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Susan Collins
  • 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Shot Down in Senate

    I'll tell ya, it'd be a real bummer if the Democrats lost control of the Senate in November. Because then they'd lose the ability to almost pass important legislation. And that would take a lot of the sting out of crushing defeat…

    Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said on Tuesday from the floor of the Senate that she would oppose efforts to advance debate of the defense spending bill, likely dashing hopes of those who want to overturn the military's "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy this year…

    Ms. Collins, who backs repeal of the policy, said she would nonetheless vote against moving forward with debate because of a dispute with the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, over whether Republicans would be allowed to offer amendments to the bill…

    If the Democrats can’t muster 60 votes to cut off debate, the delay on "don’t ask, don’t tell" would be a blow to gay activists [Ed note: No comment], members of a key White House constituency who fear that next year's Congress will be less sympathetic to a repeal of the 17-year-old ban.

    This isn't really all that surprising, though. This is some pretty unpopular legislation. I mean, nearly one-in-four people are opposed to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

    Tags: DADT, Harry Reid, Military, Senate, Susan Collins
  • Unemployment Extension Fails in Senate Yet Again

    It seems that when Robert Byrd left Capitol Hill for a better place*, he took with him his party's hopes of passing wasteful legislation that would have helped unemployed Americans feed their families

    The Senate rejected Wednesday — for the fourth time — a bill that would have reauthorized extended benefits for the long-term unemployed, by a vote of 58 to 38. Democrats will not make another effort to break the Republican filibuster before adjourning for the July 4 recess…

    Only two Republicans, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, crossed the aisle to support the measure. That gave Democrats 59 of the 60 votes they needed to break the GOP filibuster, but without the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson's nay vote was enough to kill the bill.

    38 senators voted against this? Don't you just hate senators who vote against unpopular bills, solely to get votes in November? If you can you think of a better way to curry favor with voters than striking down legislation that would allow people to eat, I'd like to hear it.


    * Even if you reject the idea of Heaven and believe that Sen. Byrd's "better place" is nothing more than a cold, dark, worm-infested hole in the ground, this is still meets the criteria.

    Tags: 4th of July, Ben Nelson, Olympia Snowe, Robert Byrd, Senate, Susan Collins, Unemployment
  • U.S. Senate Votes 60 to 40 in Favor of Doing Something

    Breaking from its 16-month strategy of (with incredibly few exceptions) not doing stuff, fighting about shit and accomplishing fuck-all, the United States Senate today voted to get something done

    The Senate voted Thursday afternoon to end its three-week debate on a bill to rewrite the nation's financial regulations, paving the way for a final vote on the landmark legislation.

    The 60-to-40 vote — the minimum required to end debate — succeeded, though two discontented Democrats broke party ranks for the second day in a row. The measure squeaked by with the help of three Republicans: Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, whose concerns Obama administration officials worked to assuage in the lead-up to Thursday's vote.

    "It's been hard to get to this point," Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor, adding, "but I think it's been a good debate."

    This all, of course, means that…

    Under Senate rules, debate on the legislation is now limited to 30 additional hours[.]

    And this is a job that people spend their lives fighting for.

    Tags: Financial Reform, Harry Reid, Money, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Senate, Susan Collins
  • The Massive Goldman Sachs Senate Hearing, Recapped (Caution: PG-13)

    Carl Levin (D-MI): We are gathered here today because you are the worst people on earth, and also because a little grandstanding never hurts going in to a midterm election. I will begin. You are the worst people on earth.

    Susan Collins (R-ME): There is an R after my name, so even though I agree with Carl, I will use gentler words like "unseemly" and "unsettling." You boys are cads.

    Claire McCaskill (D-MO): If it's all right with everyone, I'd like to make the first of many gambling analogies. John Ensign specifically asked us to do a lot of those, I'm not sure why.

    Fabrice "Fab Fab" Tourre, former VP, Goldman: My lawyers have instructed me to be as bland and evasive as possible. I will say that this week has been a a real bummer.

    Carl Levin: Now I'm going to read some emails aloud. You sold clients securities that you were shorting. How did you guys get comfortable with the source of these securities? How did you guys get comfortable-

    Daniel Sparks, former head of mortgages, Goldman: I don't- we don't-

    Carl Levin: How did you guys get comfortable with that?

    Daniel Sparks: I'm not sure what you're-

    Carl Levin: Yes you are, you're just being bland and evasive. Never mind, I have a new phrase I want to repeat. "Crap pools." This was in a Goldman email. Crap pools. Crap pools? Crap pools! Do you recollect that?

    Daniel Sparks: Um, I- what page is that- hmm. So much paper. I can't find it.

    Carl Levin: Moving right along. "Shitty deal." That's from another email. I can cuss all I want, on TV, this is great. Shitty deal. Shitty deal.

    Susan Collins: I want to ask a lofty ethical-sounding question that has zero relevance in the context of how Wall Street actually works. Do you have a duty to act in the best interests of your clients? I want to know so I can help defeat regulatory reform that might impose such a duty.

