Today’s Congressional odds and ends

Pelosi urges Bush to be tough on automakers: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, wrote to President Bush today amid reports that the White House will act by itself to bail out the automobile industry now that a group of Republican Senators have stonewalled the legislation hammered out by the House and the Bush Administration. “The Administration must now require, as a condition of receiving those taxpayer funds, the same tough accountability and shared sacrifice by all parties – executives, unions, suppliers, creditors, dealers, bondholders, and shareholders – mandated in the bipartisan legislation passed by the House this week,” Pelosi wrote. “As you know, that legislation contained tough accountability and strict timelines for the automakers to develop a comprehensive restructuring plan to place them on a path toward viability and competitiveness. Failure by the automakers and other stakeholders to act urgently in developing and implementing a restructuring plan would end taxpayer assistance and permit the recalling of all loans. These same strong taxpayer protections and tough conditions should apply to any assistance provided to the automakers by your Administration.” But for Californians, alas, Pelosi already gave up a key condition for the auto bailout: a requirement that would’ve barred car companies from pursuing lawsuits against California and other states that want to establish tailpipe emission standards tougher than the federal government’s. Threatened with a veto, House Democrats jettisoned that provision Wednesday before the bill even went to the Senate.

More Barbara Lee book signings: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is doing more signings of her memoir, “Renegade for Peace and Justice,” this weekend. From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, she’ll be at Network Coffee, 2708 98th Ave. in Oakland; at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, she’ll be at the Kwanza Holiday Gift Show in the Oakland Marriott Convention Center, 1001 Broadway.

Go see Jerry McNerney: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will hold his next “Congress At Your Corner” constituent meet-and-greet from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, in Java Aroma, 2233 Grand Canal Blvd. #102 in Stockton. For all you 11th Districters who took part in McNerney’s “Holiday Cards For Our Troops” program, you’ll be glad to know he delivered some of your cards Thursday morning to soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and to sailors and marines at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He’ll take the rest to the Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin next week to deliver cards to National Guard and Reserve soldiers. More than 9,000 cards (some of which are featured on McNerney’s Web site) were received and will be distributed; that’s almost 13 times as many as last year, he said, “and the fact that so many people from our region took the time out to write messages of thanks to our soldiers is encouraging. It’s this kind of effort that will help make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served our nation.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.