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How much influence will the Democrats actually have?

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 05:49 am
Ok, ..the Dems have won Congress, the Senate appears in doubt.....(even though I just saw a newsflash from New Zealand saying they have won there, too..., but I won't be believing such a story unless it is confirmed by mainstream American media).....but I have no real idea how much power they will actually have....either with, or without, the Senate.


Can some of you kind and knowledgable souls elucidate the matter for a furriner?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,473 • Replies: 48
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:07 am
It really depends on what sort of agenda they follow... they have to walk a tightrope really... there needs to be oversight and damn quickly but the dems cannot be construed as merely using their new clout to just exact revenge on bush even though that's what he deserves and more....if by some miracle they take the Senate then some things could really get done.

Don't forget that bush and his band of arrogant assholes can still pretty much veto anything and set policy no matter what.

It could be 2 years of improvements or 2 years of the worst bottle neck and bickering imaginable. Time will have to tell.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:09 am
Control of the House is a pretty big deal.

First, the party in control has great power in setting the agenda meaning they can squelch issues that aren't to their advantage The Repubicans under Hastert wouldn't even let provisions which would have probably won a vote get to the floor. Pelosi has already hinted that she won't act the same way, but the power is there if she wants it.

The House also has investigative powers. They can hold hearings on things like wiretaps, and torture. They will have the all-important subpoena power.

Of course this also provides a platform with media attention for the issues that they want to put in front of the public.

No doubt this is a big deal. It will be very interesting to see how Bush plays this.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:12 am
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
It really depends on what sort of agenda they follow... they have to walk a tightrope really... there needs to be oversight and damn quickly but the dems cannot be construed as merely using their new clout to just exact revenge on bush even though that's what he deserves and more....if by some miracle they take the Senate then some things could really get done.

Don't forget that bush and his band of arrogant **** can still pretty much veto anything and set policy no matter what.

It could be 2 years of improvements or 2 years of the worst bottle neck and bickering imaginable. Time will have to tell.




Thanks...but what I am really after is some understanding of the actual STRUCTURE of power...what they can and cannot affect.


You see, your system is utterly foreign to us....for us, the leader is the person elected to that position by the party with the ability to form a workable majority in the lower house of parliament....thus the notion of a president whose party may hold neither house is hard to get your head around, and I am quite unclear about who has what power.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:13 am
... and while watching positions forming and strategies unfold, the wise furriner would do well to keep in mind that they 2008 election starts today. Everything that any national politician does will be done with the race for the White House in mind.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:14 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Control of the House is a pretty big deal.

First, the party in control has great power in setting the agenda meaning they can squelch issues that aren't to their advantage The Repubicans under Hastert wouldn't even let provisions which would have probably won a vote get to the floor. Pelosi has already hinted that she won't act the same way, but the power is there if she wants it.

The House also has investigative powers. They can hold hearings on things like wiretaps, and torture. They will have the all-important subpoena power.

Of course this also provides a platform with media attention for the issues that they want to put in front of the public.

No doubt this is a big deal. It will be very interesting to see how Bush plays this.



Thank you!

So....Congress can initiate bills, an it?


But Bush has veto?



But Congress can force inquiries into, say, corruption re awarding contracts in Iraq, torture, treatment of US prisoners?



Could it get rid of Guantanamo. for example?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:20 am
For legislation to become law it needs to pass both houses of Congress and then be signed by the president (unless there is support to override a presidential veto).

The Senate rules make the Senate a fairly bipartisan place. The minority party in the Senate the ability to bring issues to the floor and as long as the majority party doesn't hold more than 60 seats (the magic barrier to dominance).

The House is run by majority rule. The party that has one more seat (and controls the Speaker's chair) can literally keep issues from even being debated.

So thjs means that the party with even a slim majority of the House can kill a bill that has already passed the Senate and has the support of the president. They will simply refuse to bring it to the floor. They can do this even when it would win a fair vote in the House.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:20 am
the big problem is that bush is now backed into a corner (sort of) and no one knows better than you that a cornered animal is dangerous :wink:

He has a history of circumventing anyone he damn well pleases and doing what he wants. Cheney has already made it clear they have no intention of changing anything. It will be an interesting two years.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:22 am
ebrown_p wrote:
For legislation to become law it needs to pass both houses of Congress and then be signed by the president (unless there is support to override a presidential veto).

