Congressional Reform

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I think the US could use a viable third party, or viable Independent candidates.
I think the status quo has a monopoly on viability.
 
Astronuc
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Dodd's political stock tumbles

Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090320/ap_on_go_co/dodd_on_thin_ice [Broken]

WASHINGTON – Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.

As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.

A recent poll showed former Rep. Rob Simmons running about even with Dodd, a former national Democratic Party chairman.

As head of the banking panel, Dodd, 64, has become a convenient target for voter anger over the economic crisis.

"The fact that we have been beaten up, beaten around the head for the last eight or nine months on a regular basis has contributed to it as well," Dodd said.

Some of the worst blows came amid the furor over $165 million in bonuses American International Group Inc. paid some of its employees while receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money. After first denying it, Dodd admitted he agreed to a request by Treasury Department officials to dilute an executive bonus restriction in the big economic stimulus bill that Congress passed last month. The change to Dodd's amendment allowed AIG to hand out the bonuses and sparked a blame game between Dodd and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Dodd was guarded Thursday when asked about Geithner.

"This is obviously a matter that obviously should have been dealt with differently, but we are where we are," he said.

Republicans branded Dodd's reversal "astonishing and alarming" and fingered Dodd as the top recipient of campaign cash from AIG employees over the years.

The GOP is slamming Dodd, claiming he is cozying up to Wall Street insiders, raking in bundles of their campaign cash, shirking his banking panel duties and running for president as the economic crisis erupted in 2007.

He's also under investigation by a Senate ethics panel for mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial Corp., the big lending company at the center of the mortgage crisis.

. . . .
I expect he'll get challenged in the primary when he's up next. I think it's time he retires or resigns.
 
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107
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When the debate in Congress turns to a Bill of Attainder...it's time to start publishing the Constitution in a few times per week in USA Today.
 
Astronuc
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Where's the change?

Obama’s Pledge on Donations Faces Reality
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/19/us/politics/19obama.html

WASHINGTON — When President Obama arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for a fund-raising reception on Thursday night, the new White House rules of political purity were in order: no lobbyists allowed.
OK.

But at the same downtown hotel on Friday morning, registered lobbyists have not only been invited to attend an issues conference with Democratic leaders, but they have also been asked to come with a $5,000 check in hand if they want to stay in good favor with the party’s House and Senate re-election committees.

The practicality of Mr. Obama’s pledge to change the ways of Washington is colliding once more with the reality of how money, influence and governance interact here. He repeatedly declared while campaigning last year that he would “not take a dime” from lobbyists or political action committees.

So to follow through with that promise, Mr. Obama is simply leaving the room.

For the first time in eight years, Democrats have a president of their own to preside over their political fund-raising activities. And Mr. Obama’s rules have hardly stopped the bustling intersection of money and politics. Not only are members of Congress already engaged in their next races, but legislative battles over health care, energy and financial regulation have also put a premium on access and influence for many lobbyists and their clients.
. . . .
Hmmmm. ????
 
Gokul43201
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While Obama has some political sway over his party, he has no legal authority over any member of Congress. He can only legally control the influence of lobbyists over the White House. And he's doing that. Shutting down the influence of lobbying on Congress is a lot more tricky task.

Or to pose this as a question: how could a President attempt to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress?
 
Astronuc
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Re: Congressional Reform - Vote 2010

In Nevada, It’s Hold Nose and Cast Vote
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/us/politics/30nevada.html

I think the deck is stack against us.

. . . .
The man said that he knew Mr. Reid, and that Mr. Reid was an idiot. So was his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. In fact, said the man, . . . , he might very well choose a third option here in Nevada: the phantom candidate known as None of the Above.
. . . .
:rolleyes: :uhh:

If that's not bad enough - As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/us/politics/29schumer.html

Ugh!
 
Astronuc
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Pelosi, Among Others, Could Exit if Dems Lose House
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599202821200 [Broken]

As Nancy Pelosi goes, so might a generation of her colleagues.
Sooner than later is preferable.
 
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Or to pose this as a question: how could a President attempt to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress?
Good question!

