Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The First 100 Continues

As the Democrats first 100 hours of leadership continues into its second actual week of work, let us pause to look back and see what has occurred thus far.

  • Massive Time Warp achieved to allow 100 hours to last 3 weeks
  • Vacation to watch football
  • 9/11 Commission Recommendations passed
  • Stem Cell Research bill revived and passed
  • Bill to allow Secretary of Health to negotiate for better drug prices passed
  • Holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Half holiday to allow recovery from MLK Jr. Holiday

After completing work on three bills last week, the Democratic-led House began this week in a true spirit of bipartisanship: they took a break together. Republicans and Democrats enjoyed a Monday off to honor MLK Jr. and most of Tuesday off to honor their own laziness.

In a less lazy display of bipartisan efforts, the House of Representatives passed a monumental bill to allow for stem cell research expansion. The only thing is, this bill passed last year and didn't go into effect because President Bush vetoed it. In fact, it is the only bill that President Bush has ever vetoed. All signals say that he is prepared to veto it again if it makes it through the Senate.

Nonetheless, the stem cell research bill passed by a 254-174 vote with more than a few Republicans voting Aye and several more not voting. Almost all the House Democrats voted in support of the bill. This shows that if the President vetoes it again, we can expect a substantively similar bill to make its way back to the Oval Office repeatedly until the President gives in or works with the Congress to develop a compromise plan.

On a vote of 255-170, the House passed a bill to allow the Secretary of Health to negotiate with drug companies for better prices. This will benefit those who use the Medicare Prescription Coverage that President Bush signed into effect. Basically, this is a cost cutting measure that fixes an apparent shortcoming in Bush's policy. I don't consider this bill to be all that earth-shattering.

Much more is still to come before the Democrats first 100 hours ends! Stay tuned!

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