This is a problem we need to address

October 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, Occupy, politics straight up, Reality Bites, senate | Leave a comment
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A Budget Plan We Can Live With

April 23, 2011 at 9:06 am | Posted in Economy, House of Representatives, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget proposal:

Elderly couple and their automobile "home" equipped with bed. c1911 Oct. 2. (Library of Congress)

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:

• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from
a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021

“Don’t ask, don’t tell”

April 22, 2010 at 1:30 am | Posted in Economy, House of Representatives, politics straight up, Reality Bites | 1 Comment
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The someone is William K. Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, a white-collar criminologist and former financial regulator. He told the House Financial Services Committee what few others are willing to say about the financial meltdown and the need for a serious change in attitude.

the lenders, the banks that created nonprime derivatives, the rating agencies, and the buyers all operated on a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy

Thanks to Firedoglake for the video.

Republican Congressman John Shadegg Calls For Single Payer Health Care

March 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Posted in health, House of Representatives | Leave a comment
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This was apparently no slip. TPM later spoke to a representative from the Arizona congressman’s office who “confirms Shadegg would indeed support a public option.”

Like pulling teeth

March 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Economy, health, House of Representatives, politics straight up, senate | Leave a comment
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George Washington's teeth, between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915. (Library of Congress)

It’s been a long year but the final votes to pass this godforsaken health care reform bill are coming together. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to wrangle 216 votes out of 431, and there are now 50 senators “open to using reconciliation to finish health reform.”

Back a couple weeks ago I was encouraging my readers to call their senators and request they support passing a public option via reconciliation. There are apparently now 37 senators willing to do that. Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty clear that is not going to happen this go, but the current bill is still a vast improvement over the status quo.

Even if you have already, call your senators and representative to ask for their “yes” vote on health care reform.

Overview of the President’s Health Care Reform Proposal

February 22, 2010 at 11:53 am | Posted in Department of Health & Human Services, health, House of Representatives, politics straight up, senate, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Public Health Service nurse treating patient. Between 1918 and 1925. (Library of Congress)

In advance of Thursday’s bipartisan health care reform summit, the White House has posted specific proposals.

The 11-page “blueprint” is here (PDF).

The HCR bill passed by the House in November 2009, as well as CBO and budget information, can be read here. The HCR bill passed by the Senate in December 2009, as well as related information, is available here.

A Republican plan posted at an unknown date, but perhaps October 2009, is here. Whether they’re sticking to what is in this proposed “substitution” is anybody’s guess. Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office has no information.

Read up, then call your Congresscritters and let them know what you think.

UPDATE: The White House has information about Republican ideas included in the President’s proposal and the legislation passed by Congress here.

Igor Volsky at the Wonk Room provides a brief side-by-side comparison between the president’s current proposals and the House and Senate bills here.

How does this happen?

February 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Posted in elections, House of Representatives, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Apparently Rachel “dining room table” Brown plans to run against Representative Barney Frank (MA-4th District) in the next election.

Ms. Brown is a member of the “Larouche Youth Movement.” She made quite a splash at Frank’s August town hall meeting.

It doesn’t matter how beyond insane you are, as long as you’re registered to vote as a Democrat, you can get on the ballot. Larouche supporters are unsuccessful in establishing any electoral success on their own and have a history of attempting to co-opt the Democratic Party label.

Consider making a contribution to or volunteering for Barney Frank‘s reelection campaign. One Brown nut is plenty for one state.

John Murtha (June 17, 1932 – February 8, 2010)

February 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, Obituary | Leave a comment
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(NYTimes) Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a gruff ex-Marine who was one of the most hawkish Democrats in Congress but who became an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, died on Monday in Arlington, Va. He was 77.


The first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress, Mr. Murtha voted in 2002 to authorize use of military force in Iraq. But he evolved into a leading foe of the war as it was conducted under the administration of President George W. Bush.

“The war in Iraq is not going as advertised,” Mr. Murtha said in November 2005, as he demanded an immediate withdrawal of American troops. He called the Iraq campaign “a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.”

