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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nancy Pelosi Needs To Learn What Legislate Means

I see a piece in The Hill today (via memeorandum) and it makes me laugh because Nancy Pelosi wishes to blame failure on the Senate, completely ignoring what the word "legislate" actually means.

Legislate from exercise the function of legislation; make or enact laws.

It does not mean pass everything you can through the house, knowing that it will not make it passed the Senate, nor does it mean, passing things through the House and the Senate knowing it will be vetoed when one also knows that either the House or the Senate will not be able to override the veto.

That is a political game.

In order to "enact" a law,, it must make it through both houses and the President must sign it.

That is where compromise comes in, and in order to be a legislator, you must understand that basic concept.

From the Hill, we see that Pelosi is far from understanding this and tries to tout all the bills that have passed the house and have not passed the Senate, blaming the Senate for the failure instead of herself for passing bills that she knew would not make it to the Presidents desk as well as knowing that they could not override his veto after they were told, repeatedly that he would veto them.

These days, she’s confined to claiming those winds are blowing on her side of the building. In the minds of her caucus members, the Senate is in the doldrums and House members are paying the price for Senate inaction on Democratic priorities.

When pressed on the slow progress of spending bills during ABC’s Sunday morning talk show “This Week,” Pelosi passed the buck to the Senate, saying, “In the House we’ve passed every one of our bills.”

The change in talking points at the top reflects a deepening frustration among House Democrats, who are irritated with lack of progress in the Senate and are starting to publicly press their Senate counterparts to stop letting Republicans use procedural tactics and instead force Republicans to carry out a filibuster, if that’s what it takes.

Pelosi’s shift in rhetoric is also strategic. There are 61 House Democrats serving in districts that President Bush carried in 2004, and many will face challenging reelection races. Senate Democrats have less to worry about as only a couple of them are considered serious targets this cycle.

“I think it would be important for the American people to get a more concrete understanding of the lengths Republicans will go to in order to hold these things up,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).


Same complaint I heard from the Republicans when they had the majority and I have the same answer to the Democratic politicians now as I had for the Republican politicians when they had the majority... that is the way our country runs.

You must work within the system as it was set up by the founders and you can complain all you want, just as the Republicans did, but it is nothing but excuses, and bad ones at that.

The comments also signal a growing unease within the House Democratic Caucus about the difficulty Senate Democrats are having in attracting sufficient GOP support for controversial bills. The Senate gridlock is undermining Democrats’ ability to tout the first Democratic-controlled Congress since 1994 and is playing a role in the public’s disapproval of the legislative branch.

In there lies the problem, controversial bills... good legislation, enacting of laws, calls for the House to pass something the Senate can get behind and the President will sign.

They have failed to get that basic point as they proved with the Supplemental bill, which they knew, were told repeatedly would be vetoed and which they also knew they did not have the votes to override the veto.

They did it anyway so that they could "appear" to be "trying".

Only fools would actually believe they are trying because trying would imply that they actually thought they had the votes to override the veto...clearly they did not and just as clearly, they knew they did not.

With the SCHIP bill, the Senate did have the 67 needed to override the veto...the HOUSE does not, so Nancy Dear needs to learn that to tout a good job, actual laws have to be passed.

Record numbers of roll call votes mean nothing except to those that haven't a clue what the word "legislate" actually means.

Now many will cry out about filibusters, which again would show ignorance because filibusters were put into the rules for this exact purpose, to keep a majority from writing bad bills and getting them passed just because they are the majority.

The problem with the Democrats, and the Republicans before them is that they want to complain about the rules instead of working together in a way that gets things done "within the rules".

If the Democrats were writing bills that everyone could get behind instead of deliberately provocative bills that they know are controversial, they wouldn't have this problem.

They deliberately are writing bills that they know there will be a fight over and nothing ends up getting done.

Republicans did the same when they were a majority and all they did was anger the general public, just as the Democrats are doing now, hence the lowest approval ratings in the history of polling Congressional approval.

A couple politicians seem to "get it" , one is Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.):

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who sits on the Finance Committee, said Senate Democrats were prepared to expand the SCHIP program further but recognized that it had to be trimmed in order to secure enough votes for passage.

“There are different rules and different chambers, and a different political reality that we have to deal with,” Salazar said. “I think what ends up happening is that we play a constraining force on the House of Representatives given our rules and traditions of the Senate.”
Another one that "gets" it is Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.):

But the sentiment is not universal. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) says he’s frustrated with the Senate, too. Yet, he added, “The Senate rules are the Senate’s rules.”

Political reality is what is hitting Nancy Pelosi in the face and she cannot seem to adjust to the reality, as evidenced by her continued passing of bills she knows will go nowhere instead of doing as Salazar just said and taking the appropriate steps to assure passage.

When you know, for a fact, that you have a bill you cannot get agreement on, you do not continue wasting taxpayers money on pushing the bill that you know will fail, you trim the bill, you change the bill, you work within the political rules that are set up, to make a bill that can get the support needed to pass and obtain the president's signature.

The Democrats wanted the majority, they got the majority, but now, just like the Republicans before them, they want to complain about the rules that have to be followed instead of working to get laws enacted, which is their ultimate goal.

Instead, we get a ton of postal offices renamed and recreational parks.

Reuters reports that Congress has hit an 11% approval rating and Bush at 24%.

Perhaps Pelosi & Co. better start understanding the rules are here to stay but the politicians can be replaced when the time comes.

Bush is not up for reelection but the 11%'ers will be in due time.

Bottom line, Pelosi can make all the excuses she wants to, blame whoever she wants to but their job is to legislate, to "enact laws" and so far, they have been a dismal failure at their job and it is being noticed.