Thursday, December 20, 2007

Republicans Risk 2008 Setbacks After '07 Victories in Congress

Republicans are claiming triumph for
blocking most of the Democratic majority's docket as the U.S.
Congress's 2007 session ends, including attempts to change Iraq
policy, easiness in-migration laws and encouragement oil-company taxes.

The jubilation may be premature. Tied to an unpopular war
and a president with blessing evaluations near record lows, the
Republicans also are getting more than incrimination for Washington's
legislative gridlock, polls show. That could ache them in the
2008 elections.

''I haven't seen any addition in enthusiasm for Republicans
in general and congressional Republicans in particular,'' said
Gary Jacobson, a professor of political scientific discipline at the
University of California, San Diego. Republicans ''have decided
their best scheme is to barricade everything they can and seek to
make the Democrats look ineffective.''

The Republicans state they be after to utilize their effectivity in
defeating Democratic statute law to beat up electors to their side. ''This twelvemonth assists us an atrocious lot,'' Toilet Boehner, an Ohio
Republican who is the minority leader of the House of
Representatives, said in a interview.

The Democrats state they aren't worried. ''They are
filibustering themselves out of their seats,'' said Senator
Charles Schumer of New York, the chamber's No. Three Democratic
leader, referring to a procedural maneuver senators utilize to kill

One twelvemonth after taking control of Congress, Democrats have
significant advantages heading into the 2008 campaign, including
an almost 2-to-1 fringe in monetary fund elevation and the announced
retirements of 23 Republican senators and representatives,
compared with four Democratic departures.


Senate Democrats held a record 62 ballots this twelvemonth to seek to
overcome Republican filibusters. The former record was set
during the two-year congressional session in 2001-2002. The
Democrats, with a 51-49 majority, couldn't rally the 60 votes
needed to coerce a flooring ballot and had to give up many of their
legislative goals.

On the last twenty-four hours of the session, a $554 billion catch-all
spending measurement to pay for most authorities trading operations passed
only after Democrats dropped many of their domestic-spending
demands and agreed to include $70 billion in finances for the war
in Republic Of Iraq without any demand to retreat U.S. troops.

Democrats capitulated to another Republican demand by
dropping taxation additions for executive directors at hedgerow finances and
private-equity steadfasts from a measurement exempting 23 million
households from a taxation addition under the option minimum


Energy statute law passed only after Republicans thwarted
provisions to increase taxations on oil and natural-gas companies
and necessitate investor-owned utility-grades to hike their usage of
renewable combustible sources.

''The temper is overwhelmingly rancid and negative, and
Republicans are taking the brunt of that,'' said Karlyn Bowman,
who tracks polling at the American Enterprise Institute in

A American Capital Post/ABC News study Dec. 6-9 establish that while
53 percentage of grownups disapproved of the manner Democrats in
Congress are doing their jobs, Republican lawmakers had a 63
percent disapproval rating, about the same as President George
W. Bush's. The study of 1,136 grownups had a 3 percentage-point
error margin.

Criticized by Allies

Congressional Democrats have got been criticized by allies for
yielding to the Republicans. Friends of the Earth, an
environmental group, blasted the Democrats' scheme on energy

''It's clear that Democratic capitulation isn't limited to
Iraq,'' the group's president, Brant Blackwelder, said in a
statement. ''Senate Democrats should demo some backbone.''
Democratic leadership said they cognize their party's core supporters,
particularly anti-war voters, are embittered by the party's
mixed legislative record.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Golden State denied that the
Democrats had caved in. Instead, she said, they were reaching
reasonable via medias after setting a ''high-water mark'' in
their initial places on the year's top issues.

Democrats had some successes, including passing play an increase
in the federal lower limit pay to $7.25 an hr from $5.15,
enacting new ethical motive and lobbying limitations and cutting
subsidies to student-loan providers.

The Democrats' losings included statute law providing a
pathway to citizenship for some undocumented workers, a measure
allowing the authorities to negociate less drug terms for the
elderly and a push back of oil taxation interruptions and subsidies.

Bush's Vetos

Shrub vetoed measures that would have got expanded federal
embryonic-stem-cell research, added 4 million donees to a
children's health-care programme and required troop withdrawals
from Iraq.

Boehner, 58, said it became easier for Republicans in both
chambers to lodge with Shrub on the warfare after sectarian violence
in Republic Of Iraq eased in the 2nd one-half of the year. ''While the war
could have got gone better, clearly over the course of study of this twelvemonth it
has gone a batch better,'' he said.

His political party confronts an acclivitous ascent to derive seating in either
chamber in November 2008. In the House, 17 Republicans,
including former Speaker Dennis Hastert, have got decided to retire
or tally for different offices, compared with just four Democrats. In the Senate, 23 of 35 seating on the ballot are now Republican-

''Frankly, if we could throw our own, I'd be very happy,''
said Senator Saint George Voinovich, an Buckeye State Republican.

To reach the newsmen on this story:
Laura Litvan at

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