Let's check in on our fine representation in Congress, shall we? What have they been doing lately?
Senator Dodd is busy pressing the Bush Administration for more information on John Bolton, whose nomination has been held up by Dodd and Senate Democrats (plus a Republican or two) for weeks. The possibility of a recess appointment (he would be installed without Senate backing) looms for Bolton:
Labeled up front as a short-timer and lacking the backing of the Senate could hamstring Bolton in the eyes of the international community and further polarize Congress.
"You want to send someone there that has the confidence not only of the president but also the Senate," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., a leading Bolton critic. (Raum).
On the home front, the entire congressional delegation has been quietly holding strategy meetings with consultants to try and figure out how to save the Sub Base.
Status: Active and visible
Focus: Mostly national
Lieberman has apparently teamed up with John McCain again, this time to defend the environment:
A more ambitious proposal, strongly opposed by the White House, was expected to be offered by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., that would require greenhouse emissions to be cut back to where they were in 2000 within five years. It also would allow for an emissions credit trading system aimed at holding down the costs to industry. (Hebert)
It doesn't have a chance, of course. But good for him for trying!
He is attending the Sub Base strategy sessions, and continuing to press the DOD for more information about the base closing decision.
Status: Active, somewhat visible
Focus: Mostly national
Larson has attended sub base strategy sessions. Last month, he was the only member of the congressional delegation to vote for an amendment that would have required the administration to develop a withdrawl plan for Iraq. He also voted to exempt libraries from Patriot Act scrutiny. But really, that's about all.
Status: Not very active, invisible, probably napping
Focus: Doing what the other Democrats are doing
Simmons went to Kings Bay, Georgia last week, to check out the sub base there. Not surprisingly, he deemed it inadequate:
Speaking to the media in his Norwich office Saturday afternoon, Simmons called the Georgia base a "very nice facility but also very limited."
Comparing the two bases would be like comparing apples to oranges, he said.
Groton is a fast-attack submarine base, while Kings Bay is a Trident submarine base.
Tridents are larger than fast-attack subs, and are manned and maintained differently.
"(Kings Bay) was designed from the ground up to be a Trident submarine base. You cannot simply take a fast-attack crew and personnel and stick them in a Trident facility," Simmons said. (Tsai)
On the national scene, Simmons voted to deny federal funding to marshals trying to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a county courthouse in Indiana.
U.S. Rep. Robert R. Simmons, R-2nd District, voted to deny federal marshals funds to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lawn of a southern Indiana courthouse because he sees the issue as a matter of states' rights, his top aide said today.
Simmons was the lone member of the state's House delegation to vote in favor of an amendment to a Justice Department appropriations bill proposed by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind.
It marked the third time in as many years that Simmons has supported similar amendments proposed by Hostettler... (Michak)
He also voted against an amendment to condemn religious proselytizing in the military.
Status: Active, somewhat visible
Focus: 575 acres in Groton
DeLauro, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, helped to secure contracts for Sikorsky’s Black Hawk helicopters.
She also criticized the administration for not doing enough to prevent mad cow disease:
"It's just a lot of talk," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a senior House Democrat on food and farm issues. "It's a lot of talk, a lot of press releases, and no action." (Quaid)
She’s also spoken on a few workers’ issues, but little else.
Status: Somewhat active
Shays has been joining some Democrats in expressing concern over Halliburton contracts in Iraq and the mass of money being shifted to that country in general:
Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress berated the Pentagon for withholding information about Halliburton's disputed billing under a $2.5 billion contract for Iraqi oil site repairs and fuel imports.
Saying the Pentagon is acting as if "it has something to hide," Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, said at a hearing Tuesday that he would support issuing a subpoena to the Pentagon next week if it did not provide long-requested documents relating to the contract, which was awarded to Halliburton in early 2003 without competition. (Eckholm)
He also co-sponsored an alternative to withholding U.N. dues, which failed.
Apparently, he also got a sword from Ross Perot. Weird.
Status: Active, becoming less visible
Focus: Finding that elusive moderate niche in Congress
She introduced a bill in the House that would help make long term care 100% tax-deductible.
She’s also attended the Sub Base strategy sessions.
Nothing much else.
Focus: Why bother?
That's the roundup for this week. If you know of anything else that our congressional delegation is up to, good or bad, post it here.
Hebert, Joseph. "Senate backs offshore energy inventory." Associated Press 22 June, 2005.
Raum, Tom. "Few Options for Bush on U.N. Nominee." Associated Press 22 June, 2005.
Tsai, Jason. "Simmons: Kings Bay falls short." Norwich Bulletin 19 June, 2005.
Michak, Don. "Simmons stands alone in defending Ten Commandments display." Journal Inquirer 20 June 2005.
Quaid, Libby. " Critics: US Doing Too Little to Prevent 'Mad Cow'." Associated Press 18 June, 2005.
Eckholm, Erik. " Pentagon criticized in Iraq billing dispute." The New York Times 23 June, 2005.