Thursday, June 30, 2011

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  • hiralal
    06-11 11:19 PM
    Mortgage of $95 dollars in California ????? man, even I would have purchased a house there ..once the honeymoon is over (100 dollar rent), even a kid can guess where this house will end up (and she wants help from govt ???) ..wonder how many such loans were bundled ..and how many houses will end up in foreclosure ?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aQ_ZgC75Zfyw

    --------------
    Will the coming wave of OptionARM mortgage resets look like the wave of subprime defaults?

    This Bloomberg piece paints a sobering picture of where things are at, and it's clear right off the bat why the resets are going to kill a number of buyers:

    Shirley Breitmaier’s mortgage payment started out at $98 when she refinanced her three-bedroom home in Galt, California, in 2007. The 73-year-old widow may see it jump to $3,500 a month in two years.

    Breitmaier took out a payment-option adjustable rate mortgage, a loan popular during the housing boom for its low minimum payments before resetting at higher costs later.

    We're not sure what the housing market is like in Galt, California, but if we had to guess, Ms. Breitmaier is pretty under water right now, and a refi is probably out of the picture. Now this might not kill the banks -- after all, the chart below is well known and we're guessing that much of their portfolio has been slammed accordingly. But in terms of flooding the market with foreclosed home, slamming prices, it's too early to believe that it's all priced in.

    And generally, the effect that will have on the economy and consumer confidence will be brutal:

    The delinquency rate for payment-option ARMs originated in 2006 and bundled into securities is soaring, according to a May 5 report from Deutsche Bank AG. Over the past year, payments 60 days late or more on option ARMs originated in 2006 have almost doubled to 42.44 percent from 23.26 percent, Deutsche Bank said. For 2007 loans, the rate has climbed from 10.1 percent to 35.25 percent.

    “We’re already seeing much higher levels of delinquencies of these option ARM loans even before you reach the point of the recast,” said Paul Leonard, the California director of the non- profit Center for Responsible Lending.

    The threat of soaring payments has counselors at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates busy.

    “There’s a level of hopelessness to the phone calls now,” said Brown.

    -----------
    More than $750 billion of option ARMs were originated in the U.S. between 2004 and 2008, according to data from First American and Inside Mortgage Finance of Bethesda, Maryland. California accounted for 58 percent of option ARMs, according to a report by T2 Partners LLC, citing data from Amherst Securities and Loan Performance.

    Shirley Breitmaier took out a $315,000 option ARM to refinance a previous loan on her house.

    Her payments started at 3/8 of 1 percent, or less than $100 a month, according to Cameron Pannabecker, the owner of Cal-Pro Mortgage and the Mortgage Modification Center in Stockton, California, who is working with Breitmaier. The loan allowed her to forgo higher payments by adding the unpaid balance to the principal. She’ll be required to start paying principal and interest to amortize the debt when the loan reaches 145 percent of the original amount borrowed.

    ‘Pick a Pay’

    Such terms aren’t typical for option ARMs, which were also known as “pick-a-pay” mortgages. Interest rates on many payment option ARMS are “typically very low in the first one to three months” and can be as little as 2 percent, according to Federal Reserve data.

    Breitmaier, who has been in the home for 45 years and lives with her daughter, now fears she will lose the off-white stucco house that’s a hub for her family.

    “I wish the government would bail us out like the banks and the car businesses,” she said. “I’d like to go from here to the grave next to my husband.”

    Paul Financial LLC originated the loan and it was sold to GMAC, Pannabecker said.

    “This loan is a perfect example front to back, bottom to top, of everything that has gone wrong over the last five to seven years,” Pannabecker said. “The consumer had a product pushed on them that they had no hope of understanding.”





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  • gchopes
    06-23 12:22 PM
    If you are worried about 485 getting denied then -

    1. Buy a house now and live in it for 10-15 years and build up equity.
    2. Put the house for sale a month or two or six months (depending on the real estate market in your area) before your PD becomes current (2025).
    3. Live in a rented house for one or two or six months in 2025. Better than living in a rented house from 2009 - 2025. Correct?
    4. But bigger house after GC gets approved OR go back home.

    2025: Congratulations!!! You just made 30-40% profit on your home. Go back home and retire.





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  • gondalguru
    07-08 07:10 PM
    I agree with you. I am also of the opinion that July Fiasco has actually helped India and China (oversubscribed countries). USCIS might have approved tons of EB2 and EB3 (India and China) applications to use those 60,000 visa numbers. So, India and China might have got a big pie of the 140,000 EB visas.

