David Jackson, a political contributor for USATODAY, concludes that a Democratic majority is expected to bring changes
. Here are excerpts: A Democratic takeover of the U.S. House would put more women and minorities in positions of power, as well as more senior citizens. Democrats say ... [they will] pass tax cuts for the middle class and devise a strategy to get U.S. troops out of Iraq. They promise more time in the hot seat for members of the Bush administration. Other possible changes: •New power brokers.
The most dramatic difference ... [is that] House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi [will] become the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, [and] would be behind Vice President Cheney to succeed Bush. Pelosi already has signaled that she will name committee chairpersons based on seniority, [and] the gavel would go to at least four African-Americans, including John Conyers of Michigan at the Judiciary Committee helm and three women, including California's Juanita Millender-McDonald and New York's Nydia Velázquez, who would be the only Hispanic committee leader. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is openly gay, would lead a committee. Currently, all of the House GOP committee chairmen are white and male. The age of House chairpersons [will also rise from around 60 to 70]. •New issues.
Pelosi wants to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour, halve the interest rate on student loans and enact the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to fight terrorism. ... Democrats want to give the federal government the authority to negotiate lower prescription-drug prices for seniors and expand research using embryonic stem cells,[all in] Pelosi's first 100 hours as speaker. Pelosi also has promised a bill that would ban lobbyists from underwriting lawmakers' trips and prohibit corporations from providing discount travel on private jets. On Iraq, Democrats are likely to press for withdrawal of U.S. troops "in conjunction with the White House." Democrats ... would explore universal health care and debate ways to diversify the nation's energy supplies. Prospects for a sweeping immigration overhaul could improve, [but with the dreaded provision] blocked by Hastert and other GOP leaders who oppose provisions that would offer a chance at citizenship to estimated 12 million people now living in the USA illegally. ... [Democrats would also] want tax cuts for child care and tuition assistance, [and] for rolling back taxes [they say] benefit wealthier Americans such as estate tax. •A new atmosphere?
Murtha, a Pelosi confidant, says Democrats won't try to impeach [Bush], though ... Pelosi says she wants probes of Bush's first-term energy task force and the intelligence leading to the Iraq war[, and to] extend the amount of time House members spend in Washington, which shrunk to three days or less per week under the GOP. Some bills, such as one to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that Bush vetoed, are likely to be offered even if Bush or Republicans don't support them, [in a bid] "... to lay down markers for the 2008 campaign," Frost says. Rep. Dingell counsels his fellow Democrats to focus first on Election Day: "Before you sell the bear's hide, you first have to shoot the bear."
Word to the wise.
Labels: Democratism, Politics