Nuclear War

NUCLEAR WAR….Here’s an interesting thing. Democrats have been threatening to “bring the Senate to a halt” if Republicans go ahead with plans to eliminate the filibuster, but today the Senate Dems announced a plan to do just the opposite. Via email, Harry Reid’s office announced this afternoon that “As a matter of comity, the Minority in the Senate traditionally defer to the Majority in the setting of the agenda. If Bill Frist pulls the nuclear trigger, Democrats will show deference no longer.”

In other words, they’re going to introduce some bills and demand votes on them. Here are the nine bills they have in mind:

  1. Women’s Health Care (S. 844). The Prevention First Act of 2005 will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

  2. Veterans’ Benefits (S. 845). The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005 will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

  3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

  4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

  5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

  6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

  7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

  8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

  9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families

Details are missing, of course, and the point isn’t really to get any of these passed anyway. It’s to gum up the works and force Republicans to vote against popular measures.

Still, it’s not a bad list. The only clunker is #4 ? the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is there for emergencies, not for intervening in the market whenever gasoline hits two bucks a gallon. But #1, 2, 3, 6, and 8 all sound good, and #5, 7, and 9 might be decent too depending on what’s inside. It would have been nice to see something on the list that gives unions a fairer shot at organizing new industries, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Anyway, I just thought I’d pass this along. If you want to know what Senate Democrats are doing to fight back against the nuclear option, this is it.