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Weekly GOP Address with Sen. Ron Johnson

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-01-2011

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It’s time for another Wisconsin post. The occasion this time is today’s Weekly GOP Address-it’s delivered by Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

For those of you who don’t know me, this is the first elective office I have ever sought or held. The reason I ran is simple and straightforward. We are bankrupting America, and I thought it was time for citizen legislators to come to Washington to help those individuals already here that are seriously facing that reality.

Welcome to Washington, senator.

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Marathon Pundit

A Human-Chilling Effect From Sen. Rand Paul’s Budget Ax

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-01-2011

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I suppressed a surge of panic upon reading Republican freshman Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill that would eliminate the Housing Urban Development agency.

HUD’s Section 8 housing rental assistance voucher program subsidizes about 75% of rental costs for 2.1 million Americans, mostly seniors, with incomes under $ 13,000, according to the agency’s website.

I’m one of those Americans.

In terms of what the end of the rental voucher program means, I can only attest to my personal dilemma which would be closely aligned to the mentally disturbed section of the military code with the same subtitle: Section 8.

To appreciate the scope of Sen. Paul’s austerity ax, I suggest a reading of this hud.gov recent assessment of the program which is one part of HUD’s $ 47 billion 2010 budget.

Paul’s assessment in a press release Jan. 25:

“By removing programs that are beyond the constitutional role of the federal government, such as education and housing, we are cutting nearly 40% of our projected deficit and removing the big-government bureaucrats who stand in the way of efficiency in our federal government.”

Paul’s bill would transfer to the Veterans Administration military vets who are on the HUD voucher program.

But the question arises for the rest of us facing eviction. The possibilities and cost in human toil are endless: homeless, charity shelters, pushing family ties to the breaking point, crowded freeway underpasses and suicide.

I am fortunate. I won’t go homeless. My family will help financially to see I have shelter. I will feel like a beggar. I suspect the bubble of my internal optimism will burst beyond redemption. But, I will survive.

One might ask why remorse if my family gets involved and not the feds. Because I paid my share of taxes to pay for it, fools.

Damn it, Sen. Paul. We are people. Some of us in Kentucky may have voted for you. But for my entire life I have fought against bureaucrats you seem to despise and now you are pulling the same callous deed they tried by turning me into a number on a ledger sheet.

Sir, how dare you erase us.

Sorry. I seldom rant.

Now the politics. Paul said his aim is removing the “big-government bureaucrats who stand in the way of efficiency in our federal government.”

Speaking only for the bureaucrats who run the HUD program in Riverside County, Calif., my experience is they are courteous, and efficient to a degree of finding any excuse not to approve you and if they did, enforce the litany of expulsion rules to the letter. They send a compliance officer once a year for inspection but lack the manpower to respond to complaints unless a landowner and the unlikely prospects of anyone else files a complaint against the tenants. Of all the fed, state, county and city bureaucracies I have encountered, HUD tops the list as best at administering their responsibilities.

I include myself in the phalanx of critics of conservatives, especially the new Tea Party contingent, that their thirst to limit government and cut spending is shallow and devoid of human consequences.

It’s what Newt Gingrich said about Sarah Palin: She ought to think it through before opening her mouth and spout those adorable soundbites the media rushes into the print and air spaces.

That includes their hypocrisy. Unlike Sen. Paul, most of the newly elected group is evasive on specific spending program cuts. They prefer not to ax the very programs favored by their constituents. They crank up the chainsaw for those they perceive do them no harm such as unions and trial lawyers and other do-gooders who have milked our entitlement programs for years. In their minds.

I also am a realist. A pragmatist. Basically a fiscal conservative at heart. I recognize the necessity to limit government spending, especially the built-in waste that always manifests.

I’m also honest to admit I do not want a government program totally obliterated because I’m a personal beneficiary. Tweak or reduce it, yes. Killing it is inhumane.

I also recognize the political dynamics of Congress. Sen. Paul’s bill, before amendments assuming it gets a hearing, is too Draconian and stands virtually no chance of traveling further than the closest dumpster.

