Today is really a momentous occasion, though work has kept me from blogging as much as I'd like. Republicans find themselves in the minority, Bush loses his rubber stamp, and Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected Speaker of the House and the first woman ever in the direct line of succession for the Presidency, right behind Dick Cheney, who got kicked out of his Capitol office.
From the AP:
WASHINGTON - Jubilant Democrats on Thursday elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the first woman speaker of the House, the crowning celebration of newfound power the party won in the November electoral sweep.Harry Reid was also elected Majority Leader in the Senate, also promising bipartisanship - something that will be a necessity in the Senate. With Sen. Johnson recovering in the hospital, our vote margin is tiny. We'll have to have some support from the other side of the aisle on many things, though the most important thing about regaining the majority in both houses is Committee Chairs in the hands of Democrats.
"I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship, and look forward to working with you on behalf of the American people," Pelosi said. "In this House, we may belong to different parties, but we serve one country."
Both Democrats and Republicans pledged cooperation despite years of bitter partisanship and gridlock, to try to get the 110th Congress off on a productive note.
House Democrats also were ready to impose a ban on gifts from lobbyists and a clampdown on travel funded by private interests — measures crafted in response to the ethics scandals that weakened Republicans in last fall's elections.
The first hours of the new Democratic-held House were devoted to Pelosi's election and remarks — for which the Californian received numerous standing ovations, especially from the House's record 71 women lawmakers, thrilled that one of their own had finally ascended to the speakership. Some of the women senators also came to the House side to cheer Pelosi's history-shattering moment.
"This is an historic moment — for the Congress, and for the women of this country," Pelosi said. "It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years."
The 'Hundred Hours' (which hopefully turns out better than the 'Hundred Days') may or may not have started. Nobody ever really clarified exactly how the literally timing would work. Look to see wildly popular legislation on the minimum wage, stem cell research, and ethical reforms in government to make it into the news soon.
The last two months were a sort of waiting game, knowing that nothing important was going to change. Now we've reached the threshold. Now change can start. Now the real action begins.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where this new Congress takes us.
Nancy Pelosi Democrats Congress