I know the semester has just started, but I'm itchy to start handing out grades. The Senate Democrat's legislative goals, summarized at their website is as good a place to start as any.
Slogan: Security, Opportunity, Responsibility
Comments: Sounds like something thought up by the Republican's host of newspeak jabberwockies
1. S.11: Standing With Our Troops
Increases size of standing military by 40,000 by 2007 and promises greater income support and health care access for those who serve.
Comments: On increasing size of standing army, please see earlier post.
2. S.12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively
We're going to get those terrorists.
Comments: essentially adopts neocon rhetoric about taking the fight to the terrorists but throws in some stuff about preventing nuclear proliferation. Lacks creativity.
3. S.13: Fullfilling Our Duty to America's Veterans
Ensure better treatment for our veterans.
Comments: Worthwhile goal, but doesn't clarify change from current policies.
4. S.14: Expanding Economic Opportunity
Increase minimum wage, better trade protections, end tax breaks for outsourcing, etc.
Comments: outside of minimum wage part, unimaginative
5. S.15: Quality Education for All
Fully fund NCLB, increase Pell Grants, some other stuff
Comments: why is college tuition "skyrocketing"? What're the budgetary implications?
6. S.16: Making Health Care More Affordable
allows drug reimportation, tax credits for businesses, "protect Medicaid"
Comments: Does the notion of sending of our subsidized and overpriced pharmaceuticals to Canada, where they get priced down, and then reimporting them strike anyone besides me as being just a little bit bizzarre?
7. S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home
federal standards for elections, same day registration, shorter lines, paper trails, etc.
Comments: The best of the lot so far. Any thoughts on federal redistricting guidelines?
8. S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries
gets rid of "donut" in recent Medicare prescription drug legislation and allows govt to negotiate lower group prices with Pharma.
Comments: Sounds expensive
9. S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future
Restores Pay as You Go and sequestration; restricts misuse of reconciliation
Comments: Sidesteps sunsetting of 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
10. S. 20: Putting Prevention First
more $ for family planning and contraceptives
Comments: Right to choose?
Total Grade: C-
Comments: while recognizing that these items are intended to look like bills that might actually be considered by this congress and could even pass on a good day, there's not much here that indicates an underlying Democratic ideology or sense of purpose for government; doesn't do much to challenge Republican orthodoxy. What about the Republican "junk lawsuit bill"?
Later: Senator Bulworth offers his own agenda