Tag Archives: option

On Alexander, Corker Splitting Votes and Cutting a Deal in the U.S. Senate

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker split their votes on confirming President Obama’s nominee to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which came after a deal averted a threats Democratic threats to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” reports Nooga.com. Alexander voted against confirmation of Richard Cordray; Corker for.
The move came after threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to espouse “the nuclear option,” a procedural tactic that would have allowed the number of votes needed to confirm presidential appointees to be 51 instead of the traditional 60-vote threshold.
Reid cited repeated filibusters by Republican senators as his reason for considering the tactic, drawing criticism from Alexander and others. Elements of Tuesday’s compromise were hashed out Monday night in a closed-door meeting of senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber.
As part of their deal, two new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board will be chosen as replacements for appointees picked by Obama during a recess in 2011. Votes will also be scheduled for Department of Labor and Environmental Protection Agency nominees.

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has a report quoting “two senior Senate aids” (anonymous) as declaring Alexander was making threats himself behind the scenes during the deal-cutting talks.
Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, threatened Reid with an even bigger nuke than Reid famously threatened: a promise to retaliate by opposing every so-called ‘unanimous consent’ resolution that comes to the Senate floor.
‘Senator Alexander told Senator Reid that if he did what he thought he was going to do, the wrath of God was coming, and he was going to deliver it personally.’
Both aides confirmed that the Republicans’ leader in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, approved of the plan. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Alexander’s office did not respond to a request for an official comment.
….Sen. Alexander had already offered a series of different threats on the Senate floor on June 18, telling Democrats that if they changed the debate rules, he would prepare 10 pieces of legislation and pass them quickly the next time Republicans were in the majority.
New York Times political prognosticator Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the outcome of every state’s electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election, said Monday that Republicans were poised to hold either 50 or 51 Senate seats after the 2014 midterm election.
Alexander’s June 18 threats included the repeal of Obamacare, a voucher program for public education, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, completing the Keystone XL pipeline, a national ‘right to work’ law and finishing the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
That project is in Reid’s home state of Nevada, and he’s blocked it since 2010.
‘I think Lamar Alexander is a serous player,’ the second staffer said. ‘He’s got game, and Harry Reid blinked.’

Bill Provides an Option to ‘Guns in Parking Lots’

The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that gives some legal cover to gun-carry permit holders who get caught with a firearm on posted property, reports WPLN.
It’s not a “get out of jail free” card, but it gives an out-of-bounds gun carrier a legal excuse.
Representative Jeremy Faison, a Republican from Cosby, says his bill is supposed to cover inadvertent slip-ups – you can say you didn’t see the sign saying “No Guns Allowed.” Even at a university.
“You brought up the University of Tennessee. This is not saying it’s OK to have a gun there. It’s saying, you have a defense, should you have had a gun.”
Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner of Nashville later called the measure a dangerous bill.
“You know, you could actually carry a gun here, to the legislature, and if it was discovered on you, you’d just say, ‘I forgot I had it in my pocket,’ and they really… They gave ’em an out, there.”
The Senate companion piece is still in Senate Judiciary Committee, but it could move out to the Senate floor easily — the bill’s Senate sponsor, Mae Beavers, chairs the Judiciary Committee.
The bill (HB3499) took on additional importance later Thursday morning, when Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey told a business group that a “guns in parking lots” bill won’t pass this year. Property owners had fought that measure, which would have forced them to let employees keep their firearms in a locked car on the employer’s parking lot.
The bill passed the House 67-22-1 with an amendment (pdf) that rewrites it. The new version says a handgun carry permit holder has an “affirmative defense” to being charged with “carrying a firearm for the purpose of going armed.”
…The sponsor, Faison, explains what the bill is intended to do:
“First of all, if you’re a licensed permit holder, and you have a gun, and you were not supposed to have it in a place, that was posted – you didn’t see the posting — and for whatever reason it was found that you had a gun. And no nefarious things were happening, you hadn’t broke the law any other way, but you happened to have a gun there. We’re just saying that you have a defense, an affirmative defense, in the state of Tennessee.”