In a May interview in the Washington Post, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, gave some indication of what Democrats plan to do if they take back control of the House in the November Elections. She said that during their first week in power Dems "would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls." Pelosi went on to promise "a series of investigations of the Bush administration" including their use of intelligence data to justify the invasion of Iraq. It is the threat of these investigations that has riled Republicans. They don't want the public made aware of Bush's power grab. They don't want average Americans to comprehend that Dubya has become a greater threat to democracy than the terrorists he frequently warns us about.
In a recent article in the The New York Review of Books, veteran political reporter Elizabeth Drew described the elements of Administration's design for an omnipotent presidency. The first is the widespread use of the "signing statement." First described in a Boston Globe article, Bush has amended more than 750 laws by attaching a statement saying that because, in his opinion, the law in question impinges on the power of the Presidency, he considers it "advisory in nature." In other words, George Bush doesn't veto laws; he signs them in carefully-orchestrated photo-ops and later attaches a signing statement indicating that he plans to ignore the provisions in the law he doesn't agree with.
The fact that Bush consciously subverts the will of Congress is, in itself, the basis for public hearings and national dialogue about his abrogation of the separation of powers. But "signing statements" are just one of the devices that Dubya has used to expand the power of the Presidency.
Subsequently, Congress passed "the McCain amendment," which banned cruel, inhuman, or degraded treatment" of POWs. After he signed the McCain amendment, George Bush attached as signing statement: "The executive branch shall construe [the torture provision] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judiciary." In other words, Bush would do what he thought was best, regardless of the intent of Congress.
In December, The New York Times revealed that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to monitor domestic phone calls in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Bush justified this both on the basis of his war powers as commander-in-chief and his contention that the FISA act was illegal as it limited the "inherent powers" of the Executive branch. (On June 22nd, the Times reported that Bush authorized the CIA and Treasury Departments to monitor all flows of funds in and out of the US.)
Since 9/11, George Bush and his closest advisers have seized upon the threat of another terrorist attack as the basis for an unprecedented expansion of Presidential Powers. A Republican-controlled Congress is unwilling to check this power grab because they are beholden to Bush the politician for much of their financial support. Thus, Capitol Hill "business as usual" has seen the GOP ignore Dubya's dictatorial designs. That's why it so important that Democrats seize control of one or both wings of Congress in November. Our democratic form of government is at risk and someone needs to do something about it.