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Redefining "Do Nothing Congress"
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You know I was going to dress up tonight as a "Do Nothing Congress" but I have to admit my imagination failed me and so I'm simply going to go as old man instead.

But I think David Karki succeeds in succinctly stating why this present Congress is getting panned by both sides of the ideological spectrum:
Congress under Democratic leadership has reduced our legislative branch to little more than a philosophical question, so little has it accomplished in a year. They have passed none of the budget bills the federal government needs to operate, and wasted much time with multiple Iraq withdrawal and S-CHIP bills that they know will get vetoed, just to create issues for the 2008 elections and to curry favor with their lunatic base. They are on a pace to write the fewest new laws in 35 years, since the height of Watergate when President Nixon and a Democratic Congress were bitterly at odds.
As an official proponent of mixed government and gridlock, I, naturally give this Congress much higher marks than the ordinary Democratic or Republican citizen. Say an 11 at least, uh, out of 100. I mean, come on, even as a do-nothing Congress, they're pretty pathetic.

And as predicted:
They have also launched over 300 investigations of the Bush Administration, yet haven't managed to show a single incident of wrong-doing. Compare this to the Clinton Administration, where a single investigation may well show over 300 incidents of wrong-doing.
OK the last bit may be stretching it a little, but we are certainly in the middle of an investigation cycle from hell, that's for sure. Unfortunately, much like the legislation they promised to produce, Democrats have produced very little with their investigations. But that too was predicted. Disagreeing with someone doesn't necessarily mean they're doing illegal or immoral things.

And speaking of legislation, the current Democratic leadership seems to think activity equals accomplishment:
At the same time, the House has already set a record with 1,009 recorded votes this year. But only 107 of those have actually become law, with 58 involving such no-impact items as naming buildings and extensions of current law. Speaker Pelosi apparently thinks House members are to function like 435 hamsters on little wheels, running like mad and yet going absolutely nowhere.
Amazing. And apparently they're now so frustrated that they're ready to do what they claimed they'd never do - take away the minority's legislative rights.
Democrats Again Look to Change GOP Motions

After Defeats, Leaders Studying Ways to Neuter Republicans’ Motions to Recommit

Exasperated over Republicans’ continued efforts — and occasional success — in thwarting the House floor schedule, Democratic leaders acknowledged Tuesday they are reviewing the chamber’s rules to determine how to curb the minority’s ability to put up roadblocks at critical moments in the legislative process.
In case you're not familiar with the "motion to recommit", it is the minority’s one, final chance to amend legislation before it is advanced out of the House. In the 110th Congress, 21 Republican motions to recommit have been adopted by the House this year. And thats even as Democrats have advanced more than double the number of bills under closed rules than Republicans did last Congress. Now they want to close the rules on all bills.

Check out the votes on the 21 amendments they passed:
3/7/07 – Water Quality Investment Act (Passed 425-0) – Prohibits the use of funds to lobby or retain a lobbyist.

3/8/07 – To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to extend the pilot program for alternative water source projects (Passed 427-0) – Prohibits the use of funds to lobby or retain a lobbyist.

3/9/07 – Water Quality Financing Act (Passed 359-56) – Prohibits convicted felons from being issued transportation security card.

3/14/07 – Whistleblower Protection Act (Passed 426-0) – Protects federal employees from retaliation for the exercise and expression of religion in the workplace.

3/15/07 – Accountability in Contracting Act (Passed 309-114) – Bars federal agencies from awarding contracts to colleges and universities that prohibit on-campus military recruitment.

3/21/07 – Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act (Passed 249-176) – Prohibits public housing for individuals convicted of drug dealing, sex, domestic violence, or gang crimes and gives public housing priority to working individuals.

3/27/07 – Rail and Public Transportation Security Act (Passed 304-121) – Grants immunity from civil liability to persons that report potential threats to transportation security.

4/24/07 – To authorize science scholarships for educating mathematics and science teachers, and for other purposes (Passed 408-4) – Affirmed the authority of state and local school boards to determine curricula.

4/24/07 – Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act (Passed 264-154) – Gives priority to grants to expand domestic energy use and production through coal-to-liquids and advanced nuclear reprocessing.

5/9/07 – Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act (Passed 264-160) – Establishes an automated system to screen persons entering or departing the U.S.

5/17/07 – National Defense Authorization Act (Passed 394-30) – Adds $205 million to the missile defense program budget.

5/24/07 – Lobbying Transparency Act (Passed 228-192) – Added PACs to the list of entities required to disclose their bundling.

5/24/07 – Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (Passed 346-71) – Bans state and local lobbying gifts, bundling, recusal for reverse revolving door, and disclosure of earmark lobbying.

6/6/07 – Afghanistan Freedom and Security Support Act (Passed 345-71) – Ensures that nothing in the act may limit U.S. response to an Iranian attack on the U.S. or Afghanistan in Afghanistan.

7/12/07 – Section 8 Voucher Reform Act (Passed 233-186) – Denied Section 8 voucher assistance to illegal immigrants.

9/26/07 – Making continuing appropriations for FY08 (Passed 341-79) – Honors General Petraeus and our Armed Forces and condemns’s personal attacks impugning the integrity of General Petraeus.

10/3/07 – Improving Government Accountability Act (Passed 274-144) – Limits the size of the Federal government by ensuring that taxpayers’ money is not being wasted on unnecessary programs.

10/4/07 – MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act (Passed 342-75) – Clarifies that nothing in the bill shall impact any currently permissible intelligence activities.

10/16/07 – Free Flow of Information Act (Passed 388-33) – Gives clearance to courts to consider potential harm from information disclosure on national security.

10/23/07 – Virginia Ridge and Valley Act (Passed 236-178) – Permits the use of motorized vehicles in wilderness lands for rescue personnel.

10/24/07 – Celebrating America’s Heritage Act (Passed 344-71) – Solidifies states’ rights to establish their own regulations on hunting and gun use in national heritage areas.
Seems, at least to me, that the vast majority of the members of Congress, if the votes are any indicator, found these amendments to have merit.

So you have to ask, given that fact, why, all of a sudden, the House leadership wants to restrict minority's ability to substantively amend legislation on the House floor through motions to recommit – rights have not been revised since 1822? Especially when Nancy Pelosi was so adamant about the maintenance of minority rights in the House and bi-partisanship.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

10/3/07 - Improving Government Accountability Act (Passed 274-144) - Limits the size of the Federal government by ensuring that taxpayers’ money is not being wasted on unnecessary programs.
You sure they passed that one?
Written By: James O
URL: http://
James, I guess "unnecessary" is in the eye of the beholder.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Hey, can we just recycle all those Reid-Pelosi-Kos-NYT bromides about the sacred rights of the minority, etc. that we endured under the tyranny of a GOP congress?

Maybe if Hillary gets elected, the GOP Senate minority can replicate that special closed session stunt Reid pulled on Bush.

Payback, she’s a real you know what
Written By: shark
URL: http://
’twould be nice, shark, but the Senate Republicans don’t have the guts to do it.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Yeah, they wouldn’t want to do the adult thing and COMPROMISE. Nope, they’d loose votes at home and funding for their campaigns for budging an inch to the Republicans.
Written By: Keith_Indy
Pelosi and Reid are the worst. What a bunch of blowhards.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"Democrats are ready to lead, prepared to govern and absolutely willing to work in a bipartisan way." Pelosi Nov 9, 2006
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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