Archive for the ‘legislation’ Category

Congress isn’t waiting for Obama

November 13, 2008

Lawmakers are unveiling plans to expand health coverage and curb global warming. And Democratic leaders have called a lame-duck session next week to discuss an auto industry bailout.
More than two months before he is sworn in, Barack Obama already is facing a Congress busily asserting itself on the timing and details of the president-elect’s agenda, including major issues like healthcare and economic policy.

By Janet Hook, Noam N. Levey and Peter Nicholas
The Los Angeles Times
Committee chairmen are unveiling legislation to expand health insurance coverage and curb global warming. Democratic leaders have called a lame-duck session next week to consider an auto industry bailout. And other economic stimulus measures may be enacted even before Obama is inaugurated.

Read the rest:

Obama’s First Press Conference — Long on Style, Short on Substance

November 8, 2008

Barack Obama was long on style and short on substance today as he hosted his first press conference as president-elect, as perhaps was appropriate. He reminded the audience that George Bush is still president, but signaled to Americans that his administration will not want for talent or diversity by appearing with a bevy of top drawer financial figures. The members of his Transition Economic Advisory Board who joined him on the stage included, among others, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and business leaders such as Eric Schmidt of Google, Dick Parsons of Time Warner and Anne Mulcahy of Xerox.

By Liz Peek
Fox News

US President-elect Barack Obama (C) speaks to the press in Chicago. ... 
US President-elect Barack Obama (C) speaks to the press in Chicago. Obama on Friday said he would act “swiftly” as soon as he takes office to confront the economic crisis head on, during his first news conference since his historic election.(AFP/Stan Honda)

He appeared at first to disappoint investors who may have been hoping that Obama would announce a sterling choice for the key post of Treasury Secretary, or would somehow produce a rabbit out of his hat that would guarantee an economic recovery. The stock market averages were ahead strongly as Obama took the podium, but drew back as he delivered tempered remarks about his programs to help out the middle class and boost growth. As the day came to an end, however, the market came back to post a 2.8% gain.

Not only did he speak against an impressive backdrop of well known financial figures, he also spoke against a backdrop of sobering economic news, including word today that the U.S. lost another 240,000 jobs in October, leading to a year-to-date drop of nearly 1.2 million.

Responding to the worsening employment picture, Mr. Obama outlined his top priorities.

His first aim appears to be the passage of a stimulus program, which he described as “long overdue” and which he suggested would be his top goal as president in the event that the plan does not get passed by the lame duck Congress. He emphasized the need to extend unemployment benefits, aid homeowners, help small businesses navigate the financial crisis, and assist hard-pressed states and local governments. Doubtless mindful of the miserable earnings results and dire cash flow projections reported earlier in the day by General Motors and Ford, Obama also singled out the auto industry as needing assistance –- advocating specifically funding for retooling for the industry as well as considering other possible options.

Otherwise, Obama reached back into his campaign quiver to talk about long-term areas of focus such as clean energy, universal health care, improved education and tax relief for middle class families. He said his team would work to stabilize markets, help homeowners and oversee the implementation of the financial bailout package “without unduly rewarding” managements of those companies receiving assistance.

Read the rest:

Obama: ‘I Will Change The World’

November 2, 2008

With just three days to go he and his opponent John McCain are touring key states in an effort to woo undecided voters.

Senator Obama is still almost seven points ahead in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls, but the gap has narrowed slightly.

Don’t miss these other great pre-election treats:
Is The Maverick a Closer, or a Loser? Is Obama the Messiah? Tuesday We’ll Know!

Obama Says Election ‘Vindicated’ His Faith in America

From Sky News (UK)

At a rally in Henderson, Nevada, he warned his supporters against complacency.

“At this defining moment in history, you can give the country the change we need,” he said.

Sky News’ Michelle Clifford, who was at the rally, said Mr Obama was trying to leave nothing to chance.

“He’ll be using every ounce of his resources to get the vote out,” she said.

At the same time Senator McCain was rallying his followers in Newport Beach, Virginia.

In a usually safe Republican state, which is threatening to go to the Democrats, he asked for help on the home stretch.

He said: “Let me state the obvious again, we need to win Virginia on the 4th of November and with your help we’re going to win and bring real change to Washington.

The campaigning has been tough for both men, but Sky News’ Robert Nisbet, who has been following the McCain bandwagon, says the toll is beginning to show on the older man.

“Being on the road at rally after rally is exhausting and Mr McCain appears to be tired,” he said.

Obama, McCain promise respect for Congress

November 2, 2008

Voters for the first time in almost five decades on Tuesday will send a sitting member of Congress to the White House, with Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both promising to thaw the prickly relationship between the two branches of government.

But congressional experience is no guarantee the next president will have a cozy time with his former colleagues, as both candidates would likely face obstacles on Capitol Hill that could slow or sidetrack their political agendas.

By Sean Lengell
The Washington Times
“With Obama, he was not in the Senate very long, and John McCain is not very well-liked in the Senate, so [their congressional experience] might cut the other way,” said Gene Healy, a vice president at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute and author of the 2008 book “The Cult of the Presidency.”

“I don’t know how much we can read into whether legislative experience at the federal level is going to lead to greater comity” between Capitol Hill and the White House.

With Democrats expected to make significant gains to their House and Senate majorities, a Democratic Obama administration would have a clear mandate to press ahead with his priorities, such as an expansion of government-subsidized health care, other spending programs, and a mix of tax increases and middle-class tax cuts.
Capitol Building Full View.jpg

Read the rest:

Could a President Obama Control a Democratic Congress?

