Monday March madness countinues … and CSPAN.org


With two more weeks of  Winter in March, the countdown to NCAA championships continues and the crazy climate(change) of madness in Washington and on the floor of the Senate  begins.  President Obama will be in Philadelphia to talk about what HCR will do for everyone now, though if you read or listen to the Media, we are on the verge of falling off the edge of reality. Cable news and or right wing media continues to pit the President against the Polls; since when does a President govern using political polls, not to mention they are not always neutral.  The misinformation regarding the President continues; that this is his last ditch effort to push, jam, ram and or dupe Senators to get HCR through; contrary to what Republicans and or the Media says; there are more people who want a Public Option than is being reported on any given day. Can i just say that in a time when we need to pass various Bills, i have yet to understand the House or Senate adjourning early or being out of Session; hopefully it is to provide info to fellow Democrats … the vote for HCR is March 18, 2010 act like it.

The fact is gossip, promotion of falsehoods and outright lies about the President’s beliefs and or if he is an American don’t belong on the airwaves in any form; especially in the news. Most people expect truthful news maybe some spin but these days the spin is laced with some truth or maybe it’s the Republican truth accepted by cable;like Wolf Blitzer and his reiteration of comments by conservative and other right-wing stations.

check  out the facts –> our new state-by-state polls show that’s exactly what voters want.

Speaking of March Madness, Republican Senator Paul Broun, from Georgia; stated that all you had to do was read it for yourself; he knows for sure he is a Socialist.  The reporter asked if he thought President Obama was born in the US; obviously a birther, maybe a tea party member, Broun stated he didn’t know; and quite frankly as someone in public office; he should have said yes.  It’s  amazing to me to know that people holding public office; we pay them to do the business of the People and this is what we get. If Barack Obama was white there would be absolutely no question as to who, why or what about his beliefs, race and or religion. It’s offensive that a Public Servant would behave in such a way; but then the list of  Senators behaving like Broun are many in the Republican Party, which should make people outraged       … these are people who only care about a select few, a certain group and not the whole of Americans and should not be in office.

Last, the day had a lot of Senators on both sides of the aisle acting well, different; it is or could be their defining moment as HCR will get passed and as a democrat it is with a light heart that i propose we put progressives in the place of every Stupak, Massa and Kucinich , Politicians who are willing and able bodied members of the Democratic party.  If you didn’t know any better,  Kucinich seemed to be giving a campaign speech for 2012, yet, sam klein said he is the only one out there willing to vote no based on his opinion that the bill has no base and yes the President knows this … well, now your constituents know that you are willing to put your own truth before the people you represent and let’s see how that plays out for you Senator Kucinich.

other News …


CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has apologized for using chyron text that seemed to question the loyalties of the Department of Justice.  On Thursday, CNN broadcast text that read “HAPPENING NOW, DEPARTMENT OF JIHAD?” and “Are Justice Department Lawyers Disloyal?” as part of its coverage of an ad by Liz Cheney that suggests that because the DOJ hired lawyers who have represented accused terrorists, the department is sympathetic to terrorists.  On Friday, Blitzer apologized for the graphic and called DOJ lawyers “patriotic.”

Tea Party Challenger To Harry Reid Owes More Than $200,000 in Back Taxes

The President is expected to announce his choice, retired Gen. Robert Harding, on Monday, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet public.

watch Sec. Napolitano TSA Announcement

Washington State news of temporary increase in sales taxes on services and bottled water including a 1dollar per pack tax on cigarettes

Abusive Payday Lenders
The mob offers better rates and easier terms than payday lenders. Through short-term loans with interest rates up to 900 percent, these lenders strip billions of dollars from poor and minority communities every year. Poverty in America blogger Carl Chancellor writes that in 29 states, there are more payday loan storefronts than McDonald’s restaurants. It’s time to tell lawmakers to put a stop to the financial kneecapping of our most vulnerable citizens via these lenders. (Read more)

