Thursday, January 22, 2009

Big Plans in the Senate

Yesterday at the senate progressive media meeting, various commitments were made to the progressive agenda:(Via Mydd)
I recall last year, attending, that the atmosphere was much different. Then, all about stopping Bush; now, a huge agenda of things to do. And promises galore.

Ron Wyden, Universal healthcare-- Kennedy's bill. Harry Reid, Immigration Reform this year; EFCA "still a few more votes for cloture" but this summer. Sherod Brown, Universal healthcare, local green electricity. Byron Dorgan, a national "smart grid" for electricity. Jeff Bingham, Cap and Trade this cycle. Chuck Schumer, local water/sewer upgrades nationally. Tom Udall, serious start to getting off oil. Jon Tester, all the stimulus to infrastructure jobs (including green).
That's an extremely ambitious list. I'm not sure all of this is possible within one year (I could see health care taking up quite a bit of time), but it's important that this stuff is all out there.

While part of me is reminded about how worthless Reid and many other senate dems have been in fighting against Bush, I get the feeling that they will have a much more proactive approach promoting their own agenda. And we better hope so, because unlike the dems, the republicans know how to jam the congressional machine, meaning that none of these goals will be achieved easily.

With the economy being a priority, the job initiatives will probably come up soon, and I'm almost positive we'll see health care reform proposed this year. Employee Free Choice in the summer sounds at least possible, and "A few more votes needed for cloture" is a signal for President Obama to get those guest seats on Air Force warmed up.

The one thing on this list I don't see this year is Immigration reform. Also, as much as we need immigration reform, from a purely political standpoint it might be nice to completely split the republican caucus in the run up to the mid-term elections. The politics of that fight will be nuts, simply because it was the senate and not president Bush that prevented last years fairly flawed immigration reform bill. The good news on this one, is that we should be able to peel of a few republicans on this rather easily, and add them on to a much better bill without the create a permanent underclass guest worker provisions.

If this is the senate's agenda, the groundwork will be in place for truly major change.

1 comment:

  1. ahahahahaha that's a funny list. odds on any one thing from that list being properly followed through?