Murtha represented Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district in the US House of Representatives from 1974 until his death earlier today, but his long career in politics began in 1969, when he was elected to represent the 72nd legislative district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Often at the center of scandal, he nonetheless became a hero to many for his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq.

Condolences to his family and friends.

Washington DC is taking a snow day

February 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Posted in health, House of Representatives | Leave a comment
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A view of the Capitol building in Washington, is seen from a pile of snow after a snow storm hit the Washington area, Monday, March 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I tried calling Betsey Markey’s (D-CO) office to find out where I could read the legislation she and Representative Tom Perriello (D-VA) had planned to introduce this week “that will repeal the special anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies and medical malpractice insurance companies,” but was dumped into voice mail.

So I called the office of my representative, Barney Frank (D-MA), and learned that all federal offices are closed today due to the weekend snowstorm and I was talking to someone in his Newton, Massachusetts office. More snow is expected for the DC area Tuesday night into Wednesday.

I guess we will have to wait till later in the week to learn the details of Markey and Perriello’s bill and how it differs from Representative John Dingell’s (D-MI) H.R. 3962 and it’s relationship to H.R. 3590 — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the infamous Senate health care reform bill.

President Obama Schools House Republicans.

January 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, Obama Speaks, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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House Pages told courtesy first rule. Washington, D.C., Jan. 3. Courtesy is the Cardinal rule for House pages, Paul R. Ashbrook, Chief Democratic Page, tells the boys at a coaching session just before the 76th Congress convened today. 1939 January 3. (Library of Congress)

This year’s House Republican retreat was held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland and sponsored by the Congressional Institute, a nonprofit run by Republican corporate lobbyists for Republican House members in 1987 but which pretends to be nonpartisan. President Obama was invited for a televised question-and-answer session.

The president’s full remarks can be seen at C-span.

[C-Span seems to be experiencing an overload. You can read a transcript of the president’s statement and the Q&A here.]

House Democrats held their retreat on January 14, in the basement of the Capitol visitor Center. President Obama addressed the group, reminding them of accomplishments and the direction he would like them to take going forward, encouraging them not to drop the ball on health care reform.

Today we are on the doorstep of accomplishing something that Washington has been talking about since Teddy Roosevelt was President, and that is reforming health care and health insurance here in America.

Now, believe me, I know how big a lift this has been. I see the polls. I get 40,000 letters every day, and I read a stack of them each night. I catch the occasional blog post or cable clip that breathlessly declares what something means for a political party, without really talking much about what it means for a country. I know that the virtues of this legislation for Americans with insurance and Americans without it have been entirely obscured by fear and distraction.

But I also know what happens once we get this done, once we saw this law — sign this bill into law. The American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like and doesn’t do things that people have been trying to say it does. Their worst fears will prove groundless, and the American people’s hope for a fair shake from their insurance companies for quality, affordable health care they need will finally be realized.

This year alone, this reform will ban some of the worst practices of the insurance industry forever. They’ll no longer be allowed to refuse coverage for preexisting conditions for children or drop coverage when folks get sick and need it the most. They’ll no longer be allowed to impose restrictive annual limits on the amount of coverage that you receive, lifetime limits on the amounts of benefits received. They’ll be required to offer free preventive care — like checkups and routine tests and mammograms — at no cost. Patients will have rights. They will get what they pay for. And that’s just the beginning.

All told, it’s reform that finally offers Americans the security of knowing that they’ll have quality, affordable health care whether they lose their job or change their job or they get sick. (Applause.) And by the way, it’s reform that begins to bring down costs for families and businesses and governments.

In his remarks to House Republicans, the president was direct: “But if you were to listen to this debate, and frankly how some of you went after this bill, you’d think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot — (scattered laughter, stray applause) — I mean, that’s how you guys presented it.

House Republicans apparently think that acting like school children is a laughing matter. I don’t expect that to change but one can always hope.


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