PLATFORM on the issues is this: Keep President Bush busy answering to independent commissions and Congressional Hearings until election day in November...and then when the House is once again in DEMS hands...start IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS...
IOW...no war plan, economic plan, health care plan, social security play, medicare plan....don't need it, just run the Bush Administration out of town...and LIFE IS GOOD!!!
FR is slow; I thought it was just me even though we bumped up our DSL speed.
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