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   Turning the Tables

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4/4/2006 7:50 pm

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TIME Magazine

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News

Database Record

Entered 4/4/2006, Updated 4/4/2006

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For once, the Democrats are getting their act together while it's the Republicans who are divided By PERRY BACON JR. Posted Tuesday, Apr. 04, 2006 On Capitol Hill last week, it was almost as if the two parties had decided to switch roles. At a press briefing, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer was declaring, "Republicans don't have an agenda," a critique Republicans usually hurl at Democrats. The next day Hoyer and other Democrats from the Senate and House, along with state governors, got together to announce the party's unified plan for improving America's national security. Meanwhile, Republicans were looking in disarray — even before the announcement this week that Tom DeLay would give up his House seat. Some House Republicans were quietly criticizing Majority Leader John Boehner for not supporting a 700-mile fence for the U.S.-Mexico border that was part of an immigration bill passed by the House in December, while Senate Republicans questioned if their leader, Bill Frist, was allowing his presidential ambitions to get in the way of passing immigration legislation. And as the Senate moved forward with a lenient immigration reform plan, a group of almost two dozen House Republicans held a press conference to strongly denounce the Senate GOP's approach. The conventional wisdom in Washington in recent years has been that Republicans are more unified and disciplined and have better-articulated ideas than Democrats, who are often at war with one another and questioning their leadership. But lately the Democrats, looking to create a campaign platform for 2006, have put out some ideas that their famously fractured party largely agrees on.


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