Apple Acknowledges Child Labor
This week, Apple admitted that it had identified at least 11 children working in overseas factories that produce iPods, iPhones, and its computers. In addition to the child labor, illegal and exploitative working conditions for adults were also documented. Surprisingly, Apple made these findings public themselves. But End Human Trafficking blogger Amanda Kloer asks, is the company doing enough to prevent the exploitation of children and workers in their factories from happening again? (Read More)

Huffington Post: Tom Delay: People Are Unemployed Because They Want To Be

on cspan today  …

The House is not in session today but resumes at 12:30pmET Tuesday and will begin work on 14 Bills and Resolutions from Wednesday-Friday they will work on Aid for Haiti and Chile as well as Judicial Impeachment, any votes will happen later in the day.

Members of The Senate gave speeches on various issues like HR4213, abortion, reconciliation, space, the Iraqi war and more; votes are scheduled to limit debate on amendments on Tuesday at 2:30pmET, this includes several amendments that are pending that includes programs that would be extended through December 31.  Tax, Unemployment and Highway …  tune in Tuesday for more fire works … on both sides of the aisle.

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President Obama Stumps for Health Care in Philadelphia

With the White House asking Congress to pass health care legislation soon, President Obama is taking his message to Philadelphia. Last week he called on the House and Senate to schedule votes in the next few weeks. Saturday during his Weekly Address he said, “I know it has been a long and hard road to this point, and we are not finished with our journey just yet.”

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Pres. Obama's Weekly Address In his weekly address, President Obama says Congress must act now to enact legislation and urges lawmakers to schedule a vote on the Democratic plan.

watch Pres. Obama’s Weekly Address

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EPA Administrator Discusses 2010 Priorities

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will speak at a luncheon on strides made in 2009 and the agency’s priorities for 2010. She is expected to discuss action on climate change, America’s waters and EPA’s efforts to expand the conversation on environmentalism.
Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman is a guest on C‑SPAN’s Washington Journal at 8:30am ET    watch WJ: Christine Todd Whitman at 8:30am ET
read WP: Lawmakers move to restrain EPA

watch NPC: From Earlier

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY focus of economic conference

The Nat’l Assoc. For Business Economics (NABE) meets today to hold its annual economic policy conference. First, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair participates in a panel session on financial regulatory reform. Also, Election prognosticator Charlie Cook will join a panel analyzing the 2010 mid-term elections and later Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf will speak on how to tackle the deficit.

UPDATE … keep calling the Senators below… support a Public Option through Reconciliation…


Public Option Through Reconciliation — Has your senator taken a stand?

Some bold senators started a letter calling on Majority Leader Harry Reid to pass the public health insurance option through “reconciliation,” which only needs a simple majority in the Senate. Other senators have released statements, saying they will vote “yes” on the public option in reconciliation. 40 have signed the Public Option letter, again if you see your Senator listed please Call and tell them to support a Public Option through Reconciliation

Click on the link below …

our new state-by-state polls show that’s exactly what voters want.

If your Democratic senator hasn’t yet committed to voting “yes” for the public option in reconciliation, can you call them today?

Brian Baird- Washington State call 202 225 3536

Jason Altmire- 202 225 2565

John Adler- 202 225 4765

Thomas Carper- 202 224 2441

Max Baucus- 202 224 2651

Kent Conrad-

Jim Webb- 202 224 4024

Evan Bayh-202 224 5623

Claire McCaskill

Mark Begich- 202 224 3004

Kay Hagan- 202 224 6342

Robert Byrd- 202 224 3954

Tom Harkin- 202 224 3254

Russell Feingold- 202 224 5323

Herb Kohl- 202 224 9787

Mark Pryor- 202 224 2353

John Rockefeller- 202 224 6472


OFA …


After Wednesday’s bold announcement on the path forward on health reform, President Obama recorded a message specifically for Organizing for America supporters.

I hope you’ll watch it.

