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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

What's at stake in the House?

Editor's note: Producer Mike Viqueira, who covers the House of Representatives for NBC News, contributed the following to our sister blog First Read. It's too good not to post here, as well. But just a reminder that you can get your political blog fix any time at www.FirstRead.MSNBC.com.

Let's be clear about what is at stake here on Tuesday. When you're talking about holding the majority in the U.S. House, you're talking about being in utter control of everything from how, when, and what is actually debated on the floor of the chamber to what is served for lunch in the cafeteria.

"The job of the minority is to make a quorum and to draw its pay." Words spoken by House Speaker Thomas Reed in 1890 that perfectly describe the sweeping hegemony of the majority party -- and emasculation of the minority -- that is as evident today as it was 116 years ago. The majority here controls every step of the process, and when you control the process, you control the substance.

It's not too much of an overstatement to say that the most oppressed minority in America is the minority here in the "lower body." If you're a member of the party out of power -- for the last 12 years, of course, the Democrats -- you typically are not permitted to have your bills considered in committee or on the floor; you can't get your amendments debated and voted on (especially the ones that have a chance of passing); you even have to go hat in hand to the majority staff in order to get a room to meet in. In short, you take it in the neck every time. This isn't "Schoolhouse Rock" and it never has been.

It's been this way since the time of Henry Clay, and through the years it has more or less held true regardless of which party is running the place. The Senate, where any one random member can raise his hand to object and gum up everything, is a completely different animal. But the House was designed to be more responsive to public sentiment (though the Founders were against the idea of a two-party system in Congress (Federalist #10, if you really care), and over time the majority has established rules and procedures that make it easy to exercise its will and run roughshod over those out of power. It's what the legislative geeks call a "majoritarian institution."

Yes, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Calif., has pledged to afford more rights to Republicans should Democrats take control come January 3. Just how much leeway she is willing to grant, however, might depend upon just how big a majority she holds. Tighter margins likely mean tighter controls. But whatever the case on the floor, Republicans would have minuscule staff on committees. Democrats holding the gavels would be the ones deciding what hearings to call, what oversight to conduct, and what investigations to undertake.

This is all about the House, of course, and its legislative product. The White House, and perhaps the Senate, will still be controlled by Republicans, which opens the door to an entirely different discussion about politics and strategy. We'll try that next time.

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COMMENTS

On report of $2,000 price to do a brest scan. It could be dropped if the machine doing the scan was used 24 hours a day

In reply to One American: If all you can manage to talk about is running down the Democrats, then I want to hear the Republican plan to end the war, fight terrorism, give back to Americans. I just don't hear a plan from the Republicans.

I get emails all the time from the Democratic Party with plans for how to fix the mess in Washington. The same info is readily available on their website. Unfortunately all of the "Americans" here on this blog are too busy listening to Rush Limbaugh's lies to bother to do any research, and keep parroting Rove's lines that "the Democrats have no plans," "they want to surrender," etc.

King George got me so p'od the other day with his vicious lies I had to send yet more money to the DSCC. I can't wait to see the spoiled little cheerleader deal with a Democratic Congress. Given the way he gets apoplectic every time Congress does not rubberstamp his proposals, he'll probably have to be put in restraints to keep from hurting himself when the Dems do not obey his every whim.

Mr "One American",

I took your advice and went to www.whitehouse.gov. I picked a subject you mentioned in your first posting.(Homeland Security) Wow, I was really impressed, the very first article was on how much safer we will be when 'The Fence' is built. I can sleep more soundly at night now that I know my tax dollars will be spent on a PARTIAL border fence. I guess anyone who wants to get into the USA will now have to go alittle further to get around it? Another article under 'Homeland Security' is legalizing illegal alien. Man, that'll put the fear in bin laden and his murderous fanatics.
Here's the point I am trying to make here, in a not-so-eloquent way, the Repubs don't have the answers, they are all smoke and mirrors. The Demos do not appear to have all the answers either.
My voting choices are based on who I believe will do the best job 'for the People'. I have seen enough of one party rule. It has led to excesses, scandals, blatant disregard for The Constitution (signing statements, elimination of habeas corpus, approval of torture, ect) record spending & deficits to name a few. In good faith I trusted in our leadership UNTIL the secrecy, lies, slander, doublespeak started. Lack of a plan? 'Mission Accomplished', Cheney said "Our troups will be greeted with flowers as liberators" "The insurgency is in its' last throes" , and one of my favorite "Brownie's doing a fine job"...
They have made me ashamed of them, our country and its' People deserve better. The Repubs have no real plan, the Demos don't either. I am going to take my chances with the "outs". Maybe they can stay honest? for a while at least?..If they fail, woe to us all...
As an aside : Dubya wouldn't be attacked as badly in these blogs if he wasn't so polarizing. When an individual says you are either with us or against us, calls opponents names and slanders, and accuses them of the same things he is guilty of (re: misspeaking, not having a plan) he makes himself open for brutal criticism. So he gets it. As I have blogged before, just like a love breakup "it didn't have to be this way". The Repubs got greedy, made a power grab.

