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Same question, different problem: WHERE did the money come from?

truth-257159_640It’s not just the questions about the Federal Elections Commission investigation and where the money came from.  It’s actually worse than that.  It’s what happened afterward – because like so much else in government these days, it involves political fundraising.

At the end of last year, Rep. Frank Guinta’s campaign reported less than $19,000 cash-on-hand.

Yet the FEC enforcement agreement signed by Guinta’s lawyer last month obligated the campaign to pay a $15,000 administrative fine and repay $355,000 in loans dating back to 2010. (Hat-tip to the Union Leader for posting the agreement online, where we can all read it.)

Like most Congressmen, Rep. Guinta is a practiced fundraiser.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Guinta raised about $4.5 million dollars during his last three campaigns.

And just in the first quarter of this year – presumably while his lawyer was negotiating the FEC settlementGuinta’s campaign raised more than $300,000.  

Koch Industries PAC gave $5,000.  The Chicago Board Options Exchange PAC gave $5,000.  Independent Insurance Agents PAC gave $5,000.  New York Life Insurance PAC gave $5,000.  National Beer Wholesalers PAC gave $5,000.  The Boeing Company PAC gave $1,000.  The Turkish Coalition PAC gave $1,000.

Jeb Bush’s brand-new “Right to Rise” SuperPAC gave $5,200 — before the PAC was even two months old.

The Leadership PAC affiliated with House Speaker John Boehner gave $5,000, and Boehner’s campaign committee gave another $4,000.  The Leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave $5,000; his campaign gave another $4,000.  Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Leadership PAC gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling gave $5,000.  Ribble for Congress gave $1,000.  Latta for Congress gave $1,000.  Jeff Miller for Congress gave $1,000.  Andy Harris for Congress gave $1,000.  Rick Allen for Congress gave $1,000.  Friends of Sam Johnson gave $1,000.  Rep. John Kline’s Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  Rep. Steve Stivers’ Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  The Leadership PAC of Rep. John Shimkus gave $1,000.

And the list goes on, for almost 75 pages.

Sort of like “Go Fund Me” – except that the money is coming from special interests and Guinta’s fellow congressmen, who also have an interest in how he votes.

Given that list of donors, would Rep. Guinta consider fighting House Leadership over the latest raid on Medicare?  Or is he going to vote exactly how the Speaker wants him to?

What does Jeb Bush expect, in return for the SuperPAC contribution?

What does Koch Industries expect?  The Chicago options traders?  Boeing?  The Turkish Coalition?

And what can Guinta’s constituents expect, after the campaign solicited almost enough money to pay the cost of the FEC agreement?  

How many of these donors knew that the FEC agreement was coming?  

Solicit more campaign contributions, to meet the conditions of a campaign finance enforcement agreement.  It’s so ironic, it should be funny – except, it’s not.  It’s totally screwed up.

When politicians go begging to big money donors, everybody else loses.

That’s why two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

It’s why hundreds of people have been walking across the state with the New Hampshire Rebellion, drawing attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

It’s why tens of thousands of people across the country are legally stamping US currency with messages like “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  Get a stamp at StampStampede.org.  Stamp four bills each day for a year, and you’ll help convince a million people that it is possible to take our government back – if enough of us work together to do that.

It’s why small businesses are hosting Stamp Stampede stamping stations – more than 100 of them across New Hampshire – so their customers can stamp money and learn more about money in politics.

It’s why grandmothers and middle school students and people from every political persuasion are working together to reclaim our government from Big Money campaign donors.

Because when you read about a FEC enforcement action, you shouldn’t have to wonder whose money will be used to pay the fine, and what they’re going to expect in return.

And you really shouldn’t have to worry whether all the fundraising that happened, just before the agreement was signed, is going to do more damage to our democracy than the original violation.

 

The SEIU Pushes For Immigration Reform With Targeted TV Ads

Have you seen this?  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been pushing new immigration advertisements in key districts across the country.

