Issues With Congress

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary, Congress at 3:14 pm by wcnews

[Much of what’s linked below can be understood much better by reading this first,
The Working Conservative (but not Republican) Majority]

Two from The Agonist:
Republicans More Happy With the “Democratic” Congress than Democrats.

..Congress is controlled by a conservative ruling majority. What’s not to like if you’re Republican? And what, exactly, have they done that independents and Democrats would like? I’m having a hard time coming up with much of anything.

MoveOn And the Kabuki Congress.

The US Senate voted 72 to 25 to condemn the Move-On ad which called General Petraeus “General Betray Us”. It’s hard to know where to start with this, because it’s an episode that says so much about the US and the US Congress, so I’m just going to work through it point by point.


The job now will be to support those few Dems who deserve it, to work on primaries and recruiting candidates and get ready for 2008. Working with the leadership is off the table - I personally will no longer be asking anyone to call on anything unless I believe the leadership will fight for the bill, rather than just make a token vote and let it go down easily. No fight - no support. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

David Sirota’s column this week, Over The Dead Bodies … Again.

It is mere months after Democrats won the election on a promise to defend America’s middle class. The nation demands action to address burgeoning health care and environmental crises. But somehow, the first significant initiative the newly empowered Democratic Party is likely to pass into law is a lobbyist-written trade pact to help Big Business ship jobs overseas.

Quick: Am I talking about the early 1990s or the present day?



It all comes back to cash. Environmental, health care and war policies divide moneyed interests. But nothing unites them like trade pacts crafted to drive wages and public interest laws into the ground. Every corporate campaign donor rallies around that, especially when politicians and the media morph the trade debate into a caricatured contest between anachronistic protectionism and enlightened internationalism, rather than what it really is: a choice between pragmatic reform and selling out.

Thus, as America’s health care system fails, global warming intensifies and war in Iraq rages, the only initiative Congress seems willing to forge bipartisan consensus on is a new three-headed NAFTA, steamrolled “over the dead bodies” of voters.

A very good article on the overwhelming number of GOP filibusters in the Senate, Subverting Majority Rule.

Republicans are filibustering so many bills that the press has begun to cover this extreme tactic as business as usual. The front-page Washington Post story covering the Webb proposal is headlined “Senate bill short of sixty votes needed.” The article says the proposal “failed on a 56 to 44 vote, with 60 votes needed for passage.” The article never tells the reader that the reason majority rule was frustrated was because of a Republican filibuster that requires 60 votes to overcome.

The New York Times coverage – “GOP minority prevails” is the subtitle – was somewhat better. In its fourth paragraph, the article reports that the proposal “fell four votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster.” In fact, the 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, not prevent it. Both papers reported the filibuster correctly on the habeas corpus legislation.

It is vital that the press get this right – and that the media expose the extraordinary scope of the Republican strategy of obstruction. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has announced that Republicans will filibuster every “controversial measure.” They are making majority rule the exception rather than the routine in the Senate. Never has any party been so brazen or systematic in using the filibuster to block the majority.

It’s like a broken record.

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