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  • 485Mbe4001
    08-11 04:11 PM
    Dobbs is more worried about his show and ratings. i am sure he has an h1b working somewhere in his office or his old office at space.com. more importantly do you guys feel that he affects policy decisions or the immigration debates going on. if he barks let him bark...
    I heard sensenbrener (wrong spelling but you know the guy) on the radio yesterday, it sounded like no way in hell he was going to compromise on his issue an let the bill pass. Now that is one guy people from IV need to talk to or send emails to, atleast to help him understand out point of view.





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  • nozerd
    12-28 09:08 PM
    I believe in the maxim that you cant control how others act. You can only control how you react. This is what India should do in the short and medium term that they do have full control over.

    SHORT TERM.

    I think the easiest thing India can do to send a message is to break off complete diplomatic relations with Pakistan.

    a) Recall the Ambassador permanantly and close down the High Commision.

    b) Ban anyone who owns (or has in the past owned) a Pakistani passport from entering India under any circumstances- exceptions need to be signed off by the External Affairs Minister himself)

    c) Not allow Indians to travel to Pakistan ( Place a stamp on all passports saying entry to Pakistan not allowed - similar to what we had for South Africa 15-20 yrs ago).

    d) Make it an obvious point to boycott any forum Pak is speaking on. So if the Paki guy is speaking at the UN or SAARC the Indian delegation just leaves the room.

    e) Ignore PAK to the point that it doesnt exist.

    MEDIUM TERM

    a) Deal with internal security. Recruit and fill the Army and Intelligence agencies that are short staffed. If the trainers are not there get countries like Israel and Russia to train them or get ex US and UK army commandoes pay them the market fee and get them trained.

    b) Recruit a cadre of Indian Muslims in the IB. Get people who are Hafez (trained well in the Koran) and who are both strong muslims and patriotic Indians. Send them to Pak as sleeping agents and destabilize Pak from the inside. Infiltrate these terrorists.

    c) Leverage our influence and clout. If company X sells to Pak they can forget about any Indian company doing business with them. Pressurise govts not to allow their firms to sell to Pak.

    d) Build a cadre of polished charismatic foreign service officers with the gift of gab like Pak has. The day after the Bombay incident Pak had started working the media/ talk show circuit in the US with their honey tounged reps. They always seem to do a great job with PR while India is sleeping. Ban SC quota types from joining the IFS.





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  • unitednations
    03-24 07:28 PM
    UN,

    I don't think your view of Indian monopoly in IT is correct. It is a natural flow of human resources from countries which had plenty of it to USA which needed it.

    The reason for Indians/Chinese taking up majority of H1B visas is that there are lot of educated candidates to pick from highly populous countries like India and China.

    US never gave any preference to Indians or Chinese in H1B visas. The fact is India and China produced lot of graduates who were capable of doing IT work. If you look at it, IT job is not a hard thing to master for any Indian. So US had the necessity for skilled people, India and China had the supply of these people, naturally staffing companies came up to bank on this opportunity. It was a natural evolution, there is no bias towards Indians/Chinese. If you take any small country in the region, they didn't have enough qualified people so staffing companies didn't flourish in those countries.

    This is one of those things that people are going to agree to disagree.

    btw; my experience with the Chinese is that many of them came here initially on student visa and decided to stay. I don't know many that came directly here on h-1b. They haven't developed the network of staffing companies (main reason I believe is the english issue wheres people from India generally don't have this).





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  • Macaca
    02-13 10:56 AM
    Taken to School (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021201293_2.html)

    Colleges are filled with smart people, but nobody gets rewarded just for their brains. Many of those brainy people know they've got to go asking for money when they want it. So it's no surprise that colleges are among the most prodigious users of lobbyists. Universities and other groups with direct interests in higher education spent $94.6 million on lobbying in 2005, an 18 percent increase from 2004, according to Inside Higher Ed.

    Johns Hopkins University led the way with $1,020,000. Boston University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Miami followed, with $920,000, $820,000 and $730,000, respectively.

    Those numbers will probably decline now that pet projects, or earmarks, are harder to get. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) told colleagues last week that they have until March 16 to request them and that their dollar amount will be cut in half compared with most earmarks in fiscal 2006.



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  • DoNotWorry
    04-08 12:18 PM
    This might be good for developing countries!!!! Don't worry guys, the world will evolve on new terms. As Bill Gates told, if workers can not come here, the Companies will go to that Countries.