Earlier this year the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill with bi-partisan, support yet the Speaker of the House John Boehner, wants nothing to do with it.  This has prompted new personalized advertisements from the SEIU and the AFL-CIO. (Click here for post on AFL-CIO immigration ads.)

“Our message to these House Republicans is clear,” said SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Saenz. “Enough talk – it is time for action. If Republican members support commonsense immigration reform, they must tell Speaker Boehner that that time is now to bring a bill to the floor for a vote that includes a pathway to citizenship.”

SEIU immigration rally _1The SEIU is calling out Congressional Representatives by names that are obstructing the pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.   The cable and broadcast television ads which started running last week in the districts of GOP Representatives Gary Miller (CA-31), Joe Heck (NV-3), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Rodney Davis (IL-13), David Joyce (OH-14), John Kline (MN-2) and Michael Grimm (NY-11). In addition, an ad directed at Speaker Boehner (OH-8) will run in the Washington, DC market.

The SEIU is not holding anything back in their drive to pass immigration reform.  The ad buy, in excess of $500,000, is in addition to the $2.5 million SEIU has already dedicated this year to paid media in a multi-pronged field and legislative campaign to pass commonsense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Immigration reform is not an issue that Republicans in swing districts can ignore. Recent polling of eight Republican congressional districts, commissioned by SEIU, shows that voters in swing districts are angry with their House members about the government shutdown. Further alienating their constituents is their inaction on immigration reform, something that is extremely popular across party lines. Polling also found that voters are more inclined to vote for their representatives in 2014 if they vote for commonsense immigration reform.

One year out from the mid-term elections, Speaker Boehner is putting members of his caucus at risk. Commonsense immigration reform is smart politics, good policy and the right thing to do,” said Saenz

The time for acting on immigration reform is now, and the labor movement has decided to throw down in a big way to make it happen,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.  “Every day, over 1,000 people are deported, while House Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship and workers’ rights.  We won’t stop until the deportation crisis ends and aspiring Americans have the roadmap to citizenship they deserve.”

When will the obstructionism in the House end? Will this do-nothing Congress get off their asses and pass immigration reforms that are supported by the majority of Americans?

About 71 percent of voters surveyed nationwide said they would back an immigration bill that contains the following provisions: border security, an expanded visa program for high-skilled workers and agricultural workers, an employment verification system, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children and legal status for immigrants in the United States illegally.” (Politico)

Only time will tell if the House Republicans will do what is good for our country and our economy, or just do what they are good at — absolutely nothing.

 

(View all of the SEIU Immigration ad here)

Politicians Thank Veterans For Their Service, Then Cut Programs To Feed Them

Hometown heroes volunteered and served lunch at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans May 5, 2010.  Photo Credit Cpl. Priscilla Sneden (USMC)

Hometown heroes volunteered and served lunch at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans May 5, 2010. Photo Credit Cpl. Priscilla Sneden (USMC)

This weekend we celebrate Veterans Day.  Veterans Day is the day when we all stop and thank the brave men and women, who stepped up to serve our country.  These men and women risked their lives to protect our freedom, and our way of life.  I would personally like to thank every veteran who chose to serve our country.

I am not the only one who is thanking veterans this weekend.  “Our veterans represent the very best of America,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.  “Today, and every day, we express our gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made, for the extraordinary example they’ve set, and for everything they’ve done to keep our country safe, prosperous, and free.

Last year Speaker John Boehner released a video message that said:

Saying ‘thank you’ is important, but there’s always more that we the people can do for those whose sacrifices preserved the heritage of freedom.

While he is saying ‘thank you’ to veterans, he is slapping them across the face at the same time. Speaker Boehner is leading the House of Representatives to starve nearly a million veterans.  The Republicans in the House pushed for billions of dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more commonly known as food stamps.

There is a well-known myth that people on food stamps are gaming the system.  Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) believes that the entire food stamp program is overrun with “fraud,”. “Absolute 100 percent, all of it is fraud. There’s fraud all through that,” Mullin said.

