Permanent Minority. Democratic Representatives Ellen Tauscher, Ron Kind, Artur Davis and Adam Smith wrote a public memo urging House Democrats to support the credit card industry-written bankruptcy bill. Meanwhile, Congressman Joe Crowley, who represents a working-class New York district, bragged to newspapers about organizing lobbyists to pressure fellow Democrats to support the bill.
Toward the Majority. Senator Evan Bayh, normally a staunch advocate of corporate-backed free-trade deals, announced his decision to hold up the nomination of Representative Rob Portman as US Trade Representative. Bayh said he wants answers about why the White House has done nothing to address China's unfair trade practices, which are damaging the US economy. His move comes just a few weeks after "Minority/Majority" criticized Democrats for being silent on the Portman nomination. --DAVID SIROTA
Lending fresh credence to Tom Frank's thesis that ordinary red-state Americans have been bamboozled by the GOP, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy's second annual legislative score card gave 90 percent of GOP senators and 99 percent of GOP House members failing grades for their votes on middle-class economic issues in 2004. The nonpartisan public interest group totes up each lawmaker's pro and con votes on legislation benefiting or hurting the middle class (defined as people with annual incomes from $25,000 to $100,000), such as the Overtime Compensation Amendment, bankruptcy "reform" and Pell Grant hikes. In contrast, 98 percent of Democratic senators and 100 percent of Democratic Representatives got passing grades, and 49 percent of House Democrats and 47 percent in the Senate received A's. Conclusion: The GOP-dominated Congress prefers corporate tax cuts and faith-based pandering to helping middle-class families cope with rising debts and soaring healthcare and education costs.
NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW
"The military has completed a second investigation into the death of Pat Tillman, the pro football star turned Army Ranger, in Afghanistan last year, seeking to address concerns that it had held back information. But the findings will not be made public." --Associated Press, April 15