A President can call for legislation to meet a need. SCOTUS recently ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens when it comes to Congressional access. Given their often vast, deep pockets, corporate desires could easily eclipse the needs of private citizens. Ours is a government of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporation.

I submit if Obama was concerned about how to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress, he would call for legislation or a Constitutional Amendment banning all lobbying except that conducted by private citizens.
 
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Good question!

A President can call for legislation to meet a need. SCOTUS recently ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens when it comes to Congressional access. Given their often vast, deep pockets, corporate desires could easily eclipse the needs of private citizens. Ours is a government of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporation.

I submit if Obama was concerned about how to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress, he would call for legislation or a Constitutional Amendment banning all lobbying except that conducted by private citizens.
Of course. The only conclusion is that Obama, like virtually every other politician, has been bought and paid for. He's a tool of Big Money. People can of course change this, but not if they keep voting for Republicans and Democrats.
 
CRGreathouse
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I submit if Obama was concerned about how to curb the influence of lobbyists over Congress, he would call for legislation or a Constitutional Amendment banning all lobbying except that conducted by private citizens.
I wonder if this might favor the rich, since a wealthy person could lobby effectively on their own behalf but nonrich persons might need to work collectively. What do you think?
 
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I wonder if this might favor the rich, since a wealthy person could lobby effectively on their own behalf but nonrich persons might need to work collectively. What do you think?
It appears to me that organized labor has adequate access to this President.
 
mheslep
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Pelosi, Among Others, Could Exit if Dems Lose House
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599202821200 [Broken]

As Nancy Pelosi goes, so might a generation of her colleagues.
Sooner than later is preferable.
Many of the recently wrecked Democrats in the House agree. See this letter they just collectively penned. I can't recall seeing anything like it. Prediction: she's so utterly disconnected she won't move an inch.

Letter from Defeated Members:

Many of us want the chance to run again and reclaim the seats that we lost on Tuesday. With you as the leader of House Democrats, the hangover of 2010 stands no chance of subsiding. Many of us have run our last race but remain committed to our party; we want to help recruit successful candidates to run in our stead. Unfortunately, we fear that Republicans will further demonize you, and in so doing they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.

This is a difficult letter to write, because we admire your commitment, your drive, and your conviction. You have been an historic figure in our great nation, and for that we are all proud, as should you be. Nonetheless, we each experienced how Republican demonization of you and your leadership contributed to our defeat.

It is impossible not to judge the results of November 2nd as anything but a profound loss. We want to recover. Recovery of our majority in the House necessitates new leadership at the top of our party. We believe that you can and will play an extraordinary role in our party, and it is extremely unfortunate that Republicans have taken away your ability to lead as effectively as you are able. Nonetheless, one mark of a strong leader is the ability to discern when it is time to pass the baton. As defeated members, whose party needs to rebuild, we are counting on you to show the strength of your leadership in this dark hour. We ask that you step aside as leader of our party in the House.

With utmost respect, we are..
http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/08/fox-exclusive-defeated-democrats-pen-letter-implore-pelosi-step-aside
 
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turbo
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Many of the recently wrecked Democrats in the House agree. See this letter they just collectively penned. I can't recall seeing anything like it. Prediction: she's so utterly disconnected she won't move an inch.
I find it interesting that FOX ran with this a day ago, and I can't find a real news service that has picked it up, though it's all over the right-wing blogs. Surely ABC, NBC and CBS have high-placed congressional contacts. Who is FOX's contact? Andrew Breitbart?

Not a single defeated Congressman has been identified, which is also pretty rare in the leaky House. Smells like a plant to me.
 
Astronuc
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I frankly don't see any sign of reform, although I have heard that Boehner wants to relax House rules and allow for open debate. That would be good.

But I'm concerned about the pattern that one party gets a majority in the House and the other party gets shut out of the deliberations. Both party are acting in a partisan manner that as far as I can see harms the ability of government to serve the people.

My other concern is that congress doesn't check the president. The president is considered the head of the party, campaigns for the party, and then expects support from the party if the same party controls congress. Then there is essentially no checks or balances.

