Other View: On the Democrats' turn in power in Washington
The 110th Congress convened yesterday with a new Democratic majority, the first female speaker of the House and an opportunity to atone. Democrats now control Congress because the previous Republican majority lost the public's confidence through ...
The 110th Congress convened yesterday with a new Democratic majority, the first female speaker of the House and an opportunity to atone.
Democrats now control Congress because the previous Republican majority lost the public's confidence through a series of self-inflicted scandals. Bribery and corruption investigations became routine.
The GOP lost power because it became too preoccupied with holding on to power. The new Democratic majority can show it understands that lesson by following through on a promise to raise ethical standards.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has pledged to bar lawmakers from accepting gifts, trips paid by lobbyists and travel on corporate jets.
The Democrats should revive another ethics proposal that crashed and burned in the previous Congress -- creating an independent Office of Public Integrity to help enforce House rules. In the Senate, Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are expected to push for a similar proposal.
The new majority pledged after the November elections to treat the new minority with respect, but already there are signs that the Democrats' actions won't back their rhetoric. In the first days of the new Congress, at least, Democrats won't allow the GOP to offer alternative bills on the floor.
Democrats are understandably fearful that the GOP might derail their "reform agenda" if given the chance. But part of the true test of power in the coming weeks will be to show that Democrats aren't afraid of competing ideas.