The Hill reports that "union representatives, liberal leaders, and aides to House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met yesterday to begin work on a broad lobbying push to promote Pelosi's 100-legislative-hour agenda with a campaign expected to mimic the one that helped defeat [Bush's] proposed reforms to Social Security... Party strategists are speculating that they will have a brief window of legislative productivity before a curtain of partisanship falls across town... for the 2008 presidential election."
Pelosi's "decision to bypass Hastings could damage Pelosi's strained relations with the Congressional Black Caucus," speculates the Boston Globe. "The caucus clashed with Pelosi earlier this year over her efforts to press Representative William J. Jefferson of Louisiana to resign his primary committee post when investigators found $90,000 in his freezer."
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells the AP in an interview that after he deals with the spending bills he's inheriting from the departing GOP majority, he plans to tackle ethics reform, "a higher minimum wage and more money for stem cell research."
The liberal Center for American Progress, which is headed by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta and which some Washington insiders view as a policy shop-in-waiting for a certain presidential candidate, outlined its suggestions yesterday on which issues the Democrat-run Congress should focus on after the first 100 legislative hours. The group feels that because there's a need to meet expectations set by midterm elections, Democratic lawmakers need to move quickly to address key issues. Their proposals include:
-- a phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq over 18 months;
-- more assistance for Afghanistan on reconstruction efforts;
-- the release of NIE reports from before May 2007 and of unclassified reports to Congress and citizens;
-- ending violence in Sudan;
-- and, on the domestic side, improved teacher compensation to attract highly qualified teachers where there are shortages, an expanded child tax credit, a reduced marriage penalty under the earned income tax credit, and the establishment of a benchmark to use renewable energy sources for 25% of nation's fuel consumption
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) tells the New York Daily News editorial board that Democrats are planning to reach out to 20 moderate Republicans, who he suspects are tired of allying themselves with the Administration. Schumer also noted that the midterm results are not a mandate for Democrats. "'Anyone who thinks we've closed the deal is crazy. We haven't and we have a lot of work to do.'"
The Washington Post anticipates that Sen. Jim Webb (D) is going to have a tough time making nice with Bush because of their disagreement over Iraq.
O Canada! Tonight, DNC chair Howard Dean addresses Canada's Liberal Party at their convention in Montreal. That Canadian visit brings back memories of Dean's numerous appearances -- from 1996 to 2002 -- on the Canadian public affairs TV show "The Editors." It was during one of those appearances that Dean criticized Iowa's caucus system, saying that it was "dominated by the special interests" and that participating in one was a waste of time.