US HOUSE: New Session, Same Tricks

Photo AP

Photo AP

Once again the Republicans in the US House are showing what their true priorities are, and the people are not one of them.

Yes that is right for the 33rd time Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced and voted on a repeal of ‘Obamacare’.  It was not until later in the day when they approved the stripped down Hurricane Sandy Relief bill.  The House passed a $9 billion dollar package for hurricane relief, well short of the $60 billion that was proposed.

Some news media’s are reporting the only reason that Speaker Boehner even brought up the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill was due to the enormous outcry from Republicans Chris Christie and Representative King.  Both blasted Boehner for not calling for a vote on the bill that has been sitting for over 60 days.

Speaker Boehner so far is continuing the same path as the 112th Congress.  Americans are still recovering from the worst recession since the ‘Great Depression’ and there has still been no mention of the American Jobs Act.  The AJA which has been waiting for Congressional approval since 2011, would reduce business taxes, create millions of jobs, and help returning Veterans all while rebuilding our nations infrastructure.

Only after people have money to spend again will the American economy truly recover.  Small businesses rely on the spendable income of everyday Americans to build and grow. People will only start to spend again when they are comfortable in their income levels and feel that they are secure in their jobs.

Hopefully now that the House GOP has gotten the repeal of Obamacare off their chest (which has no chance of passing) they can get to work on the things that really matter to this country.  They need to start working on the Debt Limit, and passing the American Jobs Act.

Changing the Rules of the Game

Marines_Wrestling


In Congress – as in wrestling – sometimes the rules make the all the difference in who wins or loses.

That’s why the upcoming fight over the Senate filibuster means a lot to working families.

The filibuster is a procedural method that the minority party can use to perpetually delay any legislation it doesn’t like.  If a bill doesn’t get to the Senate floor for a vote, it doesn’t ever get passed – even if a majority of the Senate would vote to approve it.  It’s a back-door way for the minority party to kill legislation, or at least hold the bill up in Committee until it is amended to the satisfaction of the filibustering Senators.

photo by Diane Beckwith-Zink via Flikr

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
photo by Diane Beckwith-Zink via Flikr/Creative Commons

Remember two years ago, when Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown “single-handedly” blocked an extension of unemployment benefits?  Senate Republicans used the filibuster to hold up the bill until it was amended to include an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.  (The final version cost $900 billion; but only 6% of that cost was for unemployment benefits.)

That’s how the filibuster works – and works against working families.

Using the Senate filibuster to kill legislation is such an “inside game” that – at least as far as we can tell – no one has been tracking filibusters in recent years.  But during the last campaign season, Progress Massachusetts looked closely at Scott Brown’s voting record and came up with 40 bills that would have passed the Senate – if they hadn’t been killed by a Republican filibuster.  The list includes:

  • Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (the original financial regulatory reform bill);
  • Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act;
  • Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act of 2010;
  • American Jobs Act of 2011;
  • Rebuild America Jobs Act;
  • Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2011; and
  • The Buffett Rule (a 30% effective tax rate on income exceeding $1 million).

All of those bills would have passed the Senate – if they had ever gotten to the floor for a vote.

So, here’s what may be changing:

Yesterday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said that when the Senate is sworn in next January, “he will attempt to diminish the power of Republicans to slow or stop legislation by putting limits on the filibuster. …Mr. Reid would like to limit what procedural motions are subject to filibusters, and to force senators to return to the practice of standing around forever, reading the phone book or what have you, if they choose to filibuster a bill before its final passage.”

Yes, it will be just a procedural change to Senate Rules (if it happens).

But just think where our country might be, now, if the Senate had been able to actually vote on all those bills that Scott Brown helped block.

 

399 Days Without Action on American Jobs Act

399

Today marks Day 399 of the Senate filibuster of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

What’s a “filibuster”?  It’s a procedural method used by a minority of Senators to prevent a vote on proposed legislation.  In this case, Republican Senators have been blocking a vote on the American Jobs Act since October 2011.