Our nation cannot afford to sustain the massive debt we now face and it will get only worse as interest rates on our borrowing will double this year and multiply the following years taking us over the financial global cliff as it almost has done in Greece and Ireland.

I could say the Bush administration were the bad guys by borrowing to pay for senior drugs in the Medicare program, two wars and god knows what else. But that trend preceded Bush by about 10 previous administrations and climbed to a $ 14 trillion debt with programs now enacted by the Obama regime.

We cut spending. The issue is where so it doesn’t spread from a financial crises to one of humanitarian disasters as we see in Haiti for different reasons.

Forgive me for this painful reminder to those who still worship at the feet of Ronald Reagan. Among his fiscal legacy, he did raise taxes and the moribund economy eventually rebounded.

Taxes? Perish the thought, my conservative friends decree.

The gospel according to Sen. Paul and his band of merry followers is to render a couple of million Americans homeless so we can pay China.

It reminds me of the movie “The Candidate” in which Robert Redford’s campaign slogan was “There Has To Be A Better Way.” The problem for his character asked after winning the election was “what do we do now?”

Our spending spree has ebbed and flowed since the FDR administration nearly a century ago. A rush to judgment to fix it in two years might leave a contrail worse than already exists or even forecast.

(Photo courtesy AOL)

The Moderate Voice

Senate Judiciary Committee to seat Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Lee (R-UT)

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-01-2011

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Point of Law has some good links on these assignments.  Among the observations:

A left-wing ideologue who has used the power of his office to spread largesse to cronies, Blumenthal was rated the nation’s worst attorney general in our January 2007 ratings. Blumenthal has not gotten any better since then, but the competition for worst AG seems to have gotten fiercer.

As for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Tea Party favorite, he’s already coming under attack for his constitutional views. (See Think Progress, “GOP Puts Guy Who Thinks Federal Child Labor Laws Are Unconstitutional On Senate Judiciary Committee .”) Daniel Foster at National Review Online comments: “This is going to be good. Lee’s a J.D. from Brigham Young and twice clerked for Samuel Alito, once on the Third Circuit and again on the Supreme Court. He also killed at the Federalist Society last year.”

I’ve met Lee.  Serious, intelligent, conservative.  Glad he’s there.

Read the rest here.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Exclusive interview with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): $500 billion now, Social Security next

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 27-01-2011

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I just completed an interview (along with a few more bloggers) with Sen. Rand Paul.  The initial focus was his bill to eliminate $ 500 billion in federal spending in the next year alone. Details on his proposal are here.  Department of Energy – gone.  Department of Education – a shadow of its present self.  Good stuff.

He’s not stopping there.  He’ll have a proposal for both Medicare and Social Security in about two weeks.  The focus seems to be raising the age for younger Americans to avoid drastic increases in contribution rates.  Those under 55, he said, have time to prepare for a few extra years before SS kicks in.  I’ll talk to him further about that – I’ll be 52 in a few weeks.

In my second question, I asked about coal and the new regs being written right now.  My source data is here and here.

Catch the full audio here.  Runs about 25 minutes.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Sen. Graham: We Need to Act Like U.S. Troops And Raise The Social Security Retirement Age

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 26-01-2011

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama called on lawmakers to “find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations” without cutting much-needed benefits or privatizing the program. Unhappy with such constraints, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) voiced the GOP perspective: “everything” — including slashing benefits — “should be on the table.”

The GOP’s latest scheme is to raise the retirement age which, as the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo notes, “is essentially the most regressive change would-be Social Security reformers could make.” More galling than the detrimental policy is the outlandish rationalization behind it. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) believes, if we ignore low-income earners and middle-class retirees “who don’t believe in shared sacrifice,” then raising the retirement age is “painless.” Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) falsely claimed that all Americans are living longer,and even argued that young people will start living to 100 “by replacing body parts like we do tires.” Flaunting his knack for delusion, Cantor said that if “we do not do something” to raise the age, Social Security will cease to exist.

