Political Headlines September 23, 2011: House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill 219-203 Then Senate Defeats Bill 59-36 — Goverment Shutdown Possibility Looms for October 1


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.



Americans in hard-hit communities are counting on federal disaster relief, and disaster funds will run out as soon as Monday. The House last night passed a responsible measure to prevent this from happening. It is critical that the Senate now pass the bill and send it to the president. — John Boehner

“The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise. It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

House passes temporary spending measure: A day after defeating a virtually identical bill, the U.S. House has passed a temporary spending measure to fund the government through Nov. 18 by a vote of 219 to 203 after Republican leaders included a new spending cut to lure conservative votes. The measure is now on a collision course with the Democratic-led Senate, which believes the bill does not do enough for disaster victims, raising a new specter of a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Senate defeats short-term measure to fund government: Early Friday afternoon, the Senate defeated, 59 to 36, a spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 18.
With both chambers scheduled to begin a week-long recess later Friday, the next step on the funding resolution remains unclear. The Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of funding as early as Monday, and the resolution currently keeping the federal government open is set to expire on Sept. 30.
The House had passed the bill, 219 to 203, in the early hours on Friday morning after an earlier failure.


  • House passes measure to avoid government shutdown, but Senate won’t: The House of Representatives early Friday morning passed in a vote of 219-203 a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a looming shutdown after the first attempt to pass a resolution failed. But Senate Democrats are strongly opposed to the new measure.
    Democrats argue the new resolution includes inadequate disaster funds for FEMA, and they oppose spending cuts to programs they say are necessary to stimulate the economy.
    The Senate voted to table the resolution 59-36. Reid has scheduled a vote for Monday evening…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • House approves spending measure opposed by Senate; shutdown possible: Washington lurched toward another potential government shutdown crisis Friday, as the House approved a Republican-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep government running through Nov. 18…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • House approves funding bill; Senate passage in doubt: The measure would avert a government shutdown by funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and drawing money away from a green vehicle program championed by Democrats…. – LAT, 9-23-11
  • House passes funding bill but conflict looms: Working past midnight, the Republican House narrowly approved a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating past Sept. 30 but inviting new conflict with the Democratic Senate over emergency disaster aid and proposed cuts from alternative … – Politico, 9-23-11
  • Boehner works to rally House conservatives: GOP leaders in the House were working feverishly Thursday afternoon to persuade conservatives in their own party to reverse their opposition to a short-term funding measure identical or nearly identical to one they rejected…. – WaPo, 9-23-11
  • Senate Blocks House Spending Bill to Set Up Showdown: The Senate voted Friday morning to reject the House’s stopgap spending bill, less than twelve hours after the House’s Republican leaders had forced it through on their second try.
    The Senate vote was 59 to 36 to table the House bill, effectively killing it. Some conservative Republicans joined in rejecting the measure.
    The House, in the wee hours of Friday morning, had passed its latest version of a stopgap spending bill after rejecting on Wednesday a nearly identical version of the legislation, which is needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30 and to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters. The House vote was 219 to 203. NYT, 9-23-11
  • Senate rejects the House stop-gap spending bill. Is a government shutdown avoidable?: With near permanent brinksmanship the new normal, Congress headed into votes Friday to try to avert a government shutdown that is slated to occur on Oct. 1 if a continuing resolution bill is not passed…. – CS Monitor, 9-23-11
  • Senate blocks House disaster aid bill: The Democratic-led Senate blocked a House-passed bill on Friday that would provide disaster aid and keep government agencies open, escalating the parties’ latest showdown over spending and highlighting the raw partisan rift…. – USA Today, 9-23-11
  • Senate Delays Spending Bill, Leaving FEMA at Risk: The Senate voted to put aside a short-term spending bill that ties disaster-relief funding to cuts in Democratic-backed programs aiding the auto industry, leaving government funding unsettled…. – WSJ, 9-23-11
  • Spending bill fails: The Senate on Friday, 59 to 36, defeated a GOP-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep the government running through mid-November, ratcheting up the pressure on party leaders…. – WaPo, 9-23-11

Oscar Handlin: Historian was considered the father of immigration study


History Buzz


Source: WaPo, 9-23-11

Oscar Handlin, a Harvard professor whose classic writings on American immigration made him a leading intellectual force behind legislation that eliminated the immigration quota system in the United States, died Sept. 20 at his home in Cambridge, Mass., after a heart attack. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by his son, David Handlin.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Dr. Handlin was considered the father of modern immigration studies. In his panoramic books, he chronicled the stories of Europeans, Jews, Puerto Ricans and African Americans and other populations that shaped the United States. His sweeping work “The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People” won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in history.

“Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America,” he wrote in perhaps the most noted passage of that book. “Then, I discovered that the immigrants were American history.”

Dr. Handlin’s credentials as a historian, the Harvard imprimatur and his frequent writings — in publications including the Atlantic Monthly and Commentary — made him an influential public intellectual in his time. Historians cite him as a crucial behind-the-scenes player in the landmark 1965 legislation that abolished the country-based quota systems that had regulated immigration since the 1920s.

He was “absolutely central to it,” said Hasia Diner, a professor of immigration history at New York University.

Dr. Handlin found the quota systems, which favored Northern and Western European immigrants, racially discriminatory.

He considered it “something that not only discriminated against prospective immigrants,” said Columbia University professor Mae Ngai, but also “a kind of stigma against those ethnic groups in the United States.”

In his writings, Dr. Handlin never treated American immigration in dry, statistical terms. Critics described “The Uprooted,” his most noted work, as a riveting and moving account of the entire immigration experience.

“The Uprooted concerns the personal human side of the flood of immigration,” wrote a New York Herald Tribune reviewer. “Mr. Handlin wrote of the European settlements from which the immigrants came, then followed through the hardships of their crossing, in steerage, and life that followed in the United States.”

Oscar Handlin was born Sept. 29, 1915, in Brooklyn in a household where education was highly valued. When Dr. Handlin’s son was born, his father, a Russian immigrant, suggested the name “Plato.” Dr. Handlin and his wife decided against it.

Dr. Handlin grew up working as a delivery boy in his family’s grocery store and often rested a book on top of his pushcart, reading as his made his way through the streets of Brooklyn.

He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and then studied at Harvard, where he earned a master’s degree in 1935 and a doctorate in history in 1940.

Among his mentors was Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., who suggested the topic of his dissertation: 18th- and early 19th-century immigrants to Boston. The work was subsequently published under the title “Boston’s Immigrants.”

Dr. Handlin was himself the target of discrimination while at Harvard. His classmate John Hope Franklin, who became a revered scholar of African American history, wrote in a memoir that Dr. Handlin was turned away as an officer in the Henry Adams Club because he was Jewish.

Dr. Handlin began teaching at Harvard while pursuing his graduate degrees and would remain with the university for more than four decades.

His first wife, Mary Flug Handlin, with whom he often collaborated, died in 1976.

Survivors include his second wife, of 34 years, Lilian Bombach Handlin of Cambridge, also a co-author; three children from his first marriage, David Handlin of Lexington, Mass., Joanna Handlin Smith of Cambridge and Ruth Manley of Guilford, Conn.; one brother; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.


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