We have a significant accumulation of debt, and chronic deficits now running at about 10% of the GDP, compared to growth rates of 2-3%/annum, and these guys talk about cutting earmarks, which account for ~$60 billion in a recent year. That leaves about $1.4 trillion or $1400 billion to go - just on the deficit.

I heard this afternoon one congressman talking about cutting federal expenditures by $350 billion over 10 years! That's peanuts - unless he means cutting $350 billion each year for ten years. To get anywhere near a balanced budget, congress has to cut by $1 trillion / yr - or ~7% of the GDP.

If the dollar decreases in value to further trade, more dollars flow out of the country to purchase oil. I don't see where the US is simply going to double exports, because various other countries want to produce and export themselves. Exports might increase a few percent - maybe in the 10-20% range - but that might be optimisitic.

It's mindbogglingly surreal.
 
turbo
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Many candidates ran on "reform", but what will change? Rand Paul has already backtracked on his "no earmarks" pledge, and it has only been a week since the election.

In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad "symbol" of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it's doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he says.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704353504575596591626268782.html
 
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We need deep surgical cuts to spending in every area - and fast. Any legislation that will artificially inflate prices (cap and trade) needs to be shot down.
 
CRGreathouse
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It appears to me that organized labor has adequate access to this President.
Hopefully legislation would look beyond the next six years. (OK, I guess that's too much to hope for...)
 
CRGreathouse
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We need deep surgical cuts to spending in every area - and fast. Any legislation that will artificially inflate prices (cap and trade) needs to be shot down.
Would you elaborate on "surgical" (usually this would mean the opposite of deep) and "artificially" (so I understand what other things you're claiming to oppose)?
 
mheslep
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I find it interesting that FOX ran with this a day ago, and I can't find a real news service that has picked it up, though it's all over the right-wing blogs. Surely ABC, NBC and CBS have high-placed congressional contacts. Not a single defeated Congressman has been identified, which is also pretty rare in the leaky House.
Because no one has signed it yet, as the article said.

Fox said:
The letter is now circulating Capitol Hill and has not yet been sent to the Speaker. FOX has obtained draft language of the letter.
[...]
Unclear who exactly will sign it and when it will go to the Speaker
 
mheslep
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An earmark ban would be a huge reform, or nothing garners the label reform! Earmark bans have never been about reducing the deficit in themselves. The point is that banning earmarks enable the fiscal discipline needed to do the real work of cutting larger programs. Earmarks are the candy that allows Congressional leadership or the Whitehouse to keep large programs growing wildly: "vote for another 10% increase in the overall budget Congressman, and we will allow your lobster museum earmark."

After that, some of "these guys" have detailed plans for serious spending cuts.
[PLAIN]http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/UploadedPhotos/mediumresolution/8f5bcf47-4d84-40a9-b2a0-2cf8ef57066e.jpg [Broken]
http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/plan/summary.htm [Broken]
http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/plan/#appendix2 [Broken]
 
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turbo
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It's one thing to introduce an amendment, and another entirely to get it approved, then wait decades for the states to ratify it. He knows that, but when you're grandstanding for the unwashed mass the sound-bite is enough.

BTW, have you found a reputable news organization that has picked up on FOX's draft letter? I just checked ABC, CBS, and NBC (including MSNBC) and found nothing. Apparently, only FOX has access to Democratic congressmen and their staffs - or mainstream media are conspiring to keep the letter quiet. Some blue-dog Democrats have asked Pelosi to step down recently, so they certainly wouldn't mind having their names associated with FOX's letter, if it were true.
 
mheslep
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It's one thing to introduce an amendment, and another entirely to get it approved, then wait decades for the states to ratify it. He knows that, but when you're grandstanding for the unwashed mass the sound-bite is enough.
I see that stance nicely allows you to i) continue saying nobody is reforming anything, despite what they say they plan to do before taking office or even after introducing a bill/amendment, and ii) remain perched loftily above the 'unwashed mass'.

BTW, have you found a reputable news organization that has picked up on FOX's draft letter? I just checked ABC, CBS, and NBC (including MSNBC) and found nothing. Apparently, only FOX has ....
Yes I get it.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/11/report-defeated-dems-writing-l.html
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44753.html
 

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