Pelosi: Congress’ Coming ‘Making It In America’ Initiative

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
At the Netroots Nation convention today in Las Vegas, Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about an upcoming Congressional initiative to help restore American manufacturing. The initiative, called “Making It In America” will include a series of bills to be introduced after the summer recess.

A few days ago Politico wrote about the upcoming initiative,

Democrats are priming the House floor for a manufacturing agenda they hope will bolster the economy, produce easy bipartisan votes and boost their chances in the midterm elections — at least if the polls they’re using are on target.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) teased the plan — sometimes dubbed “Making It in America” — after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama last week. The agenda appears to be the Democrats’ final pre-election push to clear the deck of jobs-related bills that have been sitting around for months.
Democrats plan to present the agenda as a means of creating jobs, promoting green manufacturing through tax credits and grants and enhancing national security by rebuilding the domestic manufacturing sector at a time when many Americans are worried about China’s strength, according to aides.

The Politico story referred to the impact made on members of Congress by a new poll from the Alliance for American Manufacturing. According to the poll,

  • A majority believe the U.S. no longer has the world’s strongest economy—a title they want to regain
  • Voters are anxious about the economy—specifically China debt, spending and loss of manufacturing
  • 86% of voters want Washington to focus on manufacturing, and 63% feel working people who make things are being forgotten while Wall Street and banks get bailouts
  • Two-thirds of voters believe manufacturing is central to our economic strength, and 57% believe manufacturing is more central to our economic strength than high-tech, knowledge or financial service sectors
  • Across all demographics, voters’ economic solutions center on trade enforcement, clean energy, tax credits for U.S. manufacturing and replacing aging infrastructure using American materials, a surprising overlap between Tea Party supporters, independents, non-union households and union households.
  • Wednesday the House passed the first bill of the initiative, H.R. 4380, the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act, to help American manufacturers by temporarily suspending or reducing duties on materials these companies use that are made abroad or opposed by domestic producers.
    California Rep. John Garamendi has introduced three bills to close corporate tax loopholes that reward the off-shoring of jobs and end taxpayer subsidies for foreign-produced clean energy technology, buses, railcars, and ferries.
    Garamendi says “I want to walk into Target and see “Made in America” throughout the store. We can make it in America,”
    At Netroots Nation Speaker Pelosi also said that Congress is looking at addressing the China currency problem, where China is manipulating its currency to give goods made there a huge pricing advantage. She also pointed out that China imposes many other barriers to free trade, including not allowing American companies to bid on government procurement, even when the goods are made in China.
    I will be writing more on this, but it is a breaking story and I want to get the news out.
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    YearlyKos Ask The Leaders Forum – Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, Emanuel

    I was looking around the YearlyKos Convention website and came across this: YearlyKos Netroots Convention Welcomes Pelosi, Reid, Emanuel, Schumer To Ask The Leaders Forum | YearlyKos Convention: Building a Netroots Nation
    Wow! This is a big deal. Democracy! From the description:

    YearlyKos Convention organizers announced today that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer will participate in a unique Ask the Leaders Forum to be held August 4 in Chicago.
    The event—much like the YearlyKos Presidential Leadership Forum that will be held later that afternoon—empowers citizens to engage America’s current Senate and House leadership in substantive discussion about hot topics such as Iraq.

    I will have some exciting panel announcements very soon.

    Is The Constitution Worth It?

    Last week I asked Speaker Pelosi this question:

    Dave Johnson (of Seeing the Forest): We seem to be at a historic time right now with an administration that is starting to frankly assert that they are above the rule of law, and I’m wondering if you as Speaker can give us a short statement on this issue and what Congress is prepared to do to re-assert the rule of law of the people of the country.

    (Follow the links to read her response.) Then Mike Stark asked about impeachment. In the response she said,

    I made a decision a few years ago, or at least one year ago, that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and their short-comings, and the President is… ya know what I say? The President isn’t worth it… he’s not worth impeaching. We’ve got important work to do… If he were at the beginning of his term, people may think of it differently, but he’s at the end of his terms. The first two years of his term, if we came in as the majority, there might be time to do it all…

    Mike, of course, responded,

    Mike Stark: Respectfully, that’s not the question. Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.

    Many argue that impeachment will distract the Congress from passing a progressive agenda. That is a pipe dream. The Republicans in the Senate are blocking everything. The President will veto anything that passes. And if something somehow manages to become law the Republicans and the President will just ignore it anyway.
    And now there is yet another action against the Rule of Law. Not long after that conversation the President used his power to keep a convicted and sentenced crony out of jail – also removing any incentive to testify against the President and Vice President.
    And here we are. We are at a moment in our history where we can choose to restore ourselves as a nation of laws, or we can let yet another incident pass without taking action.
    Is the Constitution worth it or not?
    If Bush and the Republicans can support the absolute politicization of our system of law and justice – and our Department of Justice – what won’t they do? What aren’t they capable of? The key question that this behavior brings up for me is: what about 2008? Will they let the people vote them out? Will they leave office or will they just put an official stamp on what has already occurred?
    I don’t know of a country that has gone as far down the path to authoritarianism as we have already gone and recovered. Can anyone come up with an example?

