Senate OKs Terror Insurance, Homeland Security, Shedd

As it finished off its lame duck session last month, the Senate considered the economy, the judiciary, and the war on terror.

The Senate on November 19 passed a terrorism reinsurance bill in spite of Democratic provisions giving lawyers free rein to sue the victims of terrorism. The flawed bill passed despite the certainty that Republicans will control the Senate in January, but that the liability issue will likely be revisited then. President Bush wanted this bill to pass because it will create thousands of jobs-many building projects are currently stalled because of the impossibility of insuring them against terrorism.

The same day the Homeland Security bill also survived an attempt at alteration from the House version. Senate leaders managed to herd the bill through only by promising some liberal members that several controversial issues will be revisited when Congress returns.

Finally, also on the 19th, over liberal objections the Senate confirmed President Bush’s nomination of Judge Dennis Shedd to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the final nominee sponsored by retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond (R.-S.C). Democrats had threatened a filibuster against Shedd, but the threat fell flat in the end.