Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Candidates in "la primaire de la gauche"

A week on Sunday, supporters of the Parti socialiste and associated parties of the left, will participate in a primary to select a candidate to represent them for the French presidential election. Not all left wing parties are participating, but the winner is likely to be regarded as the mainstream candidate opposing François Fillon (Les républicains) and Marine Le Pen (Le Front national). The election has two rounds, with the two candidates gaining most vote on 22nd January going forward to the second round on 29th January.

The candidates are -

Manuel Valls - Prime Minister under President Hollande from 2014 until December 6th 2016.  His

website is http://manuelvalls.fr He has been a member of the Assemblée nationale, Interior Minister and Prime Minister. He ran for the Parti socialiste nomination in 2012, describing himself as "Blairiste" or "Clintonien".


Arnaud Montebourg - His website is http://www.arnaudmontebourg-2017.fr. He told the UK



Guardian that he saw himself as a French version of Bernie Sanders. Like Valls he ran for the nomination in 2012. He was Minister for Industrial Renewal from 2012-14, serving under both Ayrault and Valls


Benoît Hamon - A former Minister for Education (April - August 2014); MEP 2004-09 and a leader of the left wing at the 2008 PS Reims Congress.  He resigned from the government in August 2014  in protest as Hollande's "abandonment of a socialist agenda" His website is https://www.benoithamon2017.fr

AFP

of the left wing at the 2008 PS Reims Congress.  He resigned from the government in August 2014  in protest as Hollande's "abandonment of a socialist agenda" His website is https://www.benoithamon2017.fr


Vincent Peillon - Also a former Minister of Education (and former teacher 1984-92; 1993-97), he was elected as an MEP in 2014, having served in the Assemblée nationale in 1997-2002. L'Express has described him as "à équidistance de Manuel Valls, et des frondeurs" [halfway between Valls and the PS rebels on the left]. His website is http://www.vp2017.fr



was elected as an MEP in 2014, having served in the Assemblée nationale in 1997-2002. L'Express has described him as "à équidistance de Manuel Valls, et des frondeurs" [halfway between Valls and the PS rebels on the left]. His website is http://www.vp2017.fr


Sylvia Pinel - Leader of the moderate and social-liberal centre-left Parti Radical de Gauche. Minister



of Territorial Equality and Housing under the Valls premiership, leaving in February 2011. Her programme can be found at http://www.partiradicaldegauche.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Projet-SP_final.pdf


François de Rugy - A member of the Assemblée nationale since 2007, he is a former member of



EELV (Europe Ecology - The Greens) but formed his own party - Écologistes! - after breaking with EELV over their alliances with the left-wing Front de Gauche. His website is https://www.derugy2017.fr


Jean-Luc Bennahmias - An MEP for 10 years from the South of France.


He formed his own party - the Front démocrate in 2014. His website is http://jlbennahmias2017.fr


If you read French, there is a full description of each of the candidates here.

Useful sites for following the Primary are -

France 24 - English, French - Who are the candidates?
Le Monde - Primaire de la gauche
Liberation
L'Express
Le Point


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Congressional Statistics

Congressional Statistics play an important role in political science. I have often used a book which was regularly produced called "Vital Statistics on Congress". Unfortunately buying the book on a regular basis was an expensive proposition (and fills up the shelves!). It is no longer produced in book format. Brookings Governance Studies recently released an updated version - which is downloadable for free. I downloaded the 8 chapters onto my iPad, then opened each of them in  "iBooks".

Click here to access the free download.

You can also sign up to receive free updates - visit this page.

The Eight Chapters are-

1 Demographics of members of Congress
2 Congressional Elections
3 Campaign finance in Congressional Elections
4 Congressional committee data
5 Congressional staff and operating expenses
6 Legislative productivity in Congress and Congressional workload
7 Congressional action on the federal budget
8 Political polarisation in Congress and changing voting attitudes



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Rules Committee

Old friends of 'Washminster' will know that I have a particular interest in the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives. I enjoy watching the committee in action (sadly, I can normally only do this online  - the Committee Hearings Archive is available here. However, I do go to watch in person when I'm in Washington DC).

The Committee has two roles - it is responsible for overseeing and proposing amendments to the Rules of the House of Representatives. One of the main items of business on the first day of a new Congress is a debate and a vote on rules amendments.

It's other role is to grant 'rules' to draft legislation - which, if adopted, govern how a the debate on that particular draft legislation is conducted. (or as more elegantly put in the CQ's 'American Congressional Dictionary' - "a privileged resolution reported by the Rules Committee that provides methods and conditions for floor consideration of a measure or, rarely, several measures...With few exceptions, major non privileged bills are taken up under the terms of such resolutions.")

The website of the Rules Committee can be found at https://rules.house.gov. If you are interested in the working of the House of Representatives, this is a website well worth visiting. It's "Parliamentary Bootcamp" is an excellent course in the rules and practices of the House. There are also links to the House Manual and House Rules (note - we are awaiting the editions for the 115th Congress - but the amendments to the Rules adopted can be found here. and a section-by-section analysis here.)


Monday, 9 January 2017

Planned Confirmation Hearings in US Senate

Tuesday, Jan. 10

Position: Attorney general
Nominee: Sen. Jeff Sessions
Background: Alabama Republican Congressman
Committee: Senate Judiciary
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 10 and 11.

Position: Homeland Security secretary
Nominee: John Kelly
Background: Retired Marine general, former U.S. Southern Command chief
Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Confirmation hearings: Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in SD-342 Dirksen.

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Position: Education secretary
Nominee: Betsy DeVos
Background: Billionaire, philanthropist, Republican megadonor
Committee: Senate HELP
Confirmation hearings: Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. in 430 Dirksen.

Position: Transportation secretary
Nominee: Elaine Chao
Background: Former Labor Secretary under the George W. Bush administration, deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush, member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council for the campaign, married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Committee: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 11 10:15 a.m. in Senate Russell, Room 253.


Position: Secretary of State
Nominee: Rex Tillerson
Background: CEO of Exxon Mobil
Committee: Senate Foreign Relations
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 11

Thursday, Jan. 12

Position: Housing and Urban Development secretary
Nominee: Ben Carson
Background: Retired neurosurgeon, former GOP primary rival
Committee: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. More here.
Recent Coverage:
— Trump picks Ben Carson to be HUD secretary
— Carson’s nonexistent governing experience? Not a problem
— Ben Carson: My mom kept us out of public housing to avoid 'danger'

Position: Commerce secretary
Nominee: Wilbur Ross
Background: Billionaire private-equity investor, founder of the private equity firm WL Ross & Co.
Committee: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 12 at 10 a.m.

Week of Jan. 16

Position: Labor secretary
Nominee: Andy Puzder
Background: CEO of CKE Restaurants, which include the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain
Committee: Senate HELP
Confirmation Hearings: The week of Jan. 16

TBD

Position: Health and Human Services secretary
Nominee: Rep. Tom Price
Background: Georgia Republican Congressman, House Budget Chairman
Committee: Senate Finance
Confirmation Hearings: TBD, the HELP Committee is tentatively set to hold a confirmation hearing on Jan. 18. This is a courtesy.

Trump and China

The Washington Post has produced a useful guide to the background to the row Trump provoked over Taiwan.




Other useful sources on the US-China relationship can be found at -

Washington Post
China Daily
Brookings - John L Thornton China Centre