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Senator questions bypassing of laws
By Charlie Savage, Boston Globe
WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, accusing the White House of a ''very blatant encroachment" on congressional authority, said yesterday he will hold an oversight hearing into President Bush's assertion that he has the power to bypass more than 750 laws enacted over the past five years.
''There is some need for some oversight by Congress to assert its authority here," Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in an interview. ''What's the point of having a statute if . . . the president can cherry-pick what he likes and what he doesn't like?"
By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real
If the US Senate really wants to earn our respect, I have a suggestion for them: Hold bipartisan hearings into Dick Cheney's 2001 Energy Task Force.
If not now, when?
Low-wage working Americans can't afford to drive to their jobs? Already some folks have been forced to pawn personal items just to fill their tank for another week. How bad does it have to get before you guys up there start asking the questions you should have asked years ago -- and this time, demanding real answers.
By Andy Rathbun, The Battle Creek Enquirer, MI
HILLSDALE — A fired-up Chuck Ream announced his campaign for the Democrat party nomination in Michigan's 7th Congressional District to a small but receptive crowd Monday night.
Faulting the Bush administration for everything imaginable in a 50-minute speech, the newly minted candidate only took one swipe at his potential rival in the Nov. 7 general election, U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Battle Creek.
By Charlie Savage, Boston Globe
They say he cannot claim powers above the law.
Washington - Three leading Democratic senators blasted President Bush yesterday for having claimed he has the authority to defy more than 750 statutes enacted since he took office, saying that the president's legal theories are wrong and that he must obey the law.
"We're a government of laws, not men," Senate minority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said in a statement. "It is not for George W. Bush to disregard the Constitution and decide that he is above the law."
CONTACT: Congressman Pete Stark
Yoni Cohen, Stark (202) 225-3202
Three years later, mission not accomplished
WASHINGTON - May 1 - U.S. Representative Pete Stark (D-Fremont), a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, issued the following statement on the third anniversary of President Bush’s aircraft carrier landing and “Mission Accomplished” address.
“Mr. President, you and your administration lost the war in Iraq,” said Representative Stark. “In the three years since you declared major combat operations to have ended, more than 2,250 American soldiers have died unnecessary deaths. Rather than facilitate a lasting peace, the American occupation has led Iraq into civil war. At a cost of nearly $10 billion a month, the American presence continues to embolden our enemies and weaken our friends.”
By Luke Thomas, www.sanfranciscosentinel.com
Congresswoman and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a "whole different policy" regarding the war in Iraq when, and if, she becomes the majority speaker in congress in November.
"Well, if I become speaker of the house, we have a whole different policy. You have to think completely differently. You talk about an agenda for change, an agenda for progress, an agenda that says if you want peace, work for justice," Pelosi told the Sentinel.
May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Favorability ratings of Republicans in Congress are at their lowest since December of 1998, when the party suffered a backlash after the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton, a USA Today/Gallup poll shows.
The April 28-30 survey found 36 percent of Americans said they have a favorable view of the party's performance, according to results published by the Gannett News Service. Democrats haven't benefited from public dissatisfaction with the Republicans. While 48 percent said they viewed Democrats favorably, the party's rating has fallen 4 points since October.
Originally posted by David Swanson
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, sent the following letter to President George W. Bush today about the presence of US troops in Iran:
Dear President Bush:
Recently, it has been reported that U.S. troops are conducting military operations in Iran. If true, it appears that you have already made the decision to commit U.S. military forces to a unilateral conflict with Iran, even before direct or indirect negotiations with the government of Iran had been attempted, without UN support and without authorization from the U.S. Congress.
UFPJ Legislative Alert
Victory on "No Permanent Bases" is within our reach!
Feingold introduces amendment to bring the troops home by the end of the year!
Call your Senators today (even if you called them last week!)