But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a long-time proponent who was recently targeted in a TV ad for his position, offered a more innovative reason to raise the age: that’s what the troops would do. Speaking at the Atlantic’s post-State of the Union event today about his recent trip to Afghanistan, Graham said that if lawmakers would “act in accordance with the way” the troops serve in war, then Congress would raise the retirement age from 67 to 69:

GRAHAM: I would give anything if the United States Congress for one month could act in accordance with the way our men and women are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know what to do on Social Security. I’ve put on the table adjusting the age from 67 to 69. There’s an ad running in South Carolina right now from some group on the left with a 59-year-old librarian saying I’m ruining her life. Well let me tell you, under the proposal, changes don’t affect you if you’re over 55. So I’m a reasonable guy. But how the heck can we save this country from bankruptcy if we don’t reform entitlements? …You will never convince me that that is hard sell if we wanted to sell it. So what the president said last night — “I’m willing to work with you but you can’t affect anybody’s benefits” — that’s telling me he’s planning a 2012 campaign not a 2011 governing session.

So I’m going to offer to the president and to Rand Paul, which is a wide spectrum of people, an opportunity to make a small down payment on entitlement reform by introducing legislation soon that would adjust the age the way Reagan and O’Neill did — 67 to 69 — over decades and a reasonable means test on benefits as a down payment to getting our entitlement house in order. And they can run all the commercials they want. It does not matter…I know what I need to do to help my country. And these young men and women know what they need to do in Iraq to make us safe.

Watch it:

Committed to his new-found warrior mission, Graham is willing to hold raising the debt ceiling hostage unless Congress raises the retirement age and means tests Social Security — a strategy he himself admitted would bring “collapse and calamity throughout the world.”

Such myopia would not only wreak havoc on the entire economy, but would cut $ 35,419-worth in benefits for the average retiree, would exacerbate income inequality, and woulddisproportionately affect low-income earners whose life expectancies have stagnated in the past three decades.” Indeed, as Garofalo points out, the raising life expectancy argument ignores the fact that life expectancy gains have almost entirely benefited wealthy workers. Ultimately, if this kind of inequality continues, raising the retirement age would mean that “those born in 1973 and after having a shorter retirement than those born in 1912.”

This is predominantly the reason why 70 percent of Americans oppose raising the retirement age and why over 100 House Democrats have signed a letter opposing the detrimental policy. But Graham follows a different logic: if the troops are fighting in Afghanistan, lawmakers need to raise the retirement age — no matter what the cost.


GOP Sen. Dick Lugar Chides Tea Party Movement For Offering Only ‘Cliché’ And No ‘Specifics’

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 26-01-2011

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Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has been one of the few GOP lawmakers willing to make good faith efforts to work with President Obama, especially on foreign policy issues. Most recently, Lugar aggressively lobbied to pass the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and didn’t hesitate to call out members of his own party who spread misinformation about the treaty.

Lugar’s moderate stances and cooperation with the White House have earned him scorn from many conservatives, and tea party activists in Indiana are gearing up to field a primary challenger against Lugar in 2012. The senator has said he is ready for a challenge from his right, and this week, Lugar seemed to increase such a possibility by taking an opening shot at the tea party. As quoted by US News, Lugar said the conservative activists are “unhappy about life in America,” but traffic only in “cliché” and “are not able to articulate all the specifics”:

“I think there are a great number of Americans, not just in Indiana, who are genuinely angry about how things have turned out for them. Sometimes they are unemployed or they have family members who have been unemployed or they are in situations in which they feel a heavy governmental restriction of their activities. In essence, they are unhappy about life in America and they want to express themselves.”

Lugar says most just want to be heard, but really can’t focus on what’s bugging them. “We want this or that stopped or there is spending, big government—these are all, we would say, sort of large cliché titles, but they are not able to articulate all the specifics,” he says.

Lugar’s comments are a significant break from the typical Republican approach to the tea party, which is to embrace the movement with open arms and defend it vigorously against any and all criticism.