    With that said I also felt the pain as other members did due to the July bulletin fiasco.

    Good to hear that as I am EB2 India with PD 09/2004. Where will EB2 India be in October 07?

    Diversity is preferred over Skills and hence there is per country limit at 7%. Many of my colleagues have got their GC being ROW EB2 (from srilanka, nepal, pakistan) and I am very happy for them but at the same time I feel frustrated and disappointed at the system as it discriminates you using your nationality. Nobody can control where they are born then why should they be discriminated based on that factor????





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  • hetalvn
    09-19 05:04 PM
    hi
    they are taking social security, medicare taxes. while we are not getting any benefit out of it. they must stop taking social. they are taking this taxes based on that they will give us permanent status. now they have delayed process near to impossible for EB-3.
    Intent of social security and medicare is to support social security benefits, but when they are not granting any of this benefit they should stop taking it from us or should make green card processing faster.
    they should clarify this situation since they are taking money from us.
    hetal shah
    hetalvn@yahoo.com



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  • BMS
    07-11 10:09 AM
    Thanks Milind70,

    I had submitted the lattest I 94 to my company

    but somehow they filed ext with I 94 that came along with i 797

    now i will get three yr ext with I 140 cleared

    then i can get new i 94 with stamping

    You mean,
    talk to immigration officer now at local off?
    can they correct that i doubt since its already expired and i have new I797 with I94





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  • Amma
    12-26 07:45 PM
    Attacking Pakistan is a stupid idea.The hardcore hawks in Pak wants this only.
    By war this side crores will die and that side crores will die. The Laskar e toiba will go to hiding in NWF and plan for next attack. India will be backward for 10 years and Pak will be backwards for 20 years.Do you want this ?

    Don't attack Pak. It will be a failed state on its own. By war between us , China is going to gain.So, the people who want war with Pak by sitting comfortably in US, please think once again. It is not like going to picnic. It is life and death man.

    America is failing in tackling terror in Iraq and Afganistan. Israel is failing in tackling the Hamas. Srilanka is failing with Tamil tigers.So tit for tat is not working. It will only aggrevate the problem.

    Unless the fools in Pak understand the importance of real education and tolerance , they will go to drain .Now the whole world knows Pak is the culprit.They even disown their own citizen who got captured in Bombay attack.Such is the pathetic condition of proud muslim country .Shame !

    My suggestion is ask US to attack Laskar e Toiba training facilities in Pak.[ Six americans and four isralies died in the Bombay attack. That is enough reason for America's attack.]
    If US attacks Pak , the stupid people in Pak can't do anything. That way , Indian innocent jawans and common people will be spared.



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  • GC_Geek
    07-08 06:30 PM
    I havent read the thread entirely, but a friend of mine came across similar issue as your husband's previous GC denail.. my friend handled it with FMLA as my friend was away from his job for a long period for his father cancer treatment in India.
    I am just throwing this idea, you may want to mention this with your lawyer.

    also if you want to know more about this FMLA thingy.. Pl PM me.
    BTW, I wish you all the best in this critical time, my prayers are with your family...





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  • NeverEndingH1
    12-17 03:18 PM
    Your anger is justified, but what is your contribution to fix this? created a new IV handle TODAY to talk against a faith? So your other handle where you talk only about immigration will be clean? LOL!

    Your are really a brave Indian!

    This thread must continue.

    It will be a slap to all the pseudo seculars on this forum. What will you do with your stupid greencards if your family back home is in turmoil. You guys just want to close your eyes from the problems facing you and think that by posting immigration realted posts and being politically correct in life you will become nice people. People do not wake up until the tragedy hits them close.

    And there is nothing wrong to talk about religion and terror. It is because of not speaking, the rogue forces are now hurting everyone. And f you do not criticize the politicians who divide the country for votes, then if something wrong happens it is your fault because you chose to keep quiet.

    I have seen past threads on this topic. First people tried hard to argue. But when they lost arguments and could not accept the truths, they started using abusive language. That showed their true character. These same people are going to try this tactics on this thread too. But this thread should continue.

    Everyone has freedom of speech and IV should allow all opinions equally. I will be upset if this thread is closed.