I wonder if Congressman Mullin’s opinion would change when he finds out that over 2,000 veterans in his state alone rely on food stamps to feed their families?

Accordingly to a report out this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, approximately 900,000 veterans are currently dependent, in whole or part, on food stamp benefits to care for their themselves and their families.” (Forbes 10/30/13)

The Huffington post also compiled the number of veterans who rely on food stamps and they came up with a different number.

According to data compiled by the Huffington Post, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP. The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help.” (Veterans Today)

I do not know which is worse; the fact that Congressional Republicans made cuts to a program that helps feed low-income families or the fact that over 900,000 veterans are dependent on food stamps?

It is disgusting and appalling that our veterans are paid such poverty wages that they cannot afford to live.  Our veterans are also coming back from their time in the service to find high unemployment.  Currently there is a 9% unemployment rate for Veterans, and higher for those Veterans who returned with disabilities.

Bryce Covert wrote on Think Progress:

Nearly one in 10 veterans with disabilities were without employment in 2010. They are also disproportionately likely to live in poverty and to be homeless. In 2010, nearly a million veterans ages 18 to 64 had experienced poverty over the past year. As of 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults was a veteran and more than four in ten homeless veterans were without shelter. They are therefore heavily impacted by cuts to the social safety net.”

This Veterans Day we need our politicians to stop talking how much they support veterans and actually do something to help our struggling vets.  We need to start by restoring the cuts made to the SNAP program. Then we need to work on lowering the unemployment rate for returning soldiers.

The government should be doing more to help transition these veterans into careers.  They could move right into a civilian government job like the Postal Service or Department of Transportation. The government could also mandate a percentage of veteran employees in private companies with defense contracts.

We as a nation should not sit idly by while our veterans are starving and living on the streets.  This Veterans Day take a moment to help a vet by calling your Congressman and telling them to restore the cuts to the SNAP programs and stop starving our veterans.

Homeless Veterans

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37 Attempts At A Repeal Of The ACA And Still No Jobs Bill

The fiscally responsible Republican party is always looking for ways to reduce government waste.  They search for any ‘fraud, waste and abuse’ inside the federal government in an effort to reduce the budget.  Even after they make statements about how we need to become more focused on jobs in Washington, they once again vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  This makes attempt number 37 for those counting.

“This vote was a waste of New Hampshire taxpayers’ time and money,”  Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said.

The act of voting on this repeal has already cost the taxpayers over 60 million dollars (37 votes times 1.75 million in cost per vote equal 64.75 million).  I wonder what 60 million dollars would do to help some of the programs the sequester is cutting.  In fact the money wasted on repealing the ACA is more than enough to cover the cuts made to the meals on wheels program (41 million).  I wonder if this $60 million would be enough to keep the 70,000 kids in the head start programs that they are being forced out of.

Wasting our time and money aside the ACA is a good start.  According to the White House, the ACA will help over 30 million Americans who do not already have healthcare.  Right now over 86 million Americans have added protections to their healthcare coverage thanks to the ACA.  They can no longer deny you for a pre-existing condition. They can no longer charge different amounts for women or men.  They have helped millions of seniors save an average of $600 a year by closing the prescription drug ‘donut hole’.  These are just of a few of the benefits we Americans are gaining thanks to the ACA.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster stated after the vote:

“I am extremely frustrated that House leadership is more interested in refighting old political battles than actually solving problems. Instead of wasting more time and money on another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, both parties should be focused on growing the economy, helping create jobs and opportunity, and strengthening the middle class.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter chastised the House leadership in her statement.  “Instead of voting 37 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans should listen to the American people who want Congress to help create jobs and end sequestration. Republican House Speaker John Boehner should stop political posturing and put a jobs bill on the floor.”

Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter are exactly right. They have voted 37 times to repeal the ACA and wasted 15% of their time in Washington in a futile attempt to repeal the law.

