First 30 days

The first month is up for the 112th Congress that the Republicans hold sway over. The Democrats were turfed out because they were seen as ineffective, out-of-touch, and a range of expletives that I’m not likely to share. When the Democrats took control of the House as a majority with the 110th Congress, they had a different first 30 days. I would like to share with you both sides’ track records, comparing their first months.

We’ll start with the Republicans:

  • Bills/acts passed:
    • Passed the ‘Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act’ (officially known as … HR 2: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act). This would repeal new laws that allowed parents to keep children on their health plans until the age of 26, barred insurers from denying service due to preexisting conditions, expanded Medicaid funding, and extended coverage to some 30 million uninsured Americans by 2019.
      • Result: Not signed into law, will never be signed into law
    • Passed the ‘Stop The OverPrinting Act’. The bill eliminated the requirement of a hard copy of every bill and resolution introduced and made items available online instead. This was such a devisive issue that the vote ended up being 399 to 0.
      • Result: Not signed into law yet, probably will be. Who really cares?
    • Passed a measure to end public financing for presidential campaigns, which would suspend a 35-year-old program that diverted $3 of a taxpayers’ declaration to a general fund in the Treasury when filing taxes, without reducing the refund.
      • Result: Not signed into law, won’t become law while Democrats hold the Senate and the White House
  • Motions, etc., made on the floor:
    • Republicans read the entire Constitution on the House floor, including sections that didn’t make it into the final vote and sections about slavery.
    • Passed a resolution calling for spending cuts. This didn’t actually cut money from anything (thus why it is called a budgetless resolution), and simply said that funding needed to be reduce from “non-security” areas. Republicans brought to the floor a one-page resolution that threatened to cut thousands of government programs, while offering no numbers or specifics on what or how much would be cut.
  • Important votes lost:
  • Failed to reauthorise parts of ‘The Patriot Act’. Republicans were seven votes shy of passing the bill (with 26 Republicans voting ‘no’) which would have kept three measures used by law enforcement and intelligence officials in place.
  • Results:
    • 11 days, 62 hours, and 5 minutes of its first month in session (a pre-determined amount of time) inclusive of reading the Constitution
    • A potential $200 billion increase to the federal deficit (with health repeal)
    • A potential saving of $617 million over 10 years (due to the public finance measure)
    • Saving of a mountain of paper (due to the OverPrinting Act)
    • Reduced powers for law enforcement officials (due to the failed Patriot Act vote)
    • Forced presidential campaigns to rely on big corporate donors instead of public funds
    • Reminder about the 3/5ths value of slaves

I’ll leave it to you as to whether this is a successful first 30 days or not. But to give you a fuller picture, here’s what the Democrats achieved in 2007:

  • Bills/acts passed:
    • Passed a bill enacting recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which implemented the national security recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission.
      • Result: Signed into law by President Bush
    • Passed the ‘Fair Minimum Wage Act’, which increased the minimum wage (from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour) for the first time in a decade for 13 million American workers by ammending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
      • Result: Signed into law on May 25, 2007 by President Bush
    • Passed the ‘Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act’, which would expand research into stem cell therapies for diseases cures.
      • Result: President Bush vetoed the bill on June 19 and it was not enacted into law.
    • Passed the ‘Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act’, which would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and people with disabilities (23 million plus of them). Medicare would be forced to leverage it’s bargaining power to buy prescription drugs at bulk prices and pass the savings on to citizens.
      • Result: Failed to pass through the Senate, 55-42
    • Passed the ‘College Student Relief Act‘, which would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by cutting student loan interest rates in half.
      • Result: Died with the 110th Congress after being buried in the Senate and is awaiting reintroduction
    • Passed the ‘Energy Independence And Security Act’, would make America more energy independent, fight global warming through a reinvestment in renewable energy resources, and rolled back multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies.
      • Result: An ammended version passed the Senate, and was signed into law on June 21, 2007 by President Bush
  • Important votes lost:
    • None
  • Results:
    • A damn successful Congress

I think we know whereAmerica isheaded for the next two years with this Republican leadership.

Thisalso might go some ways to explaining my frustration with the Senate of the 111th Congress (they got more passed without 60 votes in the Senate and with a Republican president in the 110th) and Harry Reid.

Thomas.

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2 thoughts on “First 30 days

  1. Every time I skip over to read your blog and see this headline I am disappointed that it is not about your first 30 days of the teaching year – even though, of course, they are yet to accrue.

    Give us a taste of it! There must be something you can say which is compatible with the necessary discretion.

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