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Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Reid: Senate could come back after Christmas

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 2:50 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Tuesday that the Senate could come back after Christmas if it doesn't tackle all of its pending business before the upcoming winter break.

"There's still Congress after Christmas," Reid told reporters at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon following Senate Democrats' weekly caucus luncheon. "We're not through. Congress ends on January 4th."

Reid's statement came as both chambers of Congress are rushing to finish up a number of pressing agenda items before the end of the lame-duck session.

On the agenda for Tuesday, the Senate is expected to decide on final passage of the tax-cut deal negotiated between President Obama and congressional Republicans after Monday's test vote, with the action expected to come as early as this evening.

Then, House Democrats will gather Tuesday evening in a closed-door caucus meeting where members will probably further air their dissatisfaction over the tax-cut deal and attempt to move toward consensus on the package. House Democrats were in open rebellion over the package last week, with the Congressional Black Caucus the latest group to come out in opposition to the deal.

The House will also vote this week on a new bill that would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) introduced a bill Tuesday that mirrors one introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) last week in the Senate. A vote could come as early as Wednesday; that could force a vote in the Senate before the end of the lame-duck session. Reid signaled Tuesday that the Senate will move forward both on "don't ask, don't tell" and the DREAM Act before the session is out.

The Senate also has a number of other measures to consider before the week is out, including possible further action on the New START nuclear treaty, an omnibus spending bill and a continuing resolution that would keep the government running. Reid said on Tuesday that he expects there are enough votes in the Senate to pass START.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 14, 2010; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

The 111th Congress is like a house guest that won't leave.

Nothing mentioned in the article is so pressing that it cannot wait until the next session.

The START Treaty might have been a big deal if this were 1970 and we were in the middle of the Cold War.

The DREAM Act probably needs to be debated as part of a larger immigration reform bill.

Regardless of how you feel about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" it is not an urgent matter to pass it now.

The only thing that passes as business that should be done in the "lame duck" session is the extension of the current tax rates because businesses and individuals need to know what the tax rates will be in the future so they can make financial decisions. Even if it does not pass it will not be the end of the world if the next Congress decides the issue.

Maybe the elections should be held in September so that a new Congress can begin work in October and be settled by the end of the year. Thus any lame duck business could be kept to a minimum.

Posted by: danielhancock | December 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The 111th Congress is like a house guest that won't leave.

Nothing mentioned in the article is so pressing that it cannot wait until the next session.

The START Treaty might have been a big deal if this were 1970 and we were in the middle of the Cold War.

The DREAM Act probably needs to be debated as part of a larger immigration reform bill.

Regardless of how you feel about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" it is not an urgent matter to pass it now.

The only thing that passes as business that should be done in the "lame duck" session is the extension of the current tax rates because businesses and individuals need to know what the tax rates will be in the future so they can make financial decisions. Even if it does not pass it will not be the end of the world if the next Congress decides the issue.

Maybe the elections should be held in September so that a new Congress can begin work in October and be settled by the end of the year. Thus any lame duck business could be kept to a minimum.

Posted by: danielhancock | December 15, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

continuation (connection dropped) ---

What the “VOLT” is Actually All About-
The "chimera" (i.e. a fusion of two distinct species) architecture that is exemplified by the Chevrolet Volt (which is really just a prototype) COMBINES the idea of electric power together with the internal-combustion engine (ICE) running on gasoline (or whatever) IN A WAY THAT FUNDAMENTALLY "CHANGES THE GAME". In the VOLT, and also in its European counterpart (jovially dubbed the Ampere) along the same lines --- as well as in other such initiatives undoubtedly now underway in China, India, and Japan (!) --- a BATTERY carries the car for many miles (40, in the case of the Volt). Thereafter, when that battery runs down the ICE kicks in (seamlessly). But that motor does NOT power the car in the conventional manner to which people have become inured over the course of the last century! For it does NOT couple power to the drive wheels MECHANICALLY through the medium of a TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN. Rather, IT DRIVES AN ELECTRIC GENERATOR, which powers the same ELECTRIC drive motors that had been supplied by the battery until it ran down.