Congresswoman Kuster continued, “voting to undo these vital reforms will do nothing to improve our health care system, and only serves to reinforce peoples’ worst assumptions about Congress’s willingness to put politics ahead of middle class families.”

I want to see Congress do something to help the working families in America by pushing for a comprehensive jobs bill, not another repeal attempt.  Almost all of the people in Washington ran on creating new jobs and yet there has not been one vote on a jobs bill.  And you wonder why the Congressional approval rating is so low.

Less than a month to go! Republicans are chasing wild geese while the federal government heads toward default

Canadian GeeseThere’s less than one month to go until the federal government can’t fudge its debt limit anymore. Last week, the US Treasury announced it could run out of artificially-created “headroom” as soon as mid-February.

Ever since then, Republicans have been trying to turn the debt-limit headlines to their advantage. But if you look closely enough at these “wild goose chases”, they just show the growing distance between GOP rhetoric and the reality the rest of us are living in.

——————–

Their first idea? Wait things out. Then, once the Treasury runs out of headroom, just pick and choose which bills to pay. Or, in Republican-speak, “prioritize spending.” Their priorities, according to Reuters: pay the bondholders first; then pay Social Security and military salaries.

The first problem with this idea? The Treasury’s Inspector General has already told Congress that “prioritizing spending” is not – at this point in the crisis – actually possible.

Treasury noted that it makes more than 80 million payments per month, all of which have been authorized and appropriated by Congress… Treasury’s [accounting and computer] systems are designed to make each payment in the order it comes due.

In other words, the system simply isn’t set up to pay some bills and ignore others. How long would it take to completely restructure the federal government’s payment systems, in order to “prioritize” which bills get paid? Undoubtedly longer than the debt-limit “headroom” will last.

Second problem with this idea? How much money will it cost, to restructure the Treasury’s payment systems? Maybe some GOP campaign contributor would be the only IT vendor qualified to make those changes. But wouldn’t that money be better spent on other things?

Third problem with this idea? Stop and think about this, for a minute. Do we really want our country to stop paying its bills, even just some of its bills? Do we really want our country to fulfill its obligations to a select few, and ignore the rest? What would that say about America? (Maybe this is really the first problem with this idea. What are the Republicans thinking?)

——————–

So then, the Republicans went off to a retreat at the Kingsmill Resort in Virginia. (I’m guessing the GOP missed the irony in starting Martin Luther King Day weekend at a former slave plantation. Whatever happened to the Party of Abraham Lincoln?)

There, among three championship-caliber golf courses, GOP members announced their newest idea to deal with the debt limit crisis. The House GOP will concede to a three-month increase in the debt limit, but only if Congress passes a budget within those three months.

Peter PanOk, it’s starting to sound like Peter Pan’s “Neverland” here. Congress created the debt-limit crisis by approving spending but refusing to authorize the debt limit increase. Now the GOP wants to postpone that crisis by creating another crisis.

If nothing else, this really ought to draw attention to just how dysfunctional Congress has become in recent years. They’re answering one failure of Congress with another failure of Congress.

Yes, passing a budget is one of the Legislature’s most fundamental responsibilities. And yes, it has been years since Congress actually passed a federal budget. But isn’t it time to ask, why?

Think about the usual budget process (which is very similar to the way New Hampshire’s Legislature passes the state budget). Usually, the House passes a version of the budget. Then the Senate passes a version of the budget. Then a conference committee figures out a compromise between the two versions. Then the conference version goes back to the House and the Senate for an up-or-down vote.

Do you really think the House and Senate are going to be able to agree on a version of the budget in the next three months?  Congress has been at a stalemate for years.  The last Congress was the most unproductive Congress since they started keeping records.  [Want to know what they did manage to agree on? 17% of the bills that were actually passed involved naming post offices or other public buildings].

But now, after a few days’ “retreat” at a plantation-turned-resort, House GOP members think they’re going to be able to turn this situation to their advantage.

No word yet on whether this latest Republican goose-chase is going to amount to anything more than just weekend headlines.

——————–

Wondering what’s the latest on that “headroom”?

