Democrats: America Can Do Better…

January 12, 2007

Who was talking about a culture of corruption (link via Heavy Lifting)?

House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.


5 Responses to “Democrats: America Can Do Better…”

  1. Do I have to list the MANY points of corruption connected to your beloved Repubicans? I’m not trying to defend corruption (I don’t actually have all the facts in this situation), but it seems like the choice was between a group of people who were clearly corrupted and people that might be less so. I’ll take a Tuna fish exemption over Caymen Island slave/sweatshops (or as Tom Delay called them, “our kind of people”). Hopefully the next 700 days aren’t going to be about nitpicking, because for every one of these you have I have at least three more from the repubicals time in office.

  2. Jake Savage Says:


    No need to list any points. I am fully in agreement that the Republicans were (and probably still are) corrupt and I disagree strongly with their handling of spending, earmarks, ethics violations, and other areas. I was even happy that they were defeated in the 2006 midterm elections because I think they had become too comfortable with control of Congress.

    However, “the other guys do it too” is not much of an argument for the Democratic party. Pelosi and her fellow Democrats ran on a platform of change that included fighting a “culture of corruption” in Washington. The fact that a major company located in her district (the workers themselves are in American Samoa) would be exempted from one of the six main points on their “New Direction” platform does not seem to uphold the principles she espoused during the campaign. The additional fact that this action occurred within the first 24 “legislative” hours of the new Congress does not bode well for the integrity of the new party in power. I wish we could trust our leaders, from either party, but Pelosi is not inspiring confidence right now.

  3. Jake.
    Are you sure that a company located in American Samoa can partake in this situation? While it’s an easy soundbite, I did a little digging and it seems like almost ALL of the laws that have been passed (by both the right and left) have been exempt for the non-states. I’m not a political historian and I don’t know all of the laws and procedures, but I would do a little checking to see if we can even effect their laws in the same way as we effect our own.

    The fact that the company has a location in San Fran may be more of a coincidence than anything. Now don’t get me wrong, if there is indeed corruption involved then I’m just as disgusted as you. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see house Republicans (who are still bitter about the last election) make a mountain out of a molehill. They’ve done it in the past (they do it every election year), so why not now?

    All I’m saying is that there may be more to this story. It’s one thing to raise the minimum wage on 50 states that already have a minimum wage, it seems like it’s a whole different thing to actually create a minimum wage for a place that has never had one. I suspect there may be more to it than just adding them to the list.

  4. Follow up:
    I did a little more digging and found this recently posted article …

    Here are a few quotes from this …

    “Under the minimum-wage increase approved by the House this week, employers on the Northern Marianas would for the first time have to pay their workers the minimum wage, which would rise from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. For years, Republicans — with the help of convicted lobbyist Jack A. Abramoff — have fended off efforts to bring the islands under federal labor laws.

    “The bill would leave American Samoa as the only territory not covered by the $7.25 rate, and because Samoa is represented by a Democrat, Del. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, Republicans cried foul.

    “Faleomavaega’s campaign coffers have been well stocked by the tuna industry that dominates his island economy, but Republicans picked up on another issue: StarKist owns one of the largest canneries on the island, and Del Monte Foods, StarKist’s parent company, is based in San Francisco, which Pelosi represents.

    “I have asked the Education and Labor Committee, as they go forward with the legislation, to make sure that all of the territories have to comply with U.S. law on the minimum wage,” Pelosi announced yesterday.”

    So it seems like this debate may be about nothing at all. It’s probably worth mentioning that this was just one of the many things they are working on in the first 100 hours, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of their ideas.

  5. Jake Savage Says:


    The Post article you link describes Pelosi’s reaction to the uproar caused by the exemption of American Samoa, but it doesn’t describe her initial opinion. As you mention, Northern Mariana was going to be affected by the law for the first time while American Samoa was not. The fact that Pelosi is now saying she wants the committee to apply the new law equally doesn’t mean she wasn’t trying to sneak it by everyone in the first place. If there is evidence that her position has been consistent all along, that would be a different story.

    As for the legislation the Democrats plan to pass in their first hundred hours, I have created a new post addressing them and would be interested to hear your take.

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