Monday, December 27, 2010

The Monday Memo: Advice for the New Congress

*Note* This is a new feature that I will post each Monday, as time allows.

Majority Leader Reid

Next week, a new Congress is seated and although the Democratic majority in the Senate is smaller, the Democrats still retain the Senate while having lost the House.  Though many on the left will feel dismayed by this reality, they shouldn’t as this is now the perfect opportunity for Democrats to show to the American people that they have some backbone.

We all know that the Republicans in the House will use their majority to hold hearing after hearing after hearing regarding the Obama administration.  They claim that all that want is transparency, when what they really want to do is embarrass the Obama administration, if they can.  We also know that the Republicans in the House will attempt to defund if not rescind the recently passed health care reform.  They also plan to make the Bush / Obama tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent permanent.

I say let them do this in the House.  Let them show how petty they are.  Let them show the nation that have no real ideas beyond tax cuts, more tax cuts and even more tax cuts.  Let them do this while the Democrats in the House, lead by the new “Iron Lady”, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, constantly and vigorously show the Republican pettiness and hypocrisy.  Show the nation why Democrats and not Republicans in the House have the nation’s best interests at heart: A strong middle class, affordable health care for all and everyone paying their fair share.

The Republicans in the House can pass all of the asinine and tea bagger legislation they want, but there is one thing even more powerful than a Presidential veto: The United States Senate.  Yes, Senator Harry Reid is still the Majority Leader, but now maybe that he isn’t up for reelection for another six years, he will grow a pair and a spine (one can hope for both) and hold the line against the tea bagger agenda.  Let’s not forget out civics lessons: The Senate was specifically designed to be a bulwark against the House.  By its very design, the Senate can not only slow down, but stop the tea bagger agenda from the House in its tracks.

The Senate can force House Republicans to rethink if not abandon their tea bagger agenda by making sure whatever the House passes never makes it to the floor for a vote.  Majority Leader Reid can make it very clear that nothing the House passes will be debated in the Senate unless it truly protects the middle class, the working poor and the poor.  Majority Leader Reid can also make it very clear that his largest goal is to fill the astounding number of judicial vacancies.  By making it the biggest goal of the Senate and threatening to halt all other legislation until a large number of vacancies are filled, Majority Leader Reid will show Democrats that he has a pair and a spine and that he is sticking up for the American people.

The Republicans entering the House and Senate are acting as if they control both chambers of the Congress.  Let the Democrats show them who truly runs the Senate and who has the needs of the American people well at hand.  We damn well know that President Obama won’t show us the type of leadership we need, so maybe Majority Leader Reid will step up to the plate.  One can hope.

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