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The House's Last Call

At 1:11 a.m. Sunday, the House began its last roll-call vote of the summer session, passing a nearly $460 billion appropriation bill for the Pentagon. When lawmakers finally shuttered the chamber doors, Democrats and Republicans walked into an August recess after a topsy-turvy final week in which tempers flared, investigations were launched and internal caucus divisions were revealed.

While they will spend the next four weeks mostly focused on public opinion at home on the Iraq war, members left the Capitol with plenty of questions that need to be answered for leaders on both sides of the aisle.

Democrats had, without question, their best legislative run of their nascent, seven-month-old majority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was absolutely beaming at an 8:30 Saturday night press conference after passing the second energy reform bill of the day, what she called a "flagship issue for my speakership". The action capped a week of big accomplishments for Pelosi and congressional Democrats, not the least of which was the passage of ethics and lobbying reform earlier in the week and a massive expansion in funding for health insurance for poor children. The children's health legislation, Pelosi declared, is the "crown jewel" for congressional Democrats.

But Pelosi did have one major hiccup in the waning hours, as her leadership team caved to the political reality that it had to approve a new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that was more sweeping than what they had previously sought. This was a bitter pill to swallow, but not approving the bill would have left her open to attacks from the Bush White House that she was soft on terrorists. At the same press conference, Pelosi attacked the new FISA bill as something that "does violence to the Constitution of the United States."

Yet she then allowed it o the floor as just 41 Democrats supported the measure. It was the second time in less than three months Pelosi allowed a bill to pass without the majority of her majority. The other was the $100 billion in funding for the Iraq war without any withdrawal language attached to it. The old GOP leadership team, under the thumb of then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), only approved bills with majority of the majority support.

For Republicans, they have a new rallying cry that is politically akin to "Remember the Alamo." It's also three-words long -- "enough is enough" -- the phrase House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) uttered Friday night but was exorcised from the Congressional Record for still unexplained reasons. Outwardly, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is using it as his new motto, entitling a memo from his office sent to the more than 200 House Republicans after 8 p.m. Saturday with the motto. Underlining this phrase, Boehner wrote: "The Democratic majority revealed it is willing to break any rule, trample on any precedent, and run roughshod over its own Members to defend a left-wing, big government agenda most Americans utterly reject."

The truth is, however, that Boehner is under fire to be more defiant, more rabble-rousing, more willing to pull tactical stunts. As best illustrated by Patrick O'Connor in Politico, rank-and-file Republicans were furious about their treatment in the last 72 hours and felt Boehner was too conciliatory toward Hoyer. (Interestingly, the time stamp on Boehner's "Enough IS Enough" memo is 8:19 p.m., seven minutes before the Politico story posted, perhaps a pre-emptive effort to show strength in advance of a story questioning Boehner's power?)

Of course, like the Alamo, where Davey Crockett and the Texans lost badly, Boehner's Republican Conference was soundly defeated on almost every critical piece of legislation (save the FISA bill). Most Republican strategists outside the House look at the complaints about internal process as lacking in a clear message that will translate into true political momentum. To those strategists, the back-benchers looking for a more aggressive internal approach appear to be whiners without a real message.

Now both sides have more than four weeks to plot their next steps politically and legislatively. For now, both sides would agree, enough is enough.

By Paul Kane  |  August 5, 2007; 4:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

I'm a simple man, a teacher in Kansas.
My question is: what can't you get accomplished with 400 Billion appropriations, that you could get done with 460 Billion? This amount of money spent on defense, is beyond my comprehension.

Posted by: Tony | August 5, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

There were some important bipartisan votes in the House this week, for which Democrats should be praised. However there were also many heated partisan votes that should be clearly counted as failures of leadership. Each party once they get in the majority in the House seems bent on avenging alleged past abuses while they were in the minority - while simultaneously scoring "wins" over the minority.

The result was for House Republicans the bulk of their "wins" were skewed too far to the right, and now for House Democrats the bulk of their "wins" are skewed too far to the left. Therefore the seeds for the defeat of the Democrats in the House are being sown while the media heaps on praise for scoring "wins".

Posted by: Chris Baker | August 5, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"to defend a left-wing, big government agenda most Americans utterly reject"

Hypocrite! Such Rush Limbaugh-like rhetoric serves only to please the increasingly delusional base. Bush has grown "big government" with Boehner's readily given assistance. Is Boehner now a member of the left-wing? By his own rhetoric, apparently.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 6, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I hope that when Congress opens again for session, they address the Global Povert Bills. According to the Borgen Project, eery 3.6 seconds another person dies from poverty. The United States has the power to end that startling statistic.

Posted by: Erica, Seattle, WA | August 6, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

A comprehension aid for Tony...

If you had a briefcase with a million dollars in cash, you'd be pretty happy right? For most of us that is a lot of money.

