I think Steve Teles mostly has it right (see two posts down).
As to investigations, we can start by releasing all the reports various Republican committee chairs have been sitting on, and ordering a slew of GAO studies.
As to earmarks, how about a blanket repeal of all earmarks to secret appropriations, or even to all defense and intelligence-community appropriations? (Murtha will have a chance to put his pet earmarks back later.) The case against earmarking in secret is overwhelming, and most of the relevant cases have MZM written on them. So the hearings on that bill could properly have an investigative aspect, and it would be extremely hard to vote against or veto.
Just one note on “comprehensive” immigration reform. The notion that a guest-worker program is a concession to the pro-immigration side makes sense only if you’re thinking exclusively from the employers’ viewpoint. To control illegal immigration, we need more legal immigration.
(Whether or not you think that, in theory, less total immigration would be better is largely irrelevant, because we probably can’t achieve it without a stronger employer-sanctions program than is politically, or maybe even operationally feasible. I have a proposal that would make illegals virtually unemployable, and which would therefore cut down drastically on illegal immigration — offering a green card to any illegal who turns in his employer — but it doesn’t pass the straight-face test.)
Those legal immigrants should, ideally, be people who intend to settle down and become Americans, not indentured serfs tied to a particular employer on pain of deportation.
Update I fully endorse Bernard Yomtov’s proposal (see comments) for putting a set of voting reforrms on the fast track.
(See next post.)
As to reinstating the torture ban (mentioned by another commenter), I’d be for it if we could actually get something into law, but I see no point in trying and failing. If the Democrats had been the Senate majority when the torture bill passed, we could probably have preserved habeas corpus (I say “probably” because some of the Republicans who voted “right” might not have done so when push came to shove), but I’m not sure there’s an anti-torture majority in the new Senate or the new House, and I’m certain there isn’t anything like a veto-proof majority. Obviously, the pro-torture sentiment in the country wasn’t strong enough to make it a decisive issue when the Republicans tried to use it, but equally obviously opposition to torture isn’t a popular position, and I don’t think it’s incumbent on Democrats to take a political hit when doing so can’t actually change the law. On the other hand, if we had a firm majority, we might be able to write a “No funds appropriated …” clause into the Defense Appropriation, and dare Bush to veto that.