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  • rshirodkar
    10-01 09:25 AM
    Hello folks,

    United States was and is a SHINING BEACON in the whole world. That was the reason that this GREAT COUNTRY attracted so many people from all over the world. People from all walks of like come here because they have a DREAM to make it BIG here. But looking at the state of affairs right now, it does not seem that this country will be the SHINING LIGHT that it used to be.
    I came to this country in 1999. For the last 10 years I have been residing legally, paying taxes. At the end of all this I just dont see things moving. I had lot of opportunities but I could not take them because of my status.
    Looking forward, I would sincerely hope that either of the presidential candidates look at the EB category people as legal residents.
    People are becoming impatient. Many of my friends went back to other countries since they are getting better opportunities. I personally feel that countries like Cananda, Australia with their immigration policies are attracting good quality talent. Also with the Indian and Chinese economy growing at more than 7% -8%, there is growth in those countries.
    I hope the next presidential candidate takes these things in consideration while working on the CIR bill.

    thanks

    Rohit Shirodkar





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  • ScratchingHead
    10-01 01:28 PM
    For the record the raising of the FDIC limit was proposed by John Blunt and not Obama. One article spinned it to show that Obama proposed it and then that news got the most clicks and now everyone says that he proposed the limit.

    Thats because the rich folks all of sudden who have more then 100k in their accounts felt unsecured and obviously the US government for the rich is helping the rich.



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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-06 12:14 PM
    A man realizes he needs to buy a hearing aid, but he is unwilling to spend much money.

    "How much do they run?" he asks the clerk.

    "That depends," says the salesman. "They run from $2 to $2,000."

    "Let's see the $2 model," the customer says.

    The clerk puts the device around the man's neck. "You just stick this button in your ear and run this little string down to your pocket," he says.

    "How does it work?" the customer asks.

    "For $2, it doesn't work," the salesman replies. "But when people see it on you, they'll talk louder."





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  • Macaca
    01-10 05:54 PM
    K Street Expects Thin '08 Agenda (http://rollcall.com/issues/53_76/news/21521-1.html) By Kate Ackley | ROLL CALL, Jan 7 2008

    Lobbyists expect 2008 to be a year of volatile partisan bickering from the campaign trail to the floor of the House and Senate, likely resulting in only a short list of legislative accomplishments that actually cross the finish line.

    "In the past 12 months Democrats and Republicans weren't playing very well together in the sandbox, and the next 12 months I predict it's going to be even worse in the sandbox," said GOP tax lobbyist Ken Kies of the Federal Policy Group.

    Don't expect comprehensive immigration or health care reform to pass; instead, lobbyists say they are urging Members to split off little pieces like increased visas for certain workers or a law mandating doctors to electronically prescribe medicines to their Medicare patients.

    Patent reform legislation could make it. Ditto for popular measures such as a tax credit for companies that do research and development, especially if Congress puts together an economic stimulus package that could also address the housing and lending crisis. However, trade agreements and the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind would be much heavier lifts.

    On the flip side, legislative gridlock easily could help lobbyists trying to fend off unwanted tax increases and sweeping climate-change legislation. "It's almost always easier to stop things, but it's going to be even easier this year with a very limited amount of time on the Congressional calendar and the politically charged atmosphere," said Democratic strategist Chris Jennings of Jennings Policy Strategies.

    Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, said his group is taking cues from the White House contestants when it comes to health care.

    "The presidential campaigns provide a good bellwether as to the kind of issues that are going to resonate in Congress this year," Merritt said. "Issues that are new, involve change, issues that don't involve hobbling around with the status quo but doing things differently."

    Merritt said his group is pushing for the bill to mandate electronic prescriptions by doctors for Medicare patients. "It's compelling, it offers change plus safety for patients and savings for the government," he said. "I think these are the issues that are going to succeed this year."

    Even so, Merritt doesn't expect an easy road. He said PCMA plans to ramp up its e-prescribing lobbying effort with polling, blogging and TV and radio advertisements.

    Jennings, a health care consultant and former senior health care adviser to President Bill Clinton, said Congress will likely take up legislation this year to avoid Medicare physician payment cuts and to jump-start e-prescribing. But don't expect broader health care reforms to go anywhere this year beyond campaign discussions, he added.

    "I think you're going to see Congress dabbling in incremental reforms this year, but primarily it will be a year to lay the foundation for a broader debate on health care reform in 2009 and beyond," said Jennings, who counts PCMA among his clients.