The American Jobs Act would provide $132.6 million for highways, transit, rail and aviation here in New Hampshire.

It would provide $120.9 million in funding to pay for teachers, police and fire fighters, right here in New Hampshire.

More than $70 million in funding for public school construction, here in the Granite State.  Another $8.7 million to modernize facilities in the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Read more about how the American Jobs Act could benefit New Hampshire here.

Tomorrow will be Day 400.  It takes a two-third vote of the Senate to end a filibuster — and that’s not likely to happen if Senate Republicans continue to care more about party loyalty than they care about our nation’s economy.

One of those Senate Republicans represents us, here in New Hampshire — and you can call her to ask that she help end the filibuster on S.1660, so the Senate can finally vote on the bill.  Sen. Kelly Ayotte has offices in Manchester (603-622-7979), Nashua (603-880-3335), Berlin (603-752-7702) and Portsmouth (603-436-7161).

 

International President Wise of the Ironworkers Talks About the “CHOICE” We Face This Election

IronWorkers International Logo

Today the President of the IronWorkers, Walter Wise, put out a new message to all of the IronWorkers in America.  “This election is about choice” he said.  Pres. Wise is absolutely right.  Do we want a President who wants to reinvest our country by rebuilding our nations roads and bridges, therefore putting more workers on the job? Or do we want to elect a President who fights for “corporate people” and the Associated Builders and Contractors?

While this message is directed to the members of the Ironworkers union, it is the same for all people who work in any building trade.


The Presidents Message

As a Union Ironworker, you have a choice to make this Presidential Election.  When President Obama urged Congress to pass a vital infrastructure bill to put more Americans back to work, Romney’s political party said “no.”  Now, where is the investment for our future? The answer is simple: Job-creating infrastructure investments have been blocked by Republican filibusters in the Senate.


A special video message from General President Wise: You have a choice to make in this Presidential Election.

Fairness & Equality For All: A Special Endorsement Message From General President Wise.

NH Labor News Elections 2012: 6/2/12– Obama 3% higher than Romney in new poll, Romney on Jobs in Massachusetts, and more…

Levesque running for representative – Cabinet.com: “I believe that strong public schools give everyone the opportunity to succeed and make our communities desirable, safe and stable. Higher Education should be affordable for everyone who wants to attend state or community college. Skilled workers will keep businesses coming to our state, enable people to afford homes, and stimulate our New Hampshire economy.

As a successful business owner I believe in business and entrepreneurship, but I also believe that corporations and religious institutions are not people. People are people. People start corporations, are employed by corporations, purchase products made by corporations, they speak to their god in religions institutions made up of people and they vote.”
Please write me with your concerns and your hopes and dreams for our future. I look forward to hearing from you. mlevesque1@charter.net.

MELANIE LEVESQUE


Maryland gov giving keynote at NH Dem convention – Boston.com: “MANCHESTER, N.H.—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is the keynote speaker at New Hampshire’s annual Democratic Party convention.

O’Malley is chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association.

The convention is being held Saturday in Manchester at Manchester Memorial High School.

The convention will also feature speeches from Gov. John Lynch; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen; gubernatorial candidates Maggie Hassan, Jackie Cilley and Bill Kennedy; and congressional candidates Annie Kuster, Carol Shea-Porter and Matthew Hancock”


LETTERS: Romney’s Record Tells the Story – Nashua, NH Patch: “Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts was worse than Bush’s record as president.  Hard to do!

He promised to cut spending and debt, but both increased under his watch. State spending under Romney increased by 6.5% annually, and Romney increased Massachusetts’ long-term debt by 16.4% or $2.6 billion.

He promised to “protect and create jobs”,  but under Romney, Massachusetts was 47th out of 50th in the nation in job creation.”


CNN Poll: President Obama and Mitt Romney in dead heat – The Washington Post: “* A new CNN poll gives Obama a three-point lead over Romney, 49 to 46 percent — within the margin of error. Two months ago Obama had a nine-point lead. On handling of the economy, voters are again split. But Obama’s supporters are more enthusiastic.
* Republicans pounded President Obama over today’s dismal jobs report. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney calledthe numbers “devastating news” for Americans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called the numbers “pathetic.” And the Republican National Committee released a web video called the report “a tragedy.”

