Posts tagged Congress

The DCCC that I saw in 2006 and 2008 had a smart strategy of finding the right Democratic candidates that matched their district, and doing everything necessary to get these candidates to run and then give them the resources they needed to win.

Now, several cycles removed from Emanuel and Van Hollen, it seems that the DCCC and its leadership have completely lost their way. They no longer know how to recruit or back the right candidates. It feels like they are using a bastardized version of the ‘06 and ‘08 strategies, but like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, it’s almost impossible to tell what the original actually was.

Now, the strategy seems to find the Democrat who’s the closest to being a Republican, and fully back them without doing do diligence or the hard work on the ground to find out who is the best candidate to win.

it’s people like Steve Israel who keep me from ever registering as a Democrat again.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a terrible "trade" deal being negotiated in secret by the governments of a dozen countries (including ours) colluding with corporate interests.

Negotiated behind closed doors by the governments of a dozen countries (including ours) colluding with corporate interests, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive corporate power grab. Under the TPP, more American jobs would be offshored. Internet freedom would be a joke. Developing countries would lose access to lifesaving medicines. Unsafe foods and products could pour into our country. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The first step in corporate plan to pass the TPP is something called “fast track trade authority.” Join me in telling Congress to say NO to fast-track track authority. Click the link to sign the petition.

It’s (arguably) the  cheapest and most effective  form of economic stimulus. Think about it: people who recently lost their jobs use unemployment funds to pay for their rent and food. They spend the money they get from the government right away. The Congressional Budget Office cited unemployment benefits as one of the most effective policies of the 2009 Recovery Act. Compare that to what happens when, say, there’s an income tax cut. Not everyone spends that tax cut. Some save it, so the money isn’t going out as quickly into the economy.
Speaking of the economy, there lots of uncertainty heading into 2014. The last thing the US economy – and by extension the world economy – needs in January is for over a million people to lose their federal funds overnight. Close to a million more are expected to be laid off in early 2014 and won’t have access to federal aid, either, a further drag on the “green shoots of recovery” economists keep talking about.
This is especially true as the Federal Reserve attempts to figure out how to stop all the aid it’s been pumping into the economy (aka the quantitative easing program). Markets are already jittery about when that is coming and whether it will be in early in the new year. We don’t need to add another shock.
No one wants to keep these programs running forever. Each state offers some funds to the unemployed, but the federal government steps in during and after bad recessions in order to help the long-term unemployed. The question is when should that extra federal money end?
Anyone paying attention to the economic indicators can see that things are still too rocky to withdrawal federal aid completely. The chart below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes the best case for why Congress should pass an extension by Christmas. The graph shows when the federal government halted unemployment insurance during prior recessions. In the downturn after 9/11, the federal government stopped providing extra jobless relief when the long-term unemployment rate was 1.3%. It was similar in the 1990-91 and 1981-82 recessions – the federal government said “that’s enough” aid for the jobless when the long-term unemployment rate was at 1.2 or 1.3%. At the moment, US long-term unemployment is still at 2.6%. That’s a heck of a lot higher than in the past.
While there is a fear that people receiving unemployment insurance will be less motiatived to look for jobs, the reality is the economy is in much worse shape this time around. There aren’t many jobs to be had, especially in January after the big holiday retail boom is over. Extending federal jobless aid for all of 2014 would cost about $25bn. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it’s a bargin in federal government terms.
As Congress debates a budget deal, extending unemployment insurance is a natural link with that. It will help working families, stimulate the economy and signal that Congress “gets it” and wants 2014 to start as smoothly as possible.


(via Congress should stop the Scrooge routine and extend jobless benefits | Heather Long | Comment is free | theguardian.com)
It’s (arguably) the cheapest and most effective form of economic stimulus. Think about it: people who recently lost their jobs use unemployment funds to pay for their rent and food. They spend the money they get from the government right away. The Congressional Budget Office cited unemployment benefits as one of the most effective policies of the 2009 Recovery Act. Compare that to what happens when, say, there’s an income tax cut. Not everyone spends that tax cut. Some save it, so the money isn’t going out as quickly into the economy.

