Who Controls Congress? Are you kidding me?
July 24, 2010
In response to the numerous comments received erronously citing that the Democratics have been in power and have majority rule within the legislative branch, it is time to set the record straight.
However, a revisit of ex-Vice President Dick Cheney is in order to properly put the following into clear perspective. Afterall, Cheney’s actions and behind the scenes manipulations cannot be forgotten during George W. Bush’s two terms in office.
As Halliburton’s Chief Executive Officer from 1995 through August 2000, that company’s KBR subsidiary was the main government contractor in Iraq. They were there via an open-ended contract, awarded without competitive bidding, in connection with restoring Iraq’s oil industry.
In 2001, Cheney’s Halliburton financials included 433,333 shares of stock options in three batches. On September 11, 2001, disaster strikes on American soil. Events we hopefully never forget. Strangely enough by 2002, Cheney’s assets were valued between $19.1 and $86.4 million. Halliburton contracts in Iraq, by 2003, were worth more than $1.7 billion. In addition, the company was strategically placed to make additional hundreds of millions in no-bid contracts the Army Corps of Engineers awarded.
With this often-forgotten bit of history lesson firmly in mind, an investigation of who, and which party, was “in power” during “the Bush years” is in order.
The 106th United States Congress, January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001, was held by the Republicans in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It was also the first Congress of the 21st century, and seats based on the 1990 Census figures. Election time.
The 107th United States Congress, January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2003, at its beginning saw a 50-50 division in the Senate. However, due to the fact that the Vice President, Dick Cheney (R) held the tie-breaking vote control, this put the Republicans in control on January 20, 2001.
The 108th United States Congress, January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2005, found the country still stuck with Dick Cheney as the President of the Senate. In addition, both congressional elections, the Senate and House of Representatives, gave the Republicans the majority in both houses.
The 109th United States Congress, January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007, once again saw Cheney firmly in the President of the Senate seat. The Senate majority was Republican. The House of Representatives was Republican controlled. The filibuster “nuclear option” scare, failure of the federal government to promptly respond to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, Tom DeLay corruption investigation, CIA leak scandal, rising unpopularity of the Iraq War, immigration reform protests, and government involvement in the Terri Schiavo case were prominent events during this time period.
In addition, the 109th Congress met for just 242 days, the least amount of time since World War II. In fact, it beat out the 80th Congress for least amount by 12 days. As the 109th Congress drew to its conclusion, some media commentators gave the 109th Congress the label, the “Do Nothing Congress,” a belittling label originally given to the 80th Congress by President Harry Truman.
The 110th United States Congress, January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009, Cheney still firmly entrenched as the President of the Senate. However, the eight-year dominance of both the Senate and the House finally swung to a Democratic majority. This was also the time period where, after President George W. Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address, Congress debated Bush’s proposal regarding what Bush perceived as a need for increased security in Iraq, and “a troop surge”. Any alarm bells going off yet?
Voting on a non-binding measure, although opposed to the proposed troop surge, the House of Representatives did pass a $124 billion emergency spending measure. The $124 billion ex-President Bush and company wanted. This measure did fund the war in Iraq. However, the House legislation included a definitive level of troops and included withdrawal schedules.
With the line drawn in the sand by the House, President George W. Bush, vetoed the Democratic majority House of Representatives bill, as he had promised he would should it include said timeline and withdrawal schedule. Those bells getting any louder?
As recent history reveals, both congressional houses did ultimately pass a bill funding the Iraq war. However, based on the no-go stance of ex-President Bush, no timelines were included. Ultimately both the Senate and the House passed Bush’s bill that funded the war with no timeline. It did, however, include “benchmarks” for the government of Iraq, along with monies for other potential spending projects such as “disaster relief.”
It is but a reminder to all that during the first Bush term, the Enron, WorldCom, Dynegy, El Paso Corp, CMS Energy, Williams, and Halliburton scandal broke lose. Each facing charges of corporate dishonesty and malfeasance. Leading up to that disasterous time period, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney was in charge of the Halliburton accounting practices. Again, not so strangely by now, to this day, Halliburton continues to cause havoc, even after its face lift, and remains the primary civilian contractor’s company in Iraq. Clang, clang, clang.
Thus history takes a quick speed up to the way things were by the end of George W. Bush’s second term in office. Bailouts and TARP monies and executive bonuses and massive layoffs. Taxpayer monies lining the pockets of the most greedy. Push, push, push to get it done before the change over of the most powerful position in the world – the new arrival of a visionary with fresh ideas for a country in dire need of help.
Check the timeline above again if in doubt. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were under Republican control for a supremely long time. Long enough to do quite a bit of damage. Damage to this day the GOP refuses to take responsibility for, and some Americans refuse to believe.
Damage control, and placing the blame on the current administration and Congress today is ridiculous. It can only be hoped that a quick revisit over the past decade shakes loose the cobwebs in the minds of many. Those were not the happy days of old. 911, Katrina, Wall Street, deregulation, scandals, the rich get richer, and a middle class that may be rapidly disappearing. Not the makings of the current administration who are currently assigned the janitorial duties of cleaning up a mess that lasted entirely too long.
For all those who declare it’s the Democrats fault and that they have control of the Congress, look again. Any reputable government website easily reveals the truth. Caution: simple arithmetic may be required, along with the willingness to see the blatant manipulation of a country’s citizens who “stopped watching”.
It’s all about the money honey.
Sources: cbsnews.com, wikipedia.org , The Washington Post, house.gov, senate.gov
T. Cahill – WNV Editor/Journalist
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