The 114th Congress (spanning 2015-2017)

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  • #1
Astronuc
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What to expect from the next (114th) US Congress?

Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr., the senior United States Senator from Kentucky, will ostensibly be the next Senate majority leader.

Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone
http://news.yahoo.com/speaker-boehn...one-repeal-obamacare-183414059--business.html


Boehner warns Obama on immigration
http://news.yahoo.com/gop-charge-eager-move-keystone-xl-taxes-080430850--politics.html [Broken]


Edit: GOP's midterm rout shapes 2016 presidential race (Nov 9, 2014)
http://news.yahoo.com/gops-midterm-rout-shapes-2016-presidential-race-133052110--election.html [Broken]
 
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  • #2
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Same ol', same ol'. The GOP has had a four year majority in the house and lacked the guts to refuse advances on next century's allowance ("Here's your appropriation. Take it or leave it." Let the spoiled brats in the senate and wh hold their breaths and turn blue). One spoiled brat, or sixty, they're going to cave in.
 
  • #3
mheslep
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Same ol', same ol'. The GOP has had a four year majority in the house and lacked the guts to refuse advances on next century's allowance ("Here's your appropriation. Take it or leave it." Let the spoiled brats in the senate and wh hold their breaths and turn blue). ...
How long should the government have been allowed to remain shutdown? Entitlement checks, military pay, etc, threatened? When has there ever been such a victory in the House alone?
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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My hopes:
1. Redux of Newt's Contract with America.

2. Obama's need for a new AG causes his legislating from the Oval Office to blow up in his face. Sample question for the prospective new AG: Do you see your oath as requiring you to enforce the law/Constitution or are you just going to do whatever Obama tells you to even if it is illegal or fails to enforce the law?

The combination of the two may force Obama to negiotiate with Congress.
 
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  • #5
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How long should the government have been allowed to remain shutdown? Entitlement checks, military pay, etc, threatened? When has there ever been such a victory in the House alone?

If senate and wh choose to hold appropriation for "necessary" items hostage forever, leave it shut down forever --- it ain't working well enough to be worth saving. Gruber has allegedly described the American public as too stupid to figure out who's gaming them --- might have been a surprise or two for wh and 112th and 113th congresses had GOP had the guts. They didn't, they don't, and they ain't gonna have. The spoiled three year old brat is going to continue filling his diapers for the next two years, and the 114th is going to continue changing them for him.
 
  • #6
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Immigration, Keystone top first day of lame duck
http://news.yahoo.com/keystone-immigration-top-first-day-lame-duck-081857300--politics.html [Broken]

Hopefully, they'll start passing budgets rather than continuing resolutions.

Preventing a government shutdown is a top priority of GOP leaders like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell said the other big items for the lame-duck Congress are renewing expired tax breaks for businesses and individuals, more money to fight Ebola and renewing Obama's authority to arm and train opposition to Islamic State militants in Syria, which expires next month.
 
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  • #7
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Republicans weigh government shutdown to stop Obama on immigration
http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-w...op-obama-immigration-183713034--business.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One Republican leader on Sunday held open the possibility that his party could move to shut down the government in an attempt to stop President Barack Obama from taking executive action on immigration policy.

A vocal group of conservatives in the House of Representatives is pressing to use government funding as leverage to prevent any White House moves that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the United States.
. . . .
 
  • #9
Astronuc
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I guess most of this is noise/posturing at the moment.

It will make for an interesting SOU address in January.
 
  • #11
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(snip)
Can Mitch McConnell keep his ‘No government shutdowns’ promise?

It's not a veto-proof congress --- and the white house talk has been all about fighting congress every step of the way for the next two years. Look for lots of foot-dragging, name calling, buck passing, fault finding, blame-games and continuing resolutions.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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And more lawsuits.
 
  • #13
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I had that debate with my lab mates at school; some of them claimed that the GOP taking control of the Senate will make a turn for the worse for American scientific policy, while others claimed that the House has the largest share of responsibility because they have the primary fiscal responsibilities in Congress. Yet, with Senate approval necessary for the appointment of the leadership of the grant-awarding agencies, the Senate can wield its power of filibuster to effect change upon them.

As it stands now, I would say that the United States have been better with respect to scientific policy than Canada has been of late, hence why I ruled out earning a PhD in a Canadian university.

So which chamber of Congress actually plays the greater role in scientific policy?
 
