The Fruits of Our Labors
by Todd Beeton, Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 02:31:18 PM EDT
It didn't take long for Bill Foster to make an impact in Congress.
Foster, a Democratic scientist/businessman, won a special election Saturday to replace retired former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in the House. He was sworn into his seat representing the exurban 14th Congressional District on Tuesday afternoon. By evening, he was casting what was arguably the deciding vote on a white-hot ethics bill.
The bill, pushed aggressively by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), creates an independent, outside panel to investigate ethics complaints against House members. The House approved it last night, 229-182, with most Democrats in favor and most Republicans opposed. That margin is deceptive: Before final passage, the bill first had to clear a much closer procedural vote, which gave House members a chance to kill the idea without, technically, voting against it.
The bill survived that test by a single vote, with Foster voting in favor.
And we all know what Hastert's or Oberweis's vote would have been; only 4 Republicans crossed party lines to join the Democrats on this one. This is why we do what we do and this is a perfect example of how every congressional election impacts us all, not just those in district.