Bush Disregards Economic Plight of Americans

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized the Bush Administration for fiscal policies which resulted in decreases in personal income and increasing budget deficits.
President Bush displayed today why Americans are now giving him the lowest ratings of his presidency on his handling of the economy: He, along with Congressional Republicans, refuses to acknowledge and address the economic challenges being faced by American families. Under President Bush, median household income has decreased by $1,670 and the number of Americans living without health insurance has increased by 6 million. At the same time, American families are faced with skyrocketing prices at the pump and soaring health care costs.


Feinstein, Boxer Defeat Coburn Amendment

Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) successfully fought off an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to strip money from the Senate Supplemental bill for repair of California levees. Boxer said
Senator Coburn said we ‘made some really good points.’ Well, the point is that we simply cannot take the risk of ignoring vulnerabilities in our flood control infrastructure after we have seen Katrina and the direct results of infrastructure deterioration


Dems Obstructionist on Refinery Expansion

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) labeled Democrats obstructionist for blocking passage of a bill that would expand oil refinery production.
House Republicans today took action to move forward on legislation that will expand our nation’s refining capacity and lessen our dependence on foreign oil, but 185 Democrats voted to block progress on lowering the price of gas. The American people are paying the price at the gas pump, and it’s time for the House Democrats to join our effort to provide relief.

We have not built a new refinery in the United States in the past 30 years. We need action to increase our domestic ability to refine oil. This issue is not going away, and I challenge the Democrats to join us as we continue to work to ease the burden gas prices have placed on Americans.


Collaborative Approach To Increase Domestic Supply of Oil

My bill would coordinate a badly disjointed process for seeking approval to build new biofuel, gasoline, or diesel refineries in the United States.

We should assist local, state, and federal officials in confronting the confusing and sometime contradictory regulations, approval timelines, and permits required by dozens of regulatory agencies. Managing the process collaboratively would also result in greater public transparency and adherence to the critical environmental reviews and assessments that are required.

Our motor fuel supplies continue to be too tight to meet the demand of America and we need to address the situation comprehensively by increasing domestic production, supporting the transition to renewable biofuels, and promoting greater conservation.  



Republicans, Oil Companies To Blame For High Gas Prices

While there has been a decrease in the number of refineries, this is due to increasing market concentration resulting from refinery mergers. Thus, big oil, and not environmental or public health laws are to blame for fewer, but bigger refineries. If the Republicans want someone to blame for the shortage of refinery capacity and high gas prices they should try looking at themselves and taking responsibility their failed energy policy.

Need For Legislation To Bring Light to Corporate Compensation

When you start talking about compensation making up 12% of corporate profits, you're talking about real money, amounts of money so large that they are drains on the economy, so of course there would be less money to deal with pensions, healthcare, or other factors.

What we are doing, we are not telling the stockholder what they can and cannot do, but we think they should be able to vote on it, on such compensation.   

Democrats Displaying "Chronic Negligence On Energy Policy"

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized Democrats for voting against legislation to enhance oil refinery capacity last year.
Today, Capitol Hill Democrats have a choice: They can either back up their rhetoric and act to address America’s energy concerns or once again say "No" and continue their chronic negligence on energy policy.

Last year the House passed the Gasoline for America's Security Act (H.R. 3893), comprehensive legislation to encourage new refinery capacity and ban price-gouging – yet EVERY Democrat voted against the proposal. And they wonder why we have high energy prices?


Lobbying Reform Bill-Sham Legislation

The so-called 'Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act' is neither accountable nor transparent.  It does nothing to address the problems in the current lobbying system.  Dressing up a series of meaningless cosmetic changes and simply calling them 'reform' does not make them reform.  Make no mistake, Members who support true lobbying and ethics reform must vote against this sham bill

Call for Ohio Secretary of State to Step Down

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) called for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) to step down to ensure electoral integrity in the upcoming elections.
Just as the presidential election turned on the Buckeye State, so too could the 06 Midterms. It looks like were heading for a Strickland-Blackwell Governors Race, and a Brown-DeWine Senate battle. Both are critical -- we need the Ohio Governors mansion to help catapult our Presidential nominee in 08, as well as to insure fair redistricting in 2010.There are also a number of key house races -- Wilson looks good as a write-in in Strickland's old district, and we have several other pick-up opportunities.

So Ohio could be ground zero again, and the road to the Majority may well go through Columbus.

P.S. -- not surprisingly there were numerous machine snafus in Democratic areas. We desperately need a new Secretary of State as well, if we want to count every vote


Lobbying Reform Bill Too Weak "To Stop Unethical Behavior" of Lobbyists and Congress

This legislation hardly does anything to stop unethical behavior by members of Congress and lobbyists. We need bold reform to rebuild Americans' trust in their government, but this bill doesn't provide anything close. Even worse, we weren't allowed to offer amendments to significantly strengthen it. We need to reject this bill and bring up a bill with meaningful reform which includes increased disclosure, improved ethics process, gift ban and an end to phony accounting of the cost of corporate flights. I urge the Minority Leader to exercise her right to offer a credible Motion to Recommit that provides meaningful reform. If it does, I intend to support it and will encourage colleagues on my side of the aisle to do the same.