What Needs To Be Done For Darfur

More than 10,000 people gathered in the National Mall on Sunday, while thousands more attended rallies across the country, to support the suffering people of Darfur. Music and film stars have helped attract more attention to the cause, and the White House has expressed its concern.All this is good news.

When the Holocaust unfolded, there were no rallies, there were no demonstrations, there was no legislation, there was just silence and indifference. I salute everyone who has stood up during these last few weeks and months to tell the oppressors, "We shall no longer mourn this genocide, we shall stop it."

As the Holocaust taught us, a villainous government that persecutes its own people cannot be counted on to keep its word; it must be compelled to do so.

Lobbying Reform, Port Security, Defense Spending on the Agenda This Week

Last week, the House passed the rule for H.R. 4975, the Lobby Reform Act, and this week, we expect to take up consideration on the bill. The House version of the Lobby Reform Act bans privately funded travel by House members for the remainder of the 109th Congress. It also requires lobbyists to report twice as often on their clients and activities, and that their reports be available and searchable on the Internet. Lobbyists would have to report all contributions they make to candidates or political groups. The bill denies congressional retirement benefits to House members convicted of felonies related to their official position.


The "Death Tax" is Fundamentally Wrong

American families and family-owned businesses must deal with the overwhelming emotional pains and financial agonies that come from the loss of a loved one. The government then asks these troubled families to once again pay taxes at confiscatory rates, for assets that were already taxed when they were earned -- this is simply wrong at the most fundamental level.

White House Working Too Closely With Oil Companies

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized the relationship between the Bush Administration and oil companies, and discussed its negative effects on the country on This Week with George Stephanopoulos yesterday.
We need a bunch of things being done, which this administration doesn't want to do. Number one is conservation. We have the worst conservation program in the world. China, a country that doesn't even believe in the environment, has much better oil -- gas mileage standards than we do.

Then we need a Manhattan Project to become independent of fossil fuels and, particularly, imported oil. We have to drop our exports in half in 10 years, and we can do it. But what happens is, because this administration believes what's good for Exxon/Mobil is good for America, they simply do what the oil companies want. The oil companies are happy with high prices and record profits.


ANWR Drilling to Bring U.S. Back to Pre-Katrina,Rita Oil Levels

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) spoke of the benefit of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer yesterday.
I'm talking about sensible exploration and drilling in the coastal plane. We've got an opportunity up there for perhaps the largest find in North America that we have seen. We've got an opportunity up there for a million barrels a day coming into this country. A million barrels a day is what we saw when Katrina and Rita took us offline.

Administration Must Do as Much As it Can in Darfur

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) spoke about what the Bush Administration must do to address the genocide in Darfur at a rally in the National Mall today.
I've seen the Janjaweed outside the refugee camps, walking through the camps. I talked to the women who had been raped while collecting firewood. I've seen the brutal killings, I've been to the camps...I call on the administration to do as much as they can do. We need to deploy the special envoy...We need to put sanctions on the government of Sudan. We need to put a travel ban on the government of Sudan.

More Must Be Done in Darfur

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) discussed the need for a more effective approach to ending the genocide in Darfur at a rally in the National Mall this afternoon.
Today, we know what is right and we know what is wrong. The slaughter of innocents is wrong. Two million people driven from their homes is wrong. Women, gang-raped while gathering firewood is wrong. Silence, acquiescence, paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong...If you take a poll of senators and representatives, they will tell you that they too are against genocide. (The Bush) administration, unfortunately, has been better than many European nations in acknowledging the facts on the ground, which is a sad testimony to what is happening around the world. But for all that, not enough has been done and the facts on the ground remain the same.

Price of Gas Has Nearly Doubled Since Bush Elected into Office

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) discussed the President's role in recent gas price surges on Meet The Press this morning.
But let's be very honest about this. When we put up the Maria Cantwell amendment, on the floor, of the energy bill (which) said America should reduce its dependence on foreign oil by 40% over the next 20 years, it was opposed by this administration, opposed because they said that would force higher CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, higher fuel economy for cars and trucks. That has to be part of the solution in America. And now the president recently has said he wants to revisit that issue, but that has to be part of any sound energy policy.  


Republicans Focused on More Drilling and Tax Breaks for Oil Companies

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) criticized Republicans for responding to gas price concerns with calls for increased oil drilling and tax breaks for oil companies during the weekly Democratic radio address this morning.

Last year Exxon-Mobil posted $36 billion in profits, the largest for any corporation in United States history. Thursday the top four oil companies reported a first-quarter profit of $20 billion and oil executives, like former Exxon-Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, retire with $400 million retirement packages. Meanwhile, gas prices keep skyrocketing, and in Washington Republicans continue to turn to a blind eye to the oil industry's activities.

From this Republican-controlled Congress, we hear more of the same: let's just drill our way to energy independence, sacrifice our environment, and provide big tax breaks to big oil. Democrats, on the other hand, want to implement bold changes that ease consumers' pain today and in the longer term wean America from its addiction to foreign oil. 


Former RNC Chairman Potentially Involved in Unlawful Campaign Tactics

Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, citing media reports that  Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), former chair of the Republican National Committee, was involved in unlawful campaign tactics during the New Hampshire elections of 2002.
The media reports that Haley Barbour, a former National Republican Party chairman, arranged a quarter-million dollar loan to provide startup financing for the telemarketing company implicated in the scheme.