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  • gimme_GC2006
    04-13 09:26 PM
    Hi gimme_GC2006,

    I am no expert in this matter but may be you should respond with all the info you have. Contact Number, Address, Supervisor Name, Phone Number etc - and a brief statement saying that the company does not exist anymore etc etc. If they want to -- they can track down your supervisor etc from the non-existent company if they want to verify your employment.

    Again its best if you get help with a qualified attorney - (should'nt hurt to spend a few $$ more to have a peace of mind) plus yours is the only case of this type I am seeing on these boards so is a bit disconcerting...

    All the best,
    cinqsit

    thanks for the suggestion..I dont have those details..for now its all good..but I was thinking one more time, I will hire an attorney.. :)



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  • Macaca
    09-21 09:33 AM
    Lobbyist Silvertooth tries to take emotion out of immigration fight (http://thehill.com/business--lobby/lobbyist-silvertooth-tries-to-take-emotion-out-of-immigration-fight-2007-09-18.html) By Jim Snyder | The Hill, September 18, 2007

    When the Senate debated immigration, lobbyist R. Craig Silvertooth became a leading voice of comprehensive reform.

    As head of government affairs for the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and co-chairman of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), an umbrella group of employers that supported comprehensive reform, Silvertooth, 39, appeared on CNN, Fox News and PBS�s �The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer� to defend a bill that would have provided a road to legal status for as many as 11 million illegal immigrants.

    After those appearances, Silvertooth found that opponents of the measure had a few choice words of their own, which they would leave on his office voice mail.

    �People would leave profane messages,� he said. �They wanted to know why we hate America. Why we can�t hire Americans. How much I am getting from the Mexican government.�

    The issue tends to bring out the �worst in people,� he said. �It�s overly emotional.�

    Silvertooth blames the intense anger for scaring members off the bill, which he contends offered a reasonable response to a labor shortage his industry and other contractors face.

    To critics, through, the bill offered amnesty to illegal immigrants. The three weeks between when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled the bill from the floor and when he brought it back up again �provided ample time for talk radio and other media opponents, including blogs, to mobilize,� according to Silvertooth. He estimates his side lost three or four votes during that time.

    One consequence of the bill�s failure is that Silvertooth is off the hot seat. With comprehensive reform dead, he doesn�t appear on TV anymore. But the issue hasn�t gone away for his industry.

    Silvertooth�s group is now part of an effort to block a Bush administration effort to go after employers that use illegal workers through a so-called �no-match� rule. His work for EWIC keeps him active in efforts to tweak immigration laws through less ambitious measures that, for example, target H-1B visas used by high-tech companies.

    Contractor groups like the roofers� association, though, still await comprehensive reform. The sector employs nearly 12 million people, with about a quarter of the workers having Hispanic roots. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2005 that nearly 30 percent of the roofing workforce was undocumented.

    �This is life or death for the industry. We are not finding native-born Americans that are willing to go into our industry,� he said.

    Given the stakes for contractors, various trade groups and companies banded together to form EWIC.

    Lake Coulson, a lobbyist for the Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors National Association, called EWIC the �biggest and most important� of all the immigration coalitions pushing reform.

    �As one of the co-chairs of EWIC, he was front and center in the debate,� Coulson said of Silvertooth. �He�s been a terrific ally.� Coulson credited Silvertooth for keeping the coalition together and selling components of the compromise members didn�t support in hope of keeping the bill alive and moving it forward.

    A native of Texas, Silvertooth was a former staff aide to Sens. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) before working on Robert Dole�s 1996 presidential campaign.

    He then worked as a fundraiser for Georgetown University before becoming a lobbyist for a trade group of air conditioner manufacturers. Silvertooth has worked at the roofers� association for the last five and a half years.

    Founded in 1886, the association is one of the oldest trade groups in town. It now represents 4,200 companies, mostly small businesses with fewer than 35 employees each.

    Those businesses are going to have a hard time complying with the no-match rule. The effort, led by the Department of Homeland Security, would create new responsibilities for employers to ensure their workers have proper documentation, and new penalties for failing to comply.

    Government estimates are that there are 17.5 million errors in the Social Security database. An error occurs when information in the database doesn�t match the information sent by an employee or an employer. But there are only an estimated 11.6 million illegal immigrants.

    The NRCA has joined the United Fresh Produce Association, the American Nursery and Landscape Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association in an effort to block the implementation of the Bush plan in federal court.

