Bush Ditchin’ Congress for Remainder of Term
by markthshark (dailykos)
Wed Oct 31, 2007 at 07:22:10 AM CDT
Bush to White House steno pool: WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ CONGRESS!
(occams hatchet covered Bush's precious press conference earlier this morning quite eloquently here, and had some great strategy points for Democrats in '08, as well.)
This diary, however, delves into Bush's new strategy to marginalize Congress, and how it may just facilitate Cheney's perverted wet dream about invading Iran, and in doing so, leave Congress holding the proverbial bag.
When I first read this article it reminded me of an episode of "Lil Bush" on Comedy Central. Needless to say, the pintsized emperor and Lil Cheney are not pleased, just having concluded that dear leader can no longer do much business with the Democratic leadership.
But seriously, Bush's latest neofascist vehicle to marginalize Congress, so-called "administrative orders," differ slightly with directives and executive orders, according to The University of Tulsa College of Law:
Administrative Orders include numbered documents called determinations, and notices or memorandum designated by date. These orders often concern foreign policy decisions but may also include management decisions made by the President that concern Executive Departments. (my emphasis)
Given the tenuous situations in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, bypassing Congress would give Bush and Cheney carte blanche to, among other things, order military strikes, including bombings and incursions inside Iran. Given Bush’s dubious track record over the past seven-years, I get the distinct and ominous feeling this has more to do with Congress’ hesitation to green light a preemptive attack on Iran than it does with the amount of work Congress is doing overall.
According to administration officials, the White House is quietly planning to implement as much new policy as possible by using administrative orders - thereby bypassing Congress completely – while elevating confrontational rhetoric with Capitol Hill like that exhibited on Tuesday after Bush conducted a private meeting with about 150 congressional Republicans in the East Room.
Bush and his advisers blame Democrats for the holdup of Judge Michael Mukasey’s nomination to be attorney general. He also displayed feigned indignation over the failure to pass any of the twelve annual spending bills, and what he considers their refusal to involve him in any meaningful negotiations over the deadlocked children’s S-chip healthcare legislation.
White House aides say the only way their boss seems to be able to influence the process is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as he’s quietly done in the last few weeks on veteran’s healthcare, air-traffic congestion, immigration, and protecting endangered fish.(Huh?)
Wednesday's Washington Post has the story:
They say they expect Bush to issue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks out on the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases.
The events of recent weeks have "crystallized that the chances of these leaders meeting the administration halfway are becoming increasingly remote," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Bush himself has been complaining more and more bitterly about congressional Democrats in recent weeks. In a private meeting yesterday with House Republicans in the East Room of the White House, Bush recalled how he had been able to work with Democrats when he was Texas governor and said he had hoped to find the same relationships in Washington.
"He sort of longs for those days, when both sides were genuinely interested in getting along and getting a deal," said Rep. Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, who helped organize yesterday's White House meeting, attended by about 150 Republicans.
The president offered more criticism after the session. "Congress is not getting its work done," Bush said. "We're near the end of the year, and there really isn't much to show for it."
Of course, posturing is usually a two-way street and Democratic leaders wasted no time firing back at Bush. Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) shot back:
"The president wants the same complacent, complicit Congress that was a co-conspirator in a coverup of what was going on in this country."
Of course, both sides think they have the winning political strategy here. The White House somehow thinks they can recapture the upper hand as fiscal conservatives, even though most pundits say that ship has sailed a long time ago. On the other side of the argument, Democrats conclude they have the winning hand with children’s healthcare and other issues that affect the American people the most.
To make a strange situation even more so, Bush’s objections lately to any tax increases have pushed Republicans in the House and Senate to conduct their own negotiations over an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). They’ve come to the conclusion that, much like the Democrats have said, a final bill must indeed include a significant tobacco tax increase to offset the cost. While offering support for Bush in public, some Republicans are privately hinting that they may break with him if the price is right. Yesterday when asked, House Minority Leader John A Boehner (R-OH) alluded to the possibility:
"He [Bush] has his position. House Republicans have theirs," Boehner said.
Aside from pressure from the White House, Republicans have offered their own reasons for moving slowly. As for SCHIP, they have said that both sides in Congress could reach a deal if the Democrats would slow down and allow negotiations to carry on. However, that may be wishful thinking on the Republican side of the aisle considering Democrats think they have a winner with the children’s healthcare issue while Bush is demanding so much money for military spending.
Hope is not dead, however. Republicans Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah reportedly appealed to Senate majority Leader Harry M. Reid of Nevada for a delay and Reid agreed. He asked the Senate to put off consideration of the latest version of the bill to allow bipartisan talks to continue. However, Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott of Mississippi objected to the move.
Chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, SCHIP negotiator [and telecom immunity enabler] Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.VA) weiged in:
"That makes an interesting statement about the president's press conference this morning, that we just can't get those Democrats to do anything."
This promise to use administrative orders in order to bypass Congress is a particularly ominous development; considering the drumbeat to war emanating from both the Oval Office and Mr. Cheney’s office about Iran. In my opinion, if this declaration by Bush doesn’t elevate impeachment talk in Congress – and indeed prompt hearings – the state of American democracy will take another major step backwards.
I’d be very interested to know exactly what avenues of recourse Congress has left [if any] to combat these insidious administrative orders.U Ostensibly, it seems to me anyway that since the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the task of making laws, they'd be able to enact laws counteracting Bush's orders. I'm going to have to do some more research.
Alas, impeachment may just become Congress’ only remaining recourse. If they don’t take it We the People are on our own.
Do they still make pitchforks and torches in America, or are they made in China now?
PLEASE, CONGRESS, I’m beggin’ ya! – impede, impeach and imprison.
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