    Despite long odds for the free-trade agenda, Bruce Josten, executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said his group will put a lot of effort into getting Congress to take up pending agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

    "A lot of people are going to tell you they're going to do nothing, but my hunch is they're going to move on some of them," he said. "Clearly the business community will put a lot of effort behind getting them to be taken up."

    John Castellani, president of Business Roundtable, agreed that his group will push for all three trade agreements - no matter how steep the odds. BRT also will urge Congress to mandate e-prescribing and call for a move to electronic medical records.

    Steve Elmendorf - the founder of Elmendorf Strategies, which represents the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which supports a House-passed patent reform bill and a version pending in the Senate - said he expects the Senate to take up the issue early this year, perhaps hitting the floor by February, where it will encounter fierce opposition by pharmaceutical companies in particular.

    "There aren't many bills that are around that have passed the House with a bipartisan majority," Elmendorf said. "We believe if we got to the floor it would get more than 60 votes. The other side is going to aggressively try and kill it. It's going to be a hard fight."

    The entertainment industry is hoping to get traction for one of its long-running issues. It has pushed for new laws to protect copyrighted materials, and the Chamber's Josten said the larger business community and some unions are getting on board because they are worried about the impact that counterfeiting has on jobs and sectors beyond Hollywood, including pharmaceuticals.

    "We're starting to turn a corner with Congress on this," Josten said. "I think we're going to see legislation this year come out of Congress."

    Business groups will look to fend off increased taxes on hedge funds and private equity partnerships and prevent massive carbon-curving climate-change legislation. "It's going to be a big fight," Josten said.



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  • GCKaMaara
    12-17 04:24 PM
    LOL!

    Nice to see some light moments here :)





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  • unseenguy
    06-08 08:43 PM
    First print the damn thing of plastic and I will buy. Right now there are pretty hot deals in my area and I am tempted to buy, but wont.
    Due to my spouse's job, I dont get the 8K benefit. So screw, let them fall further.

    1) Economy is unstable.
    2) Job is unstable.
    3) H1 / 485 is unstable

    Only the wooden sturcture would be stable.



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  • nojoke
    04-15 06:18 PM
    kaiserose & NKR have made some mistakes by buying a costly home & wouldn't admit.

    May God Bless you guys.

    :D:D





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  • ksr
    08-14 05:45 PM
    There is another thread in this section that somebody posted that has the answers. You can take the Fp and request re-scheduling for your family giving the travel iternary copy and date(s) when they would be available


    Thank You Krishna. I have just mailed Fp notices requesting for re-schedule.



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  • delax
    07-13 09:48 PM
    [QUOTE=kutra;262395]Disclaimer: I am an EB3-Indian with a PD of Oct 2003.

    Delax: I agree entirely with what you are saying. Your arguments are 100% valid. The part that I don't get is why are you trying so desperately hard to convince EB3-Indians that their letter campaign lacks merit?

    I am not trying to convince anybody about the merits. The original post asked for comments which I offered. PL read this post of mine
    http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?p=262198#post262198

    I am not at all surprised at the 'backlash'.
    I appreciate your input and candor





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  • pns27
    07-14 02:22 AM
    Disclaimer: I am an EB3-Indian with a PD of Oct 2003.

    Delax: I agree entirely with what you are saying. Your arguments are 100% valid. The part that I don't get is why are you trying so desperately hard to convince EB3-Indians that their letter campaign lacks merit?

    Remember, a drowning man will clutch on to a straw for hope. You are like a sailor in a boat trying to tell the drowning man that a straw is no good. So, if you cannot get Eb3-Indians to see your point-of-view, just lay off this thread. Do you really expect all EB3-Indians to say "Thanks to delax, we now see the folly of our arguments. Let's stop this irrational effort, and instead just do nothing!"

    I can assure you that despite being an EB3-Indian, I am not participating in this campaign. Because I know that it is a ridiculous argument to expect PD to take preference over skills. And honestly, I cannot come up with a single rational reason to demand a GC for me over any EB1 or EB2 applicant.

    To all you EB3-Indians, chisel this into your brain: The US immigration system wants EB1 first, then EB2 and then EB3. It doesn't matter what your qualifications are or what the profession is...what matters is in which employment-based category was your LC filed. If you think, you are skilled enough, then stop wasting time in arguing with EB2 folks. Use your skills to apply for EB1 (which is current) or EB2 and get your GC fast. Otherwise, get this chiselled into your head as well: You are less skilled than EB2 and EB1 (purely on the basis of the LC category), so it makes 100% sense that US will give you the lowest priority. Period.

