Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"President Barack Obama."
Yet, in many ways, Bush and Cheney still occupy government. It will take a great deal of time to undo eight years of policies that have blocked medical progress, destroyed ecosystems, allowed financial collapse, and perhaps most importantly, damaged our standing and power throughout the globe.
Democrats must be part of the rebirth of Government, but there must also be accountability for those who have abused the Constitution and rejected the legitimate power of Congress during the past eight years. With that in mind, I am very pleased that Chairman John Conyers has again subpoenaed Karl Rove to testify before Congress regarding his role in the firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bush Administration. Rove's old claims of executive privilege should be rejected and I am hopeful we will finally unearth the truth.
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As I am sure many of you know, President Obama has already started to erase the Bush legacy:
- He ordered a halt to damaging executive orders Bush made in his last days in office, pending the new Administration's review
- He ordered an end to torture (including waterboarding)
- He ordered the closing of Guantanamo within one year
- He ordered an end to rendition - the practice of moving prisoners to countries who's laws allow torture
- He expanded access to government documents through the Freedom of Information Act
- He put the burden on the government to prove why presidential archives should not be made public
For our part, Congress has a responsibility to move quickly - not only to secure our nation's financial institutions - but to pass children's healthcare, new alternative energy incentives, help for public schools, and many other pieces of legislation that were shut down by Bush's opposition.
Many of you have written asking about the likelihood of prosecuting Bush officials. Recently, Chairman Conyers and Speaker Pelosi have indicated support for a serious inquiry, and while Attorney General Designate Eric Holder is being pressured by some Republicans to say he won't investigate the former administration, he has not backed down.
While there seems to be growing support for some kind of action, it's too early to gauge whether there will be true accountability for the crimes of the Bush administration. It's not as if we don't know what has taken place: Cheney has openly acknowledged his role in key decisions.
In the meantime, I am very excited. For the first time in my Congressional career, Democrats have both houses of Congress and the Presidency. We have a short window of time to prove to the American public that our ideas will truly work to improve our lives, both here at home and around the world.
More to come in the next weeks.
Congressman Robert Wexler
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