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.

Gulf of Mexico, Domestic Source for Oil

If we want to make further progress on increasing domestic oil supplies, we need look no further than some of the promising areas in the Gulf of Mexico that were put off limits by the Administration when it first came into office back in 2001. The Administration took a large tract of potential production, called the Lease Sale 181 Area, and cut it down dramatically from the proportions that had been agreed to by President Clinton and then-governor Lawton Chiles of Florida. With the stroke of a pen, over a billion barrels of oil resources and over 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas were taken off the table. That was a mistake that I and others decried at the time and tried to reverse.


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.