Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 1, 2010

SENATE GOP UNDERCUTS BP PROBE.... Most reasonable people can probably agree that there are some pretty stark ideological divisions in the House of Representatives. With that in mind, when a measure passes the chamber 420 to 1, it stands to reason that it's a no-brainer.

Or at least, it should be. Last week, the House overwhelmingly approved giving subpoena power to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The panel was created by the White House to investigate the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, and needs subpoena power to get answers from private industries and government agencies.

Given the 420 to 1 vote, Senate Democrats sought unanimous consent yesterday to resolve the issue and let the commission do its job. It's an easy one, right? Wrong. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) refused, objecting on behalf of others in the Republican conference that he would not name.

"I have to conclude by the objections that there are colleagues on the other side that either don't want to get to the bottom of this -- or are standing on the side of the oil companies and not of the victims and their families," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told reporters.

I've long since run out of adjectives to describe these folks. The commission can't get answers without subpoena power, and Congress has routinely extended subpoena power to related commissions -- including panels investigating the JFK assassination, the Three Mile Island disaster, and the 9/11 attacks. And yet, Senate Republicans yesterday blocked the authority for the BP commission, and wouldn't say why.

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

Wrong. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) refused, objecting on behalf of others in the Republican conference that he would not name.

God damn it, hold them accountable. Who are these cowards? The press should demand that DeMint name them.

Posted by: kc on July 1, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Way past time the Donkeys brought out the cots and brought this and climate change and unemployment benefits extension and immigration reform etc up over and over and over and over.......

Posted by: Chopin on July 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Oh you Libs.

We here in the real America are just waiting until November and then January. Just a matter of time until we take this country back.

You are going to *wish* Obama and Biden had resigned on January 21,2009.

Posted by: Patrick from Anoka on July 1, 2010 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Gawds, I loathe the repugnants. Every time I think they have reached the nadir, they seem to out-do their previous efforts.

Posted by: Michael W on July 1, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

And yet, Senate Republicans yesterday blocked the authority for het BP commission, and wouldn't say why

What kind of fucking banana republic are we living in that they can GET AWAY WITH THIS SHIT? An unknown number of anonymous politicians blocking the will of the majority? What the HELL?

Posted by: kc on July 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand. What was the vote in the Senate? Do they need unanimous consent to establish a commission? Where is the outrage?

Posted by: st john on July 1, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

is het the new teh?

Posted by: agave on July 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with sharron angle: arm the citizenry and take our country back. Start with the Senate!

Posted by: st john on July 1, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Another good reason to reform the Senate. This
totally anti democratic nonsense of being able to
stiff some piece of NECESSARY work by being
anyonymous is disgusting. The Senate has got to
change.

Posted by: Jim Merriman on July 1, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Simple. Get a reporter in front of him and ask how much he was paid by the oil lobby to block the request.

Posted by: rbe1 on July 1, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

And yet... we keep hearing that come November, Mitch "the Chin" McConnell and John "Man-Tan" Boehner will be put back in charge. I can only conclude:

1) Americans really DO want oil companies and the banking industry to continue their abusive practices and rake in billions and billions of dollars at the expense of the average working person.

2) Americans are dumb as bricks.

3) All of the above.

Posted by: June on July 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Change the rules.

Posted by: Ken D. on July 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand. What was the vote in the Senate? Do they need unanimous consent to establish a commission? Where is the outrage?

Most of the routine business of any legislative body is done by unanimous consent, or the local equivalent thereof. The alternative is to frame whatever you want to do as a motion, and then it's subject to debate, amendment, referral to a committee -- the whole parliamentary nine yards.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "I've long since run out of adjectives to describe these folks."

I'll help you out with that: the Senate Republicans are bought-and-paid-for corporate stooges.

Unfortunately, so are too many of the Senate Democrats, who prefer to hide behind the Republicans' empty filibuster threats and maneuvers like this, and grovel before the Republicans begging for "bipartisanship", rather than forcing the Republicans to actually filibuster every single bill in real time on live TV, day after day and night after night, in front of the American people.

If the Democratic leadership had the will to do that, the Republicans' "party discipline" would crumble inside of a week.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think @June has the right of it.

Posted by: Winkandanod on July 1, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I've decided real Americans are dumb as bricks and they send the same to represent them.

