Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why rush legislation?

So the Democrats took Congress. As expected, the lame duck, Republican-controlled 109th Congress is scrambling to get in last-minute judge appointments and legislation. Pelosi has the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress planned out. The rush is on to dazzle voters with fresh ideas and fast action. So, what is it we want to see moving forward? Do we want an end to corruption, as many voters indicated in exit polls? Do we want to see a lot of legislation passed as quickly as possible, catering to every whim on the national radar? I think what we can all agree on is that we need compromise. I’d rather see Congressional leadership take the time to develop majority legislation – something that can bring people together. Sadly, politics has turned to picking battles to fight versus finding solutions and reaching compromise. The Bush administration will most likely sign legislation increasing the minimum wage. Will the same be said for stem cell research. Is that the battle that will be fought? We must put an end to steamrolling legislation through Congress simply because we have a slim majority and begin to develop relationships with those on the other side of the aisle. Voters want to see progress. Voters want to see improvement.

7 comments:

Andrew said...

I agree that a certain amount of compromise would be great. Such as the stem cell debate: if the republicans had compromised with the democrats over the last 12 years there might be many more stem cell lines that had been extracted from blastocysts that could still be kept alive and re-implanted into the womb, therefore not preventing a potential child. I also think, however, that compromise should not always be looked at as necessary. I do not want to see the democrats start moving further towards the center, even if it means the republicans also move closer to the center (which is not too likely anyway). Pelosi has a great line up for the first 100 hours of leadership, specifically slashing student loans, raising the minimum wage, and further investigation suggested by the 9/11 commission report. More of that please! How about increasing taxes to set up more affordable housing? We could try pulling troops out of Iraq to save money enough to pay for better primary and secondary schooling, increase welfare for the parents of needy children, and still have money left over for more research into energy efficiency and disease. It would take far too long for some of that to really be taken care of if we are constantly compromising. Don't get me wrong though, I do believe compromise to be a very good idea theoretically, it just doesn't seem to happen much for the important issues. Oh and lets get rid of that ridiculous bill to set up a fence between the US and Mexico.

Andrew said...

Also, the title of the post is "Why Rush Legislation?" I think the best answer for that question is that the democrats may only have two more years as a majority in order to get something accomplished. Possibly only two more years to really help the people of the US and to help make our image better to the rest of the world.

Ian said...

Would you accept compromise as a step in the right direction if no compromise increases the odds that your original piece of legislation would be vetoed?

jerems said...

I think it would be a mistake to look at our majority as a two year opportunity to pass things before we get kicked out again. I think we should start passing things can win more support from all the moderates and conservatives out there that finally opened their goddamn eyes. the last 6 years has seen little or no restraint on the part of the executive, or the legistlative branches. With the recent appointments of Alito and Roberts, the Judicial could slip away as our last line of defense. I'm not saying that compromise should be something for our principles, but the Democrats could secure their own legacy as an answer to rampant government spending, American Imperialism, the elimination of faith based legislation and government mandates on spending in our schools, and the list goes on and on. At the end of the ride, Republicans have found themselves doubting our path, not because Bush in entering the last two years of his office, and not because their constituents are unhappy, but because they genuinely disagree with policy, and with the direction we are taking. The rhetoric and the allegiance to the party are something that took this administration to a place where few dared to challenge their ideas. That time is over, and few will find themselves preaching so loudly in the face of massive discontentment, and a willingness to accept change. If I thought that the democrats were going to steer this country all the way to the left, I would stop voting. I don't think that the middle of the road is necessarily where we want to travel, but I don't want to be on either shoulder. If we spend the next 2 years sending legislation to Bush that is going to be vetoed, then I think we'd be wasting our time. I am hoping that we will instead spend our time passing laws that minimize the damage that has been done, and unravel the conservative base even further.

Andrew said...

I agree that there needs to be some compromise or nothing will happen but we also have to pass some legislature that liberal democrats can stand behind and say, "look, see, now that wasn't so bad was it? In fact the world is better because of it!" That kind of legislature is not going to be a compromise.

I think Bush will veto some bills and not others but if enough legislature gets pushed and enough of the country supports those ideas then it will not matter if he uses a veto because the senate will be able to override it with a two-thirds vote. Some of those states where a republican senator won by a very small margin will be forced to start accepting more liberal ideas if they want to stick around in six year (assuming democrats can keep up the momentum they have created until 2008). My guess is that Bush will have to let some legislature through that he would like to veto in order to keep his party looking good for 2008.

Andrew said...

Yeah, I'm dumb. Legislation not legislature...

Ian said...

So using that logic, can we predict which pieces of legislation Bush may veto versus which ones he'll pass in order to retain some respect for the Republican base?

Stem cell research? - I think he will fight this.

Raising minimum wage? - Pass

Ending oil subsidies? - Hmm...

Lobbying reform? - Hmm...