Now the thing is FULLY THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE USAGE BY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY "FITS" WITHIN A 40-MILE "ENERGY BUDGET"! You plug the car into the wall for four hours or so overnight (or whenever), and then go to work, the store, bank, post office, etc. in the morning and return home and plug it back in again --- THE GASOLINE ENGINE NEVER RUNS! Ergo --- you FLAT-OUT ELIMINATE FULLY THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL THOSE EXPENSIVE BAZILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIL that are imported to be refined into gasoline to brainlessly burn as a mere fuel to power personal automobiles!

Moreover, for HEAVY COMMERCIAL vehicles “we” have (take it from good-‘ol “T-Bone” Pickens!) HUGE reserves of natural gas and/or methane --- much of it left over as a byproduct of past oil and coal production --- to use as a "bridge" fuel until hydrogen technology eventually takes over. And yes, you DO INDEED also eliminate an awful lot of economic and industrial structure, process, jobs, etc. that have grown up in connection with the current outmoded technology. BUT WHAT IS ELIMINATED GETS REPLACED BY NEW (AND HOPEFULLY DOMESTIC!) ALTERNATIVES! (Recall, for example, the histories of demise of the whaling and buggy whip industries!)

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

continuation---

Removing EVEN JUST A SUBSTANTIAL FRACTION of the "bidding pressure" that drives / shores up the price of the world's inexorably-declining supplies of OIL would go a long way toward re-balancing "our" economy (and others) at MUCH LOWER LEVELS OF THE FRANTIC PURSUIT OF "WEALTH" --- MEETING THE REAL NEEDS OF REAL PEOPLE AT SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER COST. And that would also remove a corresponding fraction of the impetus to many folks to foolishly, expensively, and wastefully FIGHT over the stuff, SQUANDERING lives and other vital resources!

Consider: (according to former GM chieftains Rick Waggoner and Bob Lutz!) ONLY ABOUT $0.89 WORTH of “grid” electricity (at contemporary electric utility rates) "fills" the VOLT’S battery. (And if intermittent / variable energy provided by "home" solar- and/or wind- power generation were to be harnessed --- generally SUPPLEMENTED as needed by power drawn from the grid --- THAT COST COULD DROP NEARLY TO ZERO!)

It would not be difficult to devise a charging system that would target for a full battery by a pre-designated time of day, drawing on "free" power as much as possible and falling back to the grid only to the extent (if any) necessary to “make up the difference” by the specified target hour. (The battery does not “care” if it is fully or partly charged intermittently / variably from solar- and/or wind- power sources as long as it gets “filled up” on time! An "electric car" system could thus make good use of "free" power that is readily available but which is not steady enough for many other applications!)

But EVEN AT FULL (CONTEMPORARY) UTILITY RATES, EIGHT SUCH CHARGES, COSTING JUST $7.12, WOULD PROVIDE ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF MILES DRIVEN (320) AS DOES A TANK OF GASOLINE BURNED IN THE “CONVENTIONAL” MANNER THAT COSTS ABOUT FIVE(!) TIMES THAT MUCH --- and indeed vastly more than that, really, if an honest accounting were being done that would recognize and accurately gauge all the ancillary (e.g. all the military!) costs of “expropriating”, extracting, transporting, distributing, and “marketing” the underlying oil, and “security” costs of “defending against” “al-Qaeda”-type fanatics goaded by “our” hypocritical “incidental” imperialism to aspire to martyrdom!

For the record, by the way, THE OVERALL FUEL EFFICIENCY OF THE CHEVROLET VOLT, AS DUTIFULLY CALCULATED / STATISTICALLY ESTIMATED BY THE EPA, WORKS OUT TO BE ABOUT 230(!) MILES PER GALLON OF GASOLINE CONSUMED!!

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Nuts to Reid. Hey Harry, did you forget the results of the recent election where you leftists got shellacked. We don't want anymore of yours and Imam barry's leftist manifestos.
Trying to shove more left winged programs down our throats, is one of many reasons for you Marxists losing the election.

Posted by: nomobarry | December 15, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

continuation---

Removing EVEN JUST A SUBSTANTIAL FRACTION of the "bidding pressure" that drives / shores up the price of the world's inexorably-declining supplies of OIL would go a long way toward re-balancing "our" economy (and others) at MUCH LOWER LEVELS OF THE FRANTIC PURSUIT OF "WEALTH" --- MEETING THE REAL NEEDS OF REAL PEOPLE AT SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER COST. And that would also remove a corresponding fraction of the impetus to many folks to foolishly, expensively, and wastefully FIGHT over the stuff, SQUANDERING lives and other vital resources!

