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The Incoming Majority

The Wall Street Journal says of some Democrats' push to create an independent ethics board, "Opponents say such an office would encroach on Congress's responsibility to police itself and could create an unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy." 

In his Sunday column, Bob Novak writes that newly elected House Democratic Caucus chair Rahm Emanuel âĨŖhas sent colleagues a one-page memo emphasizing 'real lobbying and ethics reform' as the key to his party's future electoral success.  EmanuelâĨ¦ in the memo cited eight extra seats won by Democrats in Republican districts because of scandals." 

"Absent" from House Democrats' list of priorities for their first 100 hours in the majority, the Washington Post notes, "are the knottiest problems that bedeviled the outgoing Congress, including immigration, domestic surveillance and the war in Iraq...  The go-slow strategy carries some risks, the analysts say, because restless voters may see the new Congress as having no more boldness or problem-solving skills than the 'do-nothing Congress' denounced... this fall.  But Democratic leaders probably are correct in sensing that Americans will give them several months to tackle the stickiest issues, such as Iraq and immigration." 

On FOX yesterday, incoming House Energy and Commerce chair John Dingell promised "an array of oversight investigations."  Among them: "The new Medicare drug benefit; "[s]pending on government contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton;" the "energy task force overseen by Cheney;" and a "review of food and drug safety, particularly in the area of nutritional supplements."  Incoming House Ways and Means chair Charlie Rangell "said his committee would not take on contentious issues, such as extending expiring tax cuts or overhauling Social Security, at the beginning of the year." 

The Chicago Tribune profiles Dingell and the other Democratic âĨŖold bullsâĨŗ who will be controlling the committees next year.  âĨŖBut Dingell could make more waves because he is the oldest, most senior âĨ∼old bull'...  If he stays until 2009, he will pass the late Mississippi
Democrat Jamie Whitten as the longest-serving House member.âĨŗ