    Continue reading

    Transcript Of My Questions For Speaker Pelosi

    Mike Stark has posted a diary at DailyKos that includes a transcript of my “Rule of Law” questions for Speaker Pelosi. Daily Kos: I talked impeachment with Nancy Pelosi (audio),

    [. . .] Dave Johnson (of Seeing the Forest): We seem to be at a historic time right now with an administration that is starting to frankly assert that they are above the rule of law, and I’m wondering if you as Speaker can give us a short statement on this issue and what Congress is prepared to do to re-assert the rule of law of the people of the country.

    And you have to go there to read the answer. (Remember to click the Recommend button while you are there.)
    BONUS – My follow-up question, “Dave: Just a quick follow-up. What are you going to do about it?”
    Update – More, with analysis, at BraveNewFilms Blog: Speaker Pelosi on The War, Impeachment and Accountability.

    Smoking Politics

    By Dave Johnson and James Boyce
    There was a time when this country worked to solve its problems.
    There was a time in this country when political campaigns were about issues and solutions and ideas.
    There was a time when our legislators honestly debated, and minds could be changed, and bipartisan laws could be passed.
    There was a time when America was seen as an honest broker for peace, even in the Middle East. And there was even a time when there were solar panels on roof of the White House.
    Ronald Reagan – the “Marlboro Man” – took office as President in 1981 – 26 years ago! That means that people under 40 today don’t even remember a time when America “worked” and took care of its people and paid its bills. They don’t remember a time when the people rather than the corporations and the rich made the decisions. And it especially means that they don’t remember a time when campaigns were about anything other than cheap psychological tricks and smears.

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    How the “Pelosi 757” Lie Was Spread

    Another day, another right-wing lie spreads through the media and across the country…
    The current $mear on Speaker Pelosi is a case study in how the right-wing $mear machine operates. The right has been working to spread a lie that Speaker Pelosi “demanded” a “luxury jet” to fly herself and “supporters” and “contributors” around. The lie is effective because it ties a current event to a deeper, long-term resentment narrative about “limousine liberals” that the right has been pushing for years. It is spreading across the country because it is passed through a prepared pipe to the places where the general public receives their information.
    The facts are simple: since 9/11, for obvious security reasons, the Speaker of the House of Representatives (who is next in line behind the Vice President to become President) has flown on government rather than commercial aircraft. Speaker Pelosi is from California, so with the House now back to a five-day workweek the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives requested a jet that can make it to California non-stop. According to the Sergeant-at-Arms,

    “The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable.”

    That is the entire story, period. But the right’s propaganda machine has been working to blow this up into a story that supports their “limousine liberal” resentment narrative, adding various embellishments with each passing day. According to this narrative, liberals are rich “elitists” from the coasts who think they are smarter and generally superior to the “regular people” in “the heartland.” This is meant to create a resentment backlash, bringing votes to conservative candidates so they can get into office … and give tax cuts to rich elitists.

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    How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama?

    Co-written with James Boyce, first published at Huffington Post.
    Senator Barack Obama is a man to be admired, respected and liked. He is more than worthy of consideration for the Democratic Nomination in 2008 and if we were advising Senator Obama, and his equally impressive wife Michelle, our advice would be to run, and run now. A Vice Presidency certainly looks attractive on one’s resume, and a national campaign brings valuable experience.
    Senator Obama is admired and he is loved. Look at the recent favorability polls and there he is, the Number One Democrat in America. But why? Why is a junior Senator, nationally a virtual unknown just two years ago, now at the top of the national favorability ratings? Is it because of his new book? His great 2004 Convention Speech? His appearance on Oprah? All of these, of course, but in fairness, does Barack Obama truly deserve to be the Democratic leader with the highest national favorability in a recent poll? Hardly.
    With complete respect to Senator Obama, where are the long-time Democratic leaders who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country? Where are the other possible Presidential contenders? What about Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry? Where are Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Are they not leaders that deserve at the very least to have decent favorability ratings?
    Why is Barack Obama “favorable” and not any of the better-known Democratic leaders? And why – of all people is Rudy Guiliani at the top of the list as the Number One leader in our country? The answer is simple, and dramatic.

    Continue reading

    A Call With Speaker-To-Be Pelosi

    I just got off of a 40-minute call with a few bloggers and Speaker-To-Be Pelosi.
    Here are some things can be and will be changed right now, as a matter of the rules the House sets for itself:
    Earmarks – Any earmarks must be presented in public before the committee, be publicly justified and approved by the committee. NO tax earmarks at all. This ends the system of purchasing earmarks.
    Lobbying crackdown – NO gifts, meals, trips, etc. from lobbyists, period. Plus other reforms.
    Open government – the leadership will not restrict amendments to bills. This means that Republicans will be able to offer amendments to bills before the House – something they prevented Democrats from doing. This lets policy be set by the strength of ideas rather than corrupt deals and hidden agendas.
    Some needed changes require legislation, which will be introduces ASAP, including:
    – Public financing of elections to remove the entire campaign contribution corruption system.
    – Requiring non-partisan redistricting of every state, decided by a non-partisan commission, which will occur only after each 10-year census. Political considerations will be removed from the drawing of district boundaries.
    – Oil subsidies ended and the money used to fund alternative energy.
    There was a discussion of Iraq. I’ll wait for other bloggers from the call to post and link to that.