The first female speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Democrats are set to blitz Congress with a legislative agenda that tackles stem cell research, the minimum wage, ethics, 9/11 commission recommendations, oil subsidies, education and prescription drugs—all before President Bush arrives at the capital for the State of the Union address Jan. 23.
Conspicuously missing from that list is the biggest issue of all—Iraq—leaving some to wonder how responsive the Dems will be to the obvious wishes of the voters who brought them to power.
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel as the first woman speaker in the history of the House, and immediately launch a 100 legislative-hour march to quickly put the Democratic stamp on the new Congress.
Before President Bush arrives on Capitol Hill on Jan. 23 for his State of the Union address, House Democrats intend to update ethics rules, raise the minimum wage, implement 9/11 Commission recommendations, cut subsidies to the oil industry, promote stem cell research and make college educations and prescription drugs more affordable.
“Democrats are prepared to govern and ready to lead,” said Pelosi, a Californian.
On the first day back, Democrats plan to change House rules on what members can accept from lobbyists. On the second day they’ll vote on other rules changes requiring that new spending or tax cuts be paid for and that pet projects tucked into larger bills be publicly disclosed.