Dearest Owen Vander, Evansville, IN

I'm not a Republican; I am an independant voter, too.

I'm just not blinded to reality like some people.

And I'm not about to vote for a Democrat if they refuse to provide anything better than what we are doing now, and instead merely Bash the Republicans.

And if you would like to educate yourself on what the White House is doing to answer those questions I posted below, go to their website (www.whitehouse.gov) and read for yourself. It's all there in black and white.

It's the REAL information that the MSM won't give you.

Sincerely,
One_American

Dearest beaverdambob, Mesquite Nevada:

That's not a plan.

WHAT IS THE PLAN, DEMOCRATS?

DO YOU REALLY HAVE A PLAN?

OR DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN POWER, AND JUST BASH GEORGE BUSH?

Give me the actual plan!

Sincerely,
One_American

Quit the name calling, Republican.

What is the Republican's plan to secure the peace in Iraq and help them establish a Democracy? (Why are we there in the first place?)

What is the Republican's plan to fight terrorism in the world today? (Build a fence, tap Americans' phone lines, make little old ladies take their shoes off before boarding a plane while a Rep Pol is motioned around the xray machine)

What is the Republican's plan to deal with North Korean nuclear ambitions? (after they tested one on your watch?)

What is the Republican's plan to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions? (did't they start their nuclear program after 1994? didn't they kick the inspectors out AFTER they felt threatened by our invasion of Iraq?)

I have not heard even ONE Republican explain without quoting propaganda why we are in the above situations.

You only have a few days to come up with something besides lies, distortions and propaganda.

Show America you really have a brain, think for yourself, don't just spout off the party line. YOUR ARISTOCRACY WILL BE VOTED DOWN and you will be remembered as a supporter of the most corrupt, self and special interest administration in the history of our great United States.

I'm an Independant NOT a DEMO....there are as many of us as there are in Either party....We will make the difference this election. The current party in power has abused it. It is time to try something (ANYTHING) different.
Sorry you didn't have enough pride in yourself to put your name on your work "One American"..... Sadly I fear you are not the only "one" American, there are more of you grade school graduates around...(not a slander, I graduated grade school too!)

What I find sad is NBC and other news media channels continue to dwell on the comment by Senator Kerry, when they should be covering the real lie and insult to the American people as why we are really in Iraq. while I'm not defending Kerry's bonehead remark, you are doing a dis-service to the citizens of this country by not reporting on the real travisty this country is involved with. What about Bush's comments making light of not finding WMD's in Iraq at a Washington dinner held not long ago, what about Congressman Boehner's blantant digs at blaming the Generals in Iraq for the chaos that is insuing. That is the news that should be reported on as well as Kerry's remark. Are you the news media tired of hearing about how the Democrats are slated to take the House and possibly the Senate? Maybe you are trying to help the inept GOP to the finish line.

Dear One_American
Us Dems do have a plan, you just haven't been paying attention, so here it is. To get us out of the mess the you republicans put us in - vote you corrupt, incompetent, lying scumbags out of office. Any more dumb questions??

To put this simply, the nonsense of polictics is scary. It is reminiscent of the polictics of the playground. The group with the most kids wins.. As a registered democrat many may think I am gung ho to run out and get as many of "my people" in as possible, the exact opposite is true. The last six years has put a knot in my stomach when I think about this government. It is shameful.....

Cut the cr@p, Democrats.

What is the Democrat's plan to secure the peace in Iraq and help them establish a Democracy?

What is the Democrat's plan to fight terrorism in the world today?

What is the Democrat's plan to deal with North Korean nuclear ambitions?

What is the Democrat's plan to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions?

I have not heard even ONE Democrat explain how they would accomplish any of these goals.

You only have a few days to come up with something besides Bush-bashing propaganda.

Show America you really have a leg to stand on; or you will be voted down and cast as bad-mouthing, do-nothing, troop-bashing liberals and relegated to the trash-heap of history.

Let's hope the House and Senate are won by the Demos...at least the Committee Chair will be booted out who is holding up the Combating Autism Bill...

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