Oh, Those Wacky, Productive Democrats

Richard Cowan of al-Reuters has written a review of what the Democrats have accomplished so far this year, Congress recesses among Democratic achievements

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After months of being flogged for accomplishing little, Democrats who control Congress headed into a summer recess having passed several high-profile bills from raising the minimum wage to bolstering U.S. security and expanding children’s health care.

Their top priority — ending the Iraq war — remains frustratingly unfulfilled. But the Democrats who took over in January were able to go home early on Sunday for a monthlong break having won more support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for bringing combat troops home by early next year, marking a significant turnaround from last year.

Pushing surrender is now, apparently, an achievement. Go figure. And, as far as going home early, that is something they have tended to do throughout this congressional session. Pelosi promised a 5 day work week, but, they have been working about 4 days a week so far, and the Senate is about the same.

So, what have they done?

  • The first minimum wage increase in a decade went into effect in July helping the lowest-paid workers. Republicans repeatedly blocked the pay hike when they controlled Congress. (But it was Republicans who passed this one, with 140 Dems in the House and 10 in the Senate, including Pelosi, Kennedy, and Kerry, voting against the bill)
  • Republicans lost their majority in last November’s elections largely because of the Iraq war, but also due to voter disgust with ethics violations that left some Republican lawmakers and aides in jail or under investigation. Democrats pushed through ethics and lobbying reforms that public advocacy groups applauded while also saying the provisions could have been stronger. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. (even though there are issues with the rules, I’ll give this to them as a win)
  • Congress passed, and Bush signed into law on Friday, a series of post-September 11 anti-terrorism steps that had been recommended by an independent commission in 2004. These include broader screening of cargo bound for the United States, allocating more federal grants to cities at high-risk of attack and improving emergency workers’ communications systems so they can better coordinate during an attack or natural disaster. (yay, yay, let’s play defense!)
  • The House and Senate passed different versions of a bill to significantly expand child health insurance coverage for those in low-income families not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. Bush has threatened to veto either version, but Democrats may be able to override him. (it gves the converage to illegals and people up to the age of 25. Huh?)
  • The House and Senate passed bills to help students handle soaring college costs and crack down on misconduct in the student loan industry. They likely will send Bush a bill in September that goes directly to the stressed wallets of middle-class parents. (not a bad idea. Can’t say much about the bill, haven’t read anything about it, but. Mr. Cowan really seems to be digging for any sort of win, eh?)
  • A popular measure allowing broader stem cell research that supporters hope will help cure Parkinson’s disease and other incurable illnesses was passed a second time and Bush vetoed it a second time (it was about embryonic stem cells, and it was passed along party lines. Hey, Rich, it goes in the loss column)
  • Appealing to growing consumer fears of global warming and U.S. reliance on foreign oil, the Senate passed a bill mandating that cars get 40 percent better fuel efficiency and encouraging a dramatic increase in ethanol as a fuel. Democrats hope to send Bush a bill after the August recess. (it will probably be vetoed, as it will actually increase the cost of gasoline and auto’s)
  • A fiscal 2008 budget plan passed with new controls that attempt to impose fiscal responsibility after years of huge budget deficits. Under the plan, any new tax cuts or spending increases would have to be paid for. Republicans complain there is no guarantee Bush’s tax cuts will be renewed after 2010. (fiscal responsibility from the Feds is great, but, this is simply a way to raise taxes by the Dems, which tend to hurt the middle class, which the Dems say they love)
  • After six years of mostly getting a free pass from Republicans, the Bush administration is facing oversight by committees with probes ranging from the Justice Department’s firing of federal prosecutors to the Pentagon’s handling of the death in Afghanistan of ex-football player Pat Tillman. (whew! There’s some important stuff. The first is something that is perfectly Constitutional, the second, while tragic and wrong, is not that important an issue, except in Liberal World)

So, there you have it. Only one of their "6 for ’06" has been passed, and that was because of Republicans. Remember, they were

  • National Security, which they have done little about, nor have cared about since the 70’s
  • Jobs and wages
  • Energy independence (where are the bills to allow drilling on American property, build new power plants and refineries?)
  • Affordable health care (they are pushing it for those 25 year old illegal kids)
  • retirement security (nothing, bupkiss)
  • college access for all (again, bupkiss)

Now, if only Republicans would get off their asses and take advantage. Fight back. Get down in the mud and muck.

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One Response to “Oh, Those Wacky, Productive Democrats”

  1. John Ryan says:

    Wonderfully insightfully analysis ,flawed by emotional attachment to one party.
    Strangely Americans strongly (25%) prefer of the Democrats in Congress over the Republicans.
    Of course the real fun will be happening next month when the 21 Republicans senators coming up for re-election return to Washington.

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