Now suppose you had 1,000 briefcases with a million dollars in each. That would be 1 billion dollars.
Now imagine going to a sports stadium, I'll use Penn State's Beaver Stadium with approximately 100,000 seats as an example. If there were a briefcase holding a million dollars at every single seat, it would take 4 Beaver Stadiums to hold enough briefcases to reach 400 billion dollars.

Kind of makes you sick to your stomach, doesn't it?

So, yes, to our naive friends from the Borgen Project, $19 billion dollars is a drop in the bucket as far as US appropriations is concerned. When the Borgen Babes can figure out a way of ensuring that that money doesn't end up in the Swiss bank accounts of 3rd world warlords, dictators, and thugs, then it will be time to talk about massive appropriations for ending poverty.

In the meantime there appears to be some infrastructure in the US that might need a few hundred billion to bring up to date...

Posted by: Patrick Huss | August 6, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Considering the Fascist Republicans record since 1994-when they became the majority in both houses--they do no have a moral leg to stand on.

Posted by: ghostcommander | August 6, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

The rules of the House were designed to protect the minority,not to allow the minority to use and abuse those same rules to prevent the House Members from carrying out their constitutional responsibility to conduct the people´s business. Hurrah for Hoyer !

Posted by: rsoliver | August 7, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Boehner did not cry this time. He is always superbly dressed with a great haircut but so far out of it, fighting to keep the Iraq War going and trying to prevent Mexicans from getting any food from the Agriculture Dept. Those two items make the whole world cry because of Boehner's cruelty and insensitivity he probably learned from studying Josef Stalin's cruel rule in starving the Ukrainians in 1933-34. Boehner is a true Fascist and would make a good Communist as well and a very poor leader of Republicans.

Posted by: mascmen7 | August 7, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

If the Democrats were truly for a change in direction this last-minute unconstitutional FISA ammendment bill would never have seen the light of day.

Can you imagine the Republicans ever allowing a bill they opposed getting to the floor when they were in charge? Never would have happened, unless they knew in advance they had enough votes to defeat it. WHAT in heaven's name is wrong with Speaker Pelosi??

The dems had better get some backbone, right now, or they will lose, lose, lose in 2008! Then we'll go right back to the bad old days of Republican dictatorship in the House.

Allowing a bill that suspends the Constitution to ever see a vote is just insane, and I am livid. Giving this out-of-control White House permission to read MY emails and eavesdrop on MY phone calls without a warrant and without any meaningful oversight is not just irresponsible, it's criminal!

I expect criminal behavior from Republicans, but not from Democrats.

Posted by: the_ancient_mariner | August 7, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I think the Democrats did fairly well, considering the constitutional roadblocks they face. I wonder if the Republicans will have the stomach to support Bush's expected veto of the children's health legislation. I hope so -- it will help put them further into the minority in 2008. The real question I have is how many recess appointments Bush is lining up.

Posted by: gromaine3 | August 8, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's Keep Our Country Great!

I sit here typing this article after viewing the ( www.allaboutcountry.com ) greatest online country music news magazine in the world, and think how fortunate I am having two careers, great loving children, a wonderful wife, great friends, fantastic fans, and country music people who read my articles. The last one was meant to make you all laugh of course!

I see Trace Adkins Releases First Book October 23rd, great news! Wait until you read what he says in this new book! He's a lot like me and other rebels who buck the main stream country sometimes! I wish him success in his new book!

I had my first book published on July 2005, and one of the blurbs on the back cover of my book is none other than the president and good friend of mine of www.allaboutcountry.com, Mr. Bill Hennes! Bill read my book and was delighted to be on the back cover. The only thing is, the book is about a subject not about country. It's connected to my other career, public safety and security for America! What better career could I have besides country music than trying to keep America safe and secure! After all folks, country music brings families together and after September 11th, we all needed to hear the great country music helping us all to cope with certain realities in today's life of the twenty first century.

Agian, I am a rebel sometimes when I have to be, and if there is a subject I know well, besides country music, it's public safety and security. Since 1968 I have been busy with working this career, and one thing I know, crime prevention is every American's responsibility!

I guess it's human for people today to be in a make believe world of their own, safe and secure, families living happy, healthy and successful. Nothing wrong with a happy family life, we all want such. True reality of life after September 11th is too much to fathom for Americans over three hundred million populace. We look at our little individual worlds as a safe haven far from crime and terrorist attacks!

Until someone in our family circle is a victim of crime! Then the world of reality strikes hard, with no natural affection, love, kindness, goodness present and panic set's in! Security and safety is gone suddenly, just like a raging storm! Like a tornado with no wall, tower, thing or person to stop it's powerful surge smashing your make believe world to pieces!

The police made their report, after they arrived, responding to a security department's call for help. They investigate and take statements from wittnesses (If there was any), then make their report. They tell the victim/s that they will do what they can to find the criminal/s involved. That's all they can do. And they are doing their jobs well. No shame should fall on our Criminal Justice system's Vanguard, the police. They are a re-active crime control agency.