Here is a great video showing what Mitt Romney did as Governor of Massachusetts.  He insits on telling people to look at his record as Governor and his work in the private industry.  He brought down employment in MA and destroyed companies through BAIN Capitol.

Mitt Romney’s record on jobs | Romney Economics | Mitt Romney’s private sector record: “ROMNEY:
Mitt Romney claims the unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell during his tenure as governor, and that he created 40,000 jobs in his last year in office.
THE RECORD:
As the nation’s economy grew and the median income rose, under Romney, Massachusetts plummeted from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, and the median income declined.”


Below is Jackie Cilley’s OP/ED on the CACR amendments currently being pushed in the NH Legislature.

At a time when New Hampshire is falling behind other states in its ability to attract new businesses with good jobs for our citizens, the Free State/Tea Party legislature in Concord is putting our economic future at even greater risk.  On Wednesday, May 30 a legislative committee of conference passed CACR 13, a constitutional amendment that, if approved by the voters in November, will forever ban taxes on incomes.
One doesn’t need to be in favor of an income tax, something I’m sure to be accused of, to understand that a constitutional amendment of this nature may well be easy to sell and far harder to explain its long term damage to our state. 
However, unless the business community is willing to settle for rising business profits taxes, as well as getting less for their money to boot from a deteriorating infrastructure and educational system, and unless property taxpayers are willing to see their property taxes rise faster and by greater percentages, folks better take a long hard look at where this simple sounding solution to all of our fiscal woes will actually lead.  
In their cynical ideological rush to tie the hands of future generations’ ability to consider any alternative to rising property and business taxes, the legislature has managed to pass a badly flawed bill that experts say will involve years of court battles and whole new bodies of constitutional law. 
For example, Professor Marcus Hum of UNH’s School of Law points out this amendment could put nearly all taxation issues into the hands of New Hampshire’s courts. CACR 13 would, says Hum “start a cascade of constitutional questions that could take years to settle” and “inescapably require the Supreme Court to develop whole new bodies of constitutional law and … to make judgment calls where clear or even workable definitions are probably impossible.”
But the legislature didn’t stop at just passing a constitutional amendment to forever ban consideration of taxing someone’s income (poorly defined though that may be), they also passed another amendment CACR 6, that requires a two-fifths majority to pass any new or increased fee or tax – double whammy and boatloads of additional damage. 
Unfortunately, in today’s halls of power one can’t get two-thirds to agree on whether the sky is blue.  There is far greater loyalty to partisan ideology than anything remotely akin to what might be best for our citizens or our long-term sustainability as a state. 
Since the beginning of my campaign for governor, I’ve made clear that we must have an adult discussion about how we fund the investments that make New Hampshire strong – quality education, robust public and private sectors, and the infrastructure needed for our state to compete in the 21st century marketplace.
Our state is already not making sufficient investments in these areas, the very investments that attract good businesses with good jobs.  Businesses are now reluctant to relocate or start up in our state.  Last year alone, New Hampshire lost 3,800 jobs while Massachusetts and New York created jobs.
CACR 13 and CACR 6, linked together, fail to do anything to meet these needs to revitalize our economy and attract businesses to our state and they will significantly impede our ability to fund such priorities in the future.   In fact, there is every likelihood that the combination of the two will make the North Country, that has been losing jobs for more than five decades, seem to be a beehive of economic activity.
If the voters of the state care about its future, they need to swiftly defeat these destructive amendments in November and vote out the ideologues that passed them.
Jackie Cilley
Barrington
Jackie Cilley is a Democratic candidate for governor.

