Saturday, May 05, 2007

Democrats Accomplishing Little

The Washington Post reports that Congressional Democrats have had none of their priorities signed into law, and only one significant piece of legislation of any consequence at all:

In the heady opening weeks of the 110th Congress, the Democrats' domestic agenda appeared to be flying through the Capitol: Homeland security upgrades, a higher minimum wage and student loan interest rate cuts all passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

But now that initial progress has foundered as Washington policymakers have been consumed with the debate over the Iraq war. Not a single priority on the Democrats' agenda has been enacted, and some in the party are growing nervous that the "do nothing" tag they slapped on Republicans last year could come back to haunt them.

The Post is pulling punches, too. The minimum wage legislation that will ultimately be enacted is the same deal that the GOP offered for years - but Democrats refused to go along. The measure to 'finally implement all the recommendations of the 9/11 commission' does NOT in fact, implement all those recommendations. It skips the reorganization of congressional oversight, of which the Commission said:

Of all our recommendations, strengthening congressional oversight may be among the most difficult and important.

Roll Call ($) noted earlier this week the failure of Democrats to make progress on key issues, and pointed up gas prices as one area where Democrats talked the talk last year, but cannot walk the walk now that they're in charge:

After all, it was barely a year ago that Republicans were regularly defending their energy policies and vowing to do more to help car-owning consumers, while then-minority Democrats were holding near daily press conferences to complain that the GOP was doing nothing to bring down fuel prices.

Yet there’s been precious little attention paid lately to the gas price issue, and it may be one of the most pronounced indicators of how much the weeks-long partisan fight over the Iraq War is sucking the political oxygen out of the rest of the agenda, particularly on domestic issues.

In addressing their failure to achieve... anything... a Democratic aid admits that his party intentionally blocked legislation last year:

But Democrats said it is the Republicans who need to look in the mirror, saying they, like Democrats before them, have proved the minority party is capable of exerting its will over the chamber. Public focus on Iraq “has taken the attention off of the other issues Republicans have objected to,” a Democratic Senate leadership aide charged, adding that “they continue to slow-walk bills” or block measures outright, most notably including the intelligence authorization bill.

I hope they're not going to complain about it. If it was fine and appropriate last year, I can't imagine why there's anything wrong with it now that the tables are turned.

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