A group of over 70 Indiana tea party groups are planning to meet soon to choose a consensus candidate to challenge Lugar, and have already narrowed it down to two names. “After thirty years or so many years is it a sense of duty to the country or oneself?” tea party organizer Greg Fettig said of Lugar. “He’s outside what the mainstream conservative wing wants him to do,” Fettig added.

In November, former Missouri GOP senator John Danforth warned, “If Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”


Politico: Sen. Joe Lieberman Will Push For School Vouchers In Washington, D.C. With GOP House Speaker Boehner

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 26-01-2011

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U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has pushed for school vouchers in various forms for years.

In the latest version, he is joining with the top Republican in Congress – House Speaker John Boehner – to push for vouchers for children in the Washington, D.C. public schools.

Vouchers have been highly controversial for years as supporters say they help children who are trying to learn in poorly performing public schools and detractors say that they drain some of the best students away from the public schools.

Capitol Watch

Broward Sen. Nan Rich blasts Gov. Rick Scott over redistricting move

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 26-01-2011

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Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, blasted Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday afternoon for a move she said is thwarting the voters’ will on redistricting reform.

“The governor needs to remember that only 48 percent of Floridians voted for his candidacy. The Fair Districts Amendments 5 and 6 passed with 63 percent of the votes cast. If the governor is looking for a mandate, it is undoubtedly the voters’ overwhelming desire to end the ability of lawmakers to draw their district boundaries to their own benefit or that of their party. Clearly, 63 percent of Floridians have had enough of those shenanigans.

“For the governor to shun the will of the majority is unconscionable. For him now to hide behind his ill-advised executive order is absurd. The decision to freeze regulations and contracts has already unleashed a nightmare for those businesses and Floridians eager to ‘get to work.’ Apparently, shutting down jobs was not enough; now he’s shutting down the voice of the people.

“Just as he heeded my call to unfreeze the transportation contracts already in the pipeline, I urge Governor Scott to rethink this latest misstep. It’s time to get to work on the real mandate.”

The Scott administration’s move deals with redistricting reform passed last year by Florida Voters.

The amendment, added to the state Constitution in November by the voters, is aimed at reducing political gamesmanship when congressional, state Senate and state House districts are redrawn to reflect population changes uncovered in the every-10-years census.

The party in power invariably draws districts to give it advantages and hurt the minority party.

Under former Gov. Charlie Crist, the state had submitted regulations to the U.S. Department of Justice. Scott’s adminstration withdrew those regulations.

Earlier, the former president of the Palm Beach County League of Women voters blasted the move.

Broward Politics

Sen. John Barrasso rips BP Oil Spill Commission

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 26-01-2011

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Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

I’m watching the State of the Union address-already the president is talking up green jobs-and he say we wants to do away with subsidies for oil companies.

Earlier today, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) slammed Obama’as BP Oil Spill Commission as being stacked with anti-drilling activists.

Barrasso has been busy lately, in addition to giving the GOP Weekly Address on Saturday, he wrote an op-ed for CNBC:

Under the cover of creating green jobs, Washington has increased the cost of traditional energy. They’ve done it through politically motivated drilling moratoriums, limiting access to American energy, and imposing costly regulations aimed at trying to control the world’s climate. These policies show us that when the president says that he wants to make alternative energy the cheapest form of energy, he doesn’t want to make alternative energy cheaper. He wants to make all other energy more expensive. We need to make America’s energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising prices on American families.

And he appeared on CNBC yesterday too.

The oil and gas industries are major employers.

Related post:

Weekly GOP Address with Sen. John Barrasso

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Marathon Pundit

Sen. Paul Naively Claims We Need To Raise Retirement Age Because ‘We’re All Living Longer’

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-01-2011

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There is a growing consensus among much of the conservative political elite that there should be major regressive changes to Social Security, like cutting back on benefits and/or raising the retirement age. Endorsing this approach, Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) will soon release legislation that would involve raising the retirement age to 69. A number of high-profile Republicans have endorsed this call to raise the retirement age. Here is a list of just some of these major right-wing figures who are calling for these regressive cuts:

– House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): “We’re all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected,” Boehner told “the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,” justifying his call to eventually raise the retirement age to 70. [6/28/10]

– Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA): In an address to the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Isakson advocated for raising the retirement age, saying that it would “painlessly” change the program. [1/24/11]

– Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): The Alabaman senator said it would be a “positive thing” if the retirement age was raised because it would prolong the solvency of the Social Security program. [1/13/11]

– Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN): Daniels ridiculously said that we should raise the retirement age because technology is going to enable us all to “live to be more than 100.” [1/5/11]

– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Graham is so supportive of “adjusting the age” where people can get Social Security benefits that he publicly threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling and risk a government shutdown in order to enact the change. [1/3/11]

– House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): Cantor sensationally claimed that if “we do not do something to extend [the] retirement age,” the Social Security program will cease to exist. [11/22/10]

– Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): Coburn said on Morning Joe this morning that the “easy solution” to future funding difficulties in the Social Security program is to raise the retirement age. [1/25/11]

This morning, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on CNN’s American Morning and echoed Boehner’s comments about how we should raise the retirement age because life expectancy is increasing. Paul explained that he could fix any future shortfalls in Social Security with a “one page long” bill that would raise the Social Security age by three years over 36 years. He justified this by explaining that “we’re all living longer lives” and that we as a “society can handle that”:

PAUL: We do have seperate plans for reforming specifically Social Security. You can fix the Social Security shortfall by raising the age by one month every year. So it will take 36 years to raise the Social Security age three years. I think we as a society can handle that. It fixes most of the problem. The bill can be one page long. We raise the age by one month every year. That’s what we did in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan passed Social Security reform. If you do that, you fix the majority of the problem. We’re all living longer lives, and I think the American people now, more than any other time, are ready to face this problem. With the Baby Boomers retiring we can fix the problem while raising the age gradually.

Watch it:

The problem with Paul’s and Boehner’s justification for raising the retirement age — that we are all living longer, thus we can easily retire later — is that it simply isn’t true. While it’s correct that life expectancy has improved over the years, most of these life expectancy gains have gone exclusively to upper-income Americans who work white-collar jobs that are not physically strenuous. As the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) puts it, “there has been a sharp rise in inequality in life expectancy by income over the last three decades that mirrors the growth in inequality in income.” CEPR demonstrates this inequality in gains in life expectancy with the following graph:

So raising the retirement age would simply not cost us all equally. The “nearly half of workers over the age of 58 work at jobs that are either physically demanding or involve difficult work conditions” would be forced to work longer and get less years of retirement before they passed away. The American people realize this, and that is why poll after poll shows that the vast majority of them are opposed to raising the retirement age.


SOTU guests include Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a CT dairy farmer, the CEO of Xerox, a teachers union exec and Sen. Blumenthal’s son

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-01-2011

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U.S. Rep. John Larson is bringing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to tomorrow night’s State of the Union address.
Given the topic of President Obama’s speech — job creation and American competitiveness — Larson said it was only fitting that Malloy attend.

“President Obama will present our nation’s agenda for creating jobs and a plan for us to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” Larson said in a press release announcing his guest. “Strengthening our economy and bolstering competitiveness are goals, both myself and Gov. Malloy, believe are needed to secure our state’s prosperity. We face challenges nationally and at home, however with common ground with our President and a strong partnership with our Governor, I am confident that we will succeed now and win in the future.”

Tradition dictates that members of Congress bring a special guest or distinguished constituent to Washington to hear the president’s annual address.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, attending his first SOTU address as a sitting senator, will bring his oldest son, Matthew, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy has invited John Yrchik, who lives in Murphy’s hometown of Cheshire. Yrchik is executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, which represents 41,000 educators in the state.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney is bringing Robin Chesmer, a dairy farmer and one of the founders of the Farmers Cow collective.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s spokeswoman, Kaelan Richards, said she had no information on who – if anyone – the 3rd District congresswoman was taking to the speech. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman also did not provide information about the senator’s guest. And the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The congressional invitees aren’t the only Connecticut residents attending tomorrow’s speech: Ursula M. Burns of Norwalk, the CEO of Xerox Corp., is sitting in First Michelle Obama’s box.

