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Friday, January 05, 2007


The 100-Hour Agenda - You Go Girl

110th Congress

It felt good when San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to be sworn in as the Speaker of the House. Her speech on January 4th was not strident. She exuded confidence. There was a feeling of excitement and hope that things would be different.

We have been disappointed too often in the past when elected representatives failed to deliver. They proved to be no match against the system; venality took over and peoples' business fell by the wayside. It is to be seen what the 110th Congress actually succeeds in accomplishing. If it lives up to the beginning then there is reason to expect that it will do much better than the 109th.

Eugene Robinson is skeptical. "With all due respect to the chamber that calls itself the "world's greatest deliberative body," I wouldn't expect much initiative from the new Senate -- the Democrats' one-vote majority isn't enough to get much of anything done, especially with several senators moonlighting as presidential hopefuls. The action is in the House. And that's where the "interesting" part comes in. Pelosi's plan for a blitzkrieg of legislation in the first 100 hours of the new Congress is fine -- most Americans are in favor of a higher minimum wage, expanded stem-cell research, wider availability of student loans and fewer lobbyist-paid golfing trips to Scotland for our elected representatives. Pelosi could toss in a couple of bills supporting motherhood and apple pie while she's at it."

Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) : "If there is one lesson that stands out from our party's time in the majority, it is this: A congressional majority is simply a means to an end. The value of a majority lies not in the chance to wield great power but in the chance to do great things."

Lindsey Layton in the Post:

The role model herself stood on the dais to swear in the entire House amid a clutch of children, including several of her own grandchildren. She was calm enough to let one of the younger girls hold the newest grandbaby, and she was focused enough to do her work amid their antics, a talent she perfected years ago as a mother of five and grass-roots political activist.

It is Pelosi's time in the sun. There will be turbulent days ahead but, as they say: "You Go Girl".

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