This Congress made history when Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House. They also made history when Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives. Not all of their firsts have been positive achievements, though. According to Minority Whip Roy Blunt’s statement, I’d call the 110th Congress an embarassment of historic proportions. Here’s the text of Rep. Blunt’s statement:

“Not since Jim Wright was the speaker of the House has Congress failed to send even one spending bill, not even the critically important veterans’ spending bill, to the president this late in the year. While a milestone in and of itself, it’s hardly an accomplishment to be proud of, especially since it didn’t have to be this way. The Senate has appointed conferees to every single spending measure it has passed. It’s anyone’s guess as to why the speaker hasn’t followed suit, but it seems more than apparent that politics might have something to do with it.

“It’s time for the majority to live up to the promise it made earlier this year and stop politicizing our troops. It can do that by finishing the veterans funding bill immediately, and then moving on to the other six that have secured the support of both chambers, but not the support, apparently, of Democratic leadership. All Republicans are asking is that Congress actually do its job. Is that too much to ask?”

NOTE: The House passed the veterans’ appropriations bill on June 15, 2007 by a margin of 409-2, with the Senate passing its own version and naming conferees on September 6th. Blunt joined Mr. Boehner and other Republican leaders in August in sending a letter to the speaker urging her to agree to a conference, appoint conferees, and reconcile a final bill. She has not yet complied.

This afternoon, I called into the Final Word while they talked about Jim Oberstar not helping getting the emergency appropriation bill passed and signed for rebuilding the I-35 Bridge. I said that we’d all heard the Democrats “6 for ’06” campaign slogan but little did we think that that’s all that they’d accomplish this year.

I’ve called them the “Congress That Wouldn’t Govern“. Rep. Blunt’s statement re-inforces that opinion. It’s long past time to get these spending bills finished. While I’ll readily admit that it isn’t common to get all thirteen bills done in time, it’s unheard of to see Congress not pass a single bill for the president to sign.

Mr. Blunt’s statement says that Ms. Pelosi hasn’t appointed conferees to reconcile the House and Senate version of the veterans’ appropriation bill. I suspect that they’re waiting on that so they can lard it up with special spending requests. That’s despicable on the Democrats’ behalf. They should be called on it. Democrats should especially be exposed when they say that they support the troops. If they supported the troops, they would’ve gotten this bill passed months ago.

Under Ms. Pelosi’s leadership, the House hasn’t gotten much of anything done. Based on a recent Field Poll, people have noticed:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own party is turning on her, apparently because of a perception among California Democrats that she has not done enough to shake up the status quo in Washington, D.C., according to a Field Poll released Friday.

Congress overall is doing even worse with California voters, with an approval rating sagging to 30 percent or below for only the seventh time in the past 15 years, the poll of 1,201 registered voters found. Both Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who became speaker this year, and Congress as a whole have fallen short of voter expectations since taking over both houses, poll director Mark DiCamillo said.

“I think the reason for her decline and the low ratings Congress is getting is that voters here are not seeing any change,” DiCamillo said.

The chickens are coming home to roost on Ms. Pelosi. She was stuck in a Catch-22 situation. To win the majority, Democrats had to be seen as change agents so that’s the campaign strategy they adopted. Now that they’ve won the majority, they’re being exposed as a status quo congress when people are demanding real change.

Then-Speaker Hastert told me at a Bachmann fundraiser in July, 2006 that Democrats weren’t change agents considering 25-term John Dingell would be one chairman, 22-term incumbent Charlie Rangel chairing the House Ways and Means committee, among others. I told him that he was exactly right about that. Here’s additional proof that he’s right:

For Pelosi, it was the first time the poll showed more people disapproving than approving of her performance, 40 percent to 35 percent, with 25 percent having no opinion.

Other polls since 2003 have shown larger numbers of voters with no opinion, but Pelosi always won more approval than disapproval. As recently as March, California Democrats approved of Pelosi by a 5-to-1 ratio, DiCamillo said. Now it’s less than 2-to-1. Nonpartisan voters also have soured on her.

I’d be shocked if Ms. Pelosi wasn’t re-elected but the fact that her approval rating is this bad tells you that she’s probably having to think about becoming a one-term Speaker. The poll also found that people had a lower approval rating of Republicans than Democrats but that’s to be expected in California.

I won’t predict that Republicans will reclaim the majority in the House in 2008 but I’m not ruling it out, either. What I’m willing to predict is that this will be a strong anti-incumbent, anti-corruption year in the US House. That doesn’t bode well structurally for Democrats.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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