If the crime was at a Shopping mall, Hospital, University or office complex, chances are, the corporate owners are afraid the liability risk is much to high to give their security departments the right tools they need to prevent such crimes against your family. They implement a strict policy of hands off, when it comes to preventing crime! They are told to call the police if there is something that may cause an interruption in the peace and public safety. The owners even go as far as telling store keepers in the shopping malls to call the police directly, and do not call security, for they are wasting time going through the security thinking that the malls security can prevent a crime!

However! This entity (Security) is the only entity that has the before, during, and after the fact premise to be successful in preventing crime and terrorist attacks. The police are usually at a scene after the fact! Please, we are not saying the police are not needed! For they must be in place working with security to complete the circle of preponderate to fight crime!

So what happens when these sequence of scenes take place at this present time in American history? we then have in the end result, many frustrated people! The victim/s, their families, the security, the police, the owners, the politicians, and the public! For the crime was not prevented! And then everyone looks at the police and security, and say, where were you guys?

Does the United States department of Homeland Security operate in these complexes? Then they to are not at a scene before the fact of a crime or terrorist attack. Does the Homeland Security department encourage the owners of these complexes, Shopping malls, Hospitals, Universities/Colleges and office complexes to give their security people the tools to prevent crime instead of just responding to these problems? Do they encourage law makers to change the laws to help private and governmental security people to prevent crime instead of acting like police and just respond to a crime in progress?

In escence, we as American citizens continue to ignore facts. Facts that will hit you right in the face, at any moment! You want more crime prevention? Then supply the before factor that will altimately prevent your family from being the next victims in universities/colleges, hospitals, Shopping Malls and other complexes.

My research that started in 1968, shows that our communities could benefit greatly if large complexes would take the responsibility of preventing their own inevitable crime and terrorist attacks! Folks our front lines are not secure!

We have space age technology today that would boggle the minds of all Americans! This 21fst century technology is barely used in America, but, if it was, security would use it to prevent crime! You'd be surprised how much of this technology isn't being used in shopping malls, hospitals, universities/colleges and other complexes. It would put you in panic mode, and I could prove it! I am very concerned when my family visits these complexes knowing what I do about their security as it is now. Security at present time will not prevent crime!
In hospitals, there are so many crimes covered up that if you knew you'd also be concerned as I am. Look what happen at Virginia Tech., something I say should never happen, especially when it is proven that it could have truly been prevented to the degree it did!

I know it is human to live in your family make believe worlds, the safe haven we all need just to keep from becoming depressed over the September 11th reality of things. But, when it comes to preventing crime and terrorist attacks at the frontline level, somebody needs to do something, and soon!

I know that there are many other security people and police out in America that sees what I see. Please! Pass this article on to everyone you can, and maybe, just maybe, we could prevent a family from experiencing crime!

Preventing crime and terrorist attacks is the responsibility of all Americans! Especially the corporations that own these big complexes that draw large crowds! Terrorist attacks will be centered on these areas! And some entity needs to prevent crime! Not just respond to it!

I pray that the media grabs my article and runs with it so things change in security for America, before you, and your family experience crime! My family is dear to me to, and if any of my family members experience crime, knowing what I know about crime prevention, it would cut my heart deep! It's like a medical doctor who can't save his family member at a crime scene because his hands are forced tied!

Everybody worries about the liability risk of any operation. The Cities worry about their police putting them in a high liability risk when acting in a pysical way. Shopping Malls and other complexes worry about their security acting in such a way that it would put them in a high liability risk and that's why they play it safe insisting that security have a hands off policy! But, what they don't understand is, that you could be putting yourself in a higher liability risk for not putting hands on! For a crime could be commited before the police get there, after security calls the police! As time ticks onward I foresee lawyers winning cases against these complexes for not having security that would prevent crime against your family while shopping in their mall or place of business.

America, Wake Up! Is the Title of my book, and if you'd like a copy, AMAZON and TARGET is selling it and you can get a copy right off my website, www.irg-security.us, and if you do get a copy please, e-mail me and tell me what you think of it, ok?

Article by;

Jimmy Stix (my stage name)
Country Music Promoter/DJ
www.jimstix.com
jimstix@nycap.rr.com

James R. White, Jr.
Public safety and Security Consultant

jwhitejr@nycap.rr.com
www.irg-security.us
www.irg-safety.us
P O Box 84
Sand Lake, New York
USA 12153-0084
518.986.1073

End of article.

Posted by: James R White Jr | August 9, 2007 2:42 AM | Report abuse

I wish tell the world that pelosi is the nearest total failure i have ever witness and supported, she is worse than her main man from texas, and has no back bone she she should be shipped back to lher owm town and lost some how of another. she is in his back pocket how could she have fooled the public for so long i will never know. the bowrs in austin, tx.

Posted by: frank bowers | August 17, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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