    As I wrote earlier, I'm an EB3-Indian as well. Only differences being, I have still maintained my sanity, and I have the patience to wait for IV to deliver the official guidance on proceeding further.

    Hi kutra,

    Good post I can understand what you want to do here, you are diffusing the tensions between EB2 and EB3. I hope many more people write posts like you and I appreciate it. But factually what you said is not correct "The US immigration system wants EB1 first, then EB2 and then EB3".

    What I am posting here I sent the same in private messages to some other members and it helped to diffuse this bad arguments between EB3 and EB2 folks.. I am posting here because I thought with this I can give the right(my?) perspective on this and bring some �sanity� to these arguments.

    Here is my take on this EB1, EB2 and EB3.

    Out of the total 140K each EB group gets equal quota of 33.33%. So if each EB group gets equal quota of 33.33%, then what and where is the priority? EB1, EB2 and EB3 are just groups, it just means that US need these categories of jobs to be filled by immigrant workers.

    By definition always number applications filed in EB3>EB2>EB1 there is no argument there. And the waiting time also will be EB3>EB2>EB1. That is fair, there is no competition here across groups, each have a quota and its own queue, every one competes with in the group.

    If first, all(9K Ind)(140K Total) Visas are given to E1 and any leftover are given to EB2 and then any leftover from EB2 are given to EB3 then you can say the priority is EB1>EB2>EB3. The spillover that to from a particular preference has priority I understand. But at the least every group will get its 33.33% if those many category applications are present in that group.

    Yes, unused ROW EB1 go EB2 and then to EB3. Yes unused ROW EB2 and ROW EB3 and to EB3. That makes sense and it dos not contradict what I am saying. Now EB2 is special case that there are lots of EB2 India applications are pending so they get only the spillover from EB1.


    I agree with you on your statement below, and I feel the same way. Looks like if either Eb2 or EB3 is mentioned in a thread it turning into a bad arguments between EB2 and EB3 hope this ends soon.
    As I wrote earlier, I'm an EB3-Indian as well. Only differences being, I have still maintained my sanity, and I have the patience to wait for IV to deliver the official guidance on proceeding further.





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  • 485Mbe4001
    08-06 04:18 PM
    Thanks for posting rolling_floods first post. It is the reason i talked about the holier-than-thou attitude with this guy. He/she was at pains to remind me to read the OP, but the truth comes out in the end...


    Here is his very first post by Rolling_Flood in IV forums. Not only he is using foul language, he is totally arrogant. Lines like "How dare you f***@#n compare yourselves to EB-2?" and "i will slap a lawsuit against any organization ...".

    It seems that he is always ready to file lawsuit.

    For me, its a good read to get a good laugh. :D





    cinqsit
    08-06 01:27 AM
    We should stop these EB3'ers from wasting USCIS resources. Probably make them wear yellow stars with "EB3" printed on it at all times. They should not be hired by any company unless they have hired EB2's with excellent credentials like rolling flood. No EB3 should buy a car, house or lead a normal life at the cost of hurting EB2's like yourself.

    What kind of a sick immigration nazi are you ? Typical shallow minded mentality - "please please...(beg, beg) let me in but - stop everyone else from getting in (as soon as I am in)" ;-)

    Instead of wasting your time filing a lawsuit why don't you apply your "excellent knowledge in your field" to get a Ph.D from your reputed alma mater do extraordinary research in your "great" field and then cut in line by applying for EB1 which I think will always be current. Then you can port your EB2 PD and enjoy the fruits of PD porting ;-)


    cinqsit





    Macaca
    12-26 08:37 AM
    Freshmen Padding Their Independence (http://http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/25/AR2007122500994.html?hpid=sec-politics) Procedural Votes Become Safe Nays By Paul Kane | Washington Post, Dec 26, 2007

    Half a dozen freshman Democrats took to the House floor one late-October morning to cast their lot with Republicans.

    Their actions went unpunished by the Democratic leadership that day, as they have on many other occasions in recent weeks. The symbolic gesture -- casting nay votes on approving the House Journal, essentially the minutes of the previous day -- would have no bearing on the leadership's agenda.

    While they overwhelmingly support that agenda, the bloc of freshmen has begun casting votes against such minor procedural motions in an effort, Democratic sources and Republican critics say, to demonstrate their independence from their leadership. The number of votes that the potentially vulnerable newcomers to Capitol Hill cast against House leaders is tallied and watched closely by interest groups and political foes.

