Washington outlook.The mid-term congressional elections have been completed. The campaign rhetoric and posturing are behind us for awhile, thankfully, and Congress in its new make-up is preparing to get to work--to focus on the issues and, hopefully, get some things done.
Control of the House and Senate has shifted from the Republicans to the Democrats, reflecting the American people's dissatisfaction with the previous Congress, as well as the Administration, and their desire for change. The Democratic leadership--Nancy Pelosi (California) as Speaker of the House, the first woman to hold that position in the nation's history, and Harry Reid (Nevada) as Senate Majority Leader--has initially responded by recognizing its party's victory as a call for change both in the direction of key national policies and in how the Congress does its business.
They have promised to pursue new approaches to the major issues of the election, such as the war in Iraq, our nation's fiscal and tax policies, and domestic issues such as education, health care, and energy policy. And they have promised to seek a bipartisan approach in developing new solutions to these issues, to move away from the conflict and partisan politics that have characterized the workings--or non-workings--of the previous Congress (see Washington Outlook, Autumn 2006).
President Bush has also heard this message of public unhappiness and has signaled his willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion with the new congressional leadership. With the current power structure--the Democrats have control but only a slim majority in Congress and the President holds the veto power--it appears that bipartisan efforts will be necessary if Congress and the President are going to get much accomplished over the next two years.
This presents an opportunity for moderates in both parties to demonstrate their willingness and capacity to work together across the aisle to get things done. Such bipartisan efforts have been more commonly associated with the politics and culture of the Senate, but the current post-election situation provides an unusual political opportunity for members of the House to work across party lines as well.
While the election results only became clear in November and the new committee leadership was still uncertain at press time, several changes seemed fairly predictable and would present good prospects for bipartisan approaches in addressing forest conservation issues. In the Senate, Sen. Jeff Bingaman Jesse Francis "Jeff" Bingaman Jr. (born October 3, 1943) is the junior U.S. Senator from New Mexico. He has been in the Senate since 1983 and is a member of the Democratic Party. Bingaman was Attorney General of New Mexico from 1978 until his election to the U.S. (New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S). ) likely will return to the chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, while Sen. Pete Domenici Persondata
NAME Domenici, Pietro Vichi
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Pete Domenici
SHORT DESCRIPTION United States Senator from New Mexico
DATE OF BIRTH May 7, 1932
PLACE OF BIRTH Albuquerque, New Mexico
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
Pietro Vichi "Pete" Domenici (New Mexico) will become the ranking minority member. On the forests subcommittee of that full Committee, Senator Ron Wyden Ronald Lee Wyden (born May 3, 1949) is Oregon's senior United States Senator. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Early career and personal life
Wyden was born in Wichita, Kansas to Edith Rosenow and Peter H. (Oregon) likely will become the chairman while Senator Larry Craig (Idaho) will shift to ranking minority member. Wyden and Craig have established close working relationships on several important pieces of forestry legislation in the past.
Sen. Tom Harkin Thomas Richard "Tom" Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is a Democratic Senator from Iowa, serving in his fourth senate term. A Democrat, he is currently Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Early life
Harkin was born in Cumming, Iowa. (Iowa) likely will return to the chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee while Senator Saxby Chambliss Clarence Saxby Chambliss (born November 10, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Georgia. He is a member of the Republican Party. In the 110th Congress, Chambliss serves as the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. (Georgia) becomes the ranking minority member. Harkin led the Committee during the 2002 Farm Bill development, and that experience should prove useful in pursuing bipartisan efforts during this year's 2007 Farm Bill debate.
In the House, Representative Nick Rahall Nick Joe Rahall II (born May 20, 1949), American politician of Lebanese descent, has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing West Virginia's 3rd congressional district since 1977 (map). (West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. ) likely will move into the leadership of the Resources Committee. With the election defeat of former chairman Richard Pombo Richard William Pombo (born January 8 1961) is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, having represented California's 11th congressional district from 1993 to 2007. (California), it is not yet clear who will assume the ranking minority position. Representative Tom Udall Thomas Stewart Udall usually called Tom Udall (born May 18, 1948) is an American politician who has represented New Mexico's At-large congressional district as a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999.
Tom Udall was born in Tucson, Arizona. (New Mexico) is expected to chair the forests subcommittee of that full Committee, while the former chairman, Greg Walden Gregory "Greg" Walden (born January 10, 1957, in The Dalles, Oregon) is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Oregon and represents its Second District, which covers more than two-thirds of the state (generally, east of the Cascades. (Oregon), likely will become the ranking minority member. Representative Collin Peterson Collin Clark Peterson (b. June 29, 1944 in Fargo, North Dakota), is an American politician from the U.S. state of Minnesota. Peterson has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1991, representing Minnesota's 7th congressional district, one of (Minnesota) is expected to become the chair of the House Agriculture Committee, while former chairman Bob Goodlatte Robert William "Bob" Goodlatte (born September 22 1952) [ g?d? læt ] is a Republican U.S. Representative from Virginia. He serves as the congressman for the 6th District. (Virginia) shifts to ranking minority member.
Priority issues for forest-related legislation are likely to carry over to the new Congress, although the change in leadership and the tone of bipartisanship In a two-party system (such as in the United States or Australia), bipartisan refers to any bill, act, resolution, or any other action of a political body in which both of the major political parties are in agreement. suggest there will be a different approach to these issues (see Washington Outlook, Autumn 2006). In their leadership roles, Senators Wyden and Craig are likely to continue their joint efforts to reauthorize and fund the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, which supports rural schools and collaborative projects on national forests through the county payments program.
The Republican-led Congress's efforts to move a post-wildfire restoration bill, H.R. 4200 sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden, are likely to change with the new Congress, as the salvage sale provisions of the bill have been controversial. As the expected new chairman of the forests subcommittee of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Tom Udall may shift the focus to an alternative post-wildfire bill he introduced in 2005. As another alternative, Udall might open the debate to consider a more comprehensive approach to forest restoration, which a number of community-based forestry and environmental organizations have been exploring.
The new leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees were closely involved in developing the 2002 Farm Bill and seem inclined toward a similar framework for the 2007 Farm Bill. This suggests the possibility of a "Forestry Title" in the bill and should provide impetus for those organizations developing new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. for private forest conservation.
Hanging over all these issues, however, is the reality of federal budget constraints A Budget Constraint represents the combinations of goods and services that a consumer can purchase given current prices and his income. Consumer theory uses the concepts of a budget constraint and a preference ordering to analyze consumer choices. , as well as an increasing percentage of federal resource-management funds being directed toward wildfire. In the new Congress, budget and wildfire issues are likely to become a major focus of policy discussions on natural resource management.
The Democratic leadership has promised to pursue change through the use of oversight hearings, although some have expressed concern that this is too slow an approach to deal with pressing issues. Others have suggested such hearings too often are done to be critical of or to attack existing programs or policies. In AMERICAN FORESTS' experience, however, oversight hearings can be an essential part of a process for change, if developed and conducted in an open, bipartisan manner. We encourage the use of oversight hearings to explore how key resource management programs have been working, to gather lessons from public and private entities involved in implementing these programs, and to discuss how these programs and policies might be improved.