United States News Digest
Kucinich Resolution To Force Cheney Impeachment Vote
Nov. 2 (EIRNS)In a press release issued today, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced that he will be offering a privileged resolution on the House floor, most likely on Nov. 6, that will bring articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. "The momentum is building for impeachment. Millions of citizens across the nation are demanding Congress rein in the Vice President's abuse of power." Kucinich's press release reports that the privileged resolution has priority status for consideration on the House floor. Once introduced, the resolution has to be brought to the floor within two legislative days, although the House could act on it immediately. H. Res. 333, Articles of Impeachment against the Vice President, sponsored by Kucinich, has 21 co-sponsors.
Schumer, Feinstein Cave In on Mukasey
Nov. 2 (EIRNS)Shortly after Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced his opposition to the confirmation of Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General, two Committee Democrats announced their support for the nomineelikely assuring his confirmation. In announcing his decision, Leahy asked: "When the United States cannot declare clearly that waterboarding is torture, that it is illegal, and that it will not be tolerated, what does that mean to other governments, and what comfort does that provide the world's most repressive regimes?... What kind of double standard does America set if we cannot declare waterboarding to be illegal?"
Despite Mukasay's refusal to acknowledge what everyone knowsthat waterboarding is tortureSen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for Mukasey, whose nomination he had sponsored. Schumer said he had received private assurances from Mukasey that if Congress outlawed waterboarding (which is totally unnecessary, since the United States has treated it as a war crime for 100 years), he would not approve it. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) soon announced her support for Mukasey, on the grounds that he "is not Alberto Gonzales." So far, no Republican has indicated a no vote on the nomination, although Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has been critical of Mukasey. Unless this changes, Mukasey's nomination is likely to be voted out of committee by an 11-8 vote; it will then go to the Senate floor, where it only needs 51 votes to be approved.
Polls Confirm: U.S. Population Disgusted with Congress
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)The results of two recent polls show that over two-thirds of the American public is furious at Congress, especially at the do nothing new Democratic majority.
According to a recent National Public Radio poll conducted by Democratic advisors James Carville and Stan Greenberg, 69% of voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing. This is the highest disapproval rating since the Democrats reclaimed their House and Senate majorities. Greenberg commented, "We have never seen people as angry and frustrated as they are now ... even more than in 1992." According to USA Today, a Gallup poll taken Oct. 12-14 showed that 72% of those surveyed said that they were not satisfied with the way things are going in the country. The poll noted that most of those surveyed were very pessimistic about the war in Iraq, and were very anxious about the state of the economy. Nearly one year after the Democrats took control of the Congress, three out of four surveyed felt that Congress had accomplished little or nothing in the past year.
On Oct. 27, the Sacramento Bee published a poll that found that, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's own party is turning on her, apparently because of a perception among California Democrats that she has not done enough to shake up the status quo in Washington, D.C." The poll showed more people disapproving of her performance, 40%, than approving of it, 35%; with 25% having no opinion of Pelosi at all.
Bush Faces Veto Overrides on Amtrak, Water Bills
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Yesterday, the Senate passed the Amtrak reauthorization bill by a veto-proof majority of 70 to 22. The bill authorizes $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion a year for the next six years for Amtrak, to be split between operating costs and capital projects. It also includes extensive reforms of Amtrak and establishes an intercity rail policy.
However, the bill did not include a provision in the 2005 bill that would have authorized "rail infrastructure bonds" in the amount of $1.3 billion a year for ten years to raise money for capital improvements for either state passenger rail projects or capital improvements under Amtrak's five year plan. This year's bill was not even introduced with the bond plan. In 2005, the bill, with the bond provision, passed the Senate Commerce Committee, but was not taken up on the Senate floor. Instead, it was attached, without the bond provision, to an omnibus appropriations bill.
Meanwhile, President Bush vetoed the $23 billion water Resources Development Act, which provides funding for all types of water infrastructure projects. It passed both the House and the Senate by veto-proof majorities and the veto is expected to be quickly overridden.
States Face Loss of Federal Money for Children's Health
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Nine states (Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, and Iowa) will run out of money for their children's health insurance program by March of next year. By the end of 2008, according to a Congressional Research Study reported in the Oct. 31 New York Times, 12 more states will follow. Child health program officials in California say they are "adopting rules to allow the state to create a waiting list and to remove some of the 1.1 million children already on the rolls," at a rate of 64,000 per month, starting in January.
President Bush told Republican lawmakers, in a closed-door meeting on Oct. 30, that he will not agree to legislation expanding children's health insurance if it includes a tobacco tax increase. According to Associated Press, Bush's renewed threat to veto "has led to a hurried round of negotiations among lawmakers in both parties and both houses," who may be feeling the heat from constituents insisting on Federal support for the health of the nation's children.
Giuliani 9/11 Fraud Exposed
Oct. 29 (EIRNS)Right-wing supporters of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are livid over revelations that the Republican Presidential contender, whose central campaign theme is his "heroism" on 9/11, actually contributed to the deaths of hundreds of firefighters and others.
The U.S. Senate has approved $500,000 in funding to set up the Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies at John Jay College in Manhattan. The Center will be a research entity and information clearinghouse for the study of emergency responses to large scale disasters.
Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett revealed on Oct. 23, that Giuliani, in private testimony before the 9/11 Commission which will not be publicly released until after the 2008 elections, failed to prepare New York's firefighters for dealing with acts of terrorism prior to 9/11. Barrett's report also says that, "Twice, Giuliani dodged the commission's questions about the radios used by first responders, one of the key critiques of the city's 9/11 response made by New York and national firefighters' unions. The city's firefighters were stuck with the same analog radios that had malfunctioned in 1993, when the World Trade Center was first attacked."