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Oh Yeah. It’s January.


(Photo of Nancy Pelosi on Meet the Press via Speaker-Elect Pelosi's website.)

Via the GuardianUK:

…More such opposition is expected to be aired in the coming days in Senate committee hearings on the war. Senator Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware who has declared his intention to run for the White House in 2008, plans to hold three weeks of hearings on the war.

"I think the White House will be answering lots of questions. There will be a blizzard of paper, and I think we are in for a year of examination of administration policy," said Stuart Rothenberg, who publishes a Washington newsletter.

Mr Biden, who heads the Senate foreign relations committee, said last week that he intended to call the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. Senator Carl Levin, who will head the Senate armed services committee, has called the new Pentagon chief, Robert Gates, to testify.

Other incoming committee chairs are planning similar inquisitions on the the war. In the house, Congressman Henry Waxman, who has been dogged in his pursuit of the services company Halliburton for misuse of reconstruction funds, now heads the committee on government reform. Meanwhile, Tom Lantos, who heads the international relations committee, has said he will call the chairman of the Iraq Study Group, which called for a reduction of US troops in its report last month.

Democratic strategists say they plan to use their new power as a committee chairs to look ahead, and that a primary focus will be the financing of the war. Aides are now exploring ways to attach conditions to future funding for the war as well as investigations into past misuse.

"There is a great deal of concern about how the money is being spent, what the costs are to the military and to our readiness in the future," said Peter Fenn, a Democratic strategist. "I think what the Democrats are going to say is that we are not passing this in the dead of night. We want to see where the money is going and how it is going to be spent."…

The proposed legislation from the Democrats includes:

· Ethics reform, with a ban on gifts from lobbyists to congressmen and other controls;
· A rise in the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour;
· An end to the Bush administration's restrictions on stem cell research;
· Implementation of the recommendations of the commission on the 9/11 terror attacks;
· A plan for the federal government to negotiate cheaper prices for prescription drugs;
· And the halving of interest rates on student loans.

So far, the Democrats have achieved at least one early success, with President Bush last month giving his conditional approval to a rise in the minimum wage.

Congress goes back in session tomorrow.  And it looks like, under Democratic leadership, they plan on actually getting some work done.  Boo-yah!  That it took the Democratic party taking over the reins of power for the Congress to plan on working five days a week?  Just one of the many reasons that so many Americans voted the Republicans out.

President Bush has an op-ed in the WSJ today (That I'm just sure he wrote all by himself, aren't you?  Ahem.), calling for "bipartisanship" from Congress.  Read:  "do what I want or I'll throw a tantrum and call you mean, but don't expect me to actually work with you — this isn't a two-way street, you know."  A big problem with the article?  They left out the last half of the subtitle — but I'm happy to help out and issue a correction.  "Let them say of these next two years: We used our time well — because for the last six years while Republicans have controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches, we failed to do much of anything but line our cronies' pockets and just generally make a mess of everything else we touched."  There, isn't that better?  As Digby puts it, let the healing begin.

Just as a reminder for our pals in the press, the definition of "partisan" is a pretty easy one.  Let the good folks at The Sideshow help.  (H/T to jayackroyd.)

(From the SFChron:  12 things you didn't know about Speaker-elect Pelosi.  And the big question of the morning for me:  will Chancellor Merkel be bringing a chaperone for her meetings with President Bush tomorrow?)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com