S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

When Congress returns

Representatives and Senators will have much to do. The 2007 U.S. legislative year has already produced a great many significant initiatives from lawmakers. The passage of time and events is keeping their agendas filled with potential action items. But the speed of action from now on is hard to predict. Here are a few related current news items from my favorite blogs that could give clues.
Environmental protection - Congressional hearings, scientists and leaders in other nations are far ahead of the current administration with the pressing issues of energy dependence and global warming. Now we learn that the Supreme Court, by the narrowest of margins, is also ahead of the Bush administration's understanding. Michael J.W. Stickings posted an excellent short piece at The Reaction, that illuminates yesterday's Supreme Court decision about the EPA. It is titled, "Supreme Court issues key decision on global warming." He concludes:

The ball is now back in the EPA's court. More broadly, though, it is in Congress's. With Democrats now in control, it must lead the way against an administration that barely even admits there's a problem at all.

Foreign policy remedies for Middle East - It seems that Congress is determined to be as strong as possible, as the co-equal branch of government that has razor-thin majorities for changing the course of the war in Iraq. Speaker Pelosi is leading a delegation through several mid-east countries, in direct opposition to our current president. The other determining factor logically would be the influence of so many Senators running for president in 2008. A candidate will inevitably make decisions based on political considerations as well as what is best for the country. Blogposts:

  • Ann Flaherty at The Huffington Post posts this - "Reid pushes back against Bush veto threat." Lists of related news stories and blog posts follow the short blurb.
  • Juan Cole's Informed Comment exerpts his new column on the Iranian situation: "Iran's New Hostage Crisis." And a number of posts tell the real story about what is happening in Iraq, as opposed to Senator McCain's incredibly rosy scenario from the ground in Baghdad: "21 Shiites from McCain's Market Killed - 3 US Troops Killed - Massive Truck Bomb at Kirkuk." Also, "Iranian Television: Surge of Violence in Iraq."
  • Tom Hayden at The Huffington Post wrote "To Stop the Dirty War." He calls for Congressional hearings on the war in this "long and strong" article. In case you have lost track of what our old friend Hayden is doing these days, he is teaching a course on Iraq at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
Immigration reform - Of all the bones of contention between the White House and Congress, this one seems to have the best chance for a bipartisan solution. This issue will soon be debated and votes will be cast that could lead to very big changes for the nation. Carrie Budoff at today's reveals the "Details of GOP's Immigration Bill Strategy." To quote from this excellent analysis,
The combination of House legislation and the results of hush-hush meetings between the White House and the Senate Republicans has produced a rare moment of clarity on the contentious issue of immigration.
. . . a potential roadmap to a bill that could become law.
A path to permanent residency for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants is in. But making it easy -- or affordable -- for them is out, according to the group's working paper that began circulating on Capitol Hill just before the spring break.
Granting visas based on merit is in. A long-standing goal of reunifying families through the immigration system is out.
And, as expected, tougher border enforcement and sanctions on employers who flout the rules are way, way in.

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