The House of Representatives, after an all-day and all-night session, finally passed the Shays-Meehan campaign finance bill (HR2356) by a 240-189 margin. The bill would drastically reduce the amount of money that could be given to political parties directly, and would also ban broadcast advertising within 60 days of an election if the ad specifically mentions one of the candidates in the respective election race. The bill would not take effect until after the November elections later this year, and contains several other small changes to election finance laws.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill providing a 13 week extension of unemployment benefits for about 2 million laid-off workers. The February 6th Senate vote closely followed the collapse of Democrat and Republican negotiations on a wider economic stimulus package for the nation.
More than a dozen Senate and House Committees are "investigating" the still-unfolding Enron swindle. On February 7th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee finally subpoenaed several current and former Enron bosses to testify, and most declined to answer any questions, citing their Constitutional right to do so. Meanwhile, federal law enforcement has still failed to mount the kind of investigation that is already two months overdue.
Our elected lawmakers have returned to Washington, D.C. for the second session of the 107th Congress. And with few exceptions, the momentum for the moment has been captured by Bush and the Republican House majority. President Bush, fresh from his recent State of the Union speech in late January, is pushing hard for more corporate tax cuts and vastly increased military spending. Any chances for real tax relief, extension of unemployment benefits, or health care assistance for working people are dwindling with each passing day.
The Enron bankruptcy scandal continues to grow with each passing day. Unfortunately, far too little is being done by federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this massive case of corporate crime. Members of Congress - both Republicans and Democrats - are rushing to hold "hearings" on the unfolding Enron swindle. While Congress holds one hearing after another to shine some light on this massive corporate swindle, law enforcement agencies are supposedly "investigating" the Enron case.