Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ct. Dem Mantra: In Dodd We Trust

by Christine Stuart

A few years ago Congressman John Larson, D-1st., said there's a saying among the Connecticut Congressional delegation: "In Dodd We Trust." The saying which is a play on words from the dollar bill, may be appropriate if the Democrats win a majority in the Senate, in which case Sen. Christopher Dodd would ascend to the chairmanship of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

Dodd said Thursday morning the two critical issues he would be looking at as the potential chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee would be “security and prosperity.” He said the committee has jurisdiction over a number of areas including the insurance industry, defense production, port security, financial institutions, in addition to transit and housing issues.

Dodd said he would be surprised if within the first 100 hours of returning to Washington DC Congress didn’t propose an increase in the minimum wage. “I’d be surprised if we can’t find an extra $2 more dollars for an increase in the minimum wage,” he said.

He said as he went around the state campaigning with the Democratic nominee for governor, he ran into a woman who was so disgusted with the way the country was headed she almost considered not voting.

Dodd said in exchange for voting for the Democratic candidates the woman wanted me to promise to ‘get things done and get things working again.’ He said she was concerned with depressed wages and health care costs. She wanted to know if Congress had any idea about what she’s going through, Dodd said.

Dodd said voters like the unnamed woman sent a clear message Tuesday: “In that people clearly want a change in direction; direction in policy and they want a change in tone.”

One of the first things Congress needs to look is the $250 million a day it is spending on the war in Iraq. He said he'd look at rolling back some of the tax cuts possibly to pay for the war.

What about increasing troop levels like his colleague U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman suggested in his 10-point plan during the campaign? "I'm opposed to that," Dodd said.

He said he wants to look at moving U.S. troops out of major urban areas in Iraq and transition the responsibility of patroling these areas to Iraqi forces. He anticipates the Baker-Hamilton report to come out in the next few weeks, a little earlier than expected. Bascially, "I will be listening to these people in uniform," Dodd said.

He said every issue he addresses in the next session will be looked at through the prisms of security and prosperity.

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