Speaking of the economy, there lots of uncertainty heading into 2014. The last thing the US economy – and by extension the world economy – needs in January is for over a million people to lose their federal funds overnight. Close to a million more are expected to be laid off in early 2014 and won’t have access to federal aid, either, a further drag on the “green shoots of recovery” economists keep talking about.

This is especially true as the Federal Reserve attempts to figure out how to stop all the aid it’s been pumping into the economy (aka the quantitative easing program). Markets are already jittery about when that is coming and whether it will be in early in the new year. We don’t need to add another shock.

No one wants to keep these programs running forever. Each state offers some funds to the unemployed, but the federal government steps in during and after bad recessions in order to help the long-term unemployed. The question is when should that extra federal money end?

Anyone paying attention to the economic indicators can see that things are still too rocky to withdrawal federal aid completely. The chart below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities makes the best case for why Congress should pass an extension by Christmas. The graph shows when the federal government halted unemployment insurance during prior recessions. In the downturn after 9/11, the federal government stopped providing extra jobless relief when the long-term unemployment rate was 1.3%. It was similar in the 1990-91 and 1981-82 recessions – the federal government said “that’s enough” aid for the jobless when the long-term unemployment rate was at 1.2 or 1.3%. At the moment, US long-term unemployment is still at 2.6%. That’s a heck of a lot higher than in the past.

While there is a fear that people receiving unemployment insurance will be less motiatived to look for jobs, the reality is the economy is in much worse shape this time around. There aren’t many jobs to be had, especially in January after the big holiday retail boom is over. Extending federal jobless aid for all of 2014 would cost about $25bn. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but it’s a bargin in federal government terms.

As Congress debates a budget deal, extending unemployment insurance is a natural link with that. It will help working families, stimulate the economy and signal that Congress “gets it” and wants 2014 to start as smoothly as possible.

(via Congress should stop the Scrooge routine and extend jobless benefits | Heather Long | Comment is free | theguardian.com)

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) reported being the victim of a minor assault outside the Capitol Wednesday night.

The congressman told U.S. Capitol Police he was walking from the Longworth House Office Building for votes when “a random individual, unknown to the congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm,” according to Duffy’s spokeswoman.

House Republican reports being assaulted outside the Capitol - The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room

Time to Dance, Elaine

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me to see this happen to this smarmy mother #@$+er!

CNN Host Asks GOP Representatives Whether They’d Give Up Their Salary During A Shutdown, Hilarity Ensues

  • BLACKBURN: We are waiting to see what they send back, and I hope that as you were running the countdown clock that you are I have two grandsons, and their share of the national debt is now over $53,000 each.
  • BANFIELD: No no no. I’m sorry. I asked a specific question, and there are a lot of the government workers going to stop receiving their paychecks, and a there are a lot of the military service members who are serving overseas who might be stopped being paid and veterans whose benefits. Would you....
  • ******
  • ROHRABACHER: Let me answer that. Members of Congress should not be treated any differently than any other federal employee.
  • BANFIELD: Is that a yes?
  • ROHRABACHER: Whatever happens to the to us when it comes to what we get in benefits and whether it is retirement or health care and whatever happens to the average federal employee should happen us, and that rule should not be changed.
…we’re building a public domain dataset that describes how to reverse engineer each member’s contact form. By creating this data publicly, and distributing its maintenance among interested organizations and the public, it will be much more feasible to operate public campaigns that email members of Congress, without having to pay a vendor or embark on a gargantuan technical investment.
 (via Tell Your Representative: Vote YES On The Amash Amendment)This is BIG NEWS: Tomorrow, July 24, a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Rep. Amash (R-MI) that restricts the NSA’s ability to collect data on our phone calls will be up for a vote in the the House of Representatives.
This is our first real chance to get a congressional vote to roll back the NSA’s grossly broad spying program—and we need to let our representatives know right away that we expect them to vote for it.
The Amash Amendment would prevent the NSA from indiscriminately collecting the phone records of most Americans, including who we talk to, for how long, and how often. 
Instead, it will limit the NSA’s ability to collect these records to people who are actually under investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (a pretty reasonable limitation!).