If you remember, our federal government hit the debt limit on December 31st, and the US Treasury started taking “extraordinary measures” to keep the country from defaulting on its obligations.

Smashed Piggy Bank RetirementLast week, the Treasury started starting paying government bills by using federal employee retirement funds to create “headroom” under the debt limit. The “G Fund” is a 401(k)-style retirement program with more than 3 million enrollees, including members of the military.

The law allowing retirement monies to be used to create “headroom” also promises to make members’ accounts “whole” after the crisis has passed. That’s what happened the last time there was a debt limit crisis, back in August 2011; and what happened after the debt-limit crises in 2006, 2004, 2003, and 2002. [Wait… am I just imagining there’s a correlation between debt-limit crises and the Bush-era tax cuts?]

But there’s no word on what happens if this particular debt-limit crisis isn’t solved.

And, no word on what happens if House Republicans decide they want to “reform” federal employees’ retirement benefits again.

———-

And yes, those unaffordable-but-Congressionally-mandated US Postal Service payments are part of the “extraordinary measures” the Treasury is now taking to keep our government from defaulting on our debt.

“The Postal Service would still have positive net revenue today except for … a requirement that Congress imposed on it in 2006. No other public or private business in America faces this onerous requirement.” Read the letter signed by 82 Members of Congress here.

——————–

One last word about Paul Ryan: he must truly be a special guy. Ordinarily, he would have been replaced as House Budget Committee Chairman this year because of GOP “term limits”. It looks like at least three other GOP Committee Chairs will lose their positions, but Speaker Boehner has already decided to give Chairman Ryan a waiver and allow him to stay on. Read more here.

US HOUSE: New Session, Same Tricks

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.

The GOP In The US House Once Again Go After Federal Workers Pay (AGAIN)

Federal Workers Are The Backbone Of The Federal Government Yet The House GOP Pushes Them Further Down.

Amid all the “Fiscal Cliff” debates an Executive Order came out lifting the pay freeze that has been on federal workers for two years now.  This means that after two long years of no pay increases, federal workers are finally going to get a pay raise.  How much are they going to get, you ask? A whopping .5%!  Thats right less than one percent.

For easy numbers, lets say the average federal salary is $50,000.  This .5% pay raise would add $250 spread out over the entire year.  The drawback is that when the President raises the wages of federal workers, Congress also gets a pay raise.  With this pay raise Congress will get a $900 pay raise.

I will be the first to say that Congress does not deserve a pay raise due to their lack of action, however the workers are way overdue in their pay raises.

Once again the US House wasted precious time on the floor to debate and vote on a bill to stop this .5% pay raise to all federal workers.  The bill (which as I write this has yet to have text available to the public) is titled “To prevent the 2013 pay adjustment for Members of Congress and persons holding other offices or positions in the Federal Government from being made”.  See how your Rep voted.    This is a colosal waste time since the Senate will end up killing the bill.  The leadership in the House could have used the time to pass the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill which has been waiting for a House vote for 66 days now.

Here is my suggestion.  Senator Reid should take this bill from the house and amend it.  Change the wording to say that CONGRESS should not get any raise this year.  Then calculate the savings from removing the Congressional Representatives from the pay raise and give that to the workers instead.

Throughout yesterdays debate, every Representative said they would vote yes on a bill that would freeze Congressional Pay, yet no one has introduced that yet.

If the GOP in the House want to keep playing games with the budget,  fine take it out of their pockets.  The workers have not seen a raise in over two years and given back over $100 billion due to pay freezes.  The most ridiculous part is that the federal workers are being lumped in with Congress and their inability to get anything done.  Yet the House GOP member (Fitzpatrick) who proposed this legislation was quick to point out that he encourages raises for the Military, just not the people in the Department Of Defense.

“While I will continue to protect and preserve pay increases for the men and women in the United States military, we must reject this unnecessary and inappropriate raise for Congress, the Administration and the federal bureaucracy.”

