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FMAP vote delayed until Wednesday

The U.S. Senate was poised to give Washington and other states a hint today at whether they should keep counting on extra Medicaid money. That could have signaled whether Gov. Chris Gregoire would be calling a special session to handle an expected budget shortfall.

But the vote on a special amendment on Federal Medical Assistance Percentages was delayed until at least Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was going to sponsor the amendment and speak on it Monday afternoon, but Majority Leader Harry Reid bumped it back two days on the calendar. A spokesman for Murray said they are double checking figures that explain how the money will be paid for without adding to the deficit, which Republicans are demanding. They’ll also be using the time  to try to round up  more votes.

Even if the amendment gets introduced, gets killed by a filibuster or doesn’t pass the Senate, that may be the last shot the Senate will take before going on its August recess. Gregoire will have to decide — special session or across the board cuts.

If it survives any attempt to filibuster it to death and passes the Senate, there’s another small problem: The House of Representatives is on recess until September. They could be called back for a vote, but then again, they’re pretty busy doing the things reps do when not in the other Washington…like running for re-election.

Washington needs the FMAP to fill in a projected budget gap and provide an ending fund balance to move into the 2011-12 biennium. Gregoire said she hoped to decide this week about a special session.

Kagan Confirmation Hearings Begin

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., swears in  Supreme  Court nominee Elena  Kagan on Capitol Hill in Washington today during her confirmation hearings before the committee. (AP Photo/WinMcNamee, Pool)

U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, 92, RIP

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., is pictured with American bald eagle “Challenger” on Capitol Hill in Washington, during the announcement of a resolution for American Eagle Day, which would celebrate the recovery and restoration of the American bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States. Byrd, a fiery orator versed in the classics and a hard-charging power broker who steered billions of federal dollars to the state of his Depression-era upbringing, died today. He was 92. (2007 AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Question: Should there be a mandatory retirement age for U.S. congressmen?

Olson confirmed as U.S. attorney for Idaho

The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed Wendy J. Olson as the next U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Winmill will swear in Olson on Friday. Olson had been working as an assistant under U.S. Attorney Thomas Moss, who held the position since 2001.

Olson joined the office in March 1997 and tried numerous cases, including the capital murder case involving Joseph Duncan, who killed three members of the Groene family in 2005 in order to kidnap and molest the family’s two youngest children; only one, 8-year-old Shasta, survived. A jury sentenced Duncan to death in August 2008.

Olson earned her undergraduate degree from Drake University in 1986 and law degree from Stanford Law School in 1990. From 1992 to 1997, Olson worked for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. As Betsy Russell explains at Eye on Boise, Olson was confirmed quickly compared to other U.S. attorneys.

IDem Senate Hopeful Owes IRS $500K

How can Tom Sullivan handle the taxpayers’ money when he can’t handle his own? The Tetonia businessman, who won the Democratic primary election on May 25 and will challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo in the fall, owes the Internal Revenue Service and the Idaho Tax Commission hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. “I have this hanging over me, but there are an awful lot of people in Idaho that have this hanging over them,” Sullivan told the Idaho Statesman. “I’ve lived it. I understand it. I’ve climbed out of it. I’ll do it again. And I’m going to help Idaho do it, too.“ We don’t find his logic persuasive. Sullivan owes the IRS between $470,000 and $525,000 and the Idaho Tax Commission between $215,000 and $220,000. He was recruited by the Idaho Democratic Party to challenge Crapo, but he didn’t disclose his debt until just before the primary/Twin Falls Times-News Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Who’s more to blame for the embarrassing situation that Demo U.S. Senate candidate Tom Sullivan is in — Sullivan, for not disclosing his financial problems? Or state Democrats for not vetting him thoroughly before recruiting him to run against incumbent Mike Crapo?

Ted Kennedy dead at 77…

Good morning, Netizens…

As many of you already know, Senator Ted Kennedy died last night, succumbing to brain cancer at age 77.

The news wires and TV news shows are filled this morning with great quotations about Kennedy, his life and political history. In my opinion, one of the most-meaningful eulogies thus far as been from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who issued a statement that said in part, “…..The liberal lion’s mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die.”

I remember when Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 and, according to nearly every source I’ve checked, has served longer in the Senate than only two others.

Despite being ravaged by cancer, however, he has remained a vital force in American politics since he announced publicly in May 2008 he had a cancerous brain tumor.

If, in the course of American politics, there is a lintel post, a door post through which the truly great American Political figures must pass in order to step aside from leadership, leaving their gifts of insight and wisdom for history to respectfully consider, Ted Kennedy had reached that point in his life.

Then, as he transcended life, he turns, and with that inimitable Bostonian twang that was undeniably his trademark, he quotes himself when speaking of President Barak Obama, and says, “The world is changing. The old ways will not do. … It is time for a new generation of leadership.”

One of the most-endurable, vociferous and omnipresent voices of the Liberal mindset has left life. It is time for a new generation of leadership to assume the reins of authority which Kennedy was both its architect and proponent. Rest in Peace.


HBO @ Noon: New York Senate Seat

 The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, stands beside Caroline Kennedy as they field questions, during a press conference outside the famed soul food restaurant Sylvia’s in Harlem, New York, Thursday.  The late President John F. Kennedy’s daughter acknowledged Wednesday she’s seeking to be appointed to the Senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be secretary of state. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Question: Would you like to see Carolyn Kennedy be appointed to take Hillary Clinton’s spot in the U.S. Senate.