  • #15
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I knew that gridlock happened because of how partisan are Congressmen in general (both House members and Senators) when each chamber is controlled by different parties, but, two months from now, the Senate will be under Republican control, with a Republican-dominated House. However, Congressional role goes far beyond appropriations.

Even so, do you expect the Republicans in the Senate to actually enable additional damage to scientific policy?
 
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  • #16
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Even so, do you expect the Republicans in the Senate to actually enable additional damage to scientific policy?

What "scientific policy?" Beyond the tattered remains of Vannevar Bush's legacy, there hasn't really been any policy other than willy-nilly reaction to "shortage of engineers," or, "public school performance on standardized tests plummets relative to third world," or "proof that Reagan's SDI will never work at 100% efficiency," and of course the climate issue, energy shortage, fossil vs. renewable question.

"Democrats are rational, analytical, disciplined, innovative investigators of all things scientific, and republicans are primitive, reactionary, flat-earthers" clinging to old-fashioned, dusty, obsolete ideas." Oh, well, back to the divining rod, pi = 3, and climax ecosystems.
 
  • #17
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I knew that gridlock happened because of how partisan are Congressmen in general (both House members and Senators) when each chamber is controlled by different parties, but, two months from now, the Senate will be under Republican control, with a Republican-dominated House. However, Congressional role goes far beyond appropriations.

Even so, do you expect the Republicans in the Senate to actually enable additional damage to scientific policy?
That's a leading question. From my vantage point, both parties are culpable, or rather, the individuals/persons involved are culpable for the current situation. Certainly, there are Congresspersons who favor scientists and academic institutions in their own districts/states or even alma maters.

The administration also sets 'policy' as the various departments fall under the administration's purview.

Scientific research is discretionary, and beyond the ideological conflicts, there is the practical matter that the government is experiencing a chronic deficit and cumulative and increasing debt.
 
  • #18
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As someone who is often at the mercy of federal funding, I do not see that much of a difference between Democrats and traditional Republicans. There have always been bipartisan support for science funding (at least, most of science), which, if you look at it carefully, is what it is all about.

What I do have a problem with is the indiscriminate slash-and-burn cuts to funding without regard to not only the importance, but also to the consequences well beyond the area being affected. In other words, I have strong words that I can't use in this forum towards Tea Party philosophy. The sequestration, the government shutdown, and the perpetual continuing resolution when the politicians can't come up with a budget on time, have done more to mess up science (and other parts of the government) than any kind of "science policy" that they can set!

Zz.
 
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  • #19
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But are the new Republican senators that will take office in 2 months moderate (e.g. traditional) or Tea Partiers?
 
  • #20
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strong words that I can't use in this forum towards Tea Party philosophy.

Can you give us a quick thumbnail sketch of "Tea Party philosophy?" Or a comparison to William Proxmire as better or worse? It's not something I've even bothered to notice, and the comparisons to "Zombie Apocalypse" or "return to Olduvai" that are current among the liberals in my social circle completely baffle me. Hitler had Mein Kampf, and the red peril had its Communist Manifesto, and ISI/LS has Bagdadhi's rantings and ravings, and the Tea Party has ??? saying ???
 
  • #21
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Can you give us a quick thumbnail sketch of "Tea Party philosophy?" Or a comparison to William Proxmire as better or worse? It's not something I've even bothered to notice, and the comparisons to "Zombie Apocalypse" or "return to Olduvai" that are current among the liberals in my social circle completely baffle me. Hitler had Mein Kampf, and the red peril had its Communist Manifesto, and ISI/LS has Bagdadhi's rantings and ravings, and the Tea Party has ??? saying ???

http://www.teapartypatriots.org/debt-free-future/ [Broken]

Zz.
 
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  • #22
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"Will you join with us in calling for the repeal of the 16th Amendment?
The amendment, which went into effect in 1913, gives the federal government power to levy an income tax. Yet the Internal Revenue Service has time and time again, abused that power to harass law-abiding citizens with opposing political beliefs – including Tea Party Patriots."

Okay, repeal of the 16th is "off the wall," Quixotic, unrealistic, non-constructive. 17T$ debt is "off the wall," and a cry to Suzy Ormand for help.

Back to science policy/funding --- I didn't read every word in the link, but I didn't see any call to take axes to anything; a suggestion of 1%/annum across the board budget reduction, and that might cover the expense of debt service costs in 10 years time. Shades of Mao's "five year plan of the month," or, "kick the can down the road continuing resolutions!"