Consider: (according to former GM chieftains Rick Waggoner and Bob Lutz!) ONLY ABOUT $0.89 WORTH of “grid” electricity (at contemporary electric utility rates) "fills" the VOLT’S battery. (And if intermittent / variable energy provided by "home" solar- and/or wind- power generation were to be harnessed --- generally SUPPLEMENTED as needed by power drawn from the grid --- THAT COST COULD DROP NEARLY TO ZERO!)

It would not be difficult to devise a charging system that would target for a full battery by a pre-designated time of day, drawing on "free" power as much as possible and falling back to the grid only to the extent (if any) necessary to “make up the difference” by the specified target hour. (The battery does not “care” if it is fully or partly charged intermittently / variably from solar- and/or wind- power sources as long as it gets “filled up” on time! An "electric car" system could thus make good use of "free" power that is readily available but which is not steady enough for many other applications!)

But EVEN AT FULL (CONTEMPORARY) UTILITY RATES, EIGHT SUCH CHARGES, COSTING JUST $7.12, WOULD PROVIDE ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF MILES DRIVEN (320) AS DOES A TANK OF GASOLINE BURNED IN THE “CONVENTIONAL” MANNER THAT COSTS ABOUT FIVE(!) TIMES THAT MUCH --- and indeed vastly more than that, really, if an honest accounting were being done that would recognize and accurately gauge all the ancillary (e.g. all the military!) costs of “expropriating”, extracting, transporting, distributing, and “marketing” the underlying oil, and “security” costs of “defending against” “al-Qaeda”-type fanatics goaded by “our” hypocritical “incidental” imperialism to aspire to martyrdom!

For the record, by the way, THE OVERALL FUEL EFFICIENCY OF THE CHEVROLET VOLT, AS DUTIFULLY CALCULATED / STATISTICALLY ESTIMATED BY THE EPA, WORKS OUT TO BE ABOUT 230(!) MILES PER GALLON OF GASOLINE CONSUMED!!

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

continuation---

Moreover, such vehicles CAN OBVIOUSLY ULTIMATELY BE MANUFACTURED AT SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER COST than can those long constructed according to the "normal" architecture. The "ICE half" of the "chimera" can be BUILT MUCH MORE SIMPLY AND INEXPENSIVELY THAN POWER TRAINS OF THE “CONVENTIONAL” DESIGN --- for one SIMPLY DISPENSES WITH THE WHOLE COMPLEX, EXPENSIVE, TROUBLESOME TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN!

Furthermore, when it is running at all the ICE operates AT NEARLY CONSTANT SPEED (since all it does is to drive a generator --- it does NOT have to speed up and slow down all the time!). It is thus possible to optimize its performance over a much narrower operating-condition range --- WHICH HAS MAJOR IMPLICATIONS VIS-À-VIS FUEL EFFICIENCY, SIMPLIFICATION, LONGEVITY, LUBRICATION, ENGINE MONITORING AND POLLUTION CONTROL SYSTEMS, AND ALSO A COOLING SYSTEM (if any is needed at all --- with much of any waste heat being spread out, disbursed off among the at-least-somewhat-physically-separated generator and the electric drive motors located off at the wheels, AIR-COOLING of the ICE itself may well, in general, be sufficient).
---
I have to believe that if people would ACTUALLY BROADLY AND GENERALLY CATCH ON to the whole concept, they would be LOUDLY DEMANDING the sort of “Industry-Government Partnership” needed to SERIOUSLY PURSUE and ACTUALLY IMPLEMENT the coming “paradigm change”. Alternatively, if they DON’T rise to the occasion and face up to realities, then “we” can expect that THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL “PICK UP THE BALL AND RUN WITH IT” --- and what (little) remains of any “economic primacy” that “we” still enjoy WILL EVAPORATE (if indeed it has not done so already).

WAKE UP AND WISE UP, people. The FUTURE is at hand, and at stake!

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Reid is wrong. Congress ends at noon on January 3, per the 20th Amendment. I wish Congress ended on Election Day. What it is doing in this lame duck session, hastily drafting and passing non-urgent major legislation without committee hearings or significant debate, and with political accountability largely eliminated, is both damaging and undemocratic.

Posted by: result42 | December 15, 2010 3:31 AM | Report abuse

If this DREAM Act is approved there will be 2 million less American kids going to college over the next several years because the democrats want to give those slots to illegal aliens.

