Democrats & Liberals Archives

How to Work the Republican Congress

Although we, the people, elected the current Republican Congress, it takes highly-paid corporate lobbyists, rich corporations and a few “devoted” legislators to get Congress to pass a law. Some bills, such as the Medicare Drug bill, took a lot more effort than anyone suspected. It took a super-lobbyist like Abramoff together with hundreds of PHARMA lobbyists and a few non-profits to pull it off. Boy, Abramoff and his buddies sure knew how to work with DeLay and this Republican Congress.

If you remember, it took a 3-hour voting delay in the House in the middle of the night, which was used for twisting arms to eke out a bare majority for the Medicare Drug bill. What most people do not realize, what I did not realize until today is that this night was the culmination of a year-long effort by Abramoff and an army of cronies. This is documented by Barbara T. Dreyfuss in the "Poison Pill," from which I quote:

It’s well known that in his crusade to pass the bill, DeLay drew on more than 800 pharmaceutical-industry lobbyists, millions of dollars in campaign contributions, and the efforts of numerous business and healthcare groups. But this grossly flawed legislation could never have passed without the help of the same players who were central to Abramoff’s lobbying operation: Tony Rudy and Ed Buckham. Using a nest of nonprofits flush with corporate cash, the discredited lobbyists played a vital, albeit hidden, role in whittling down congressional opposition to the bill for more than a year before the final vote. In particular, Alexander Strategy made use of three senior nonprofit groups—the United Seniors Association, the Seniors Coalition and 60 Plus—and a Christian evangelical group, America 21, which were all funded heavily by the pharmaceutical industry.

I'm sure you noticed that the number of pharmaceutical-industry lobbyists used was "more than 800." What on earth were they all doing? You may have noticed as well that "a nest of nonprofits" was involved. How did nonprofits get involved in this scam? And a "Christian evangelical group"? Wow! Things are more complicated than they appear to be; expressed differently, it takes a lot of effort to make Congress work.

You have to give this guy Abramoff credit. How was he able to handle all these lobbyists, corporations and non-profits and make Congress work for him? I guess you have to give the other guy Tom DeLay credit too. He hammered the work out of Congress. He made the Republican Congress a drug-manufacturer's dream.

I've railed against the Medicare drug bill before. But the "Poison Pill" brings the criticism up to date:

But with its enormous expense and inadequate coverage, it has proved to be a disaster. Twenty percent of enrollees have higher drug costs than they did before signing up. In the next three months, an estimated three and a half to seven million people will hit the notorious “donut hole,” in which coverage stops until their drug spending reaches $5,100. “We ended up with a program that undermines Medicare and costs way too much for a program with major gaps in coverage,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future and a founder of Americans United, a coalition of consumer and labor groups demanding that Congress fix the plan.

Read the whole article.

If you want to keep a Congress that can be worked this way, vote Republican. If you are sick and tired of such corruption in the House and Senate, vote Democratic.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 26, 2006 5:15 PM
Comments
Comment #190572

Do more than vote Democrat.

Donate your time, money, etc and get out the voters that seldom vote in mid-term elections.

go to MoveOn.org and find out how you can help.

Posted by: Pat at October 26, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #190603


“Fiction: Obama was given an ‘African’ name. Fact: Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion. I am a strong supporter of the Muslim community, and I believe Muslims have been scapegoated. Obama has a great opportunity to be forthright. Instead, he has treated his Muslim heritage as a dark secret. His grandfather was named ‘Hussein.’ That is an Arabic-Muslim, not African, name. Hussein was a devout Muslim and named his son, Barack Senior, ‘Baraka.’ Baraka is an Arabic word meaning ‘blessed.’ Baraka comes out of the Koran and Arabic, not Africa.

“Barack Senior was also a devoted Muslim, and also chose a Muslim name for his son, our own Barack Obama, Junior. Again, his name was an Arabic and Koranic.

Obama has spent a lifetime running from his family heritage and religious heritage. Would his father have given his son a Koranic name if the father was not a devout Muslim? Obama’s stepfather was also a Muslim. Obama will be the first Muslim-heritage senator; he should be proud of that fact. There is nothing to be ashamed of in any of the three great Abrahamic religions.

Posted by: Truth to Power at October 26, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #190606

“Although we, the people, elected the current Republican Congress,”

Says who? Diebold? The current Republican Congress?
I don’t believe a word of it.

“the number of pharmaceutical-industry lobbyists used was “more than 800.”

Did you know that Joe Lieberman’s wife is a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist?

“What on earth were they all doing?”

Sticking it to America. Fattening their wallets at our expense.

“You may have noticed as well that “a nest of nonprofits” was involved. How did nonprofits get involved in this scam?”

The GOP set them up. They used the non-profit and charity label as a new way to scam the American people.

“And a “Christian evangelical group”?”

Of course. They’re also comprised of scammers at the highest levels.

“You have to give this guy Abramoff credit. How was he able to handle all these lobbyists, corporations and non-profits and make Congress work for him? I guess you have to give the other guy Tom DeLay credit too. He hammered the work out of Congress. He made the Republican Congress a drug-manufacturer’s dream.”

