Dems Chip Away at Agenda, One Bill at a Time

GOP keeps its eye on the prize, lets smaller bills sail through
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2009 7:10 AM CST
President Obama with Judy Shephard and James Byrd's sisters, Louvon Harris and Betty Byrd Boatner, commemorates the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Oct. 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Health care reform may not be sailing through Congress, but a wave of smaller bills that Democrats have been eying for years have done so under President Obama—in most cases without much fanfare or objection. Republicans, focused on bigger fish, are giving a pass to legislation they once forcefully battled: Obama signed an expanded hate-crimes law 12 years after it was first introduced, finally killed the F-22 fighter jet, and OKed a children's health insurance initiative that George Bush twice vetoed.

He's also increased women's ability to sue for equal pay, passed a once-contentious public-lands law, and given the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco, which it has clamored for since the early 1990s, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The administration is pushing so many things so rapidly it's difficult to concentrate on all of them," says GOP Rep. Tom Price. "The left knows what it wants," adds Newt Gingrich. "It's been trying to get it for some time, and this is its moment."