Watch the video

And once you watch, please add your name to the growing list of volunteers committing to working with the President during the final march for reform. Watch the video here:

http://my.barackobama.com/PresidentsMessage

Thanks,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

Thank Senator Maria Cantwell …


Thanks

Senator Maria Cantwell made Washington proud.

The DC pundits are telling Democrats to cave to Republicans and big corporations in the name of “bipartisanship.”

But Sen. Cantwell just joined the growing list of senators supporting the will of the people – saying she would vote “yes” for the public option in reconciliation if it came up for a vote.

When elected representatives take action, they deserve our praise.

Can you write Sen. Cantwell a short thank-you note for her support? Click here.

We’ll deliver your note to her.

In just two weeks, support for passing the public option has skyrocketed. 35 senators have signed a letter or issued a statement in support of the public option, including nearly every member of the Senate Democratic leadership. Here’s what Sen. Cantwell had to say about voting for the public option:

“If the parliamentarian says you can and it can all work, yes. If it works, fine.”

Let’s show Sen. Cantwell that we appreciate her standing up for the public option — thank her today. And please ask your friends to thank her too.

— Brian Bills, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, Aaron Swartz, Michael Snook, and the PCCC team


You can unsubscribe from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee mailing list at any time.

Stupak’s Senseless Stand


HEALTH CARE …

While much of the attention on the health care debate in recent days has focused on the Senate, the House will have to vote to pass a reform bill as well, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) is threatening to torpedo the whole effort if his unreasonable demands on abortion restrictions are not met. To reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills, Democratic leaders will likely have the House pass the Senate bill, then use the budget reconciliation process to “fix” the Senate bill, before sending it President Obama later this month. But due to two resignations, a death, and a likely vote switch by the only Republican who voted for health care reform the first time around, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has lost at least four votes, bringing the whip count to 216 — a majority of 217 is needed. But Stupak — who led a charge last November to insert a draconian abortion amendment to the House bill — is threatening to sink the effort again. Stupak claims there are “at least 12” House members who voted for the first bill that will switch their votes if the final bill includes the Senate’s abortion language. Stupak, his pro-life allies, and a leading group of Catholic bishops who have been deeply involved in the health care fight, falsely claim that the Senate bill will allow the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion and are demanding that the final bill include Stupak’s provision. Republicans have made similar accusations, but since they are unwilling to even consider voting for health care reform, it is Stupak’s bloc that would be responsible for killing health care reform, should it die in the House. Stupak’s amendment failed in a Senate vote, but the upper house included its own strict prohibition on public funding for abortions. Abortion language cannot be altered through the budget reconciliation process, meaning the final bill will look more like the Senate’s. The Catholic bishops “signaled” yesterday that they are willing to negotiate, saying “that if agreement is reached with House leaders on anti-abortion language, the church would work to get the votes needed to protect the provisions in the Senate,” even if it would require 60 votes. “Whether it would be enough to get to 60 votes, I can’t predict. We would certainly try,” Richard Doerflinger, an associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Politico. But Stupak is still not satisfied. “In the present form, the Senate health care bill is going nowhere in the House of Representatives,” Stupak threatened yesterday on the Fox Business Channel.

WHAT THE BILL SAYS: It is clear that the final health care bill will not use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. Neither the House nor Senate bills included outright public funding for abortion, but Stupak and other pro-life Democrats feared that taxpayer money would indirectly fund abortions, especially through government subsidies for low-income people to buy health insurance. Stupak’s amendment would have prohibited insurance plans that accept subsidies in the new exchanges from providing abortion services, except under the most extreme circumstances, even if women used only private money to pay for their abortion coverage. The Senate bill includes a deal orchestrated by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-NE) that does allow private health plans in the exchanges to offer abortion coverage, but only if their customers write two checks each month — one for the share of their premium that’s allocated for abortion services and one for all other health care coverage. Both checks would come from the customers’ personal funds, not government coffers. The Nelson provision also included language that encourages states to pass their own version of the Stupak Amendment, prohibiting insurers from offering plans with abortion coverage through the new state exchanges. The White House’s plan for health reform maintains Nelson’s approach in its entirety and is consistent with existing abortion restrictions, creating “a firewall between publicly- and privately-funded premiums and only allow[ing] private money to cover abortion costs.”

