July 17, 2013

1. The deal is holding: This afternoon, the Senate voted cloture on Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez. Just barely — the vote was 60 to 40, with six Republicans joining all the Democrats.

2. Good behind-the-scenes on how the Senate reached the deal from Sabrina Siddiqui and Ryan Grim. Key point: At the end, Harry Reid had everyone except Carl Levin on board.

3. E.J. Dionne says the Senate agreement is a solid victory for Democrats and a big deal for less dysfunctional government.

4. My take: it’s a win for the Democrats, but it’s not as good a solution as it could be, and it may not prove stable.

5. That, filibuster opponent Kevin Drum says, explains why Republicans were willing to take the deal – and why, he argues, Harry Reid should have just gone nuclear.

6. Threats to rein in the NSA may be real — and even bipartisan. Spencer Ackerman reports on today’s House hearing.

7. Glenn Greenwald tells MSNBC that the NSA leaks informed debate. Does anyone think that House hearing — or pressure to reveal what the FISA court has been up to — would have happened otherwise?

8. Election law maven Rick Hasen is turning pessimistic about the chances that new legislation will emerge to solve the problems created by the Supreme Court for the Voting Rights Act. He sees Democrats “grandstanding” and Republicans who don’t really want to do anything.

9. Adam Serwer has a nice catch about the dubious past rhetoric of the House subcommittee chairman who would draft any VRA fix.

10. Jonathan Cohn’s analysis of the good news about Affordable Care Act effects on health insurance premiums in New York state is, as always, a must-read.

11. Steve Benen notes the bad timing for the House’s latest Obamacare repeal effort.

12. But what if ACA benefits turn out to be wildly popular? That’s the case Matt Yglesias continues to make.

13. Another must-read: Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff on how the administration plans to get people — especially the “young healthies” needed for the plan to work — to actually buy the health insurance that the ACA is trying to make available and affordable.

14. If you missed the collapse of the IRS “scandal” — Michael Tomasky takes us through the details of exactly what happened, and how the press got it wrong.

15. Jared Bernstein on Ben Bernanke’s testimony on Capitol Hill today — which is exactly where Bernanke identified the biggest problem for the economy.

16. Really nice analysis from Andrew Sprung on the administration’s second-term strategy.

17. And the additional effects of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision on immigration, from Sharita Gruberg. Equality matters.