Two names I was surprised to see up there were Feinstein
. Even Landrieu
seemed to be on the right track lately. Feinstein
is also pushing a bill that would ban electronic voting machines that lack paper trails
, which is a good thing. She is willing to let it go until after 2008, which is ABSOLUTELY INSANE.
Of course the congress' vote to approve the president's program is garnering a lot of interest in the press and in the blogosphere, and well it it should. Speaker Pelosi said that S. 1927,
the bill passed by the House to temporally amend FISA for six-months contains many provisions that are "unacceptable" and she does not believe that the "American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken. In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Speaker Pelosi requested that the Committees report to the House 'as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes,' legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)."
It's unfortunate that the Democrats seem to have faltered on this one issue, because there is a lot of other congressional news that is largly being ignored. Before the recess there was a rush of Democratic domestic legislation, in the face of veto threats.The Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007
Passed, providing tax incentives that will encourage the production of electricity from renewable energy and renewable fuels.
(I love this part!) To pay for these renewable energy and conservation incentives, "the bill repeals approximately $16 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies that were given during an era of record profits.
To ensure that oil and gas companies are paying their fair share of taxes, it closes a tax loophole that allows big oil and gas companies to game the system by understating their foreign oil and gas extraction income. It also closes the 'Hummer' Tax Loophole, fixing a serious mistake that provides an extra tax incentive for businesses buying luxury SUVs, while exempting vehicles that are used for legitimate business purposes."
Also, by a vote of 220-190, the House has approved an amendment to HR 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act
, requiring electric suppliers to produce 15 percent of their electricity using renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, by the year 2020.
The House has just passed H.R. 3159, Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act
by a vote of 229-194. The bill mandates troop rest times equal to their deployment times.
the House passed the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP)
, H.R. 3162, by a vote of 225-204. The bill provides health care to 11 million children, reverses the Republican drive to privatize Medicare, and strengthens our Medicare system.
In-house battles are brewing over September votes on Iraq funding, and spending bills for new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. In September Democrats have to reconcile several spending bills, most of which the president has threatened to veto.
Because of the negative effect that the war has on the president's poll numbers, the White House and the congresional Republicans are actually eager to have a confrontatation over the budget, because it will act as a distraction to public.
All eyes are on the report to Congress in September from the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus. The Democrats are reportedly going to once again attempt to gain support from the Republicans to try to bring the troops home. The White House long ago requested $141.7 billion to keep funding war operations after Oct. 1, and that price tag is rising. The Pentagon is assuming a $40 billion-plus increase in its core budget after Oct. 1.
Support from the Republicans on any issue has been non-existant up to this point, and Republicans have successfully obstucted many key measures. Recently though, Republicans joined with Speaker Pelosi on some of the key energy votes, and before going home, Senate Democrats won a bipartisan 68-31 vote for their children's health-insurance bill. This behavior on the part of the Republicans is a departure from their previous obstuctionist voting pattern.