Partisan rhetoric is approaching new lows in both chambers of Congress this week. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, gives us the latest on Capitol Hill.
Obama Throws Down Gauntlet
The President seems to be cranking up the partisan rhetoric lately. He called out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by name in his speech this week -- a little bit of a violation of the niceties and protocol in Washington. He then made it clear that he was expecting to run a campaign for reelection against a do-nothing Congress next year.
Despite that, there could be some sort of compromise on the jobs bill. There's some talk that some parts of the jobs bill may yet make it into the recommendations of the super-committee. There will be a test vote in the Senate on Tuesday, where both sides have agreed that Tuesday evening they will vote on whether there will be support for the jobs bill combined with the new Democratic way to pay for it with the 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires.
It doesn't look like many or any Republicans will vote for it, and that will show that it can't advance in the Senate.
Pulling punches in the Senate
As part of the bill to reprimand the Chinese for manipulating their currency, there seemed to be an arrangement to use the bill as a parliamentary vehicle for taking some test votes on some other things. For reasons that are a little unclear, Senate majority leader Harry Reid lost his temper about the whole procedure. Ultimately, he used a complex procedural maneuver to close off the Republicans' ability to offer amendments at certain times.
It's a rarely used move that Reid used that hasn't succeeded since World War II. Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans responded in outrage. They said this was akin to the fabled "nuclear option" discussion of a few years ago. It uses a simple majority vote to cut off the rights of the minority.
There's no idea what the Republicans are going to do next.
"We always talk about new lows in partisanship, but this seems to have cranked it down another notch," says Hawkings.