However we American citizens do get one thing out of it... the bill. Yup the democrats want the American taxpayer to subsidize their education while cheating our American kids.

The Nightmare Act has no cap, no end-date and no enforcement. It's simply a "mass ongoing amnesty". In the future any foreign family with a school age child can sneak in the country and enroll their child in school to obtain automatic citizenship.

Why do democrats hate American kids so much???

Posted by: hunter340 | December 15, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

it's a sad day when politicians are deciding how to carve the carcass...and Republicans are salivating at the prospect.
4 january can not come too soon...

Posted by: irvnx | December 14, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

It is a sad day in this country when our elected officials can't work together in the best interest of this country instead of all the bickering infighting and so forth that is going on. Do they not realize that the average american citizen doesn't care which party does the final actions when they need jobs and tax cuts not increases. We would be much better off limiting these officials to two terms in office and actually getting some new blood in washington, Reid, Pelosi, and Obama are spending us into oblivion.

Posted by: ren51 | December 14, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

"Angry"?

Why for just once can't these people simply do the people's business in a professional manner without all the drama? If we operated that way where I work, we would be out of business in a month.

Please, you politicians, stop this childish bickering and work through your differences like adults.

Posted by: bugbuster1 | December 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Angry"?

Why for just once can't these people simply do the people's business in a professional manner without all the drama? If we operated that way where I work, we would be out of business in a month.

Posted by: bugbuster1 | December 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The democrats had years to propose a fair and simple tax code, but chose to doing nothing. Now they shout platitudes like "tax the rich" as a solution to the problem they introduced (unsustainable deficits & the debt). No one is that keen to defend the rich but everyone can recognize a red herring when they see one. Also, consider the democrats willingness to raise everyone's taxes in a vindictive and onerous move to "tax the rich". They are really fighting hard for the "little people". It looks like they are willing to "compromise" by the republicans agreeing to let them attach as many pork and earmarks as they can legally (there's not much that congress does that is illegal -they write the law)get away with.
It might be worth mentioning that none of them are paid for so add to the debt.


Speaking of being unpaid for, Part II of the democrats plan, extend unemployment is a stunningly brilliant move to buy the backing of the unemployed (wouldn't you love them if you were desperate and out of work?).

It's amazing how smart the democrats are and how stupid the republicans are, not that it matters in either case. Neither of them give a s... about the welfare of the nation (oh...that means you).

Posted by: avatar666 | December 14, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The democrats had years to propose a fair and simple tax code, but chose to doing nothing. Now they shout platitudes like "tax the rich" as a solution to the problem they introduced (unsustainable deficits & the debt). No one is that keen to defend the rich but everyone can recognize a red herring when they see one. Also, consider the democrats willingness to raise everyone's taxes in a vindictive and onerous move to "tax the rich". They are really fighting hard for the "little people". It looks like they are willing to "compromise" by the republicans agreeing to let them attach as many pork and earmarks as they can legally (there's not much that congress does that is illegal -they write the law)get away with.
It might be worth mentioning that none of them are paid for so add to the debt.


Speaking of being unpaid for, Part II of the democrats plan, extend unemployment is a stunningly brilliant move to buy the backing of the unemployed (wouldn't you love them if you were desperate and out of work?).

It's amazing how smart the democrats are and how stupid the republicans are, not that it matters in either case. Neither of them give a s... about the welfare of the nation (oh...that means you).

Posted by: avatar666 | December 14, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be guidelines or rules that
Congress can't wait til the last minute to pass major bills like this.
Now they want the omnibus bill passed because its another "emergency" over 3,000
pgs. and this is UNACCEPTABLE, and includes
lots and losts of Earmarks.
Americans need to stand up and put a stop
to this nonsense.
This is downright unprofessional.

Posted by: ohioan | December 14, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Who care about Homosexuals in the military when we can't pay our bills! Our politicians play games and give stupid speaches while they wrecklessly spend us into oblivion. They are a sick bunch. Quit deficit spending!!! Both sides are a sick joke.

Posted by: RobMc1 | December 14, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If Obamma had the leadership (read bal#$) of GHW Bush, he would up and say "READ MY LIPS-NO NEW TAXES" then order the Repug tax reductions for the rich to be abolished.

Posted by: yard80197 | December 14, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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