Monday, January 26, 2009

Week One

The past few years have shown us the importance of paying attention to National politics. After eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration, many Americas, of all races, creeds and cultures, voted for a change in how business is conducted in Washington. Barack Obama was elected with the promise of transparency, good judgment, and a change in the tone of partisan politics.

With that in mind, we will bring you weekly summaries of what is occurring on our National political scene. We will document the efforts of our new President and provide an archive of his Presidency.

Week of January 26, 2009:
  1. President Barack Obama courted Republicans in the House in an attempt to gain support for the economic stimulus bill and to deliver on a promise made during the election to work with leaders on both sides of the aisle. The 825 billion dollar economic recovery bill, called ‘The America Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,’ passed without a single Republican vote. Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, the region's sole Democrat, was the only area lawmaker to vote in favor of the bill. Inland representatives who voted against the bill included: Rep. Ken Calvert, D-Corona (who won a narrow victory to return to Congress largely dependent on Orange County voters), Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, and David Dreier, R-San Dimas. This week the bill heads to the Senate for further deliberations.
  1. Organizing for America, the continuation of the grassroots Obama movement, is calling on Americans to hold Economic Recovery House Meetings. Director Mitch Stewart says, “The President's plan passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. But if it's going to move forward, we need to avoid the usual partisan games. That's why supporters are opening their homes to talk with neighbors and friends about how the plan will work -- and what it means for their community.”
  1. On Thursday, January 29, President Barack Obama signed his first piece of legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, that will make it easier for anyone to get equal pay for equal work regardless of age, race, or gender. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is named after a woman who was paid less than her male co-workers at an Alabama tire factory. After the signing, first lady Michelle Obama held a reception in the State Dining Room honoring Lilly Ledbetter. Mrs. Obama said she supported the measure for fair pay, especially “at a time when so many families are facing economic insecurity and instability.” Speaking to guests at the luncheon, she encouraged them, “feel free, walk around, touch some stuff, just don't break anything.”
  1. The Republican National Committee, seeking to rebuild the party after November’s defeat, elected former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as their Chairman. Steele becomes the first African-American to hold the post.
  1. President Obama concluded the week by expressing his dissatisfaction with the huge bonuses being paid to Wall Street execs, many of whom benefited from the recent bail-out. He stated, “The American people will not tolerate arrogance and greed.”