    �We�re playing defense. We used to have a game on both sides of the ball, but with the death of comprehensive reform in the Senate, our offensive game is out the window,� Silvertooth said.

    �Hopefully, the 111th Congress will be more amenable to reform.�

    By then, Silvertooth may play a less central role in the debate. He is soon to take over as executive director of a spin-off trade group that will focus on green-building standards. The group does not yet have a name.

    While that debate promises to be less controversial than the one on immigration, roofers did have some concerns with efforts by Democrats to raise new energy standards for buildings. The NRCA was one of a dozen groups that wrote House members to express concern with a bill to promote energy efficiency standards. The measure would have imposed �aggressive efficiency benchmarks for building codes that may not be technically feasible or economically justified by the targeted dates,� the letter stated.

    In this instance, lawmakers heard the concerns and adopted an amendment to the bill giving the Energy Department the power to ensure new standards could be met without creating economic damage to the building industries.





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  • vallabhu
    04-06 11:52 PM
    My understanding H1 B employers (mostly desi companies) are root cause of this situation by abusing H1 b program, they have made enough money by sucking H1 employees blood, now hey are equally affected it is time for them to share some of it and fund all the efforts to curb these kind of Bills.

    Please forward the text of this bill to all your employers and ask them to join hands with IV.



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  • pthoko
    07-11 01:57 PM
    Please ignore my previous posting! I saw in one of the earlier postings that you are approved. Congratulations and Best wishes! and welcome back to this forum; Please help us here whenever you can.

    Thanks!


    QUOTE





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  • rockstart
    07-15 08:26 AM
    The letter is trying to say either of two things from heart

    1) Employer / DOL/ Lawyers cheated us by filing us under EB3 even though the job posting was well qualified for Eb2.

    2) Employer / DOL/ Lawyers were Naive so ended up filing us under EB3 even though the job posting was well qualified for Eb2.

    So now CIS can compensate us since we are waiting in line for so many years. In old times when the system was so inefficient and now you have cheated us by improving the system and people have sneaked past us? All this might be true but when you are presenting a legal case these things do not stand a chance of being accepted.

    The right way will be to remove all references to Eb2 accept the fact that you consented to be in Eb3 so you should take all the pro's and con's associated with it. After that we can all write letters to CIS and all others under guidance of IV higlighting the endless waits and how visa recapture will help this mess. Dont make comparisons with Eb2 to justify your case because it isnt right and if you feel it is right then why just Eb2 why not EB1 after all they get GC in 1-2 years flat.

    I would like to first applaud Pani for this effort. I strongly support his initative. I think his letter is original and from his heart. It is more authentic and human than what some on this forum are suggesting here. I think his gut feeling on this one is more important than the calculated steps IV has been taking so far.
    These kind of authentic letters from members like pani would give IV a more strong foundation to focus their energy. I think all those who want to write letters to the President, Senator, Congressmen, USCIS, DOL, DOS, DOJ, etc should do so and also should write the letter on their own instead of copying one. The reasons, sentiments and purpose will add more flavour to the whole thing. I would go one step further to suggest that some should write the letter in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, etc, etc, if they think that they can express themselves better in their own language.
    Pani once again I would like to say that you are doing the right thing.

    PS: When the ship is sinking everyone wants to escape but the one who is aggresive to save himself has more chance of living than the other who is waiting for someone to save him.



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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-06 11:34 PM
    A little old lady goes to the doctor and says ...

    ..., "Doctor, I have this problem with gas, but it doesn't really bother me too much. They never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I've farted at least 20 times since I've been here in your office. You didn't know I was farting because they don't smell and are silent."

    The doctor says, "I see. Here's a prescription. Take these pills 3 times a day for seven days and come back to see me next week."

    The next week the lady goes back. "Doctor," she says, "I don't know what the hell you gave me, but now my farts ... although still silent... stink terribly."

    The doctor says, "Good! Now that we've cleared up your sinuses, let's start working on your hearing."





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  • desi3933
    07-08 10:20 AM
    1. When you filed I-485, you should file under 245(K) immediately - I believe someone already mentioned that below. For derivative applications, the derivative applicant may be "out of status" for any length without any issues for AOS approval.

    2. For the 6 mos period he was without pay check, does he have any proof of employment and correspondingly any letter showing that he was on vacation/leave of absense. I had a 15 day period between 2 jobs where I took time off but had no vacation, hence leave without pay but I have leave letter from my manager in letter-head (I know a lot of people do that as taking vacation between jobs gives them a fresh start).

