Posted by: Audiegrl
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a picnic for members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House June 8, 2010 in Washington, DC.. The first dog Bo was in tow. Alaskan Salmon smoked on an open pit was served for dinner. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)
President Obama welcomes members of Congress to the White House as he and the First Lady host the annual White House Congressional picnic.
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Posted by: BetsM
Of the many reasons for public discontent with government generally and Congress particularly, none is more obvious than the wholesale movement of former members of both Houses of Congress into the lobbying business. The massive lobbying industry is quick to remind us that lobbying is perfectly legal, or perhaps it is better to say not illegal, and that it has been going on from the beginning of parliaments. That may be technically true, but it neglects the critical point that, when conducted by former members of Congress, and now increasingly their wives and children, lobbying is a sophisticated way of trading titles provided by voters for substantial personal gain.
No one truly believes that John Doe is as valuable to his lobbying firm and its corporate clients as former Senator John Doe is. Senator John Doe adds prestige to the firm. More importantly, he can open doors in the offices of his former colleagues. In the lobbying business, that is pure gold. The core and centerpiece of the lobbying business is ACCESS. It is possible to count on the fingers of one hand the number of members of Congress who refuse to see a former colleague.
My relatively few years in elective office spanned a critical transition time. Very few of my Senate colleagues from the 1970s became lobbyists. For most of the great ones it was a matter of self-respect and personal honor. By the time I retired from office in the later 1980s, not only former Senators but also their wives and sons and daughters were joining or forming lobbying firms and making a very great deal of money. It would take more than blog space permits to analyze the reasons for this transformation. But much of it had to do with the triumph of money over that earlier sense of personal honor. No American has the right to trade an office and a title bestowed upon him or her by the people for personal gain.
Senators Michael Bennet and Jon Tester are sponsoring legislation to bar Senators from lobbying for life. I would find it amazing if there were even committee hearings on this proposal, let alone a vote on the floor of the Senate. But such a measure would do more to demonstrate that the current Senate is serious about recapturing its dignity, its respect, and its sense of honor than any other single step I can think of. And perhaps most of all, it would go a very long way to restoring the confidence of the people in their government.
Posted by: Audiegrl
Think Progress.org~Yesterday in San Fransisco, federal agents arrested 48 year-old Gregory Giusti for allegedly threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Giusti “allegedly made dozens of calls to Pelosi’s homes in California and Washington, D.C., as well as her husband’s business office. He allegedly recited her home address and warned that she should not support the healthcare overhaul bill that was recently signed into law if she wanted to see her home again.” Yesterday on San Fransisco’s local ABC affiliate, Giusti’s mother blamed Fox News:
ELEANOR GIUSTI: Greg has — frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family and — which gets him into problems. And apparently I would say this must be another one that somehow he’s gotten onto either by — I’d say Fox News or all of those that are really radical, and he — that’s where he comes from.
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Posted by: TheLCster
AP~The FBI arrested a California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening and harassing phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over health care reform, law enforcement officials said.
Gregory Lee Giusti, 48, was arrested at his San Francisco home shortly after noon, said Joseph Schadler, spokesman for the FBI’s San Francisco office.
Schadler did not disclose the charges against Giusti, but said he’s due before a federal magistrate Thursday morning.
Several federal officials said the man made dozens of calls to Pelosi’s homes in California and Washington, as well as to her husband’s business office. They said he recited her home address and said if she wanted to see it again, she would not support the health care overhaul bill that since has been enacted.
One official said the man is believed to have spoken directly with Pelosi at least once.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
A call to a Pelosi spokesman was not immediately returned.
On Monday, the House Speaker told a reporters in San Francisco that “people have been active in expressing their disagreement.”
Sometimes those expressions have risen “to the level of threats or violence,” Pelosi said, explaining that she was not allowed to comment on her own situation.
Posted by: Audiegrl
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) speaks to the media as French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) listens as they meet on Capitol Hill March 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Sarkozy is on a visit in Washington and he will meet with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office later today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press availability this afternoon with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France prior to their meeting in the Capitol. Below are their remarks:
“Good afternoon. Once again, it is an honor to welcome the President of the French Republic to the Capitol of the United States. We all remember with great pride his beautiful speech to a joint session of Congress.
We are all reminded there are only two paintings in the chamber of the House of Representatives—one of the father of our country, George Washington, the other of the Marquis de Lafayette. Our friendship goes back a long way, and the President’s visit then and now reinforces that friendship.
I look forward to our conversation regarding the security of our countries: whether it relates to stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the situation in Iran relating to that; our cooperation in Afghanistan; and the issue of regulatory reform and our economic security. I would be interested to hear the President’s thinking on that subject. I know he has been a strong leader in that regard as well. And then of course, the issue of climate change, in which France and the European Union have lead the way.
So I am delighted to receive once again, President Sarkozy to the Capitol in friendship and again, with great recollections of his excellent speech to the Congress now almost two-and-a-half years ago when he was a new President of the French Republic.“
President Sarkozy:[Translated from French]
“I am so happy to be back in the Capitol. Thank you for your kind words about my speech. I, believe you me, I have not forgotten that moment, which was a memorable one in my life.