MOVING THE GOAL POSTS: Stupak has consistently invented new demands when his old ones are met. Last year, Stupak first demanded that public funding for abortion be removed. It was. Then he demanded an up-or-down vote on his onerous amendment. It passed the House, but failed in the Senate. Still, Nelson’s provision was crafted with Stupak’s objections in mind, and it won the support of every pro-life Democrat in the Senate. Now, in order to keep up his crusade, “Stupak has relied on a fundamentally dishonest interpretation of the Senate bill to argue that it would allow for public funding of abortion,” as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted. Stupak appeared on MSNBC yesterday to argue his case, claiming, “In the Senate bill, it says ‘you must offer insurance policies that will be paid for by the federal government that covers abortion.'” In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America the next day, Stupak cited pages 2069-2078 of the Senate bill, claiming, “You will find in there that the federal government would directly subsidize abortions.” But those pages do the exact opposite, and clearly prohibit federal funding for abortions. In yesterday’s ABC interview, Stupak also objected to a provision that supposedly mandates that “every enrollee must pay one dollar per month into a fund to help fund abortions.” While it’s true that people who choose to purchase insurance with abortion coverage through the exchanges will pay the nominal fee, one can simply choose to purchase a plan that doesn’t cover abortion, and thus not pay the fee. Moreover, the $1 provision was included to allay the fears of pro-life lawmakers in order to make sure only private money is spent on abortion. The $1 comes from private premiums payments — not public dollars — and is a way of ensuring that carriers have sufficient funds to cover the services they offer. As Slate’s Timothy Noah observes, Stupak’s claims are “empirical, not ideological. And Stupak happens to be wrong.” There are a number of ways Stupak could try to get the results he wants in later legislation, and his stonewalling here shows that he cares more about his agenda than health care reform. But even if Democrats decide to change the Senate’s abortion language through a separate non-reconciliation measure, it’s still unclear that Stupak would vote for reform. On Monday, he told the Wall Street Journal that “abortion isn’t the only issue that will keep him from voting for the Senate bill if Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the House floor.” “It’d be very hard to vote for this bill even if they fixed the abortion language,” he said. Asked whether there was any way he would vote for the current package, he had one word : “Nope.”

MOVING FORWARD: Americans are not interested in getting bogged down in an abortion debate on health care reform. A recent poll found that a large plurality — 47 percent — agreed that “[p]olitical differences on abortion should not prevent us from moving forward on an otherwise good health care reform plan.” Pelosi, Obama, and other leaders want to move forward as well. “Let me say this: This is not about abortion! This is a bill about providing quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” Pelosi said yesterday. “Let me say it clearly…there is no federal funding for abortion. That is the law of the land. It is not changed in this bill.” Indeed, independent observers agree. Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington & Lee University, and an independent “leading expert on health policy and law” recently released the findings of a “a thorough examination” of the Senate abortion language. While he found “significant differences between the House and Senate” bills in general, “the provisions governing abortion (Sec. 1303 of the Senate bill, pp. 2069-2078) are not among them. Both bills prohibit federal funding of abortions.” In other words, the Senate language is as effective as the House language, which Stupak wrote and voted for. Indeed, even the Catholic Hospital Association endorsed the Senate abortion language. The association, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals across the country, said in a statement in late December that it was “encouraged” and “increasingly confident” that the abortion compromise in the Senate health care bill “can achieve the objective of no federal funding for abortion.” Despite his unreasonable stand, House Democrats are still trying to court Stupak. After meeting with Stupak yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told TPMDC that “[s]eparate pieces of legislation could be passed” outside the reconciliation process to appease Stupak. “That’s a possibility,” said Hoyer. “I talked to Mr. Stupak today, and I’m going to be talking to him next week and he indicated he wanted to have some discussions with people. And I will do that.”

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