Our call-in day to the Senate on the supplemental spending bill (to continue funding the war in Iraq) last week was a great success. Thousands of calls were made asking the Senate to bring the troops home now, and to pass an amendment barring permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. The Senate did not vote last week on the supplemental spending bill (HR4939), so we have one more opportunity to make our voices heard. In addition, we have an exciting new development: Sen. Feingold introduced an amendment last Thursday calling for troop withdrawal by the end of the year. A strong show of support for the Feingold amendment would be politically devastating for the warmongers.
by William Hughes
“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington, D.C. - On April 27, 2006, at 9 AM sharp, in Room 2325 of the Rayburn Building, on Capitol Hill, the highly-respected Chairwomen, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), called to order the second Congressional public forum on how to bring the troops home from Iraq. She is one of the cofounders of the House of Representatives’ “Out of Iraq Caucus.” One of the other cofounders of that anti-Iraqi War group is Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), an African-American member of the House of Representatives, who even before the March 20, 2003 invasion, dared to challenge the Bush-Cheney Gang, on the legality and morality of the blood stained conflict.
By Philip A Farruggio, Port Orange ProActivists
John Kerry gave a speech, over a week ago, in Boston, whereupon he came out unequivocally against the attack and occupation ( AKA WAR) of Iraq. Kerry, on the 35th anniversary of his stirring testimony to the Armed Services Committee, compared ( finally) Iraq to Vietnam. More importantly, he gave credence to the need and the right of citizen protest. He went so far as to call it the patriotic duty of Americans to dissent against a government that has lost focus.
By Miriam Raftery, www.rawstory.com
Profile: Progressive activist raises stakes in California race, putting veteran Democrat on defensive
Powerful California Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA-36th) is facing a rare and surprisingly successful primary challenge, RAW STORY has learned. The Democratic powerhouse is set to face off this term with Marcy Winograd, a teacher, newscaster, peace activist and outspoken advocate for election reform.
CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Doug Gordon (202) 225-5871(o); (202) 494-5141(c)
50 Members of Congress Now Co-Sponsors Of Legislation, Authored By Kucinich, To Place An Excess Profit Tax On Big Oil Companies
WASHINGTON - April 28 - With gas prices continuing to be sky-high, and the big oil companies reaping historic profits, support has grown in the House of Representatives for legislation, authored by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), to place an excessive profits tax on the big oil companies. Currently, 50 Members of Congress are co-sponsors of HR 2070, The Gas Price Spike Act.
By Jeff Kosseff and Jim Barnett, The Oregonian
The Democrat's filibuster to curb oil industry subsidies angers GOP leaders.
Washington - Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden seized control of the Senate floor for more than four hours Thursday in an attempt to reduce subsidies to oil companies.
Enraging Republican leaders, his filibuster stalled debate on an emergency appropriations bill.
By Matthew Rothschild, http://progressive.org
A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq sure picked a weird day to put a smiley face on the situation over there.
“All indications now are that the acts of violence—ethnosectarian violence is decreasing,” said Major General Rick Lynch from Baghdad on Thursday, according to the New York Times.
I’m not sure what all those indications are that Major General Lynch was referring to.
SA 3717. Mr. BIDEN submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 4939, making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
On page 253, between lines 19 and 20, insert the following:
PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES IN IRAQ
If enough Congress Members sign this discharge petition, it will force a 17-hour debate on the floor of the House with an open rule (amendments can be introduced).
Pursuant to clause 2 of rule XV, I, Neil Abercrombie, move to discharge the Committee on Rules from the consideration of the resolution (H. Res. 543) entitled, a resolution providing for consideration of the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 55) requiring the President to develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq; which was referred to said committee on November 9, 2005, in support of which motion the undersigned Members of the House of Representatives affix their signatures, to wit:
Rep. Maxine Waters
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35), the Chair and Founder of the 'Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus, issued the following statement on the announcement that the House of Representatives will hold a debate on the Iraq war:
"I was pleased to see the article in The Hill announcing that Majority Leader Boehner will finally permit the House of Representatives to debate the war in Iraq. This debate is long overdue.
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced an amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill that would put the Senate on record as opposing permanent military bases in Iraq and U.S. control of the country’s natural resources.
According to Biden, although American military and political leadership in Baghdad have said that the United States does not have plans for permanent bases, “the Iraqi people remain suspicious of our intentions and are growing increasingly impatient.”
