Saturday, July 21, 2007

RE: Senate votes on Libby, then erases record

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From: § Lori §
Date: Jul 21, 2007 5:05 PM

From: Aloha Robert
Date: Jul 21, 2007 4:01 PM

RE: Senate votes on Libby, then erases record
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From: truth09
Date: Jul 21, 2007 1:59 PM

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From: soothe
Date: July 21, 2007 1:40 PM
Body: WASHINGTON (AP) — A brawl over presidential pardons punctured the normally courtly ambiance of the Senate on Thursday night, but Republicans and Democrats agreed to bury the hatchet and erase the evidence before the sun rose Friday.
In the heat of a partisan spat, Democrats forced a vote on a non-binding measure to instruct President Bush not to pardon former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. But there's no record of the 47-49 vote in the daily record of congressional proceedings — or anywhere else.

That's because senators agreed less than an hour later to undo their vote and pretend it had never happened.

It was a short detour from consideration of a popular bill to boost aid to college students. But it was a vivid example of frayed nerves in a chamber increasingly riven by partisan stalemate, on vivid display this week during the all-night Iraq debate.

The debate took a dubious turn just after dinnertime, when Republicans brought up a number of unrelated amendments that Democrats decried as politically motivated.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Democrats | Senate | Republicans | Bill Clinton | Capitol | Libby
They included a measure by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., approved 94-3, putting the Senate on record against transferring terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to "facilities in American communities and neighborhoods." That was a direct dig at Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who has proposed shifting the detainees to U.S. prisons and shutting down Guantanamo.

An unsuccessful amendment by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., would have barred the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine to require broadcasters to balance conservative and liberal content. Another failed measure by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., sought to require secret ballot elections for the formation of unions, instead of making it optional — a direct challenge to organized labor, a strong source of Democratic political support.

Democrats retaliated with their own partisan salvo, the Libby pardon resolution.

"Regrettably, if you are going to shoot this way, we have to shoot that way," Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said as he brought up the "sense of the Senate" measure.

What followed was a scene more commonly witnessed in the more raucous House on the other side of the Capitol. As senators hooted and brayed amid calls of "Regular order!", Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. pointedly noted that it's against Senate rules to call an amendment politically motivated.

After Salazar's amendment failed, Republicans took their turn, offering a non-binding resolution deploring the actions of Bill Clinton for issuing pardons to the likes of his half brother Roger, and clemency for members of a Puerto Rican nationalist group blamed for bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.

"If the Senate has decided to go into debating the appropriateness of future pardons, there is plenty of material to go around on past pardons," said McConnell.

Before that could happen, though, the two leaders cut a deal to defuse the tension. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his side would take back their Libby amendment — including zapping the vote from the record — if McConnell took back his Clinton swipe.

With that, the Senate got back to business and completed the education bill in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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