    3. Did the period length where he did not have a pay check exceed 180 days at a stretch?

    Bottomline, it seems an overzealous USCIS officer is trying to find ways to deny your application - you should involve a good lawyer and get immediate rebuttal for Notice of Denial.

    1. 245(k) is applicable automatically for all eb I-485. There is no penalty fee for 245(k).

    2. Each I-485 application is independent for out of status issues. Does not matter Primary or Dependent.

    3. Needs more information. A person can be out of status even with pay-checks. Example: H-1B LCA location is different from actual job location, putting him/her out of status.

    _____________________
    Not a legal advice.



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  • mbawa2574
    03-25 11:18 PM
    www.ushomeauction.com

    U should look more at Pre-forclosure ( if u can get hold of one) than the foreclosed properties. Most of forclosed properties need substantial investment to fix them. Generally public gets the last chance of good foreclosed properties. It is a bank- real estate nexus which eats up the good inventory before hitting into the market. US home auction is not a real auction but more like a open house for 100 properties at the same time. Quality of inventory is not worth it.





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  • GCKaMaara
    01-07 10:21 AM
    Refugee_New,

    Is this true? Are you just visiting forum just for this and not for your immigration at all? If so, its really bad.



    Refugee_New already got the GC. I have read his some previous posts too and after that I doubt his commitment for the IV goals.

    People responding to him please understand, either we can focus on efforts which will help us getting GC faster or we can continue to discuss this topic.



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  • BharatPremi
    03-26 04:31 PM
    I posted a few messages in another thread on macroeconomic issues. As you found out, a lot of people don't understand the severity of credit crunch. If you have lot of cash, yes you have a big advantage, go and invest. Even if you get it wrong for next 5 years, you will be ok.
    But for people who want to do this on borrowed money, credit crunch will hit you. The credit crunch will get worse. Whole mortgage industry will change, things will tighten. This just means something has to give up, which is house price.
    If you are already not in a house, wait as you might be able to buy at much lower prices. Jump into RE as investment now only if you have enough cash to sustain upto 30% drop in home prices !!

    So what do you advise, is it right time to refinance or wait it out and why?





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  • rsdang
    08-11 04:44 PM
    Lesson 1:

    A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.
    The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.
    Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel, "
    After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.
    The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.
    When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"
    "It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies.
    "Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

    Moral of the story
    If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time,you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


    *********

    Lesson 3:

    A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.
    The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."
    "Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."
    Puff! She's gone.
    "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.."
    Puff! He's gone.
    "OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.
    The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

    Moral of the story
    Always let your boss have the first say.


    *********

    Lesson 4:

    An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"
    The eagle answered: "Sure , why not."
    So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

    Moral of the story
    To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.


    *********

    Lesson 5:

    A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey,"but I haven't got the energy."
    "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull.
    They're packed with nutrients."
    The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.
    The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.
    Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

    Moral of the story
    BullShit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.


    *********

    Lesson 6:

    A little bird was flying south for the Winter.It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.
    The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
    A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.
    Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him..

    Morals of this story

    (1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

    (2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend..

    (3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth
    shut!

    Where is lesson 2?



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  • gc28262
    03-24 04:07 PM
    No, they figured out that it is consulting companies that are exploiting loopholes.

    1) Tell me what proof you have that ALL consulting companies are complying with H-1B requriements.

    2) Is benching that happens in consulting legal? Is paying salary according to prevailing wages in Maine and sending the contractor to work in Manhattan legal? Please tell me how these practises by desi consulting firms are legal.

    And you're telling me I am ignorant! You're funny :D

    1. Why don't you give me the proof that ALL consulting companies are not complying. You are the one who is making the argument. Do you have any statistics to prove that ? Do you know all the consulting companies in US ? Do you know all the companies that directly hire H1 ? Do you know their compliance statistics ?

    2. Did I say any of these are legal ? If a company applies for H1B, the company has to comply with the requirements of the law. It is that simple. It doesn't matter whether it is a consulting company or a direct placement.





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  • DoNotWorry
    04-08 12:18 PM
    This might be good for developing countries!!!! Don't worry guys, the world will evolve on new terms. As Bill Gates told, if workers can not come here, the Companies will go to that Countries.





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  • Sunx_2004
    07-10 02:53 PM
    Just follow the law. There are lots of protections in it for us.

