Darfur Action: After the Rally

This past Sunday, April 30, 2006, I took part in a momentous event in the name of ending the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The crowd of nearly 75,000 men, women, and children from all over the U.S. and even parts of Africa, assembled on the National Mall that beautiful spring day to chant and cheer with resounding enthusiasm as Members of Congress, celebrities, religious leaders, student and community activists spoke of the critical needs in Darfur and gave suggestions for ending the genocide. It was an overwhelming sight to look out from the stage at the faces of people united to bring more attention to the ongoing atrocities going on half a world away. I was reminded of previous marches on Washington when people stood for peace and justice for all.

Felony Provision Poison Pill For Immigration Bill

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) discussed how the provision of the House immigration bill that would make illegal presence in the U.S. a federal felony would affect the passage of a comprehensive bill.

We have a bill in the House that has passed that declares anyone that comes here without proper papers as a felon. We have the majority leader, who has simply dismissed Senate legislation dealing with immigration as not worthy of consideration. And then we have Chairman Sensenbrenner -- I read the remarks here on the Senate floor earlier today. The reason he has the provision in the bill making everyone a felon is because the White House asked him to do it, and that was confirmed on the 16th of this month.

So I've got to have some protection in conference because it appears to me that they want no bill.


Republicans Heading Off Criticism Over Tax Rebate

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), during a press briefing with other Senate Republicans today, addressed criticism over the tax rebate proposal intended to address surging gas prices.
And I know a lot of people have focused in on the rebate and have suggested that that doesn't do anything to solve the crisis. Well, it wasn't intended to do anything to increase supply or reduce demand; it was a way of trying to provide some help, some temporary help at a time of gas price spikes this summer driving season.


Feinstein, Cantwell Link Enron to Surging Gas Prices

Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Justice for evidence acquired during its investigation of the energy company, Enron. Feinstein discussed the possible link between Enron's activities and surging gas prices.
As an example, according to media reports, one of the Enron traders who booked $750 million in natural gas contracts in 2001, subsequently started Centaurus Energy, a hedge fund company that trades energy commodities. When he was asked during a deposition about whether he had ever manipulated the Western energy markets while at Enron, he took the 5th Amendment and refused to answer. This man was never prosecuted, and is now trading energy commodities that are not subject to federal oversight.

American consumers need to be assured that the dramatic escalation in oil prices is not once again the result of energy market manipulation. And we need to know why those who may have manipulated the marketplace have not been subject to further scrutiny."


Support For Presidential Veto To Ensure Fiscal Responsibility

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) praised the President for threatening to veto an emergency supplemental bill that the Senate is debating on the floor today.
Just as American families must live within their means, so must Washington, D.C. And so we must cut excessive, wasteful spending.

We simply cannot allow our eight trillion dollar debt to continue as a mortgage on our children’s futures.

Over the last week, the Senate has been debating a supplemental spending bill. This legislation provides necessary funding for our troops fighting the Global War of Terror and it provides much needed relief for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Unfortunately, it also contains a great deal of pork. That’s why I’ve applauded the President’s threat to veto the legislation unless fiscal discipline can be restored.


UN Ambassador Bolton Refuses To Answer Kucinich's Questions About US Troops In Iran

I find it hard to believe that the United States Ambassador to the United Nations does not know about ongoing military activity in one of the world's most volatile regions, and in a country at the heart of current debate before the UN.

Congress has a Constitutional role to play in providing checks and balances of this Administration. Ambassador's Bolton testimony today, and his refusal to answer even the most basic questions about Iran, is just another example of this Administration's contempt of Congress.

This Administration has set our nation on the path to war against Iran.


Bush Administration Guilty of "Insidious Brand of Unilateralism"

The Bush-Cheney Administration has cultivated an insidious brand of unilateralism that regularly crosses into an arrogance of power. The scope of the Administration’s assertions of power is stunning, and it is chilling. Just as disturbing as the President’s use of press releases to announce which laws he will follow is the abject failure of the Republican-controlled Congress to act as a check against this executive power grab. I will continue to blow the whistle on the President’s use of these bill signing statements to pick and choose which laws he deems appropriate to follow, and so will others. But until Republican leaders let Congress fulfill its oversight role, this White House will have no incentive to stop this abuse of power.


U.S. and India Joined By Non-Proliferation, Energy Interests

As the world's largest and oldest democracies, India and the United States have forged a long-lasting friendship. Our common goal of safeguarding liberty and combating oppression has united India and the United States resulting in an expanding relationship. It is my hope that the Global Partnership will help to further foment and expand these mutually beneficial ties.

Republicans Look To Weaken Medicare

Medicare is one of the pillars of health care in this nation, but the Republicans seek to weaken it. The dire situation that the Medicare Trustees warn will be reached in 2012 is an ill-disguised scare tactic to force cuts in a program that millions of Americans depend on. Five years of tax cuts that have enriched millionaires do not justify healthcare cuts that hurt ordinary citizens. And professed concern for the sustainability of the program is not particularly credible when wasteful spending to the tune of $63 billion over ten years for Republican cronies in the health insurance industry remains untouched. We need to protect, not pillage, the Medicare program.

Democrats Killing Jobs, Weakening Economy, Undermining Security

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) denounced House Democrats, specifically Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), for proposing legislation to inspect all containers that enter the U.S in a statement released today.
The Democrats’ plan would force security screeners to waste their time scanning cargo that poses no risk to the U.S, and in so doing it would undermine our security by forcing containers to sit for an extended periods of time, putting them at even greater risk. And because no technology currently exists to make this process move quickly, the Markey amendment would basically shut down global trade. Paralyzing the flow of goods coming in and out of the country won’t make Americans safer -- it would kill American jobs, send U.S. jobs overseas, and weaken the U.S. economy.