Part of the Bay Area News Group

Garamendi still waits on committee assignments

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, November 5th, 2009 at 4:50 pm in Congressional District 10.

John and Patty Garamendi on Election Night in Walnut Creek.

John and Patty Garamendi on Election Night in Walnut Creek.

With health care and other pressing legislative issues on the House of Representatives’ agenda, newly sworn-in Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has not yet been assigned committees.

Garamendi told me a few minutes ago, as he said throughout his campaign, he hopes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership team will place him on the House Transportation Committee. Northern California has no representative on the committee.

But beyond transportation, Garamendi is not publicy expressing his preferences. He has expertise and interest in numerous policy areas, but as the lowest-seniority member, he will not have his pick of assignments.

“Most of the focus by the leaders, Nancy and others, is on the health care bill right now,” Garamendi said. “I did talk with preliminarily with (Rep.) George Miller about the need for a Northern California representative on the transportation and infrastructure committee.”

He described his first day in Congress as a “great day. Very busy. It was very good.”

The health care vote has been put off until the weekend. But he cast votes on bills that, among other things, extended the homebuyers’ tax credit.

Pelosi swore him into office just after noon in Washington, D.C. His wife, Patty, his six children and seven of  his grandchildren watched from the viewing gallery or the floor. Children age 10 and under are permitted to sit on the floor. (Two of the grandkids had to stay home; they have the flu.)

Garamendi plans to return to California and participate in Veteran’s Day ceremonies in the district next week but he said it will depend on the House voting schedule.

A vote on health care legislation is expected to take place on Saturday if lawmakers settle on language related to restricting the use of federal dollars for abortion and illegal immigrants.

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  • ken88

    We blow it , a vote for Garamendi is a vote for Nancy Pelosi. We must stop her, now is not the time to spend money we don’t have. Call Congress, and tell them to Kill this bill.Times said 10,000 NBC put it at 50,000 people just like you went to DC to let there voices be heard.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    By the time Garamendi will have the seniority of, say, George Miller, He’ll be 100 years old. Of course, with Health Care Reform. and Free Health Care for Members of Congress, that may be their average age by then.:-)

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    I assume everyone is watching the live debate on Health Care Reform in the House this morning. Congress may get free health care, but they don’t get paid for overtime work on Saturdays.
    It appears Congress suffers from Bipolar Political Disorder, brought about, in part, by FOX News Addiction on the right hand, and MSNBC News Addiction on the left hand. The mute button on our remotes serves as our tranquilizers.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    At 10:27 AM PT the procedural vote, HR 903, on ordering the previous question on HR 3962, the House version of Health Care Reform was DEM, 247 AYE, 10 NAY; GOP 177 NAY; passed. Lo and behold, while the votes were coming in, the Prez & Demo House Leaders Caucus broke up.
    Next follows 4 hours of debate on HR 3962. If you get bored, the cartoons on NBC are still on.
    Tomorrow, CAPA hosts it’s Forum on the State Education Crisis, at Civic Park.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    When the conference committee version of Health Care Reform passes both the House and Senate, Democrats should thank Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh for their majorities in the Congress and White House, by making Ike’s bad dream of a Military-Industrial Complex a reality, by invading the Middle East. (Note fog index)

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    Likewise, thanks to Hoover & Smoot-Hawley, we got Social Security, and thanks to AuH2O464 & VietNam, we got Medicare. “Those who forget the past …”

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    In 1968, Andy Warhol said, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” In the House today, members got 1.5 minutes to speak on HR3962.
    Note this timing: The Medicare Advantage annual enrollment period begins November 15, but health plans try to get people to sign up in October.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    The final vote is expected at 12MN ET, 9PM PT, in time for the nighttime TV news, or front page stories in the Sunday Papers. GOP members suggested bipartisan cooperation, but didn’t explain why reform wasn’t introduced when they were in control.
    Miller introduced Owens, and later Garamendi at 4:21PM, PT, for his 2 cents. Members of the House will be healthier by gaining upper body strength carrying around this 990 pg. 20 lb. Affordable Health Care for America Act they haven’t read.
    Lawyers, women, lower income people win.
    Big Pharma, Insurance Companies, men, incomes over $500K/yr. lose.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    At 7:20PM PT, the final tally of the Stupak (No Fed funds for abortions) amendment passed, with the Gang of 535 voting; 240 Aye, 194 Nay (all GOP), with 1 GOP voting Present.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    NEWS FLASH!!! At 11:11 PM ET, the Gang of 435 Voted, in the Final Vote on HR 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Bill:
    Dem: AYE-219 NAY-39
    Rep: AYE-1 NAY-176
    Tot: AYE-220 NAY-215
    Rep Cao(R-LA) was the sole Rep AYE Vote.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    It should be noted that Congressman Cao(R-LA) cast his vote after the winning 218th Democrat Party vote had been registered. This, likely to support the Republican claim of attempts of bipartisan cooperation.
    The political and economic polarization in our Country is possibly the highest since 1860. The risk of a Second Civil War must be averted.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    I believe David Harmer’s 10 point loss to John Garamendi beat the 18-point party registration advantage for another unmentioned reason. Harmer’s campaign attracted relatively more under-40 voters than Garamendi’s. This was a factor in the 2008 Presidential Election, when a younger, tech savvy Obama campaign beat McCain.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    The Senate Health Care Reform debate should be interesting as it takes a 60 vote margin to begin or cut off debate. Will Democrat Senators accept the abortion concession? Will Senators accept the tax on incomes >$500,000 per year? Stay tuned.

  • http://deleted Concordian

    The 10 point loss of Harmer was predicted very early by taking the factors that in special elections/low turn out Republicans tend to turn out to vote much greater than Democrats, that off year open seat elections tend to have a kick back against the incumbent party by a few points.

    The most significant miscalculation by the Harmer camp was not that the Democrats turned out in the less than registered numbers but that the Independents (Decline to State) overwhelmingly broke in favor of the Democrats and not the Republicans. Harmer was predicting that he would get independents by 7 out of 8 and instead it appears he lost them by over 2-1.

    In short the Republican ‘brand’ and all it stood for was rejected by the non-partisans in the district. But will the Republicans see this: NO. Instead they will continue to concentrate on the losing aspects of a more conservative-more right wing-more religious effort and establish a continued losing polarization of the politics of the district.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    I agree. The single issue that Harmer could have gotten the D-T-S vote was US Troops in Afghanistan. He favored a 40,000 increase, while Garamendi & the 3 minor candidates favored withdrawal. The GOP is beginning to look like the Democrats of the Old South in 1860. Ironic!



  • Tom Benigno

    Do they take food stamps? that is all I have left.