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The must-pass spending bill pending in the Senate includes a little-noticed provision that would pay the family of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd for the salary he would have commanded in the next fiscal year.
The Senate handbook says that upon the death of a senator who had been serving in office, “in the next appropriations bill, an item will be inserted for a gratuity to be paid to the widow(er) or other next- of-kin, in the amount of one-year’s compensation.”
As a result, the bill calls for “equal shares” of the late senator’s $193,400 salary to be split between Byrd’s seven children and grandchildren.
The practice has been long followed by both parties and in both chambers, including in 2007 when the widows of the late Wyoming GOP Sen. Craig Thomas and the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) each received $165,200 for the salary that the two men would have received.
Funny that Politico mentions 2 GOP widows who received this benefit, but they don’t mention whether Vicki Kennedy received the same last year after Ted died, or did she decline it, which could be noted as well.
The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source — the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision Wednesday in Boston, clearing the way for a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was in its ninth year of federal review, and Salazar stepped in early this year to bring what he called much-needed resolution to the bitterly contested proposal.
“We are beginning a new direction in our nation’s energy future,” Salazar said.
The special election for the vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts was two weeks ago. Senator-elect Scott Brown has made the official request for final certification of the results. In Massachusetts, the Governor’s Council certifies the results, said Council including the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The Office of Governor Deval Patrick has confirmed that the results will be certified tomorrow, and Scott Brown is expected to be sworn in as the junior Senator of Massachusetts by late afternoon on Thursday, February 4th. Under the law that Massachusetts had revised to make sure that Gov. Patrick could appoint a temporary replacement after Sen. Kennedy died, the State of Massachusetts has only had one Senator (Kerry) since the January 19th election….. technically Sen. Paul Kirk’s temporary appointment to the Senate ended upon Scott Brown’s elections, effectively nullifying any votes that he has made in the last two weeks.
Washington (CNN) — Rhode Island’s top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.
In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be “inappropriate” for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, “and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so.”
Kennedy, a Democrat, is the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and a scion of the most prominent Catholic family in modern U.S. politics.
In an interview published Sunday, Patrick Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Tobin had barred him from receiving communion and instructed priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament “because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official.”
Tobin, in a statement issued in response to the Kennedy interview, said his advice to the congressman was “pastoral and confidential,” and he was surprised that Kennedy chose to discuss it publicly.
“I am disappointed that the congressman would make public my request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being,” he said.
Yesterday it was reported that the Massachusetts Legislature had approved the changes in the Senate succession laws that would enable the present Governor Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement for the Senate seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. As previously mentioned, this was a move of political hypocrisy, since the legislature had changed the law to require a special election instead of Governor appointment to fill a vacancy, and the change was done to keep the Republican Governor from appointing someone if Se. John Kerry had won the Presidency in 2004.
Rumors have circulated that Gov. Patrick will appoint Kennedy friend Paul Kirk to fill the vacancy until the January 19th, 2010 special election.
But the legislation has created a slight quandry for the Governor. It seems that he must wait “90 days” before naming an appointee, unless he declares that the vacancy is an EMERGENCY. Like all good legislation, “EMERGENCY” is subject to interpretation.Since the special election law requires the special election be held 145-160 days after the vacancy, the 90 day rule obviously doesn’t do much to fill the gap that the Democrats were concerned about. In the Kennedy seat, the 90 days would be about 4 weeks before the special election.
Gov. Patrick, should he declare the vacancy an emergency, will open the court doors for the Massachusetts Republican Party to challenge the legislation and the appointment, possiby keeping the Kennedy seat vacant until the evening of January 19th.