The Senate rules make the Senate a fairly bipartisan place. The minority party in the Senate the ability to bring issues to the floor and as long as the majority party doesn't hold more than 60 seats (the magic barrier to dominance).

The House is run by majority rule. The party that has one more seat (and controls the Speaker's chair) can literally keep issues from even being debated.

So thjs means that the party with even a slim majority of the House can kill a bill that has already passed the Senate and has the support of the president. They will simply refuse to bring it to the floor. They can do this even when it would win a fair vote in the House.



Golly.....
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:24 am
Bill Kristol on Fox News just said the Dems have the Senate. He thinks the lead in both Montana and Virginia are enough, even with a recount, to stand.

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:25 am
Things like Guantanamo are very messy. If the Democrats decide to make this an issue, it will be a big ugly fight. This is how I see it ...

The House has investigative powers. They can form a commision and get subpoena power.

However the White House can (and almost certainly will) claim that this is a national security issue and will order people not to testify.

The real fight will be in two fronts. First in the courts where presidential power and national security will be questioned. Then there will be a huge fight for public support.

My sense is that this will be about how much can the House force out into the public.

I don't think anyone can predict what will happen if we have a confrontation where both sides dig in their heels.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:30 am
dlowan- I could not begin to explain it. Here's a site that is meant for students that simplifies things.


http://www.factmonster.com/homework/social-studies-united-states-government.html#SS-USG-CONGRESS
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:30 am
I don't know ebrown I think one can safely predict that if both sides dig in their heels nothing will get done, the American people will become even more disgusted and the repubs will try to convince them that the dems are incapable of meaningful action and the repubs stick by their principles no matter what.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:30 am
Congress can't do anything like get rid of Gitmo without a signature from Bush.

2 things really. (both mentioned already)

1.) They can investigate and bring things to light that are presently hidden. The attention can put pressure on the GOP to act or be written off by more of the country.


2.) They can pass legislation that Bush will either have to sign or veto. The veto will bring attention that will have to be defended to the public.

Its all about the public relations game at this point. The win gives the dems the upper hand. At least until we get that promised terrorist attack that would happen if the dems win.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:30 am
Cheney has already said he won't testify.

And, the Dems have been saying, they won't get bogged down with a bunch of investigations and want to have a positive message that gets away from partisan bickering.

Unfortunately, I don't see justice being served re: Gitmo, Iraq war evidence, torture or illegal wire taps.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:35 am
I can hardly wait until the congress subpeonas all the energy executives that attended the energy meetings and the WH tries to claim they can't testify because of national security. In the end the national security claim will start to make the WH look paranoid.

The democratic party won't set up special committees to investigate but the standing committees will do what they are supposed to do.

Waxman, Conyers et al will be having their own hearings in their committees. Those could lead to more if they find things out. Or it all could blow over if they don't find anything.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 06:38 am
Is that a microphone in that urinal cake? Laughing
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:07 am
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
Cheney has already made it clear they have no intention of changing anything. It will be an interesting two years.


assuming that GOP retains the senate--although it would be wild if the senate is split 50-50 & Cheney gets to vote as president of the senate--actually, that might happen even if GOP retains a slim edge in the senate & some Republicans develop an independent streak--it seems incumbent on the GOP to change something to have any hope of retaining the White House in 2008, so as a *liberal*, i don't mind if the status quo continues, although that might not be the best thing for the country.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:09 am
Well, the tax cuts are gone. It is up to the house to continue them. The Democrats insist they know how to spend money better than I do.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:13 am
cjhsa wrote:
Well, the tax cuts are gone. It is up to the house to continue them. The Democrats insist they know how to spend money better than I do.

Perhaps we should have them spend all of the congress's discretionary money on guns to better reflect you. Laughing
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