    Daniel Sparks: We, uh, we want to do well.

    Joshua Birnbaum, former MD, structured products, Goldman: I'll be the guy who says yes, we do.

    Fab Fab: We're a market-maker. We provide liquidity. I can say other finance words too.

    Susan Collins: I am going to ask you a lengthy but specific question, Fab. All you need to do is answer it.

    Fab Fab: Okay. You mentioned an email? Which email is that? I don't have that in front of me.

    Susan Collins: This is from your email on the 26th, at the bottom of the page.

    Fab Fab: Oh, I- no, I do have it. Can you repeat your lengthy but specific question? Slowly, this time. Maybe pause for a minute or two between each sentence.

    Susan Collins: You little fucker.

    Carl Levin: Fucker! Fucker! Fucker!

    Claire McCaskill: Shitty deal! Shitty deal! Sorry, mom.

    Tom Coburn (R-OK): Just sticking my head in to say I think y'all should be able to short whatever you want. High-five, boys. Make the checks out to Coburn for Senate.

    John Ensign (R-NV): I'm on! Knock knock.

    Everybody: Who's there?

    John Ensign: Nevada. I can't help but notice that you're comparing Wall Street to Las Vegas. What's up with that? In Vegas you know the odds. On Wall Street they manipulate the odds while you're playing. Thank you, you've been great.

    David Viniar, CFO, Goldman: That's a tough act to follow.

    Carl Levin: Tell me about your big short, David. Your big short on the housing market.

    David Viniar: Well, big short and big long.

    Carl Levin: Big short.

    David Viniar: Big long.

    Carl Levin: Crap pools. Shitty deals.

    David Viniar: That's very unfortunate to have on email.

    Everyone: Gotcha!

    David Viniar: I just meant I don't like the swear words. So many swear words.

    Carl Levin: Hiiiiii, Lloyd.

    Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman: Hi Carl.

    Carl Levin: I am going to talk about how you created and sold investments that you were betting against. Admit you did that.

    Lloyd Blankfein: I am going to talk about Goldman's role as a market-maker, which means we simply provide a mechanism for people to buy and sell assets that have been created. This will ensure that I avoid your question. It will also ensure that you avoid my answer. We live in different contexts.

    Carl Levin: Put it in a human context.

    Lloyd Blankfein: Are you kidding? Why do you think I went into i-banking?

    John McCain: My friends, what is a synthetic CDO? How come no one has asked that, ever?

    Carl Levin: Oh shitty deals, you guys, I forgot to mention AIG! Lloyd, AIG. You took taxpayer money from AIG. Admit you did that.

    Lloyd Blankfein: AIG paid us what they owed us.

    Carl Levin: With bailout money that came from taxpayers' pockets.

    Lloyd Blankfein: We weren't the ones who passed bailout legislation.

    Carl Levin: I wouldn't put it past you.

    Lloyd Blankfein: I- oh, never mind.

    Carl Levin: It's been almost eleven hours. Everyone's welcome to leave at this point. Not you, Lloyd. I want to see you in the cloakroom. I'm not done with you yet. Shitty deals. Crap pools.

    Lloyd Blankfein: You are absolutely adorable.


    Read More »

    Tags: Banks, Carl Levin, Claire McCaskill, Economy, Fabrice Tourre, Goldman Sachs, John Ensign, John McCain, Lloyd Blankfein, Susan Collins, Tom Coburn
  • Scott Brown Goes to Washington, Becomes Most Popular Kid in the Cafeteria

    I can only assume that a properly-caffeinated Fox News copyeditor will change this headline to something less, um, evocative, but let's bask in its glow for now. The point is well taken: Scott Brown went to Capitol Hill, and Republicans are gaga for Scott Brown! Everybody wanted to sit next to him at lunch and be his BFFWISPA (that's "best friends forever while it seems politically advantageous")…

    The [press] scrum was met with all smiles from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who sat next to a glowing Brown after a 30-minute meeting.

    "I'll always refer to him as 41," McConnell said with a grin, referring to the number of seats Republicans now hold in the Senate, enough to mount a successful filibuster if they all stick together.

    Aww, lookit that, aren't they sweet? "My buddy, my buddy, wherever I filibuster he filibusters / My buddy and me."

    Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was thrilled to see "a fellow New Englander," saying, "Oh, look, I'm going to be the first to greet him" as Brown was escorted by McConnell into a private lunch with Republicans.

    After he strolled out, Brown called the lunch "fun."

    "I enjoyed meeting everyone, even you," he said to the press members. "The spaghetti was good. I could have had more helpings. I was famished."

    Can't blame the man for being hungry. Absorbing wild-eyed adoration burns a ton of calories — how do you think Barack Obama stayed so trim on the campaign trail?

    Luckily Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins were standing by to feed Brown the grapes they'd peeled.

    Tags: Fox, Mitch McConnell, Republicans, Scott Brown, Senate, Susan Collins, Washington DC