There is no difference between all of these people that I can see. They are working as a whole against all of the American people who are not in their moneyed class. Unfortunately, among them are some “Democrats”, although they are indeed overwhelmingly Republican.
These people are borg-like, and they are evil, and somehow, they must be stopped. The problem is, when you look at the state of disarray regarding the fairness and accountability of our elections, it becomes harder and harder to believe that stopping these people who have quite completely taken over our government can, or will ever be accomplished by voting.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 26, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #190611

Adrieene shrieked:”Says who? Diebold?”

Yes, Diebold, and they’re gonna say so again on November 7th. Got it? The Republicans will be in power for eternity because we have the voting machines rigged, so you might as well find something more productive to do on election day besides casting a vote for Democrats which our machines will turn into a vote for Republicans. You’ve been defeated by machines, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Look for the GOP to pick up seats in both houses, probably a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Oh yeah, we also have Justice Stevens’ pacemaker rigged too, so look for him to take a dirt nap so Dubya can replace him with Ann Coulter.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 26, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #190616

Hey Duane-o, why don’t you just challenge everyone to come to Ohio and meet you on the street corner and you’ll fight them. Ooops, you already did that, didn’t you?

Posted by: ray at October 26, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #190623

ray,

That experience left you so traumatized that you still remember it HOW MANY MONTHS(years?) LATER? I hope you’ve regained control of your urinary tract by now.

Sorry about that. However if that is a challenge, I gotta warn ya, I been workin out lately…..

Posted by: Duane-o at October 26, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #190624

be realistic. this corruption is bipartisan. this congress may be the worst yet, but i’d be more than willing to wager that they won’t be the worst we see, so long as we continue to support the status quo of u.s. politics (be it republican or democrat).

the truth of the matter is that lobbyists have cleverly taken to donating to both sides of the aisle in order to ensure that, regardless of who wins, their employers’ interests will be secured.

indeed, vote for the democrats; these republicans certainly deserve the boot… but don’t be too surprised when their replacements fail to live up to your expectations - and you find yourselves defending the very transgressions you now find so intolerable come the next election cycle.

it’s time to reboot the government. if only there were an alt-control-delete option on the ballot.

Posted by: Diogenes at October 26, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #190646

Why are industry lobbyists singled out as automatically “bad” here? Aren’t American voters employed by industries? Doesn’t a huge portion of tax revenue come from industry? Don’t industry lobbyists give huge amounts of money to Democrats as well?

What about union lobbyists, environmental lobbyists, or even civil rights lobbyists? Can’t their money be equally corrupting?

Are some people allowed to participate, and others not? Voters should pay attention to where the money is coming from, certainly, but let’s not put our heads in the sand and pretend that Democrats don’t have their hands in the honey pot as well.

The trial lawyers and unions give huge amounts of money to the Democratics who are beholden to them.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 26, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #190651

Yes, let’s be fair. d.a.n. will post numbers soon that will, I’m sure, show how both parties allow themselves to be corrupted by lobbyists.

How can we stop this? Serious campaign financing reform, I suppose. Elimination of PACs. Allowable campaign donations set low and only legal from individuals. I know there are First Amendment issues involved, but I think they are surmountable. Money is not speech. I don’t claim to be an expert on these issues; I look forward to posts from those more knowledgeable.

Posted by: Trent at October 26, 2006 11:21 PM
Comment #190664

Trent,

You can see who donates to who here:

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/index.asp

Staying on track with Paul’s article though, especially look at Big Pharma’s donations:

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=H04

Tis’ the best government that money can buy.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at October 27, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #190691

Pharma? Pharma!?!? Must…stop…myself…from…ranting.

I’ll keep this short: If you believe that this Medicare bill is the worst thing that Pharma has done lately, please click on my name below (or click it anyway and get angry for fun).

Frugality should not be American’s greatest concern when it comes to the chemicals we are putting into our bodies, our food (do you know what they’re injecting into farm animals?) and our environment (where do you think the drugs go when you go potty?).

Please look in the mirror and compare what you see to this. If there is no resemblance, then please stop clamoring for a cheaper death (or severe, possibly permanent, injuries) and demand a safer life.

And never, unless you’re dying, take any one of these. Please. You’ll thank me for helping you to avoid this.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 27, 2006 6:57 AM
Comment #190824

I can’t speak for anyone else, but in Texas, my Humana Medicare Part D costs me $10 per month in premium and has saved me over $500 this year in the 3 prescription medications I take. Among these is Cialis so you can understand my glee with my plan. Regardless of how the bill came about it is saving millions of seniors like me a basket of money. If it can be made better, let’s do it. I don’t believe it is a R or D issue. Both parties can do better. As for non-profit lobbyists, how about AARP. What a trashy organization and they certainly lean heavily toward the liberal viewpoint. Jim

Posted by: Jim at October 27, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #190943

Jim, you left me speechless. Amazed, but speechless.

Posted by: gergle at October 27, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #191238

Lets face it, Big Politics=Legalized Crime. I know that is oversimplifying things. Nothing will change until we ban lobbyists.
When will that happen? NEVER.

Posted by: Ralphy D at October 28, 2006 9:21 PM
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