... indiscriminate slash-and-burn cuts to funding without regard to not only the importance, but also to the consequences well beyond the area being affected

Every item in the budget has importance to someone, and has consequences beyond affected areas. "Cut anywhere but my slice of the pie" is a call to "kick the can," until we hit the wall at the end of the road.
 
  • #23
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There are worse problems than setting science policy which need to be tackled in the new congress. Or is 'science policy' a code name for funding?
In any event, there are quite a few issues which have been left bubbling on the stove which need attention.
 
  • #24
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Do state government get involved in scientific research much?
 
  • #25
Astronuc
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Do state government get involved in scientific research much?
It depends on the state. States are more concerned about supporting jobs, some of which might be in R&D.

State universities may receive state funding from their corresponding states, so there might some direct or indirect support.
 
  • #26
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There are worse problems than setting science policy which need to be tackled in the new congress. Or is 'science policy' a code name for funding?

In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.
 
  • #27
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In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.

The best we could hope for is that the Republicans in both houses actually understand that scientific research is essential to long-term economic growth...

But I will have to accept that the Senate and the House are inter-dependent on most issues under Congressional jurisdiction. Will the Senate now being under Republican control actually help solve gridlock problems for the next two years?

My home country has been incompetent as far as scientific policy is concerned but at least there isn't as much political gridlock in general.
 
  • #29
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In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.

It's not clear what your point is. The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat. For you folks in Rio Linda, that's a whole quarter century (25 years).

In the outgoing congress, only twelve senators had enough seniority to have even served with Proxmire.
 
  • #30
Vanadium 50
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The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat

Thank you. A lot of people here seem to have picked "Team R" or "Team D" and are ascribing viewpoints to the other party that the members don't have. If one looks at the House and President's budgets, one will see that HEP (the part I am most familiar with) is much higher in the Republican-controlled House. My experience on the Hill, talking to Congressmen and staffers has been that every single Republican has been very supportive of basic science.

I would encourage everyone to learn what each politician's positions actually are, and not guess at it based on the politician's views on other issues.
 
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  • #31
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It's not clear what your point is. The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat. For you folks in Rio Linda, that's a whole quarter century (25 years).

In the outgoing congress, only twelve senators had enough seniority to have even served with Proxmire.

I probably should have been more clear. I know that he was a Democrat, and that he's been retired for 25 years (hence "former Senator"), and dead for 9. His name was the one I heard used as a comparison for reference, since he was famous for opposing funding for scientific research when he couldn't see an immediate application for it. I've overheard fears that the new Senate is going to be run by a party composed of people with the same basic attitude as Proxmire toward research.

I'm only an undergrad, and not well versed in the history just yet, so I don't know whether those fears are accurate, or overblown. Vanadium 50 above indicates that for HEP, those fears would not be justified, which is a bit of a relief. I'll have to look into it for Astrophysics, since that's what I'm planning to get my Ph.D in.
 
  • #32
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(snip)(snip) ... not well versed in the history just yet, so I don't know whether those fears are accurate, or overblown.(snip)

Quick (and very dirty) history lesson: first era of federal funding (1776 to Pearl Harbor), there wasn't any to speak of; second era (WW II, Manhattan Project, and Cold War), blank checks for just about anything to do with defense, reasonable pickings elsewhere, but it involved a lot of "dumpster diving;" third era (debt balloon from Reagan or Bush 41 to present), SCSC got chopped (there were some materials problems that showed up at Frac & Def , Commerce Labs in Boulder, so maybe a good thing), some other big ticket items, lot of belt tightening; fourth era (114th on), money is getting tight, overhead (a dirty word in the grant and funding business) has been exploding, and long-term funding is getting really tough to get and hang on to (people get half and three quarters of the way complete on a five year project and get rugs yanked from under them).

Those who are more up to date will please correct me.
 
  • #33
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Tensions flare between Senate Democrats, White House
http://news.yahoo.com/tensions-flare-between-senate-democrats-white-house-220849126.html
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Criticism of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law by a top Senate Democrat this week laid bare post-election tensions that could pose challenges for the party in upcoming fights with Republicans over taxes, energy and immigration.

In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats' losses in this month's midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed "a cascade of issues" botched by the White House, starting with Obama's push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.
Well, Congress is supposed to be independent of the president - and vice versa.
 
  • #34
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Would not have predicted it --- kinda figured they were going to circle the wagons and go down together.
 
  • #35
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One lesson from the past election is that President Obama does not deliver the votes when he is not on the ticket. Given that, I am not at all surprised that there are congressmen distancing themselves from the President.
 

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