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The "Worst Congress in History"
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eh, just a throw-away title. Since politicians like to engage in "the worst of" hyperbole, I thought I'd try my hand at it. But it isn't far off.

NRO points to three priorities the Democratic Congress had as they took the majority in '06.
... to end the war in Iraq, cripple this presidency, and pave the way for a Democratic sweep next year.
Now you may disagree with the wording, but essentially that was their agenda. They were going to get us out of Iraq, push legislation which would essentially cripple the president's ability to fight the war on terror and all of that would pave the way for a grand and triumphal Democratic election year sweep in '08.

As NRO notes, they've failed - miserably. As Iraq continues to improve, the leadership is left with empty rhetoric that simply makes them look foolish. And their attempt to cripple the president's WoT powers saw them pass a FISA bill which was pretty much everything the president wanted. Last but not least, given they enjoy the lowest approval rating in the history of Congressional approval ratings and some of their members now seem vulnerable, they've absolutely buggered up the "grand sweep" portion of their goals as well.

And to top it all off, their leaders, both Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, seem in over their heads. So far they've managed to rename a heck of a lot of post-offices, but little else. In fact, as they come back to DC, the president who they were intent on crippling is scolding them for being such slackers:
"The end of 2007 is approaching fast and the new Congress has little to show for it," Bush said in the Rose Garden. "I call on members to use the time left to support our troops, and to protect our citizens, prevent harmful tax increases and responsibly fund our government."
He's setting their remaining agenda and will, thus, take credit for anything they actually pass. And make no mistake about it, they know they need to pass exactly what he's scolding them over. The question is, will they again waste time on funding Iraq, as they have 40 other times this year, and run out of time to do the other things, or will they remove the blinders, acknowledge the progress and move on to other more pressing domestic issues. If they don't there could be hell to pay. For instance:
Congress also must pass a temporary fix to the AMT to prevent 20 million taxpayers from getting hit with tax increases averaging $2,000. House Democrats insist on paying for the AMT fix with revenue increases elsewhere. Republicans have promised to block that approach in the Senate. The common wisdom holds that any AMT fix will ultimately add to the deficit.

Even if the AMT is fixed, Democrats are likely to take a political hit. Delays in addressing the minimum tax are keeping the IRS from preparing tax forms and computer programs for the upcoming filing season, which means million of taxpayers counting on early refunds will be getting them later.
No question who is going to take the heat for their inaction on this.

The agenda is crowded with little time left.
Democrats announced agreement Friday to move ahead with energy legislation that would raise automobile fuel economy standards, increase the use of ethanol as a motor fuel, and boost the use of alternative fuels such as wind and solar technology, by electric utilities. If the bill passes and Bush signs it, the energy reforms would join a slender roster of Democratic accomplishments, including a minimum wage increase and increases in college aid.

Other items on a crowded December agenda include:

_Terrorist surveillance. The Senate could vote as early as this week to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which dictates when the government must obtain court permission to conduct electronic eavesdropping.

_Farm bill. The Senate hopes to finish a bipartisan bill extending farm subsidies and food programs after the legislation bogged down over GOP attempts to add unrelated tax provisions.

_Children's health care. Negotiations should continue on legislation to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years.
Congress is going to have to move quickly on these issues to throw off the "do-nothing" label and create any positive momentum going into '08. But as time grows shorter and with the slight majority in the Senate, the leverage moves to the administration's side of the ledger. And given their performance to date, we all know how that will turn out.

As NRO says:
For a lame duck, President Bush has run rings around the Congress.
I have to wonder if Pelosi and Reid are as inclined to toss around the word "incompetence" as they once were.
 
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Delays in addressing the minimum tax are keeping .. the parents of college bound students from filling out their federal financial aid forms, which is going to make them hopping mad.


Not to mention that these clowns still don’t have the budget appropriated.

Calling them a "do-nothing" Congress is a front to previous "do-nothing" Congresses.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner yesterday achieved a definitive victory in his decadelong fight with a leading liberal Democrat who leaked an illegally taped 1996 telephone conversation among House Republican leaders.
The Supreme Court yesterday let stand a lower federal court’s ruling that Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington had wrongfully leaked the tape to two newspapers, contrary to House rules, and that Mr. Boehner could sue him for damages.
The House Ethics Committee can now finish work on one of the longest ethnics cases in it’s history. Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington joins Rep. "Icebox" Jefferson in Pelosi’s Hall of Shame.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
... to end the war in Iraq, cripple this presidency, and pave the way for a Democratic sweep next year.
In bold is the only thing they ever REALLY cared about anyway. They quickly tumbled to the fact that doing #1 and 2 would pretty much rule out any chance of #3
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Do you really believe this stuff you write? You do understand things like vetoes and filibusters, don’t you?

You think the Democrats are headed for a major political hit in 2008? You think it’s a ’given’ who voters are going to blame for the Republican Senate demanding additional tax cuts as a prerequisite for passing an AMT fix?

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I knew you’d have to respond to this and I also knew it would end up being all the other guy’s fault.
You do understand things like vetoes and filibusters, don’t you?
Do you understand things like agendas and repeated (at last count I believe it was around 40) failed attempts to pass legislation to submarine Iraq? Or passing legislation they know will be vetoed and the veto sustained?

That’s why there’s no time left for anything else. That’s called poor management, especially with the congress that promised "bi-partisanship" and "compromise".

What has that to do with vetoes and filibusters?
You think the Democrats are headed for a major political hit in 2008?
Who said that? At most what I implied is their rosy predictions won’t work out quite the way they think they will and I think that can be directly tied to their performance in Congress.
You think it’s a ’given’ who voters are going to blame for the Republican Senate demanding additional tax cuts as a prerequisite for passing an AMT fix?
Well seeing that the Democratic Congress hasn’t even offered legislation yet and the IRS deadline has already passed, yes, who do you think will get the blame?

As I recall, when the Democratic minority screwed up Republican Senate plans, it wasn’t the Dems who caught the flak.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As I recall, when the Democratic minority screwed up Republican Senate plans, it wasn’t the Dems who caught the flak.

Hmmmmm. I guess this depends on what you mean by "flak". There was a lot of abuse in column inches, but you could argue that it paid off at the polls.
But i think it’s a fairly sketchy argument. I can’t think of anything that the Democrats actually successfully obstructed, except Social Security "reform".

Maybe my memory escapes me and you have a longer list.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Here’s another item for your list...

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7162.html
Having made a five-day congressional workweek de rigueur for much of the year, House Democrats are planning an easier schedule for next year.

A 2008 calendar distributed to congressional offices Monday shows the House holding five-day weeks only three times next year, exposing Democrats to charges that they are backing away from a pledge to work harder than Republicans did when they ruled the House.
I guess getting nothing accomplished is hard work for them...

Or are they just planning on campaigning for most of the year.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Judicial nominations, Iraq funding, S-Chip funding, etc etc etc.
 
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