This is BIG NEWS: Tomorrow, July 24, a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Rep. Amash (R-MI) that restricts the NSA’s ability to collect data on our phone calls will be up for a vote in the the House of Representatives.

This is our first real chance to get a congressional vote to roll back the NSA’s grossly broad spying program—and we need to let our representatives know right away that we expect them to vote for it.

The Amash Amendment would prevent the NSA from indiscriminately collecting the phone records of most Americans, including who we talk to, for how long, and how often. 

Instead, it will limit the NSA’s ability to collect these records to people who are actually under investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (a pretty reasonable limitation!).

Obamacare Repeal Votes Costs Tens Of Millions

Last year, CBS News calculated that the first 33 votes to repeal health care reform took up approximately 80 hours of floor time from the House, or roughly two weeks. The Congressional Research Service said it costs $24 million to run the House for a week, so the first 33 votes cost taxpayers approximately $48 million.

The numbers translate to approximately $1.45 million per vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives. Adding in the three votes since CBS News’ report last year plus Thursday’s planned vote would add $5.8 million to the total.

In other words, since 2011, the House of Representatives has spent approximately $53.8 million attempting to repeal health care reform. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that repeal would add $109 billion to deficits over the next decade, according to TalkingPointsMemo.com.

The Daily Beast has learned that federal investigators are now interviewing former Bachmann campaign staffers nationwide about alleged intentional campaign-finance violations. The investigators are working on behalf of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes reported improprieties by House members and their staffs and then can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.

“I have been interviewed by investigators,” says Peter Waldron, a former Bachmann staffer who’s embroiled in his own fight with his former boss, involving his allegations of pay-to-play politics and improper payments by the campaign—making him one of several members of Bachmann’s inner circle who’ve fallen out with the woman they once hoped would become commander in chief. While he was careful to avoid specifics in regard to the investigating body, Waldron said that “investigators came [and] interviewed me and are interviewing other staff members across the country.”

Two other former staffers confirmed the existence of the investigation this weekend, and on Monday Bachmann’s campaign counsel, William McGinley, of the high-powered firm Patton Boggs, confirmed that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was looking into the congresswoman’s presidential campaign last year.

Urgent Action: tell Senators not to fast track coal exports

Big Coal and its allies are attempting to sneak through a last-minute budget amendment to stop federal agencies from limiting the greenhouse gas emissions of exported coal and other fuels. Right now agencies are legally bound to consider the health and climate impacts of greenhouse gases when reviewing export proposals — including coal.

But under Senator Barrasso’s (R-WY) amendment (#184), agencies would be barred from considering environmental impacts from exporting coal or other fossil fuels.

If this amendment passes there will be nothing to stop Big Coal from sending millions of tons of U.S. coal to be burned in China. And we’ll all pay the climate and health consequences.

This amendment will come up for a vote in the next 24 hours. Please act right now — use the form below tell your Senators to vote NO on Amendment 184!

Here’s more background on the issue:

  • Under the National Environmental Policy Act, an agency that issues a permit for a major project involving the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels has to consider the impacts of burning those fuels on the health and well-being of Americans, regardless of whether those fuels are burned in the U.S. or whether they are exported and burned somewhere else in the world 
  • When it comes to greenhouse gases, the impacts on Americans are exactly the same wherever the fuel is burned, because carbon pollution spreads globally and respects no boundaries. 
  • But under this new amendment the agencies would be forced to ignore the impacts on Americans, just because the fuels were exported. 
  • All this does is protect the profits of the big corporations that export fossil fuels, at the expense of the health and well-being of the American people. 

Please act now and tell your Senators to vote NO.