Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Republican Do-Nothing Congress Still Doing Nothing

Washington, DC - Even after voters rejected the failed Republican congressional agenda in the midterm elections and called for a new direction for America, the “do-nothing” Republican Congress still refuses to pass needed spending bills and tackle the pressing problems that the American people face. The Republican-controlled 109th Congress will have “spent the least time in session of any in at least half a century,” instead leaving important business to wait until the next Congress. [Washington Post, 12/3/06]

Despite leaving with unfinished business from the Republican Congress, Democratic Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have pledged to end the “do-nothing” Republican Congress, and work hard to pass ethics legislation and restore fiscal responsibility.

“The ‘do-nothing’ Republican Congress has once again shown that they don’t care about getting the job done and addressing the pressing needs of the American people,” said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. “Democrats in Congress are committed to ending the ‘do-nothing’ Congress and the Republican culture of corruption. Democrats in Congress will work hard to make sure that the needs of the American people are met.”

Washington Post: Republican Inaction “Inexcusable.” “*the 109th Congress is set to leave on an especially negligent note. Unless something dramatic changes, it will limp to a close having completed work on just two spending bills for fiscal 2007, which began Oct. 1. The upshot is that, at best, the fiscal year will be nearly one-third over by the time the 110th Congress finishes the work left incomplete by the 109th. * This is inexcusable. The House passed all but one spending bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee reported all the spending measures by July, the earliest that's been accomplished in 18 years. Then the full Senate punted. * Part of the reason -- or, to be more accurate, part of the excuse -- for the latest gridlock is a revolt by some conservative senators against earmarks in that bill. But none of the complaining senators offered any motion to strip the supposedly offending earmarks. And the reality is that their do-nothing strategy sat just fine with Senat
e Republican leaders, who dallied before the election and could have forced action in the lame-duck session. Instead, they were happy to dump $460 billion in unfinished business on the new Democratic majority. * We understand the political temptation to do mischief by doing nothing, but this is a gross abdication of lawmakers' fundamental responsibilities.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 12/4/06]

Hartford Courant: Just More GOP “Hyperpartisanship”, “Bad” and “Slothful Behavior.” “In deciding Nov. 20 to delay action on remaining budget bills until next year, Republican leaders exhibited the kind of bad behavior that was at the heart of their staggering losses in the Nov. 7 elections. * Republicans lost control of the House and Senate largely because voters have turned against the Iraq war and were aghast at scandals that claimed several members of Congress, mostly Republicans. The voters also didn't like Congress' drunken-sailor spending habits and the fact that members worked bankers' hours under GOP leadership. The decision to delay final work on this fiscal year's budget until next year was consistent with the Republican-controlled Congress' slothful behavior - they were in session barely three days a week - and its hyperpartisanship.” [Hartford Courant, Editorial, 12/4/06]

Republican Inaction Will Hurt Veterans, Education, Health And Law Enforcement. “Ridiculed as the ‘do-nothing’ 109th U.S. Congress, the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Monday begin a brief session to wrap up whatever work they can, install a new defense secretary and approve money to prevent a shutdown of government services. * Congress has failed to pass nine of the 11 annual bills that fund government activities in the fiscal year that began on October 1. Farm subsidies, education, health and law enforcement are among the programs without full-year funding. To avert government shutdowns, two temporary spending bills have already been enacted. The latest expires on Friday and Congress is expected to pass a third stopgap funding bill that would keep U.S. agencies running through February 15. Early next year, Democrats will try to finish the work. But in the meantime, some programs could suffer as the stopgap bills mostly hold spending to last year's level. Joe Davi
s, a spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars, said that ‘will absolutely hurt.’ With growing numbers of Iraq war veterans, he said the backlog of claims for medical, pension and education benefits has swelled to more than 800,000, compared to about 773,000 last year.” [Reuters, 12/3/06]

GOP Won’t Act On Numerous Important Issues. “But rather than using the final days of their lame-duck session next week to ram through all the legislation they can, Republican leaders are taking a counterintuitive approach: Do a minimum and leave the rest to the Democrats to deal with next year. That includes political hot potatoes such as domestic terrorism surveillance and an immigration overhaul. It also includes one of Congress’ most basic responsibilities: passing the annual appropriations bills, this round of which will determine how the federal government spends about $873 billion.” [McClatchy Newspapers, 12/2/06]

GOP Congress May Preside Over “Lamest Of Lame-Duck Sessions.” “Congress will convene Tuesday for what some fear will be the lamest of lame-duck sessions, and GOP leaders have decided to take a minimalist approach before turning over the reins of power to the Democrats. Rather than a final surge of activity, Congress will probably wrap up things after a single, short week of work. They have even decided to punt decisions on annual government spending measures to the Democrats next year. * this Congress will have spent the least time in session of any in at least half a century, according to Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, congressional historians and the authors of The Broken Branch, a critical look at recent Congresses. In the time they did meet, lawmakers will have failed to approve a budget resolution or pass at least eight of the 11 annual spending bills. Other significant pieces of legislation will be hard to find. Bush's push for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration
laws produced a partially funded measure to build a border fence.” [Washington Post, 12/3/06]

Democrats Will Do Away With “Do-Nothing” Congress And Address The Needs Of The American People. “Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid said Tuesday he's doing away with the ‘do-nothing Congress’ that Democrats campaigned against and plans to keep senators working long hours - focusing first on ethics, the minimum wage and stem cell research. The Nevada Democrat said he would tackle those priorities after cleaning up the ‘financial mess’ the outgoing Republican Congress is leaving behind, a reference to nine long-overdue spending bills covering 13 Cabinet departments for the budget year that began Oct. 1. ‘They're just leaving town, it appears,’ Reid said during an interview with The Associated Press in his Capitol office. ‘And so we're going to have to find a way to fund the government for the next year.’” [AP, 11/29/06]

No comments: