Democrats push domestic front

Discussion in 'Politics' started by red states rule, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. red states rule

    red states rule Senior Member

    May 30, 2006
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    Dems know try to work on their falling poll numbers. More pork, more spending, and higher taxes

    Democrats push domestic front

    By: Josephine Hearn
    Jul 29, 2007 12:00 PM EST

    After a spring and early summer dominated by the Iraq war, congressional Democrats are at last pounding out accomplishments on the domestic front, hoping to boost dismal approval ratings for Congress and avoid a “do-nothing” label as they head into the August recess.

    Last week’s achievements in agriculture, lobbying reform and homeland security will give Democrats something positive to bring up with voters during the month-long break. The $286 billion farm bill passed Friday by the House continues popular crop subsidies and provides new funds for nutrition programs.

    The lobbying bill negotiated last week requires news disclosure of fundraising activities while the anti-terrorism bill passed Friday enacts many recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

    A week ago, Democrats had checked off only one item from their “Six in ’06” list of campaign pledges, a minimum-wage hike that became effective Tuesday. Now they stand poised to fulfill a second promise when the president signs the anti-terrorism bill.

    The lobbying reform bill will help check a third box, one devoted to “Honest Leadership and Open Government” and touted by many reform-minded freshmen Democrats.

    The specter of spending a month with constituents often galvanizes lawmakers into fits of productivity; passing many bills before the August recess is common.

    Touching on Pelosi's political leadership

    But this year’s sprint also gives Democrats a better answer to questions about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s political leadership and legislative acumen.

    “The American people are not dissatisfied with the changes we’re bringing about, but they are dissatisfied with the pace,” said Nick Papas, a spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus.

    Hoping to use deadline pressure to their advantage, Democrats crammed an unusually high number of important bills into the final two weeks of July. The week ahead will see another flurry of activity, with plans for Democrats to expand children’s health insurance and pass energy and defense bills.

    Democratic aides said that they had always been working hard on the domestic front but that legislation takes time to work its way through the committee process. The pace of change can be frustrating to the public, but it is an inevitable byproduct of Byzantine congressional procedure, they said.

    After the excitement of regaining the House majority for the first time in 12 years, Democrats have been alarmed to discover that their standing with the public is about the same as what Republicans faced before being booted from power.

    Congressional approval ratings still hover around 25 percent in most polls. Last week, however, Democrats drew political lines they believe will work to their advantage.

    The farm bill, for example, was on-track to be a routine renewal of subsidies until Democrats unexpectedly inserted a tax increase on foreign-owned companies, putting Republicans in the awkward position of choosing between supporting a tax hike or voting against a popular agriculture bill.

    Most chose the latter, exposing themselves to attacks that they opposed farm subsidies, renewable fuels, land conservation efforts and increased aid to fruit and vegetable growers.

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