We will cover the wide range of topics you mentioned. I have much admiration for you, Madam Speaker. It is a great and wonderful symbol that there be a woman Speaker, in this, the world’s number one power.
This visit to the United States is very important to me. This afternoon with President Obama, I will be talking about the joint work of France and the United States.
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
Posted by: Audiegrl
White House.gov/Jen Psaki~Faced with an unprecedented level of obstruction in the Senate, the President announced his intention to recess appoint fifteen nominees to fill critical administration posts. While the President respects the critical role the Senate plays in the appointment process, he was no longer willing to let another month go by with key economic positions unfilled, especially at a time when our country is recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Many of these fifteen individuals have enjoyed broad bipartisan support, but have found their confirmation votes delayed for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications. It has more to do with an obstruction-at-all-costs mentality that we’ve been faced with since the President came into office. Because of political posturing, these fifteen appointees have waited an average of 214 days for Senate confirmation.
This opposition got so out of hand at one point that one senator put a blanket hold on all of the President’s nominees in an attempt to win concessions on two projects that would benefit his state. And another nominee’s confirmation was delayed by one senator for more than eight months because of a disagreement over a proposed federal building in his home state. When that nominee was finally given the vote she deserved, she was confirmed 96 to 0. When you attempt to prevent the government from working effectively because you didn’t get your way, you’re failing to live up to your responsibilities as a public servant.
To put this in perspective, at this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month. And cloture has been filed 16 times on Obama nominees, nine of whom were subsequently confirmed with 60 or more votes or by voice vote. Cloture was not filed on a single Bush nominee in his first year. And despite facing significantly less opposition, President Bush had already made 10 recess appointments by this point in his presidency and he made another five over the spring recess.
A few more numbers to put this in perspective:
- These fifteen nominees have been waiting a total of 3,204 days or almost nine years to start their respective jobs.
- Even the most recently nominated of these fifteen individuals has been waiting 144 days or nearly five months.
- Jeffrey Goldstein was nominated to serve as the top domestic finance official at Treasury, a crucial position for fixing the economy and preventing another financial crisis. Goldstein has been waiting 248 days or over 8 months.
- Jacqueline Berrien was nominated to serve as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC currently lacks a quorum and cannot fulfill its mandate to protect American workers from discrimination. Berrien has been waiting 254 days or over 8 months.
- Craig Becker and Mark Pearce were nominated to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which protects American workers from unfair labor practices. The five member board has been trying to operate with only two members. Becker and Pearce have been waiting for 261 days or over 8 months.
The roadblocks we’ve seen in the Senate have left some government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission impaired in fulfilling their mission. These agencies can now get back to working for the American people.
These nominees will remain pending before the Senate for what we hope will be the expeditious confirmation that candidates of their caliber deserve. But we also hope that this politically motivated gridlock comes to an end, because each day we dedicate to a strategy aimed at gumming up the works of our government is another day we aren’t doing right by the American people.
The 15 newly appointed nominees are:
- Jeffrey Goldstein: Nominee for Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, Department of the Treasury
- Michael F. Mundaca: Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Department of the Treasury
- Eric L. Hirschhorn: Nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
- Michael Punke: Nominee for Deputy Trade Representative – Geneva, Office of the United States Trade Representative
- Francisco “Frank” J. Sánchez: Nominee for Under Secretary for International Trade, Department of Commerce
- Islam A. Siddiqui: Nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
- Alan D. Bersin: Nominee for Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security
- Jill Long Thompson: Nominee for Member, Farm Credit Administration Board
- Rafael Borras: Nominee for Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security
- Craig Becker: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
- Mark Pearce: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
- Jacqueline A. Berrien: Nominee for Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Chai R. Feldblum: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Victoria A. Lipnic: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- P. David Lopez: Nominee for General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Posted by: Audiegrl
Surrounded by Democratic House members and other guests, U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signs the revised Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act during an enrollment ceremony March 26, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House passed the bill that completed heath care reform by a vote of 220 to 207. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)
While some members of Congress have been targeted by health-care law opponents, at least one Democrat got a nice surprise from the public Friday. Bloggers at the liberal website Daily Kos sent thousands of roses to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, to celebrate her birthday and her role in passing health-care legislation.
“Thanks to the community at Daily Kos, and others who joined in, Speaker Pelosi received thousands of roses this morning for her 70th birthday,” Pelosi’s staff wrote. “She sent half of the roses to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and is distributing the other half to hill staff to thank them for all their hard work on the health reform legislation.” They’ve posted photographs of the flowers on Flickr. Today Pelosi posted a video thanking the gift-givers.
44D’s Note: Special thanks to Brainwrap who spearheaded the effort, the Daily Kos community, and others who joined in. Speaker Pelosi received thousands of roses this morning for her 70th birthday. Just remember at least 216 soldiers or family members or caregivers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center had their day brightened quite a bit by your (and the Speaker’s) thoughtfulness, compassion and generosity. Well done 🙂
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