The 110th Congress Begins
(Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi hugs her granddaughter yesterday at a tea honoring the late Ann Richards. Photo via Yahoo taken by Reuters/Larry Downing, who always seems to get the greatest shots of un-posed moments. Patience is rewarded, isn't it?)
It is a momentous day for those of us political junkies who are women, I must say. To have a female Speaker-elect just puts a smile on my face this morning, especially considering it's a Democratic one. Congress will be called into session in just a little while, and the official vote for the Speakership will be taken: each member of Congress must personally vote by voice on the record, in a ceremony that takes place every two years at the start of the new session. It takes about an hour, give or take, and then the new Speaker will be sworn in by John Dingell, longest serving member of Congress, and will then give a speech. More here from the AP and also here from the SFChron.
The House has an ambitious agenda for the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, and it will be interesting to watch how this plays out over the next few days. The folks over at MoveOn.org have organized a petition to push the 100 Hours Agenda forward — take a peek and sign your name, and take a little time to contact your Representative to let them know you support the Democratic agenda.
My favorite thing? The Democrats will be enforcing a five-day work week. No more two and a half days in DC, and the rest on junkets and fundraising — members of Congress will be earning their paychecks a bit more, and it is about time. Let the oversight begin!
The NYTimes and the WaPo have some coverage on the Democratic agenda in both houses of Congress, and of some of the new faces on the Hill. But for some detailed analysis of the Senate agenda, you are much better off reading Bob Geiger.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, MSNBC reports that Harriet Miers has turned in her resignation — she'll be leaving the White House Counsel's office effective 1/31/07. Thus far, it's been Gonzales and Miers as White House Counsel…who is next, Yoo? Blergh. Word to the White House: You might want to talk with Pat Leahy before you pick someone — you know, pretend to be bipartisan, do some consultation, act like a savvy adult. (Oh, who am I kidding?)
By the way, as long as I'm thinking about it, signing statements need some challenge, and now — and respect for the other branches of government needs to be restored because George Bush has overstepped far too frequently. Here's to restoration of checks and balances and respect for the rule of law. Members of Congress might want to start here. Get a warrant as the law requires, or stay out of my mailbox.
While Democrats are implementing their legislative agenda based on what is good for all of America, Republicans are falling back on fear. Again. To wit, from the always ready to give a reporter a quote Newt Gingrich:
Gingrich believes that Vice President Cheney and former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, alumni of the Ford administration and now emblematic of the Bush administration's foreign policy, have changed because the world has changed. "Cheney and Rumsfeld have experienced a different world than Ford experienced and are genuinely frightened, and their policies are born out of this fear," he said. "They just don't know how to communicate to the country."
Yes, if only Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were more Venus and less Mars.
Although that does explain a lot about the recent growth industry of CYA PR firms inside the Beltway. Have to spend all that lobbying contribution money somewhere when you no longer control the legislative largesse, I suppose.