Congressional briefing: Brownback talks presidency, Iraq, gay marriage on “This Week”
Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R)
(AP) Brownback 'praying' on presidential bid decision: Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said Sunday he has poured thought and prayer into a forthcoming decision whether to seek the presidency in 2008. "We're very close with announcements. My wife (Mary) and I and our family have spent a lot of time thinking about this, praying about it and really considering whether we could bring a message to the country that needs to be discussed," the Kansas senator said. ... Brownback, speaking on ABC's "This Week," said there was both room and a need among Republicans "to develop some new plays, particularly on the compassionate conservative agenda."
(Washington Post) Jordan's king sees potential for three civil wars in Mideast: Also on "This Week," Senators Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, voiced frustration with Iraq's leaders. Durbin said the United States should tell Maliki to disband the largely Shi'ite militias and death squads and to govern the country "in a responsible fashion" or face an eventual American withdrawal. Brownback said he opposed setting any timetable for withdrawing troops, but that "I think what we've got to do is go around the Maliki government in certain situations."
(National Journal) The Sunday Snapshot: All About Iraq: Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS): "We cannot face the public again in 2008 with the current situation still in hand for the United States. We have to get to a political solution in the region. We have to push a political solution in the region, and I think we've really got to start pushing people there on the ground and in the area to come together, to work together because we can't have this same situation 18 months from now facing the United States" ("This Week," ABC, 11/26).
(Newsday) JUDICIAL NOMINEE'S ATTENDANCE AT GAY UNION RAISES QUESTIONS: A conservative Republican lawmaker is considering whether to stop blocking a judicial nominee over concerns her appearance at a lesbian commitment ceremony betrayed her legal views on gay marriage. Sen. Sam Brownback, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff should not be disqualified automatically for having attended the ceremony. But Brownback (R-Kan.) made clear yesterday on ABC's "This Week" that it raised doubts in his mind. President George W. Bush nominated Neff, who has a liberal reputation, to be a U.S. District Court judge as part of a compromise struck with Democrats. Neff's nomination is pending before the full Senate; Brownback has stalled it because of her attendance at the 2002 ceremony in Massachusetts. Neff has said she attended as a friend of a longtime neighbor.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R)
(LJW) Proposed military draft enlists no support: U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a former Marine and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, does not support reinstating the draft. "The all-volunteer force works well and compulsory military service would fail to benefit our citizens, our military or the nation as a whole," Roberts said.
Rep.-elect Nancy Boyda (D)
(AP) Analysis: Spotlight already on Boyda: Nancy Boyda's congressional honeymoon lasted only a few hours election night. The Democrat had ousted Republican Rep. Jim Ryun in a district that gave President Bush nearly 60 percent of its vote in 2004, and rumors were already circulating about who would take her on in 2008. "The pressure is on. But I was expecting it," Boyda said. "The best thing that happened to me was running in 2004 and seeing firsthand what the pressure is like." The challenge facing Boyda and the new Democratic majority is to make enough of a difference in the next two years that voters remember and appreciate them -- and to hope those voters forget any missteps they make along the way.
(Christian Science Monitor) Congress's pragmatic newcomers: With the Democratic edge in both the House and Senate still relatively small, the new class is set to play a pivotal role on issues ranging from fiscal discipline to ending the war in Iraq. A former Republican, Nancy Boyda (D) of Kansas campaigned on the idea that the GOP had lost touch with mainstream America, especially on the war in Iraq. Along with Ms. Boyda, a former chemist, the new class contains a former admiral, three musicians, an ex-Washington Redskins quarterback, and a sheriff. More than half of the House freshmen are lawyers, no surprise. More than 4 in 10 have no previous experience as legislators - an unusually high percentage in an era when many lawmakers are recruited from state legislatures. "Our class is very idealistic," says Boyda, who defeated Olympic legend and five-term GOP Rep. Jim Ryun. "There are a number of people who aren't experienced in politics and don't seem to fit into a political mold. But if we don't get the job done, we'll be kicked out of office."