Thursday, 2 August 2007

Here Comes Summer

Congress is about to break for summer - and the Democratic Majority Leader has published a summary of the work of the 110th Congress. It is available at http://majorityleader.house.gov/docuploads/110thSevenMonthProgressReport.pdf

The Republican minority has a different take on the work of this Congress. Their paper is available at http://republicanleader.house.gov/brokenpromises/index.html.

The last few days are certainly proving controversial, with claims and counterclaims about breaches of promises. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement after Republicans refused to complete a unanimous consent agreement on the FY08 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

"Democrats have worked for two months in good faith to complete the 12 FY08 appropriations bills under an open process according to the agreement reached between Mr. Boehner, Mr. Obey and myself last month.

"We completed 10 bills under this agreement and brought the eleventh, the Agriculture Appropriations bill, to the Floor under an open rule.

"But last night Republicans breached the agreement. Again today, Democrats offered to negotiate a unanimous consent agreement on the Agriculture Appropriations Bill - but Republicans refused to come to agreement. Republicans know full well that without a unanimous consent agreement, Democrats will have to bring this bill to the Floor under a different rule. It is clearly Republicans' desire to force that situation so that they may criticize the process and try to score political points, rather than work on important policy and allow Congress to move the people's agenda.

"Republicans will claim they are victims, but it is a self-inflicted wound about which they will complain. Republicans have made it clear that they choose partisanship over proceeding with the people's business. Democrats have exercised patience but we will not allow the business of the House to be ground to a halt. It is unfortunate that Republicans - at the 11th hour of this process - have put their political goals ahead of what is good for the people."

Yesterday both Houses considered bills related to Children's health cover - I watched the House debate on C-Span, unfortunately the time difference meant I got to sleep VERY late, but it was well worth viewing. A visit to the websites of both leaders will reveal the intensity of feeling over the issue - which was very evident last night.