    UN, I am impressed by your knowledge of immigration laws. Can you point me in right direction as to where I find information regarding the current immigration laws and their interpretations.





    Macaca
    12-27 08:16 PM
    How Republicans prevailed on the Hill (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/531oekhp.asp) By Whitney Blake | The Weekly Standard, 12/27/2007

    THE HOUSE AND SENATE squeezed through last-minute bills in a marathon session last week akin to the final exams period some members' college-aged children just muddled through. A bleary-eyed, sleep deprived House and Senate finally emerged with the passage of some key pieces of legislation on energy, the Iraq war, the alternative minimum tax, children's health insurance, and a massive omnibus spending bill. In the end, Republicans proved to be the more astute bunch, pushing through Bush's lame duck agenda despite their minority status.

    With Democrats emerging victorious just a year ago in the 2006 midterm elections claiming a mandate to drive the country in a new direction, one would have hardly predicted headlines like "Bush, GOP prevail in host of Hill issues" in the Associated Press, "Dems cave on spending" in the Hill, and the Politico's "Liberals lose bigtime in budget battle."

    Leading mainstream publications agreed that Democrats had surrendered to Republican demands, and the left's base was utterly furious at the outcomes. In reaction to the $70 billion Iraq and Afghanistan troop funding vote, comments such as, "You are kidding yourself if you think the Democratic party stands for anything--clearly they do not--This is an outrage," were posted on Daily Kos. Huffington Post entries included, "Democrats lose evey [sic] time becuase [sic] they are a pack of spineless cowards".

    Even Republicans were surprised with the outcome. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked, "If we had been having this press conference last January and I had suggested that a Republican minority in Congress would be able to meet the president's top line, you all would have laughed at me."

    "We couldn't have scripted this to work out better for Republicans they conceded almost every issue," said Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-WI).

    Not only did Democrats eventually meet Bush's required $933 billion appropriations spending level, they also capitulated on unconditional funding for the troops, an energy plan without corporate taxes, a one-year patch to the alternative minimum tax without additional taxes (a $50 billion violation of Democrats' pay-as-you-go principles), and a straight extension of SCHIP without a large expansion.

    At first, the record is baffling, but the explanation for Republican success is simple. Not only was superior "strategery" involved on the part of the minority, to borrow a word from Bush's lexicon, but equally important was Democrats' miscalculations.

    Republicans decided early on to stick together on issues such as taxes and Iraq, said one senior Republican aide. Democrats were much more fractured. One Washington Post headline declared, "Democrats Blaming Each Other for Failures." The article cited House Democrats accusing their Senate counterparts of selling out and folding. In December 2006, Reid said in an interview, "legislation is the art of compromise and consensus building and I'm going to compromise." House Democrats didn't embrace this theme.

    They either failed to realize or didn't want to realize that anything they proposed still had to meet approval in the Senate, where compromise and coalition building are unavoidable, with 60 votes required to move any legislation through. "It took some people 11 months to figure this out," said one senior Republican aide.

    From the beginning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set up a structure that didn't emphasize debate and hearings, said Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The controversial spots were never worked out in the far-left appeasing bills that passed through the House.

    Even after the Senate voted a resounding 88 to 5 in favor of an AMT patch without offsets in the beginning of December, the House passed another version, attached more taxes to make up for the lost revenue, and sent it back to the Senate. The Senate had to vote three times just to show the House Democrats that it did not have the required 60 votes to pass a patch with offsets.

    Democrats were not only divided, they also misjudged the public's perception. The "general aversion to tax hikes" worked to the Republicans' advantage, and the overall success of the war in Iraq also played a key factor, said the senior Republican aide.

    Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid commented right before the recess, "I share the frustration of the American people who want to see real change." But Republicans argue Reid's idea of change is not in line with that of most Americans.

    They "got the wrong message from the election," which wasn't one of a "repudiation of conservative values," said Ryan. It was a call for "clean and transparent government."

    They "overreached" after the honeymoon period and "frittered away" high expectations "by taking a sharp turn to the left," he added.

    A CNN/USA Today poll taken back in May and June revealed that 57% of Americans favored making permanent the Bush tax cuts, while 37 percent wanted to repeal the temporary cuts. On the broader fiscal topics of taxes, government spending, and regulations for businesses, 41 percent of Americans consider themselves "conservative," 43 percent "moderate," and just 12 percent "liberal," according to a Rasmussen Reports study released about a month ago.

