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Democrats Reforming Democrats

Over the next week, the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States will be the story you’ll hear about over and over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with that – the Presidency is a big deal. Irregular Times will have a couple of people at the Inauguration, leading a Pro-Constitution Inauguration Demonstration.

There’s a lot more going on in Washington D.C. right now other than the Inauguration, however. In Congress, there’s a remarkable shift underway as the Democratic leadership prepares to deal with a Democratic President.

For some insight into the dimensions of this transition, look at a speech given yesterday by incoming chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Edolphus Towns. Representative Towns is replacing Henry Waxman, who has gone over to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

(The House Energy and Commerce Committee is having a meeting this morning focusing on how to deal with climate change.)

In his speech, Congressman Towns identifies the following as areas of focus for the Oversight and Reform Committee:

– Ending the “era of secrecy”
– Presidential records access
– End corruption of unrestricted Presidential library donations
– Procurement and contracting reform
– Online public contract and grant review
– 2010 census accuracy
– Inspectors General reform
– Defense contract audits
– Tennessee coal ash spill
– Troubled Asset Relief Program (translation – $700 billion dollar bailout fund)
– Energy reform
– Broadband expansion
– Cybersecurity
– Healthcare reform
– Food safety and FDA reform
– Medical technology

What’s missing here? How about oversight and reform of the unconstitutional programs left over as a legacy from George W. Bush – programs like secret prisons, government eavesdropping on American citizens, and government-funded religious programs?

2 comments to Democrats Reforming Democrats

  • Tom

    There are way too many items that need to be “corrected” and the priority and absence of same is now in the hands of our new leader and the new Congress. If these people aren’t “for real” we go down as a nation, the world spins more quickly into the downward spiral of chaos.

    We can most definitely effect a change IF WE”RE ALL SERIOUS, but no other way. It can’t be shenanigans and money making deals behind closed doors. The government has to rid itself of the undo pressure of lobbyists, privilege and the religious community and start concentrating on its citizens – all of them – because that’s the real future, not money and corporate power. We better start listening to respected scientists when they give their warnings about the coming climate change and its implications. We are definitely running out of time because the earth, big as it is, can only hold a finite amount of CO2 before it goes out of balance, which would take possibly millions of years to recover from, no matter how much we try to do after that point.

    • I agree, Tom, that we all do need to be serious about this. We need to call Americans away from the quick happy glitter of Entertainment Tonight, and ressurect the ideal of being a citizen.

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