Video to be posted soon.
At 9:00 a.m. ET this morning Ellen Tenney of Rockingham, Vermont, and Julia DeWalt of Newfane, Vt., presented to the staff of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert petitions from three towns in Vermont (their own two towns plus Marlboro) calling for the impeachment of President Bush. The towns had each passed resolutions to send the petitions.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman rebuffs attempts to interview Administration officials in pre-war Iraq probe
By John Byrne, www.rawstory.com
Powell's former chief of staff says he'll 'wait and see'
WASHINGTON – The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has denied Democratic attempts to interview Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former CIA Director George Tenet and two former senior aides to erstwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell, RAW STORY has learned.
Intelligence Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) sought to interview Rice, Tenet and Powell's aides as part of a Senate inquiry into whether public statements by Administration officials about Iraq were corroborated by intelligence information. Recent reports – including one last Sunday from a former CIA chief in Europe – suggest that the Bush Administration was warned that Iraq did not have substantive weapons of mass destruction.
By Council for a Livable World
Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) may offer a cloture motion this week to choke off some of the many amendments that are expected to be offered. Even so, consideration of the bill is likely to extend into next week. Much of the time is being spent on amendments dealing with the high price of gasoline.
In the meantime, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill unless the price tag, now about $106 billion in the Senate, is brought closer to the original $92 billion request (although he requested an additional $2.2 billion to rebuild the hurricane protection system in New Orleans). Thirty five Republican Senators signed a letter pledging to uphold the veto.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is introducing an amendment to the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that requires the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq by December 31st, 2006. Last August, Feingold was the first Senator to announce a target date for withdrawal when he suggested U.S. troops leave Iraq by the end of 2006. The emergency supplemental, which is currently being considered in the Senate, includes funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq.
It's Thursday morning and Rep. Lynn Woolsey is hosting historic hearings on getting out of Iraq.
Photo Album - photos by Marcia Jansen and David Swanson.
Lots going on in D.C. - will post report here on hearing later today or tonight. -- David
The Chairmen of the House & Senate Intelligence Committees Dodge Oversight Responsibility; Again!
On December 22, 2005, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) made public the request by a former NSA intelligence analyst and action officer to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while he was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). NSWBC urged the congress to hold hearings and let Mr. Tice testify. Today, more than four months after Mr. Tice’s letters were sent to the chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and publicized in the media, he has yet to receive a response and be given an opportunity to lawfully disclose his first-hand account of criminal acts conducted by the National Security Agency.
By Alexander Bolton, The Hill
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence, said he wants to divide his panel's inquiry into the Bush
administration's handling of Iraq-related intelligence into two parts, a
move that would push off its most politically controversial elements to a
The inquiry has dragged on for more than two years, a slow pace that
By Erik Leaver, www.tompaine.com
Erik Leaver is a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the policy outreach director for the Foreign Policy In Focus Project. He is the co-author of The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops .
When George W. Bush casually let slip last month that the level of U.S. forces in Iraq would be decided “by future presidents and future governments of Iraq," he dispelled any illusions of presidential accountability for the ongoing management of the war. Before the Senate debates spending another $70 billion for the Iraq War this week, they should check in with the U.S. public to see if they support another three years of war without a plan for bringing the troops home.
By Council for a Livable World
Votes scheduled today on border security
At noon today, the Senate has scheduled a vote on the Gregg (R-NH) amendment No. 3594 and the Reid (D-NV) amendment No. 3604 to add $1.9 billion for border security. The Gregg amendment is co-sponsored by Sens. Frist, Byrd, Domenici, Ensign, Alexander and Sununu. The amendments would fund more helicopters, boats, unmanned surveillance airplanes and personnel for the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard border patrol efforts. The Gregg amendment would pay for the program by an across-the-board 3% cut in funds in the bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including cuts in military personnel, operations and maintenance, Iraqi security forces training, programs to combat Improvised Explosive Devices, the Defense Health Program and the Death Gratuity Fund. The Reid amendment, on the other hand, declares the new money “emergency funding” not needing an offset.