November 1, 2008

“Elections have consequences,” John McCain said during the final presidential debate. It’s his way of saying that certain decisions are the prerogative of a president; if you want them to play out differently, win the White House yourself. Should McCain manage to pull out an improbable victory on Tuesday, however, he may well find out how inconsequential elections can actually be. McCain would almost certainly become the first president in 20 years to enter office with a Congress dominated by a hostile opposition, and the scorn he has earned from formerly sympathetic Democrats during what has been, at times, a small and cynical campaign would make the few miles between the Capitol and the White House feel like the distance separating, say, Juneau, Alaska, and Moscow. Narrowly elected amid the inevitable allegations of fraud and divisiveness, McCain in his first year would stand little chance of passing a proclamation honoring Betsy Ross, much less any meaningful legislation on health care, energy or taxes.

By Matt Bai
The New York Times
November 2, 2008


For Barack Obama, of course, expectations would be significantly higher. In the 40 years since Lyndon Johnson left office, Democrats have spent much of their time and capital defending the programmatic pillars of the New Deal and the Great Society from conservative marauders rather than adding on to that legacy; even Bill Clinton’s signature achievements — welfare reform, the 1994 anti-crime bill, balanced budgets — were in large part about curbing the excesses of 20th-century liberalism. Now, with the Republican revolution in ruins and the global economy not far behind, Democrats in Washington sense an opportunity not simply to retake power but also to do something momentous with it. If Obama puts his hand to a Bible in January, he may well look out on the highest number of Democratic senators and congressmen since Jimmy Carter took office in 1976 — a substantial majority for a president who has promised a slate of expansive new programs.

If recent history is any guide, however, Obama would need more than raw numbers in his favor. Congressional majorities are, in fact, a lot like corporate profits; they exist on paper, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually there when you need them….

Read the rest:

Cheney warns against large cuts in Iraq

March 18, 2008
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday against large U.S. troop cuts that could jeopardize recent security gains in Iraq, as he marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a two-day visit to the country.

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President ...
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in his office in Baghdad March 17, 2008.
(Mohammed Jalil/Pool/Reuters) 

Cheney used words like “phenomenal” and “remarkable turnaround” to describe a drop in violence in Iraq, and he hailed recently passed legislation aimed at keeping Iraq on a democratic path.

“It would be a mistake now to be so eager to draw down the force that we risk putting the outcome in jeopardy, and I don’t think we’ll do that,” Cheney said after spending the day zigzagging through barricades and checkpoints to get to meetings in and out of the heavily guarded Green Zone. He spent the night at a U.S. military base, the second overnight stay in Iraq for the vice president — the highest-ranking official to do so. Reporters accompanying him were not allowed to disclose the location. Last May, Cheney stayed at Camp Speicher, a base near former leader Saddam Hussein‘s hometown and about 100 miles north of Baghdad.

“It is good to be back in Iraq,” Cheney, dressed in a suit and dark cowboy boots, said after his meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “It’s especially significant, I think, to be able to return this week as we mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the campaign that liberated the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, and launched them on the difficult but historic road to democracy.”

Read the rest:

Relevantly, Bush soldiers onward

October 22, 2007

Donald Lambro
The Washington Times
October 22, 2007

George Bush was asked last week whether he had become irrelevant in the decisions of government, a question posed before in previous presidencies.

The suggestion came from a reporter at a White House news conference who must have been out of the country for most of the year — because the president clearly remains a force to be reckoned with in the twilight of his second term.

If the Democrats thought they were going to come charging into power in January and impose their agenda on the Republican minority and the administration, they were sorely mistaken.

Read the rest:

Pandering Pelosi-crats

October 22, 2007

Lead Editorial
The Washington Times
October 22, 2007

With all due respect to the Republican presidential hopefuls who debated last night, perhaps the best argument for keeping the Democrats out of power next November is the brazenly irresponsible way they handle national security issues: behaving as if the major threat to our national well-being is President Bush, not the jihadists, and putting the political agenda of Turkey-bashing ethnic lobbies and the hard left of the Democratic Party ahead of the war effort.

Exhibit number one is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who suffered twin embarrassments last week: In one instance, Democrats, under pressure from left-wing bloggers and the ACLU, tried to bring to the floor legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would have crippled the ability of our intelligence agencies to monitor al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups. They were forced to pull that bill from the floor. In the second instance, a mini-revolt among Democrats forced Mrs. Pelosi to remove from the floor the Armenia genocide resolution that could do grave damage to Washington’s relations with a key NATO ally, Turkey — which is critically important in resupplying the 160,000-plus U.S. troops in Iraq.

Last week we editorialized against both of these irresponsible pieces of legislation….

Read the rest:

House ties Vietnam aid to human rights

September 18, 2007

By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Future increases in U.S. nonhumanitarian aid to Vietnam would be tied to improvements in the Hanoi government’s human rights record under legislation approved by the House Tuesday.

Supporters of the legislation, passed 414-3, said it was in response to Vietnam’s recent crackdown on citizens speaking out for political, religious and human rights.

“Sadly, in recent months, the human rights situation in Vietnam has deteriorated and become substantially worse and a new ugly wave of brutal oppression has been launched by Hanoi,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., sponsor of the legislation.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith (US politician)

Read the rest at:

Related essays:

June 22, 2007
“Of two minds on Vietnam”
The Washington Times

June 26, 2007
“Vietnam: Two sides to Triet’s US visit”
Asia Times

Nguyễn Minh Triết
Nguyễn Minh Triết
Nguyễn Minh Triết and First Lady Trần Thị Kim Chi meet with George W. Bush and Laura Bush at the President’s Palace, November 2006.

Text of announcement from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and a message in Vietnamese from Dr. Thang D. Nguyen, Director, Boat People SOS.