02 Apr

Sunlight Foundation – House Violates 72 Hour Pledge Again

Two weeks ago the House of Representatives violated a pledge made by Speaker John Boehner to provide a 72 hour window for all legislation to be viewed by the public before it is brought to the floor for debate by voting on a bill to defund National Public Radio. Today, the House majority is again violating that pledge by voting on the Government Shutdown Prevention Act.

The Government Shutdown Prevention Act, a bill that deems the budget cutting bill passed by the House earlier this year to have passed Congress without the Senate’s assent, was introduced on March 30 at 1:13 pm. At the present moment, this bill has not been available for even 48 hours.

The House majority sent the bill to be approved for floor debate by the House Rules Committee under emergency rules. The NPR defunding bill was also considered by the House Rules Committee in an emergency session.

It’s worrying that the majority would repeatedly evade a pledge that they made to the American people to make the House a more transparent body. It is especially worrying that the majority would do this on two votes that are clearly not emergencies.

How was the defunding of National Public Radio an emergency requiring the circumvention of normal Rules Committee procedures and the 72 hour pledge? The current Continuing Resolution to fund the government expires on April 8. Why can’t the majority wait until Monday to vote on this bill?

The 72 hour rule is needed to give the public not only a chance to read the bills, but a chance to voice their opinion. This is especially important when bills are crafted and pushed forwards for political purposes. The public needs to be involved, but the majority is blocking that involvement for nothing other than the pursuit of quick political wins and message control. This is very disturbing.

via Sunlight Foundation – House Violates 72 Hour Pledge Again. De-funding a valuable public resource and usurping democracy, all emergencies and all in a days work for Republicans. Side note: totally in favor of the 72 hour pledge, it’s a great rule for transparency within the government.

09 Jan

FactCheck.org – A ‘Job-Killing’ Law?

Attaching misleading labels to legislation is a well-worn tactic in Washington. Conservatives got rid of most of the estate tax after labeling it a "death tax," as though it taxed death instead of multimillion-dollar fortunes. And liberals once won passage of an "assault weapons ban" that didn’t really ban fully automatic military assault rifles, which were already illegal for civilians to own without a very-hard-to-get federal license. Now House Republicans are seeking to repeal what they call "Obamacare: A budget-busting, job-killing health care law." That’s the title of a study issued by the House Republican leadership Jan. 6.

And the GOP is clearly pushing the "job-killer" claim. House Speaker John Boehner used the phrase "job-killing" to describe the health care law seven times on Thursday in a press conference that lasted less than 14 minutes — that’s once every 2 minutes. He also used the phrases "destroy jobs" and "destroying jobs" once each when talking about the law. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Republicans named their bill to repeal the health care law: "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act."

But is the health care law really "job-killing" as claimed? We find that to be another case of exaggerated and misleading labeling.

via FactCheck.org – A ‘Job-Killing’ Law?. Let’s see misrepresents the CBO report, ignores the CBO report in other parts, yep totally valid criticisms Republicans.

08 Jan

NPR – Congresswoman, 6 Others, Killed By Gunman

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office confirms. The 40-year-old Democrat was outside a Tucson grocery store when a gunman ran up and began firing indiscriminately. The suspect was taken into police custody.

The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

via NPR – Congresswoman, 6 Others, Killed By Gunman. I may be over-reacting but in this case it looks like the suspect was targeting the Congresswoman for a political assassination. If true, this is not a healthy attitude for anyone. Political disagreements should never be resolved through violence.

This was also one of the House Democrats that Sarah Palin through SarahPac “targeted” with croshairs over their district: http://twitpic.com/3o7cti. Also Sarah Palin is reportedly deleting posts that carried this rhetoric, which is a little silly the internet always remembers and deleting her copies doesn’t delete everyone else who reported on it, etc.

Update: Sharron Angle former Republican candidate who went up against Senator Harry Reid, who claimed that if things don’t work out at the “ballot box” Americans should turn to a “Second Ammedment remedy”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU9GXil9Vm8

Update 2: Rep. Giffords was not killed today, at least as of writing, she was however severely wounded and is in critical condition.

03 Jan

The New Yorker – Sorting out the Senate

In the nineteenth century, filibusters were rarer than visible comets. For most of the twentieth, they were still rare—about as frequent as solar eclipses—and reserved for special occasions, such as killing civil-rights bills. Now they and their bastard offspring, the secret “holds” that allow a single senator to pigeonhole a bill or a nomination, are as common as sunsets—and as destructive as tsunamis. It is taken for granted that without the support of sixty of the hundred senators, the number needed to invoke “cloture,” nothing emerges from the Senate alive. The minority can’t quite rule, exactly, but it can, and does, use the rules to ruin. Even when something does get through, the marginal cost of that fifty-ninth or sixtieth vote is severe. In the absence of the filibuster, the health-care law would offer a public alternative to private insurance, the financial reform would be strong enough to close off the likelihood of another meltdown, and the very rich (and their heirs) would pay something closer to their fair share of taxes. Nearly two hundred qualified nominees for executive and judicial offices would be on the job instead of in limbo. And a climate-and-energy bill, a bill to require corporations to be open about their political spending, the DREAM Act, and dozens of other worthy measures—all of which passed the House and had majority support in the Senate—would now be the law of the land.

via The New Yorker – Sorting out the Senate. In Congress it isn’t majority rule, it’s super-majority rule.