Day of Action for Jobs and the Unemployed: Manchester

Day of Action for Jobs and the Unemployed: Manchester:
New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation (5.3 percent), but over 9 percent of Granite State workers between the ages of 20-24 are without jobs and and many more face employment insecurity as a fact of today’s economic life. Join us on December 8 and urge members of Congress to extend unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers and families and get serious about creating good jobs.

Event Created by Protect NH Families

When: Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time: 3:30pm until 5:00pm

Where: Gather in Victory Park, Concord & Chestnut Streets, Manchester, NH

Unless Congress acts soon, hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans will be left out in the cold when their unemployment insurance benefits expire on December 31. Please join unemployed workers and concerned community members for a visit to the district office of U.S. Representative Frank Guinta, and ask Congressman Guinta to stand with New Hampshire families by working to create good jobs and voting to extend this critical lifeline for the unemployed. Questions? Contact Judy Stadtman

President Speaks in New Hampshire about creating Jobs….

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at Manchester Central High School, Manchester, New Hampshire, Nov. 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President was in New Hampshire today pushing two agendas all with the same goal of getting America back to work and helping to rebuild the middle class.  He talke about loosing the American Dream.  He talked about how we need to pass the American Jobs Act to put nearly 2 million people to work.  He also spent a majority of time talking about taxes.  Not just taxing the 1% but creating meaningful tax reductions for Middle Class Americans like me and you.   The message was simple, Put Americans back to work and help them by reducing the Taxes on the people who are struggling everyday.

I have included some of the quotes I found appealing in his speech.


So a lot of the folks who have been down in New York and all across the country, in the Occupy movement, there is a profound sense of frustration — (applause) — there is a profound sense of frustration about the fact that the essence of the American Dream — which is if you work hard, if you stick to it, that you can make it — feels like that’s slipping away. And it’s not the way things are supposed to be. Not here. Not in America.

This is a place where your hard work and your responsibility is supposed to pay off. It’s supposed to be a big, compassionate country where everybody who works hard should have a chance to get ahead -– not just the person who owns the factory, but the men and women who work on the factory floor.

And that’s why two months ago I sent Congress the American Jobs Act. It’s a jobs bill that will put more Americans to work, put more money back into the pockets of working Americans. It’s full of the kinds of ideas that in the past have been supported by Democrats and Republicans. And it’s paid for by asking our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share.  Independent economists said it would create nearly 2 million jobs, grow the economy by an extra 2 percent. That’s not my opinion, that’s not my team’s opinion; that’s the opinion of folks who evaluate these things for a living. But you know what? Some folks in Washington don’t seem to get the message that people care right now about putting folks back to work and giving young people opportunity.

And yesterday, I signed into law two new tax breaks for businesses that hire America’s vets –- because nobody who fights for America overseas should have to fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.) Now, I proposed these tax breaks back in September as part of my jobs bill, and thanks to folks like Jeanne Shaheen — and some Republicans — we actually got this part of the bill passed. We finally got them to say “yes” to taking action that will create jobs and boost this economy.
The American Jobs Act would also cut payroll taxes in half for small business owners. Say you have 50 employees making $50,000 apiece. You’d get a tax cut of nearly $80,000. That is real money that you can use to hire new workers or buy new equipment.

All quotes above taken from the official transcript at:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/22/remarks-president-american-jobs-act

To watch the entire Video Replay of the Speech:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ObamaonJo

RELEASE Joining National Protest, More Than 125 Granite Staters Declare “Economic Emergency for the 99%”, Occupy Peterborough Bridges to Call for Jobs Plan

For Immediate Release:                                                        Contact: Sarah Chaisson Warner or Zandra Rice Hawkins
Thursday, November 17, 2011                                               Phone: (603) 892-2150
Joining National Protest, More Than 125 Granite Staters Declare “Economic Emergency for the 99%”, Occupy Peterborough Bridges to Call for Jobs Plan
Decaying bridges are a nationwide symbol of Congress’ failure to put people back to work, protect the American Dream for the 99%
PETERBOROUGH, NHAfter votes by Congress to block the President’s jobs plan, and on the eve of the Super Committee’s recommendations to enact more job-killing budget cuts, unemployed workers and local residents declared an “Economic Emergency for the 99%” and marched across bridges in Peterborough today, calling on Congress to create jobs, stop cuts, and make Wall Street banks pay.
 