Posted by: CDW on July 1, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

The reason for blockage is obvious, they don't want Bush/Cheney to possibly be implicated somehow.

Posted by: flyonthewall on July 1, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Blocking supoena power for the oil spill investigation, knocking the blocks out from under unemployed, referring to the near depression as an ant, apologizing to BP, working aginst banking reforms and obstructing every legislative attempt both big and small seems like a funny way for the Republicans to win votes come November, but that's just me.

Posted by: sparrow on July 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Unnamed agents of BP? Great ammo for the fall, if the Dems have the guts to shoot and the ability to hit the side of a barn.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic leadership had the will to do that, the Republicans' "party discipline" would crumble inside of a week.
Posted by: SecularAnimist

Would that you were right. You are dreaming in technicolour. There are 40 republicans willing to sustain any filibuster.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on July 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

I have a pragmatic suggestion for Reid and the Dem leadership. Figure out which bills are essential to pass this year and finish them NOW. Make deals and take what you can get.

I understand that bringing out the cots and challenging GOP filibusters grinds out time for the senate to do anything else, so finish the essential legislation and then call the GOP on their delays and procedural shenanigans. Their strategy only works because nothing else can get done, and there's a lot of important stuff to do. So get it done and then play for the cameras with the cots and all-nighters. The time for legislating is about over, the time for payback has begun.

Posted by: danimal on July 1, 2010 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

They can't just bring out the cots to fight a filibuster. The rules don't allow that.

Posted by: theAmericanist on July 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I've long since run out of adjectives to describe these folks.

Ah, but that's not the point. The point is to find a couple of adjectives that stick and use them over and over and over again. Like you do with the former half-term gov of Alaska. And like Republicans do with everything.

I recommend "oily."

Posted by: chrenson on July 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Obama told America that if we can win WWII and put a man on the moon, we can plug this leak and solve our dependency on fossil fuels.

But there's a missing piece: the soldiers in WWII had the Pentagon and Neil Armstrong had NASA. What's the man on the street supposed to do to solve the fossil fuel problem? Is it time for an organized, funded effort? One that will prevent crises like the spill from happening while figuring out a way to get off of fossil fuel?

The following link is to a satirical video, but it underscores this issue in real terms.

Link: You're Soaking In It

Posted by: bondwooley on July 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Which Senate Republicans? Obviously, the ones who are likely to get subpoenas.

Posted by: T-Rex on July 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

So why isn't the 'liberal media' camped out on Jim Demiont's doorstep demanding an explanation. What could possibly be the justification for such blatant move in favor of BP? Why isn't the press all over this?

Posted by: Vandal on July 1, 2010 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Johnny Canuck wrote: "There are 40 republicans willing to sustain any filibuster."

Great. Let's make them do it then. Day after day, night after night, on live TV for all America to see.

Let Americans turn on the evening news and instead of hearing an obtuse statement that "the Senate failed to pass ..." they will hear "the Republican filibuster of extended unemployment benefits continues for the 15th day in a row, with all other Senate business having come to a halt as a result", and then they can turn to CSPAN and watch one bleary-eyed, red-faced Republican after another taking the podium to ooze contempt for the American people.

Do that now, and after November, there won't be 40 Republicans willing to sustain any filibuster any more.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 1, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

If they start issuing subpoenas for why BO Co. looked the other way on safety violations long before the spill wake me up.

If they start issuing subpoenas for why BO Co. has skimmer barges sitting idle in LA while the Coast guard verifies with the manufacturer exactly how many life jackets it recommends, as the state official in charge revealed on Nightline a week ago, get me a cup of coffee.

In other words - when we start seeing subpoenas to investigate how a president cold possibly screw up something more than Bush did Katrina, I'll get excited.

Until then, I would say the investigation will have as much impact on avoiding future catastrophes as BO's incessant golf playing has mitigated the current one.

Posted by: jacklordGOD on July 2, 2010 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

It makes me very curious what Senate Republicans have to hide this much?

Posted by: Mark on July 7, 2010 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Read the news people. Jim DeMint tried to block this but his party put the pressure on him and it has passed. I dislike it when facts are tainted by those with an agenda to hate. What a smeaar campaign by the left. Read the Washington Post or other real outlets instead of some youtube video to get your story. For Heaven's sake, try to be fair when listing

Posted by: tommy330 on August 5, 2010 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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