Friday, November 10, 2006

"How to Wield Power: The Critical Importance of Oversight "

Susan Hu on Kos:
Do you have an incumbent Democratic senator or representative? Have you checked your local papers to see what new powers they'll be gaining?

Here's my state, as an example (and please add your examples in comments): Besides Sen. Patty Murray, who will head the "Senate's Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, which controls billions of dollars of federal transportation dollars," reelected junior senator Maria Cantwell "could become chair of the Commerce Committee's Fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee and move up the ranks on the Energy Committee." One of her priorities is to roll back "billions in subsidies to big energy corporations [which] undercut investment in wind, solar and alternative energies."
There's a great article in today's Seattle Times about my own Congressman, Norm Dicks, who's been in Congress for nearly 30 years. Like his mentor, Sen. Warren Magnuson -- whose biography I am currently reading -- Dicks operates quietly but is highly effective in protecting his district's dependence on military spending while also advocating for wilderness protection and the environment. Conservative California Rep. Richard Pombo's defeat on Tuesday gives Dicks a big boost:

The Democrats' victory in the House promotes Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, and other Washington Democrats to key positions in the new Congress.

"It's nothing less than a sea change," said Dicks, who will become chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, National Parks and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Pombo, as chairman of the House Resources Committee, has been vilified by environmentalists and praised by those who think government regulations go too far.

He's tried to weaken the Endangered Species Act, proposed selling off parts of national parks and forests for mining and single-handedly blocked the proposed Wild Sky Wilderness area in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.

Dicks, reports the Seattle Times, also "wants to hold hearings on the impact of global warming, particularly on Puget Sound fish and wildlife."

Hearings on global warming. Think of it.

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