I was on a conference call with Speaker Pelosi that just ended. I’ll cover the major points here and go into detail later.
She is introducing a major energy package, talked about the “Greening of the Chairmen” of the committees, this bill has CAFE standards, the beginnings of an energy tax… More coming in September.
John Aravosis asked about the anti-gay amendment in the DC funding bill, Speaker Pelosi pointed out that the Democratic Congress just got LGBT language added to the Hate Crimes act, that they will take this amendment out in conference.
She said she is determined to end the war, it is her top priority, no one would have believed that she could have gotten all the Dems in such unity to pass the timelines that Bush vetoed and that they are going to announce legislation in the next day or two putting hard timelines, not goals, back into the funding.
She says September is everything. “The President can not kick the can down the road again.”
Taylor Marsh asked about the Fairness Doctrine and Rep. Spence’s amendment to prohibit enforcement of the fairness doctrine on conservative talk radio. Speaker Pelosi said this will not come to the floor, that she is solidly behind bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Update – correction The wording was along the lines of Rep. Slaughter has made this her work to restore it (Fairness Doctrine), Pence’s bill won’t make it to the floor; they won’t be able to stop the Fairness Doctrine through his bill, everyone knows my position on this.
Bob Geiger asked about how the Republicans are blocking the 9/11 bill – already passed by the House and the Senate – from going to conference. This bill implements the 9/11 commission’s recommendations. Speaker Pelosi said that it was public pressure that forced Bush to have a 9/11 Commission at all. Now we need to generate public pressure over this.
“If there is a key to breaking this obstructionism, 9/11 is that key.”
I asked about Rule of Law, in this historic time when the Administration is frankly asserting that they are above the law, as Speaker, what can she say about The People taking back the power and rule of law. She says they are trying to build a record. For 6 1/2 years there was no oversight and no accountability, and now there is and they are building a record so people can see what is going on. Corruption, cronyism and incompetence. Corruption of governmental processes. Stunning. Have to build a record, Rep. Waxman is doing a spectacular job at oversight and building a record.
Let the process work out. The courts are not friendly to us – the DC court is packed with judges who are “all in the family” (She means far-right Federalist Society judges that always, always rule for Republicans.) Their decisions will not be in our favor and will set precedents if we are not careful.
We owe the American people checks on the Executive Branch. They tried to eliminate Judicial Review, even Justice O’Connor was appalled at what they were doing and spoke out about it after she left the Court.
This administration does not respect oversight, don’t want judicial review. It is impossible to exaggerate how bad this administration is.
I asked OK, what are you going to do about it? She said exercise oversight, build the record, win back the White House and restore rule of law. Problems – that DC court. Cheney lost a big ruling and ignored it, but the next step was that DC court, and taking it there would have established a precedent so they decided not to take it to a higher court.
Build the record, make it known to the public, use it in the campaign. They need OUR help (bloggers, etc) to help the public see what is going on, get them aware of these issues.
Someone asked What about impeaching at least Gonzales to establish that Democrats support the rule of law.
A) Got to where we are by oversight. Instead of impeach, build a public record. The coming election is a place to make changes, need to talk about a progressive economic agenda for the people. We have shown our strength, now it is time to show our greatness.
I have to meet someone – will expand on this and give my thoughts later.
Update - blog posts from others on the call:
Scholars & Rogues,
Essentially, Pelosi argued that we need to push forward and get a Dem in the White House in 2008 to really start enacting serious change, noting that even with majorities in both Houses, the Dems’ power could not overcome the 60 Senate votes needed to beat a Bush veto, and that the courts would be particularly unfriendly to Democratic moves for criminal investigations unless they substantially “built the cases” for each move. “Let the process play out,” she said. “Oversight isn’t political, it’s patriotic.”