Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wow! That Was FAST!

How long did it take the Congressional majority in 1994 to fail to deliver on campaign promises? Days? Months? Years?

And how long will it take this Congressional majority? Looks like it took about 36 hours:

Dems Unsure How To Deliver On 9/11 Commission Pledge

Despite House Minority Leader Pelosi's pledge this week that Democrats will implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations within the first 100 hours of taking control of the House in January, Democratic lawmakers and aides say they are not sure how they will do it. How they plan to overcome anticipated committee turf battles that have bedeviled some Republican efforts to streamline oversight of homeland security programs also remains unclear. "We didn't have all this up on the screen ready to hit to send," an aide to Pelosi acknowledged after Tuesday's elections. Another aide added, "We don't know what exactly will be brought to the floor." Privately, aides acknowledged that most of the recommendations by the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, have been addressed in some way by the Bush administration or Republican-controlled Congress. But they said those recommendations have not been fully implemented, or have been done in name only, creating a need for new legislation to fix the shortfalls. In December, for example, the commission gave failing grades to the government when it came to freeing up radio spectrum for emergency responders, allocating homeland security funds based only on risk and improving airline passenger pre-screening.

A bill that lawmakers might look to as a blueprint was sponsored earlier this year by Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., aides said. The bill was endorsed in June by the former chairmen of the 9/11 Commission as "a comprehensive approach to carry out each of the recommendations." The bill would mainly require the administration to report to Congress on progress toward complying with the recommendations and requirements under intelligence reform legislation that was passed in late 2004 in response to those recommendations. Notably, the GAO would certify that the recommendations and requirements have been met. The bill rolls together disparate pieces of legislation, such as one that would require more homeland security grants to be distributed according to risk and one that would provide first responders with interoperable communications equipment.

But the bill could also prompt a major jurisdictional turf battle in the new Congress. For example, the bill would give the House Homeland Security Committee exclusive jurisdiction over the Homeland Security Department, essentially stripping the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of some oversight. The bill would also give the House Intelligence Committee exclusive jurisdiction over intelligence matters, including the tactical intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the Defense Department. And it would require declassification of the overall intelligence budget, something the administration and some Republicans have fiercely fought.

Advocates of the Shays-Maloney bill hope it will be considered by the Democratic leadership. "The first thing that I would do is have a conversation with Congressman Shays and Congresswoman Maloney, and look at the legislation that they drafted," said Mary Fetchet, who lost her son in the attacks and founded the nonprofit Voices of September 11th. She emphasized the need for further reform of congressional oversight. Maloney, when asked, deferred to leadership on how to proceed. "It doesn't matter which legislation comes before us, all that matters is that we finally fully enact all of the commission's recommendations," she said. "I'm thrilled that we'll have a chance to get this done during the first 100 hours of the next Congress."
-- by Chris Strohm

So the Democrats weren't ready with the agenda? Was it a surprise to them that they were going to take the majority? It was only predicted for about 4 or 5 months.

I'm just teasing. They have until the first day of the new Congress to straighten it out.

The clock is ticking.

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