Roughly two months ago, the vast center of this nation blew the way the wind blows and it just so happens the wind was blowing Left. Nancy Pelosi was rumored to be the heavy favorite for the next Speaker of the House, and within those first 24 hours came some big promises:
If you honor Democratic candidates with your vote today, in the first hundred hours of a Democratic Congress: We will restore civility, integrity, and fiscal responsibility to the House of Representatives. We will start by cleaning up Congress, breaking the link between lobbyists and legislation and commit to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending.Well, Madame Speaker, the countdown is on. I'll give you until Wednesday, January 10th -- you shouldn't have to work on the weekends, unlike the minimum wager with whom you sympathize. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing the stream of lobbyists with suitcases, pouring out of Washington on the next morning. My grandmother has a doctor's appointment Thursday, so I know she's looking forward to Medicare taking care of those prescriptions. Oh, and if you want Congress to be more civil, you should probably keep Dick "go fuck yourself" Cheney off the premises.
We will make our nation safer and we will begin by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission.
We will make our economy fairer, and we will begin by raising the minimum wage. We will not pass a pay raise for Congress until there is an increase in the minimum wage.
We will make health care more affordable for all Americans, and we will begin by fixing the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices. We will also promote stem cell research to offer real hope to the millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.
We will broaden college opportunity, and we will begin by cutting interest rates for student loans in half.
We will energize America by achieving energy independence, and we will begin by rolling back the multi-billion dollar subsidies for Big Oil.
We will guarantee a dignified retirement, and we will begin by fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.
Cynical enough for a Thursday?
Evening Update (and much less cynical):
MoveOn has a new petition available online calling for Congress to pass the "100 Hours Agenda" pakcage. They have also revealed that -- surprise, surprise -- corporate lobbyists have already been hard at work to defeat it.
To combat the new Democratic leadership, big oil is launching a $100 million dollar PR campaign —- as one of their lobbyists recently put it, "People are very concerned, and concerned on a lot of levels." The drug companies are gearing up their $100 million dollar a year lobbying operation. And top congressional Republicans are vowing to dig in their heels.Since I do believe that the "package" is a good start (I'm just unsure of the outcome) I have signed the petition and would encourage anyone reading this to do the same. The email went out a little more than three hours ago, and they've already reached 89% of their goal of 100,000 signers. Scratch that... in the last two minutes, the percentage has jumped to 91%. But this shouldn't discourage anyone from signing; the total signature count and some of the comments will be read aloud on the floor of Congress.
Also, they provide a good synopsis of the agenda proposals (much better than Pelosi's somewhat long-winded blog post).
The full list of the 100 hour agenda proposals:
- Good Government: Cutting off lobbyist gifts and restoring fairness and transparency in the way laws are passed
- Fiscal Responsibility: No more recklessly driving up the national debt.
- National Security: implement all of the 9/11 commission security recommendations
- Fighting Poverty: Increase minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, helping 15 million working families
- Health Research: Increased funding and availability for stem cell research
- Cut interest on federal student loans in half
- Clean Energy: Cut oil company subsidies and invest in safe alternatives
Click here for more details.