More than 125 Granite Staters joined in the event, which started with a short speaking program in Putnam Park and was followed by a march to the red-listed Grove Street Bridge and the bridge at Route 101.
 
The demonstration is part of a national day of protests today at decaying bridges against policies that have enriched the 1% and impoverished the 99%. People nationwide gathered at structurally unsound bridges and other sites in need of repair to protest Wall Street banks and demand that Americans be put back to work now.
“The economy, the banks and our leaders are failing the 99%,” said NH Citizens Alliance for Action Director Sarah Chaisson Warner. “We can’t wait any longer for action. We need jobs – not more budget cuts. There is work that needs doing right now and people who want work.”
 
“The Grove Street Bridge needs repair and is a symbol of our leaders’ failure to pass a jobs bill or do anything to help the 99%, while the bankers and other members of the 1% keep getting richer.”
 
Next week, the Congressional Super Committee is scheduled to release plans that will make deep budget cuts that could kill millions of more jobs, cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and worsen the economic emergency facing the 99%.
 
Among the protestors were community leaders Mark Fernald, Kath Allen, and Jill Shaffer Hammond. “President Obama’s American Jobs Act would put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work rebuilding America, some of them right here in Peterborough,” Mark Fernald said. “This event is happening in Peterborough because it is Congressman Bass’ home town. We need him to hear that the 99% support the American Jobs Act. “
 
Krista Rand is an unemployed civil engineer raising her 4 year old daughter alone while her husband is at boot camp for the armed services to bring in additional income.
 
“This is an economic emergency for the 99%” Rand said. “The American Jobs Act would put people like me back to work improving our country’s infrastructure and fixing our deficient bridges and other structures. We need these jobs. We need to get our country back on track because there are many who can’t hold on much longer. Our Congressional leaders need to support economic policies that work for the 99%, not the 1%.”
 
In Peterborough, the red-listed Grove Street Bridge and the bridge at Route 101 are vivid examples of the many roads, schools and other infrastructure sites in need of repair nationwide. The Peterborough rally is part of a nationwide day of action to call attention to the urgent need to create jobs by putting people to work repairing bridges and other infrastructure. Many of these projects are highlighted on the website WorkThatNeedsDoing.com where Granite Staters and other have uploaded pictures of road, bridges, parks, schools and other structures that could be repaired and help put people back to work.
 
Three years after Wall Street wrecked our economy, 25 million people are still unable to find full-time work and the gap between the 1% and the 99% continues to grow. But instead of creating jobs, Congress continues to ignore the concerns of the 99%, and focuses on job-killing budget cuts and tax giveaways for the rich.
 
 “It shouldn’t have to come to this, but banks and the politicians are refusing the fix the economic emergency that exists in this country,” said Kath Allen. “We need an economy and a country that works for everyone, not just the 1%.  We cannot let the 99% disappear from sight. We need to be out there using our fighting spirits to work for change and get our country back to work.”
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Note: New Hampshire ranks 11th in the nation for structurally deficient bridges, with 15.4% (or 372) of our state’s bridges rated deficient. http://t4america.org/docs/bridgereport/bridgereport-national.pdf

Economic Emergency for the 99% Rally Planned for Peterborough Tomorrow, Thursday, 2:00 PM

Come be a part of a Rally for New Hampshire Tomorrow (11/17/11) to help rebuild New Hampshire while putting Granite Staters to work.  Our state is in desperate need of repairs and we need fix our broken bridges and roads.  By passing the American Jobs Act we can do both.  The President has promised to provide funding to complete the repairs and we will provide the Labor to complete the job. It is a WIN WIN for New Hampshire.