According to the White House, Burns is helping to lead the administration’s campaign to improve science, technology, engineering and math education. She also serves on the board of Change the Equation, a coalition of CEOs focused on science and math education. And she was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council last March.




Capitol Watch

Sen. Isakson: Raising The Retirement Age ‘Painlessly’ Reforms Social Security

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-01-2011

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In an address to the Cobb Country Chamber of Commerce today, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) called one of the most regressive changes that could be made to Social Security — raising the retirement age — a painless fix for keeping the program solvent in the long-term:

The deficit commission said, you know, if you just change [the retirement age] and by the year 2075 you make that 69 years for the eligibility age and you take the cap and raise the cap by five percent on the taxable income that you apply to the payroll tax, you save Social Security. Now there are people, interest groups that are out there, who don’t believe in shared sacrifice, are already saying that destroys Social Security. It doesn’t destroy it, it saves itSocial Security is fixable, actuarially and painlessly.

Watch it:

Contrary to Isakson’s assertion, an increase in the retirement age would actually be quite painful for many Americans. Raising the retirement age would cut benefits for middle-class retirees, exasperate income inequality and disproportionately affect low-income earners whose life expectancies have stagnated in the past three decades (as changes in life expectancy have largely mirrored changes in income inequality).

Yet Isakson and other Republican leaders such as Govs. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Mitch Daniels (R-IN) have enthusiastically endorsed raising the retirement age while ignoring its impact on low-income workers. Isakson’s other proposed reform — raising the cap on taxable income for Social Security — would be a much more progressive and effective change that would help the program keep paying full benefits for the next 75 years. Even with no changes, Social Security will pay full benefits until 2037 and close to full benefits for decades after that.

Isakson — the 46th richest member of Congress — even went as far to call opponents of raising the retirement age “interest groups who don’t believe in shared sacrifice.” Yet recent polling has shown strong support even among Tea Party members for raising the income cap rather than cutting benefits.

Kevin Donohoe

Wonk Room

Sen. Mike Lee Says That Dialing Down Violent Political Rhetoric Means ‘The Shooter Wins’

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-01-2011

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In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, politicians from both sides of the aisle have called for a more civil discourse in our political debate. On CBS’s Face the Nation this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “There is a lack of respect in our dialogue. … We shouldn’t mistake passion for advocacy. In other words, passion is necessary in this debate that we’re having, but we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t spill over into personal attacks and impugning people’s character or patriotism.”

On ABC’s This Week, new Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) struck a different tone. He argued that restraining violent rhetoric — such as invoking “job-killing” during the health care repeal effort — would be unwise because it means “the shooter wins”:

The shooter wins if we, who’ve been elected, change what we do just because of what he did.

Watch it:

Lee’s argument is disingenuous because it suggests that lawmakers shouldn’t reflect on whether the shooting incident highlights any real need for political change. In fact, lawmakers should consider whether to curtail the ability of gun owners to purchase high-capacity magazine clips.

The Washington Post reported this weekend that the expiration of the ban on high-capacity magazine clips since 2004 has led to a proliferation of those weapons being seized by police in the course of investigations. “Last year in Virginia, guns with high-capacity magazines amounted to 22 percent of the weapons recovered and reported by police. In 2004, when the ban expired, the rate had reached a low of 10 percent. In each year since then, the rate has gone up.”

Who “wins” when there’s more weapons of mass casualty on the streets?


Reaction from Connecticut and around the nation on Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s impending retirement

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-01-2011

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“Joe has spent four decades fighting for what he believes in on behalf of the people of Connecticut.  From cracking down on polluters and deadbeat dads as Connecticut’s Attorney General to his years of work defending our nation’s security on the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees to his relentless efforts in recent months to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, his work has touched countless lives in his home state and across the country.  Even if we don’t always see eye to eye, I always know Joe is coming from a place of principle.”