    Such is the political life of many of the 42 freshman House Democrats, a sizable number of them moderates and conservatives who must straddle the fence between supporting their party's interests and distancing themselves from a mostly liberal leadership as they gear up for their first reelection battle next fall.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of the party's leadership are happy to tolerate the independence on procedural matters. Less than three hours after opposing the late-October journal vote, the same six freshmen sided with Pelosi as Democrats tried, and failed, to override President Bush's veto of a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years, legislation that Pelosi has called her "crown jewel."

    "I'm viewed as an independent. I'm viewed as a conservative Democrat," said Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.), the first freshman to regularly oppose his party's leadership on the journal vote.

    Like several others, Altmire offered no explanation for voting against all but one of 18 roll calls on the routine measure, adding that he had no "pre-planned" rationale for the votes. "I'm certainly not going to win or lose my reelection based on my journal votes," he said.

    But the first reelection campaign in his conservative-leaning western Pennsylvania district could be a tough one. Bush won there by a comfortable nine percentage points in 2004. Districts such as Altmire's fueled the Democratic takeover of the House last year. They are blue-collar in attitude and red-hued in politics, particularly on issues such as abortion and gun rights.

    Dubbed the "majority makers" by Pelosi's leadership team, the freshmen have become a major front in the Democrats' battle to sustain and expand their majority next fall.

    Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst and author of the Rothenberg Political Report, said Republican hopes for shrinking the Democratic majority begin with what he calls "snapback candidates," who rode into office under the last election cycle's optimal conditions for Democrats and now face their first reelection contests.

    Protecting the 42 freshman Democrats, the largest partisan class since 73 Republicans took office in 1994, has been the top priority for key Democratic strategists such as Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). The freshmen get special treatment from leaders, including a weekly meeting with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.). And they receive frequent advice on how to vote from Emanuel and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    Seven of the rookies have more than $1 million in cash on hand, and according to Rothenberg, more than half are in safe positions to win reelection. In addition, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee holds a more than 11-to-1 cash advantage over its Republican counterpart, a potential financial backstop for endangered freshmen.

    But the political environment has turned toxic in recent months as Democrats have been stymied in their effort to take Congress in their self-proclaimed new direction. Opinion polls show public approval ratings for Congress mired in the 20s, considerably lower than Bush's rating.

    In recent months, Democrats in battleground districts have been criticized by Republicans, who have tried to paint them as close to the new House leadership.

    "While these Democrats might claim to be independent voices for their districts, the differences between them and Nancy Pelosi are purely aesthetic," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. This year, the GOP committee launched a Web site to track the percentage of votes that 28 of the freshmen cast with Pelosi, whom Republicans say will be a polarizing figure in conservative districts next fall.

    That is why procedural votes are important to freshmen, according to Democratic aides. House Republicans this year turned to a procedure known as a "motion to recommit," offering what is typically a routine method of sending bills back to committee as politically charged amendments. With a wink and a nod from Emanuel and Hoyer, some endangered freshmen frequently vote with Republicans on tricky GOP motions to keep their votes from being used against them in 30-second campaign sound bites.

    Some freshman Democrats have taken the idea of voting against their party leadership on procedural votes one step further, opposing mundane matters such as the journal vote.

    Altmire has sided with the opposition in 17 of 18 journal roll calls this year. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) has cast 15 votes with the GOP. In the spring, only a few freshmen voted against the journal, but one recent vote drew 13 freshmen in opposition, and in another, 11 voted nay. Now a half-dozen or more regularly oppose whenever a roll call is held.

    Democratic leaders acknowledge that they have encouraged the freshmen to sometimes vote with Republicans on politically difficult issues, but deny that they have had any input on the Congressional Record votes.

    "We've given them very simple advice: Make sure you vote your district," Van Hollen said.

    As a result, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), for example, has one of the lowest party-unity voting scores -- less than 84 percent -- of any House Democrat, according to washingtonpost.com's congressional database. The average House Democrat has voted with the majority on 92.5 percent of all votes.

    "They're trying to create separation. Our guys did it in '95 and '96," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), a member of the GOP class of 1994.

    At the time, freshman Republicans saw congressional popularity plummet during a budget fight that led to a series of federal government shutdowns. Fearful of being tied closely to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), many freshmen also began voting no on the journal in a similar effort to distance themselves.



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