Economic Emergency for the 99% Rally Planned for Peterborough Tomorrow, Thursday, 2:00 PM
Group will “occupy” local, decaying bridges – a nationwide symbol of Congress’ failure to put people back to work, protect the American Dream for the 99%
PETERBOROUGH, NHAfter votes by Congress to block the President’s jobs plan, and on the eve of the Super Committee’s recommendations to enact more job-killing budget cuts, unemployed workers and local residents will declare an “Economic Emergency for the 99%” on Thursday, November 17 and march across a bridge in Peterborough, calling on Congress to create jobs, stop cuts, and make Wall Street banks pay.
The demonstration is part of a national day of protests at decaying bridges on November 17 against policies that have enriched the 1% and impoverished the 99%. People nationwide will gather at structurally unsound bridges and other sites in need of repair to demand that America be put back to work now.
Three years after Wall Street wrecked our economy, 25 million people are still unable to find full-time work and the gap between the 1% and the 99% continues to grow. But instead of creating jobs, Congress continues to ignore the concerns of the 99%, and focuses on job-killing budget cuts and tax giveaways for the rich.
The Peterborough rally is part of a nationwide day of action to call attention to the urgent need to create jobs by putting people to work repairing bridges and other infrastructure. Many of these projects are highlighted on the website WorkThatNeedsDoing.com where Granite Staters and other have uploaded pictures of road, bridges, parks, schools and other structures in need of repair.
WHAT:       Economic Emergency for the 99% Rally and March
WHEN:       Thursday, November 17, 2011 — 2:00 p.m. Rally, 2:30 p.m. March
WHERE:   Putnam Park, 36 Grove Street, Peterborough NH; Home town of
Representative Charlie Bass
WHO:         Unemployed Granite Staters; Local Leaders;
                   Members & Allies of  
NH Citizens Alliance for Action

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Note: New Hampshire ranks 11th in the nation for structurally deficient bridges, with 15.4% (or 372) of our state’s bridges rated deficient. http://t4america.org/docs/bridgereport/bridgereport-national.pdf
ADVISORY FOR                                                                 Contact: Sarah Chaisson Warner
Thursday, November 17, 2011                                            Phone: 603-225-2097

Rally for American Jobs Act in front of NASHUA CITY HALL

“Economic Emergency for the 99%, Empty Plate from Charlie Bass” Rally Planned for Nashua on Wednesday, 5:15 PM
Event seeks to secure Congressman’s support for robust job growth, not cuts
NASHUA, NH – Congressman Charlie Bass’ (R-NH) recent decision to sign a bi-partisan letter calling for revenue options in the Supercommittee may be an indication he’s starting to understand the plight of everyday Granite Staters, and a 99% rally planned for Nashua this Wednesday by NH Citizens Alliance for Action aims to make sure he does.
“Economic Emergency for the 99%, Empty Plates from Charlie Bass” will take place outside Nashua City Hall. The event will feature great visuals including separate “serving lines” for the 1%, who benefit from tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and Big Business, and another line for the 99% who foot the bill.
Speakers will focus on the American Jobs Act (AJA), which Congressman Bass rejected in early September, and the pieces of the legislation still trying to move forward. Deb Howe, a Nashua-area teacher, will discuss the portion of the bill aimed at educators and first responders, including specific data about the benefits anticipated for New Hampshire. Other speakers include Krista Rand, an unemployed civil engineer and mother focused on the proposed infrastructure and bridge improvements planned in the AJA; as well as Lisa Milam, a former job placement recruiter who is out of work due to the slumped economy.
Following the short speaking program, the crowd will go thru the “serving lines” to see what Congressman Charlie Bass is serving up; then rally on the streets of Nashua to draw attention to the need for job growth and investment, not cuts to services.
WHAT:       Economic Emergency for the 99%, Empty Plate from Charlie Bass Rally and Speakers
WHEN:       Wednesday, November 9, 2011 — 5:15 p.m. speakers, followed by rally until 6:30 p.m.
WHERE:   Nashua City Hall – 229 Main Street
WHO:         Speakers from Education, Construction and Job Placement Sectors; members and allies of NH Citizens Alliance for Action