    Some Republicans admit Democrats could have gotten more of what they wanted had they played their cards right. Democrats had a "missed opportunity," said McCarthy, who has experience in a closely divided legislature as a former Republican floor leader in the California State Assembly.

    The majority could have still put forth very partisan bills at the outset, but "come back to where common ground was," said McCarthy. Democrats would have "enjoyed much more success" in the center, said Ryan.

    Some Republicans were reportedly amenable to partial offsets to the AMT. Perhaps if Democrats had not held onto appropriations spending $23 billion above Bush's request for so long, there would have been more time left to avoid axing the entire difference. Or if taxes were not as high as $22 billion for energy companies in the Democrats' version of the energy bill, some taxes may have been part of the compromise.

    But Democrats "were more interested in making a point than making law," said Don Stewart, communications director for Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It didn't get them very far: They essentially handed Republicans their agenda on a platter at the eleventh hour to prevent a government shutdown.

    In the end, Democrats were "driven by the clock and not by the product of what's created," McCarthy added. Serious negotiations could have occurred much earlier in the year, instead of holding out stubbornly until the end of the session when all eyes were on several major unresolved bills. Sensible bipartisan compromises in piecemeal over the year look much more authoritative, organized, and productive than the harried disarray that unfolded in the past month.

    Incidentally, according to McConnell, the only truly bipartisan piece of legislation where genuine compromise was part of the equation was ethics reform, signed into law in September. But even Democrats, who heralded the landmark reforms, took advantages of the loopholes in the bill to insert about 300 air dropped earmarks which had not been taken up by either the House or Senate on the floor or as part of a vote.

    Now, with the Democrats' base up in arms, the Democrats' infighting publicly aired, and the minority declaring victory, backed up by the mainstream media no less, the bills don't even appear bipartisan. Democrats came out with the short end of the stick, even though the odds were clearly in their favor after the midterm elections.

    While Hillary is busy wrapping up universal health care, and "bring troops home" presents for potential voters, Democrats won't be able to deliver these or any other promised initiatives this Christmas season.





    Macaca
    01-20 10:11 AM
    Could Congress Be Waking Up? (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/opinion/19mann.html?em&ex=1200978000&en=42615f161ac4daf2&ei=5087%0A) By THOMAS E. MANN, MOLLY REYNOLDS and NIGEL HOLMES | NY Times, Jan 19

    AMID the clamor of the presidential campaign, it�s sometimes easy to forget that all 435 House seats and 35 of the Senate�s seats are up for election this year, too. So how should Congress under its new Democratic leadership be judged?

    The public has reached a decidedly negative conclusion, based on Congress�s inability to force a change in policy on the Iraq war and the pitched partisan battles that characterized much of the year in Washington.

    But expectations for seismic change in policymaking after the 2006 midterm elections were almost certainly too high, given the deep ideological differences between the parties, the Democrats� narrow majorities, the now-routine Senate filibusters and a Republican president determined to go his own way on Iraq, the budget and domestic policy.

    Based on our research, the 110th Congress does deserve some praise. In 2007, the level of energy and activity on Capitol Hill picked up markedly. This is not surprising � when the Newt Gingrich Congress, its closest analogue, took over in 1995, the pace of legislative life sped up, too.

    In terms of both the number and significance of new public laws, however, last year�s Democratic majority significantly outperformed that Republican Congress. Only one item described in the Republican Contract With America was signed into law at the end of 1995, while most of the proposals the Democrats announced as their agenda were enacted.

    Democrats, to be sure, aimed lower in their specific legislative promises, but they managed to overcome the many obstacles in their way. Republicans in 1995 shot for the moon and ended up frustrated by Senate inaction, presidential vetoes and a government shutdown that proved politically damaging.

    The new Democratic Congress delivered on the promise of ethics and lobbying reform, and made considerable progress in reining in earmarks, which had exploded under the previous 12 years of mostly Republican rule. In fact, between the 2006 and 2008 fiscal years, the cost of appropriations earmarks appears to have dropped from $29 billion to $14.1 billion. Perhaps most important, Congress reasserted itself as a rightful check on the executive branch, significantly stepping up its oversight on a wide range of important subjects.

    But a less partisan, more deliberative and productive legislative process will have to await a clearer signal from voters in the 2008 elections.

    The chart below shows how the 110th Congress spent its time, and what it accomplished, in its first year under Democratic control, compared with its immediate predecessor and with the Republican Congress that took office in 1995.