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Thread: Rep. John Dingell Pledges To Investigate Halliburton And Energy Task Force

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    Rep. John Dingell Pledges To Investigate Halliburton And Energy Task Force

    Democrats vow an array of investigations
    Possible probes include Medicare plan, Halliburton and energy task force

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11442715/

    Updated: 12:57 p.m. CT Nov 26, 2006

    WASHINGTON - The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations that could provoke sharp disagreement with Republicans and the White House.

    Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., pledged that Democrats, swept to power in the Nov. 7 elections, would govern “in the middle” next year. But the veteran lawmaker has a reputation as one who has never avoided a fight and he did not back away from that reputation on Sunday.

    Among the investigations he said he wants the committee to undertake:
    • The new Medicare drug benefit. “There are lots and lots and lots of scandals,” he said, without citing specifics.
    • Spending on government contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton Co., the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
    • An energy task force overseen by Cheney. It “was carefully cooked to provide only participation by oil companies and energy companies,” Dingell said.

    Meanwhile, the incoming chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee 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. Rep. ^Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Democrats do not want a fight with President Bush and want to prove they can govern.

    “The first thing we’re going to do is try to work together on things we know we can accomplish,” Rangel said. “Rather than have the committee against the president, it’s not going to happen,” Rangel said.

    Rep. Barney Frank, set to lead the House Financial Services Committee, said issues such as raising the minimum wage will be popular, even thought the idea has been identified with liberals.

    “In my own committee, the biggest difference you’re going to see is we’re going to return to help deal with the housing crisis that bites so many parts of our country socially and economically,” said Frank, D-Mass.

    Frank, who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public, also said he wants to modify the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The current policy prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

    “One of things I do want to address, yes, is discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Frank said.

    “In fact, what we have is a shortfall in the military. I think when you have people being fired who can read Arabic and understand Arabic, because of what they do when they’re off duty, that that’s a grave error. But that’s not what we’re going to begin with.”

    A report in 2005 by the investigative arm of Congress estimated it cost the Pentagon nearly $200 million to recruit and train replacements for the nearly 9,500 troops that had to leave the military because of the policy. The losses included hundreds of highly skilled troops, including translators, between 1994 through 2003.

    The lawmakers appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Democrats say no liberal plans in next US Congress

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N26411308.htm

    26 Nov 2006 18:20:00 GMT

    WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Three Democratic congressmen who are about to take important leadership posts said on Sunday they plan to pass popular legislation blocked by Republicans but would refrain from pushing some of the most controversial elements on the liberal agenda.

    The three, appearing on Fox News Sunday, are among the most liberal Democrats who will take over key committee chairmanships when Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives in January.

    Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who will take over the U.S. House of Representatives committee that covers banking and other financial institutions, mentioned raising the minimum wage, providing cheaper drug coverage for the elderly and providing more affordable housing and help with college tuition as the focus of Democratic legislation.

    "Our first efforts are going to be to do those things that I think the mainstream of America wants," Frank said. "Some things have become liberal because the right wingers who control the Republican party have abandoned them to us."

    Asked about his opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gay service men and women, Frank, one of the few openly gay members of the House, said he would fight discrimination but that issue was "not what we're going to begin with."

    "Democrats like winning elections," said Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the longest serving member of the House.

    "We want to win elections and we're going to do our best to do so," he said. "This doesn't mean to get into any extreme positions on any matter. We'll do what makes good sense."

    Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who is about to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which handles tax matters, said, "We don't want really a fight with the president. What we want to do is to prove we can govern for the next two years."

    While he stood by his proposal to bring back the military draft to spread the burden of the Iraq war more evenly throughout U.S. society, Rangel said he would not push the issue and recognizes the obstacles to it ever passing.

    He pointed out that Democrats' majority in House and especially in the Senate was thin and in the end President George W. Bush always had the power to veto what Congress passes.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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