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Congress and New Political Minefields

By Jonathan Weisman
Add a new variable to the suddenly unsettled presidential race -- Congress.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol next week for a quick session in which they and presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain will face political traps and minefields. First up is energy. Republicans spent their August recess demanding an "all of the above" strategy to lower gasoline prices and decrease dependence on imported oil, pushing legislation that would open the offshore Outer Continental Shelf to drilling and fund alternative energy and conservation. House Democratic leaders are preparing legislation they say will call the Republicans' bluff.

The Democratic House bill would open the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to oil drilling outside a 100-mile buffer zone, provided the plan is approved by the state legislatures and the governors of the Southeast. Florida is expressly exempted. The package would also include extension of tax breaks for wind, solar and biofuels projects, funding for alternative energy research and additional conservation measures, financed in large part by the repeal of tax breaks for oil companies.

Republicans said today most of them would have no problem turning down the deal, which they believe does not go nearly far enough in opening up the coast to oil exploration.

"To put an artificial limit on [drilling] is ridiculous," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R), who represents coastal Georgia. "Oil could be right off the shore, or it could be 500 miles off."

But there were fears that the measure could pick up significant Republican support from Florida Republicans eager to show they support expanded oil drilling but are leery of oil rigs off the Sunshine State's beaches and other Republicans hoping to show some action on the issue.

Next up is likely to be a second economic stimulus package, in the form of money for infrastructure projects, relief to state governments struggling with rising Medicaid costs, and disaster relief for the Gulf coast and Midwestern flood zone. Again, the idea would be to dare Republicans vowing to cut government spending to oppose such a package in the midst of job losses and rising unemployment.

"With the unemployment rate at a five-year high, it is clear that we must take immediate action to strengthen our economy," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said today. "The New Direction Congress will soon act on a second economic stimulus package and a comprehensive energy plan that will create new American jobs, invest in renewables, increase domestic production, make America more energy independent, and break free of the failed Bush economic policies that John McCain and Republicans in Congress have rubber-stamped for far too long."

Republicans are planning their own counteroffensive, pushing a more expansive energy plan and demanding a vote one way or the other.

Posted at 3:55 PM ET on Sep 5, 2008  | Category:  On the Issues
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Posted by: staywhitelan | September 6, 2008 12:25 PM

canada no wood jhon home stay white green white go

Posted by: rightapple | September 6, 2008 11:26 AM

"No We Can't" (break the glass ceiling that is)

That's what Obama has made REALITY by not choosing the best Democrat to be his VP, Hillary Clinton! How could he mop the floor with her, pimp her out for his campaign, and then not even put her on the ticket? Was it arrogance, was it fear, was it spite? How about all of the above?

The Biden choice was one made out of fear and inexperience.

So here's how to fix the problem:
Vote for McCain / Palin this round. Why not? Lots of other women will!

Here's why:
Once you smash the glass ceiling by voting in Gov. Palin as your VP, the ticket for 2012 will most surely look like this:
Hillary vs. Palin vs. Napalitano vs. ?

Give Hillary a chance, sooner! Vote McCain / Palin 2008!

Posted by: Jackie | September 6, 2008 3:04 AM

"Sick of Liberals" wrote: 'Sarah Palin sold plane on Ebay...' While you may take your information from Fox, we liberals rely on research. Palin did not sell the aircraft on Ebay. It was sold to a private buyer at less than value.

Why is it so difficult for Rebulicans to tell the truth? You people give Christianity a bad name. You must go to the same church as Palin because both of you are liars. Your pen name should be "sick of lying!"

Posted by: Fay M | September 6, 2008 12:51 AM

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling rapidly.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!


Posted by: Franky | September 5, 2008 6:58 PM

Pelosi you are a joke...your New Direction Congress promised a whole laundry list of things you were going to do in the first 100 days...and that was two years ago... and you still haven't fulfilled your promises.

You and Reid head the worst Congress in history. Bush's approval ratings is twice as high as yours.

Posted by: dan | September 5, 2008 5:30 PM

Let's get real: Congress is going to spend most of September and all of October in hardcore election mode. Anybody who knows anything knows that everybody's calendar is completely open for October. Nothing is going to get done, except a whole lot of politicking.

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 5, 2008 4:35 PM

Wonder if Obama will target and rid of sharp opponents reporting that Gov. Sarah Palin’s popularity is now even larger than his??

Or will GOP Guiliani target and murder mutual opponents with his mob ties via protege Bernard Kerik whose got 140 years of jail time to cut sweetheart exchange deals with to lessen penalty? Hitler Guiliani, the mobster himself...

As sharp critics to both of them, wonder if we should worry about our family’s physical safety especially when we are jogging in public this afternoon or our car tampered with this afternoon after work for example?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 4:15 PM

People keep accusing Sarah Palin of attacking Obama on his lack of experience. You have to call it like it is. But let's just say for the sake of argument, we'll pretend they have equal experience. BOTH of them entered their offices (in Chicago and Alaska)surrounded by corruption within their own parties. What did they do?
Sarah Palin weeded out the corruption and cleaned house. She DID cut spending-going so far as to sell the fancy private Governor's jet on ebay! I don't know too many politicians that would do that!
Now, what did Obama do? He laid off hundreds of nurses and dozens of prosecuting attorneys! WHY?! He had to create jobs for his "friends" and needed the money to pay them their high salaries. You call that SMALLER GOVERNMENT???!!!! You think that a man that did something like that REALLY cares about the average factory worker?
I am not making this stuff up or twisting any facts. It's all there to read in the Chicago newspapers. All you have to do is take the time and initiative to research their archives and you can read it for yourself!!!!!

Posted by: SICK OF LIBERALS | September 5, 2008 4:15 PM

It's now been 7 days and counting since Palin was chosen to be McCain's running mate. We are advised there are no plans to allow her to take questions about her competency to assume the role of President from the media. It seems POW McCain has now imprisoned his running mate and told the American voter that they will have to trust him that she's qualified.


Well, "my friends", I have some questions. McCain claims he is a maverick. Would a maverick not allow his own hand picked candidate to answer questions about her views on issues that are at the heart of this campaign? Would a maverick vote for his own party 90% of the time? Just how different are you than Bush? Personally, anyone that believes 90% of the Bush policy isn't a maverick, it's a strong supporter. Does his running mate support imprisoning doctors that perform abortions? Why are you having Bush insiders brief Palin if you are so independent from the President?


At the end of the day, the longer this campaign goes on, the more you revert to the tactics used by the Republican party in the past. Where is the transparency with Palin? Why is Rove a part of your thing tank? Why does your economic adviser still call everyone who doesn't agree with you a whiner?


I was a strong supporter of Goldwater and Reagan because of their integrity and willingness to change the way Washington operated. You, Senator McCain, aren't worthy to call them your mentor. Your service to America isn't an entitlement to continue the Bush policies which are destroying the middle class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtZlR3zp4c

Posted by: x - Republican | September 5, 2008 4:15 PM

Jack Welch said some interesting things about how the economy does when one party controls both the Congress and the White House. Not good for the economy.

http://wwww.bop-o-rama.com

Obama 1027583 McCain 431982

Posted by: acarponzo | September 5, 2008 4:10 PM

Posted by: scrivener | September 5, 2008 4:03 PM

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling rapidly.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!

Posted by: Franky | September 5, 2008 4:00 PM

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