Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Democrats fighting back for workers and veterans

while Republicans like Shelley Moore Capito, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist put the Republican Party ahead of national interests, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats are pushing ahead with the people's business. From Senator Reid's office:
As a matter of comity, the Minority in the Senate traditionally defers to the Majority in the setting of the agenda. If Bill Frist pulls the nuclear trigger, Democrats will show deference no longer.
Invoking a little-known Senate procedure called Rule XIV, last week Democrats put nine bills on the Senate calendar that seek to help America fulfill its promise.

If Republican's break the rules Democrats will use the rule to bring to the Senate floor an agenda that meets the needs of average Americans, such as lowering gas prices, reducing the cost of health care and helping veterans.

"Across the country, people are worried about things that matter to their families - the health of their loved ones, their child's performance in schools, and those sky high gas prices," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "But what is the number one priority for Senate Republicans? Doing away with the last check on one-party rule in Washington to allow President Bush, Senator Frist and Tom Delay to stack the courts with radical judges. If Republicans proceed to pull the trigger on the nuclear option, Democrats will respond by employing existing Senate rules to push forward our agenda for America."

Democrats have introduced bills that address America's real challenges. (Details attached)

1. Women's Health Care (S. 844). "The Prevention First Act of 2005" will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

2. Veterans' Benefits (S. 845). "The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005" will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of
legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America's security first means standing up for our troops and their families

"Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead -- fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America's families," said Senator Reid.

Armando at DailyKos just reported that in a conference call with bloggers (that's one way to get around the right-wing corporate media), Reid said:

They’re great with names… On Social Security, they’ve been trying to call private accounts “personal accounts.” They can talk about the constitutional option all they want. It’s privatization, and it’s the nuclear option. They created those terms, and they’re going to wear them around their necks from now till Doomsday.

As Armando points out:
Apparently, there are a core of sane Republican Senators who realize the irreparable damage that would be caused by Frist's going "nuclear." These Republicans Senators appear to be Sens. McCain of Arizona, Chafee of RI, Snowe of Maine, Hagel of Nebraska, Collins of Maine, Sununu of New Hampshire, Smith of Oregon, Graham of South Carolina, Lugar of Indiana, Specter of Pennsylvania, Warner of Virginia.

As Democrats (or most of us anyway), there can be no doubt that we disagree much more than we agree with the above listed Republican Senators. But it would be wrong of us not to acknowledge and applaud the integrity, love of country and political courage these Senators are exhibiting in this situation. The political pressure they are facing must be enormous.

As Senator Reid noted, President Bush is not gracious in defeat. For example, while it is clear that the country has completely rejected the President's plan to dismantle Social Security, Bush simply cannot accept this. Similarly with the fiasco that is the Bolton nomination, Bush has demonstrated almost irrational stubbornness. Now Cheney, which means Bush, has come out publicly in favor of Frist's "nuclear option." Even more pressure on these Republican Senators.

A couple of other points: The Democratic Senators are unanimous in opposition to Frist's "nuclear option." That includes Senator Biden, Senator Nelson, Senator Salazar, Senator Pryor and Senator Lieberman. All Democrats stand with with Reid in opposition to Frist's "nuclear option."

All Americans, Democrats and Republicans, should stand with Reid in opposition to the extreme radicalism of Bush, Frist, DeLay and Capito.

Here's another example of how the Bush administration is sticking it to ordinary Americans. From the Associated Press:
As taxpayers recover from finishing their annual filing chores, a presidential commission studying the tax laws has reached the conclusion that there are too many deductions and credits.

To help taxpayers deal with college costs there are two different kinds of tax credits, a deduction for student loan interest and tax-advantaged savings plans. Urban and rural tax zones encourage investment and job creation. Dozens of other tax benefits help families raise children and save for retirement, encourage adoption, nudge drivers toward hybrid cars and push businesses to invest in new equipment.

``We have lost sight of the fact that the fundamental purpose of our tax system is to raise revenues to fund government,'' according to President Bush's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

The White House budget office ranks the cost of a deduction for businesses that provide health insurance to employees as the top tax break, worth $126 billion next year. Also high on the list are the popular mortgage interest deduction, a capital gains break for home sales, a deduction for charitable contributions and the child tax credit.

Look for the Republicans to begin to use this commission report to eliminate tax deductions that help us to pay for their tax cuts and loopholes for the corporations and wealthiest 1 percent of Americans who make over $1 million a year. I know I don't fall into that category benefitting from this administration's policies.


At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 12:01:00 PM, Blogger lwagner said...

The Senate legislative agenda is so completely on the mark (should we insert links to the bills?)!
While our troops continue to be killed and maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the deficit soars and economy deteriorates, republicans have been consumed with:
--promoting the agenda of the religious right in the case of Terry Schiavo;
--undermining democracy (further) to favor their interests through the nuclear option;
--working to insulate ethical renegade DeLay;
--funneling money to Wall Street by prviatizing Social Security;
--taking care of oil industry friends with an energy plan that ignores the obvious and inevitable need for investment in renewable fuel sources.
--using language as a cloaking device for policies that degrade the environment (Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, etc.).
I could go on and on and on. But even a short list reveals the extent to which Bush, DeLay, Frist, et al are out of touch and out of line.

At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 1:20:00 PM, Blogger Carnacki said...

I agree Lynn. I'll see if I can find links to the bills.

At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 11:57:00 PM, Blogger ROMA said...

Why is this country headed further and further to the right???? Real Americans have real problems and they are voting against their best interest. How do we show them that electing Democrats is in their best interest? How do we get out from under the tax and spend label? How do we get the Eastern Panhandle, the second Congressional District, and the White House back? Do we continue to polarize or do we try to unify?
I think Democrats do need to stay united and fight every piece of bad legislation the Republicans put out by attacking the Republicans in their home districts that would be most affected by the bad legislation. In other words force Republicans to vote against it or face the voters at home. We need to inform, inform, inform.
Here in the Eastern Panhandle we need to be attacking Corporate Capito every day with her voting record. She votes against working class West Virginians daily, but gets to run all over her district handing out cash. It looks like she is doing great things for West Virginia when she is on the front page of the paper handing communities money, but of course this money is a mear pitance compared to the money she gives large corporations in the form of tax breaks and incentives. She is a virus which must be stopped before she kills the host. We all know that 98 percent of incumbents get re-elected. Our mission should we choose to accept it is-How do we put her in the 2 percentile???

At Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:06:00 PM, Blogger John C. said...

It's great to preach to the choir isn't it? The problem is that Capito's voting record is not reported on in the local paper (Journal). I have to read the Hagerstown paper to keep up on her voting inadequacies which don't help WV. citizens one bit. She is a friend and collegue of Tom DeLay that we know for sure and if we can bring DeLay down she will follow undoubtedly.

At Sunday, May 01, 2005 9:58:00 PM, Blogger Panhandle (WV) Grassroots for Democracy said...

Preaching to the choir is well enough good. Hopefully, though, we'll attract other eyeballs to this site that aren't getting the news from the Journal (and what news do they get from the Journal?)


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