Sign in to comment!

Special Report

Senate's Reason for Getting Nothing Done All Day

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Unproductive Day

There were no votes cast in the U.S. Senate today. Morning scheduling problems meant that any voting had to be delayed until later in the day. And the decision had already been made to break at 2 P.M. The reason? Lawmakers did not want their plans for tonight's Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be affected. So senators on Capitol Hill, whose salaries you pay for, were unable to cast any ballots before the pre-determined cutoff.

That meant the defense authorization bill, which contains a raise for U.S. troops and funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had to wait. The floor however, was open for speeches.

Obama Objections

A U.S. soldier who has been ordered to Afghanistan is refusing to go. U.S. Army Major Stefan Frederick Cook says President Obama was not born in the United States, and therefore is ineligible to be commander in chief. The Columbus, Georgia newspaper, The Ledger-Enquirer, reports Cook has filed a request in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order on his deployment.

Cook's attorney is involved in a second case that challenges the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. The Los Angeles Times reports a California judge has agreed to hear the merits of that case. It is just one of dozens of legal challenges to the president's nationality. At least two of them have already been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The White House press secretary Robert Gibbs again Monday brushed aside the matter, saying: "The noble truth is that the president was born in Hawaii, a state of the United States of America."

Bloomberg vs. Clinton

And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is lashing out at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for what he sees as a flip-flop and a double-cross. WCBS-TV Channel 2 in New York reports Clinton has exempted United Nations diplomats and their embassies from paying property taxes.

But as the state's junior senator, Clinton fought to make diplomats pay up. Bloomberg says her change of heart has cost the city $260 million in lost revenue: "It's just patently unfair to New Yorkers and Americans and it contravenes established policy for 130-odd years and it just doesn't make sense."

In one case, the Hungarian embassy had already written a check for $32 million to cover its taxes when the State Department told officials to cancel it. A State Department spokesman says the policy change came about because other countries were threatening to charge taxes on U.S. property overseas.

But New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer says: "We're going to find a way to make sure that these embassies pay and that New York is made whole."

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.