Friday, April 13, 2007

House Republicans today will issue a scathing report grading the Democrats’ first 100 days in control of Congress, with a reminder to the American people that none of the new majority’s signature issues has become law.

“The substance of the Democrats’ first 100 days is, at best, thin, and it particularly suffers in comparison to the Contract with America put forth by Republicans after they won the majority in 1995,” says a copy obtained by The Washington Times.

The 19-page document, called “Democrats: 0 for 6 in ‘07, Failing to Produce Results in the 110th Congress,” outlines the fate of each measure on the Democratic agenda.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, accused Democrats of being “tone deaf” to the needs of the American middle class.

“If Democrats took this nation in any new direction during their first 100 days, it was backwards,” he said.

“Republicans have demonstrated a commitment to hold Democrats accountable for both their failures and their broken promises, while offering substantive solutions to lead this country forward.”

Democrats defend their record by saying they accomplished more in three months than Republicans achieved in all of 2006, especially since they passed a budget and an emergency supplemental spending bill.

“As we reach out on this 100th day, we’re well on the way to delivering a government that’s as good and honest as the people that it serves,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said yesterday.

The Republican brochure does not mention that many of the key elements of Contract with America, such as a balanced-budget amendment, passed in the House’s first 100 days but died in the Senate.

The “Six for ‘06” agenda sailed out of the House in less than 50 hours. Democrats took credit for passing bills to raise the minimum wage, increase federal funding for stem-cell research, implement all of the recommendations of the September 11 commission, cut the interest rate on student loans, make changes to the Medicare prescription-drug plan and roll back oil subsidies. Three of these measures have passed the Senate and none has made it through the compromise process between the two chambers.

Some members are frustrated that Americans are waiting for an increase in the minimum wage, though Democratic leaders have declared victory for giving workers a raise.

The wage increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour — the first in a decade — “will put real money into the pockets of hardworking individuals and families,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “A minimum-wage increase was long overdue.”

It is one of the most heralded measures this year, but it has stalled as Republicans push for small-business tax breaks to offset the cost of the wage increase.

Democrats say they are working toward a compromise. Senate Democrats, seeking assurance, have attached a wage increase to the supplemental war-spending bill. Mr. Bush has vowed to veto the final bill when it reaches his desk.

Democrats blame Republicans for obstructionism.

“I understand what the Republican talking points are, and that is: Gee, they talk a big game, but nothing has happened. The answer is, who is responsible?” asked freshman Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

“It’s very clear it’s the White House, it is the Republican minority,” he said.

Senate Republicans also are highlighting the Democratic majority’s inability to get bills to the president.

“As of today, Democrats have managed to get 17 bills signed into law — 10 of which are bills designating the names of post offices, courthouses and other federal properties,” said a Republican release issued yesterday.

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