-President Obama

“Joe Lieberman has been a dedicated public servant for more than three decades. Over the next two years, I look forward to working with him, and people from across the state, to help Connecticut by creating more jobs and continuing to grow our economy.”
-Sen. Richard Blumenthal

“On behalf of the residents and the elected and appointed officials of the City of Hartford, I want to thank Senator Lieberman for his decades of service to our community, state, and country.  Federal dollars coming to Hartford for Homeland Security measures and our Public Safety Complex have been instrumental.  The end of his term will mark the end of an era in Connecticut politics.” 

-Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra

It’s amazing how quickly he’s moved into the realm of irrelevancy. Yeah, he’ll be a thorn on the side of Senate Dems for the next year and a half, and yes, he’ll be obnoxious on Fox News after his term is up. But I just don’t care anymore.”

Markos Moulitsas, the Daily Kos

Senator Lieberman’s career in public service is one for this history books.  As a state legislator, Attorney General, and U.S. Senator, Joe has done so much for our state.  While there have been times that I and other Democrats have disagreed with Senator Lieberman, I know that he followed his heart in everything he did.  I congratulate him on his retirement from public service.”

-U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy

“His 40-year body of work is replete with Democratic successes, the most recent of which was his leadership on the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As Democratic Party Chairwoman, I wish him the best in his future endeavors, and as a lifelong Democratic activist, I thank him for all that he has done for our state and our country.

-State Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo

Sen. Lieberman was a proud liberal and he supported many policies that Republicans strongly oppose – cap and trade, Obamacare and tax policy. But you always knew where Sen. Lieberman stood and he tried to be bipartisan in the process.”

-State Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy

“This is a great loss for the state and the nation, not only in service and experience, but in terms of tone, temperament and humor. Senator Lieberman has always kept the best interests of Americans in his mind and in his heart. Coming on the heels of the retirement of Senator Chris Dodd, today’s announcement will leave a huge experience gap in both Connecticut and the U.S. Senate.”

-U.S. Rep. John Larson

Joe Lieberman took millions from insurance companies, Wall Street banks, and other corporate interests – and then did their dirty work in Congress, including killing the public option. As a result, Lieberman’s poll numbers were disastrous in Connecticut. His decision to quit in the face of assured defeat is a huge victory for the progressive movement and all Americans who want Democrats to put regular families ahead of corporate interests.” 

-Keauna Gregory, Progressive Change Campaign Committee

“I wish Senator Joe Lieberman and his family all the best. Although we disagreed on certain issues, I have deep respect for his decades of public service.” 

-Former Secretary of the State and candidate for U.S. Senate Susan Bysiewicz

Of all the horrible things Joe Lieberman has done in his hideous career, depriving everyone of the joy at seeing him lose is near the top”

-Glenn Greenwald of Salon (via Twitter)

When you’ve worked in politics for as long as Joe and I have, you very rarely come across the kind of person who is never afraid to tell you where he stands – no matter the polling or the popularity of the issue at hand. I have never had to wonder where Joe stands or in what he believes. His body of work across his time in public service is to be commended, and in his retirement, Connecticut is losing an effective voice on its behalf.”

-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

For 22 years, Joe Lieberman has been an independent voice for the people of Connecticut and has served in the Senate with distinction. Democrats will win this seat next November. Connecticut is one of the few states in the country that withstood fierce Republican headwinds last cycle. With President Obama at the top of the ticket and a galvanized Democratic electorate, this seat will stay Democratic in 2012.”

-Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray

Capitol Watch

Weekly GOP Address with Sen. John Barrasso

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 22-01-2011

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There are three doctors serving in the US Senate-all of them are Republicans. John Barrasso of Wyoming, one of the three, gives today’s Weekly GOP Address.

The good doctor talks about appealing ObamaCare:

As a doctor, I have taken care of families for over a quarter of a century. I know that this law is bad for patients, it’s bad for providers — the nurses and the doctors who care for those patients — and it’s bad for taxpayers…. Your health care decisions should be decided in your doctor’s office — not a Washington office. Nothing should come between you and your doctor…. Republicans will fight to repeal this job-destroying law and replace it with patient centered reforms.

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