Late Update:Cloture was invoked on the stimulus bill, 61 to 36 late Monday.
Senate to Vote on the Stimulus Bill Tuesday
After the Senate cut $100 billion out of the stimulus bill, three Republican senators,
Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) agreed to vote for
cloture so the bill could come to a vote, probably tomorrow. If you want to know what specific items were
changed in the bill to make it palatable to the three Republicans, here is the
The cloture vote will take place late today. If cloture is invoked, the vote on the bill will come up tomorrow.
If it passes, which everyone expects, it will go to a Senate-House conference to come up with
a compromise between the Senate and House bills.
However, Senate and House aides are
on a compromise. The procedure is to first determine the size of the final bill, probably by taking the average
of the Senate and House versions. Then the haggling over which specific items are included can begin.
This is where it matters which senators and representatives are on the conference committee.
For example, is it more important to make federal buildings energy efficient or to stabilize declining
neighborhoods? The conferees get to decide.
Sen. Bonnie Newman (R?-NH)
Stuart Rothenberg reports
that senator-designate Bonnie Newman, who will replace Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) when he is
confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, calls herself a "reasonable Republican."
She has never stated what she thinks of senators like Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), but
one can speculate. Given her background, she may not be a reliable GOP vote on cloture
motions, but is more likely to team up with the other two women from New England, Olympia
Snowe and Susan Collins, to form a three-woman block that may determine the balance of power in the
Senate. Furthermore, she has announced that she is not running in 2010, which means
(1) there will be an open seat then and (2) she will be free to vote her conscience
during her two-year stint in the Senate, the voters be damned.
Minnesota Election Contest Drones on
The Minnesota election contest between Al Franken (D) and Norm Coleman (R) just keeps
going on and on.
Each candidate wants to introduce hundreds of bits of evidence and scores of witnesses.
It is possible that Coleman's strategy is to wear the judges down and hope they throw
up their hands and call for a new election, like in New Hampshire in 1974. No resolution is expected soon.
Long-term Partisan Shifts Analyzed
Paul Rosenberg has written an analytic
looking at the long-term partisan shift in the electorate since 1993.
In short, the Democrats have unambiguously gained ground everywhere except the South.
In the Great Plains, it depends on precisely how you measure it (e.g., weighted by
population like the House or unweighted like the Senate), but either way the change
there has been small. In New England, the Middle Atlantic states, and the Pacific
Coast states, the gains have been very large. The Republicans' biggest gains have
come in the West South Central region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana).
On the whole, these changes favor the Democrats because it puts many states on the
East Coast (e.g., Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida), the Midwest (e.g., Ohio),
and the Mountain West (e.g., Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada) in play, whereas
a reddening of states like Texas and Oklahoma don't change how their electoral votes
are likely to go (to the Republicans).
Discussion of New PVIs
As long-time readers know, Charlie Cook's Partisan Voting Index measures how
much more Democratic or Republican a district is than the country as a whole based
on the past two presidential elections.
It is widely cited to predict how House districts will vote in presidential and congressional
elections. While Cook has not recomputed his index yet, other folks are already hard at work
on it. Here is the
for 11 states.
The new PVI's will make some districts more Republican than they were.
Imagine, for example, a district that went for John Kerry in 2004 with 51% of the vote.
Since this is 3% more than Kerry got nationally, its 2004 PVI would be D+3. Now imagine it voted
for Barack Obama in 2008, also with 51% of the vote. Because Obama got 53% nationally, this
district is suddenly R+2 since it is less Democratic than the country as a whole.
When publishing the PVIs, Cook averages the two previous elections, in this case, 2004 and 2008,
to get the final PVI.
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