Our federal workforce is made up of dedicated public servants who have been working harder and harder every year with no added compensation. They government is hiring less workers to replace outgoing employees and still the US House wants more.

Stop using the federal workers as fodder in you political battle.

The Wealthy Have To Pay A Little More As We Avoid The Fiscal Cliff, or Did We?

Late last night Vice President Biden and  Senate Leaders worked out a deal to temporarily avoid the so-called Fiscal Cliff.  The plan was brokered after midnight even after the US House said there would be no vote on the Fiscal Cliff, and had basically given up on the idea of compromise.

The deal is good in many ways.  It permanently  secures the tax cuts for the middle class to avoid a huge jump in taxes for all Americans.  The biggest news is that the deal, which moves to the House today, includes a significant revenue increase.  For those who make more than $400,000 ($450,000 for couples) will see a 4% increase.

The bill also increases the rates on capitol gains taxes from 15% to 20%.   While this is not the rates and numbers that President Obama campaigned on however in a negotiation you have to give a little as well.

“This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way – by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.”
President Barack Obama 1-1-13

The proposed bill includes a “cap on personal exemptions and itemized deductions for income above $250,000, or $300,000 per household.”

Another fabulous part of this bill is that it extends the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Tuition Tax Credit for the next five years.  These are tax credits that are specifically designed to help the middle and lower class families.

For labor this bill is a huge win.  VP Biden included a one year extension of the unemployment insurance for more than two million Americans.  The UI helps those who are still struggling to find meaningful work, survive, while the economy is still recovering.

The big draw back to this agreement is that it does not solve the Debt Ceiling issue. As we all remember the House GOP held American’s hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and nearly shut the government down.  This also resulted in a downgrade of our national credit rating.  Early proposals of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations allowed the President to raise the Debt Ceiling without Congressional approval.

President Obama released this statement last night.

“There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it. But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.  And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down. “

This may not be all we wanted or what we have been fighting for, however we made some great advances.  We removed any Social Security cuts, and made positive changes to the Medicare program.

Now we all wait and see what the House does with the proposal.

Read the entire bill

UPDATED 1-2-13

Late in the night the US House passed the bill 257-167.  Only a handfull of Democrats opposed the bill however the Republicans opposed it.  Republicans voted 85 for to 151 against the bill, showing that only some were truly willing to do their jobs as elected leaders.  I applaud these 85 Republicans who help get this legislation through, including Lame Duck Congressman Charlie Bass.  Congressman Frank Guinta voted against it, showing that he is true to his “NO TAX” pledge and Tea Party politics.

See where your Congressional Reps voted.

The Magical Math of Boehner’s Congress: tax cuts don’t ‘cost’ anything

House Speaker John Boehner
Another thing to remember, as you’re watching the Fiscal Cliff standoff:

When John Boehner was first elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, he changed the Rules.

Yes, the actual Rules that the House uses to structure debate on pending legislation.

One of those changes tells you a lot about Boehner’s priorities.

Boehner decreed that the House would not consider any additional federal spending without an identified “offset”.  For example, in order to increase spending on Medicaid, the House would have to “offset” that spending through cuts to other programs (for example, by cutting Food Stamps).

BUT – Boehner decided that tax cuts would be exempt from this. Under Boehner’s Rules, Congress could pass any tax cut proposal without having to “offset” – or even consider! – the revenue cost of the legislation.  [And yes, the Bush tax cuts are specifically mentioned, and specifically exempted from any Congressional consideration of their cost.]

In other words, under Boehner’s Rules, Congress will not add a dime to the deficit through increased spending.

But Congress can increase the deficit by any amount, as long as the money is being “spent” on tax cuts.

Yes, for more than a decade, our country has been borrowing to pay for the Bush tax cuts.  And under Boehner’s Rules, Congress can increase the deficit as much as it wants – as long as the borrowed money is paying for tax cuts, not spending.

Boehner’s “Magical Math” sheds a different light on the Fiscal Cliff “negotiations”, doesn’t it?

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