The Year in Congress

I found this article at the CSM that highlights that we actually had a Do-a-Lot congress this year and it has a nifty self test on political knowledge in 2010 you may want to take.  They highlighted six big laws that were passed this year.  All of them were definitely steps in the correct direction even though they had flaws that will have to be worked out.  I’m not sure I’d consider all of them great successes but when you look back on the list, you’re sure to find something naughty and nice.

Here’s there intro to the list.

The post-election lame-duck session – typically a mopping-up operation to get out of town – also made history, passing key pieces of legislation, often with greater input from Republicans than had earlier been the case. People can argue the merits of what Congress did, but it’s hard to quibble with the scope of the undertaking. Here are six of this Congress’s major accomplishments, in the order in which they were approved.

Here are their list of “six big achievements”.

1. American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

The $819 billion economic stimulus package, signed into law February 2009 less than a month after Barack Obama became president, is the largest stand-alone spending bill in US history. It included tax cuts, as well as new spending for public works, education, clean energy, technology, and health care.

2. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Congress battled for a year to pass health-care reform, which was finally a done deal March 23, 2010. The law mandates that all Americans obtain health insurance coverage, and it sets up entities called health exchanges to provide people with affordable options.

3. Financial regulatory reform

Known officially as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the new law is the most significant regulatory overhaul of the financial system since the Depression ended in the 1930s. Signed into law in July 2010, it aims to end bailouts forced on taxpayers by financial institutions deemed “too big to fail” and to protect consumers. Included in the legislation is a powerful, independent consumer-protection bureau, an early-warning system for financial groups deemed too big to fail, new oversight of credit agencies, and lower fees on debit-card charges. It also directs much of the $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives trade through clearinghouses and exchanges.

4. Big tax-cut extension, plus new stimulus

Congress averted the largest tax increase in American history by voting in December to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years, including for the highest-income households.

5. Repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Fulfilling campaign pledges of the last two Democratic presidents, Obama on Dec. 22 signed a law that repeals a 17-year ban on gay men and women serving openly in the US armed services.

6. New nuclear arms pact with Russia

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia reduces the US and Russian arsenals of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 apiece within seven years. The Senate ratified the treaty Dec. 22 by a vote of 71 to 26.

Juju--my youngest daughter's christmas cat--studies the list

Okay, I’ll put it to you!


Naughty or Nice list?


See, even JuJu the Christmas Cat wants in on the project!!!  (I guess my youngest daughter still hasn’t gotten through the doll phase yet.)

18 Comments on “The Year in Congress”

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    Well the titles and descriptions sound realy nice as does the compliant media on the subject. My view is that the media talks nice to maintain their access to the power bases. Hence Obama is the hero of the hour, note I say hour as the Deficit is going to be front and center in the first quarter of 2011. The Catfood Commission report and the debt ceiling limit increase in April will be debated extensively by the Tea Party folks

    So the capitulation and subsequent pork larding on the Bush Tax extensions will be the Awe Shucks that will wipe out the Atta Boys. The stimulus spending is not projected to radically change the jobless numbers or the Real Estate sales in 2011.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. I saw almost all of these as baby steps in the right direction but the details and implementation seems seriously flawed. It’s like the big headlines sound good, but once you drive into the details it seems like there’s a lot of pork and useless stuff in there. Health Care reform was necessary what we got seems more like a boondoggle than real reform.

      Same with Dodd-Frank–which was a great effort–but so much didn’t get into it. I also worry if the necessary changes will be taken up by the next congress given the Flat Earthers will be in charge of things in Congress. I dunno. The headlines look great, but, oy the details!!!

      I also think that we could’ve gotten more stuff in there AND I think a lot of it had to do with Reid’s being up for re-election this year. He seemed to shy away from stuff until he was safe!

  2. Outis says:

    Juju is a crackup!

    The list…not so much.

  3. fiscalliberal says:

    Further thought – Health care did not change the basic insurance structure (no single payer) to get economies to scale savings and retained the employer provider model. I maintain that health insurance will get so expensive for small business (who cannot self fund) they will not cover dependents.

    Dodd Frank provided some structure change, but threw it to the Regulators to define and implement. Oh by the way, how did the Regulators do in the 2000 decade? Ineffective! Also Congress will have to provide funding for regulators. Funding was severely diminished in the Bush administration

    • dakinikat says:

      That’s the problem. The shells are out there but who will fill in the details? The problem with health care is the third party issue with insurers and this one just throws more people into the jaws of the beast and does nothing to contain their pricing structures. Oh, sheesh, you can tell I’m doing academic work today. Look how I just worded all that.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I love the kitty! Adorable.

    • dakinikat says:

      Jujubee is a trip. His personality is well-suited for youngest daughter. They’re both full throttle active and in to things all the time.

  5. dakinikat says:

    GOP strategist Karl Rove predicted on Wednesday that Hillary Clinton will be back on the presidential ticket in 2016.

    “I suspect she will be a candidate. I suspect she is going to think about being a candidate in 2016, and we’ll know by about 2014,” Rove said on Fox News. “If she leaves the administration in 2014 or 2015, in order to give herself a chance to write a book about her experiences and reconnect with the grassroots, then she might entertain it.”

    • Teresa says:

      He’s apparently sure that Obama will win in 2012. I guess the powers that be still really like him, even if those of us under the bus think he’s crap-tastic….meaning that of course, he’ll win…

      Only Nixon could go to China. Only a Democrat could destroy our safety nets. Yup, they love him!

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    I predict it’s Hillary 2012..always suspected a deal was made

  7. HT says:

    “Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one’s never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.
    Aldous Huxley”

    And how many of those words represent truth from the average person’s perspective re their day to day trials and tribulations?

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey, so what would you say is the one thing out of the six that his Dem base truly supported?

    • dakinikat says:

      Probably the DADT repeal would get the highest thumbs up from the base. I actually think the most significant of the six is the financial regulation change. It went further than most folks anticipated because of the attempt to give Blanche Lincoln a boost with her amendment. The Health Care Reform really had the potential for being the most important but it was compromised and sold out to the point it’s a mess and the challenges even make it messier.

  9. NW Luna says:

    The devil is in the details of those six. Lots of devils. I’ve got different names for a few of them:

    1. The under-stimulated stimulus act.
    2. Prop up the healthcare-insurance leeches act.
    4. Tax cuts for billionaires act
    5. Gay & lesbian right to die in another stupid war.

  10. Sima says:

    You know, if I wasn’t a politics groupie, or whatever I am, I’d read this list and think, hot damn, they did something, they did six somethings! And they all sound great!

    But even a cursory read into the details shows that these six aren’t what they seem to be. I think the DADT one is the most straight up, and even that basically says, we repeal it, but won’t say when the repeal should go into effect, how, what will happen to those who suffered under DADT and so on.

    I keep hoping some liberal sticks in a few sly really liberal things, that make life better for the little people, but so far, I haven’t seen it.