July 17, 2013
Republicans cave over threat of "nuclear option"
It seems like every single headline coming out of the Senate this week has been some variation of that title, and the brinkmanship that nearly brought Majority Leader Reid to use the "nuclear option" (gutting the filibuster) against the GOP's obstructionism.
While the threat of filibuster reform was enough to move the GOP to end its filibuster on a few Executive Branch appointments, it wasn't enough to actually change the filibuster.
So who came out on top? Elizabeth Warren, that's who.
Richard Cordray of Ohio has finally been confirmed as the boss of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after a very protracted Senate fight to have him seated. The CFPB was created by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (usually just called Dodd-Frank), and Cordray's confirmation ends the 700 day GOP blockade.
How is Warren connected to the CFPB? She basically oversaw its creation and organization. Her work on it made her a widely popular choice to be nominated as the director, but she was ultimately rejected due to overwhelming Republican opposition (read: she scared the hell out of them).
Warren began her fight for the CFPB in 2009, a time when the Great Recession was tearing apart the economy. Now? She not only got the CFPB, but she was presiding over the Senate when Cordray's nomination passed. Talk about icing on the cake.
The fighting in the Senate was definitely a boost for progressives, but it left the filibuster unchanged. We got the CFPB, we got the nominations, but we still need comprehensive filibuster reform.
Economy and Jobs
July 10, 2013
First, check out this short video produced by John Boehner's office.
Straight from the horse's mouth: The House isn't going to do anything. You can see that Boehner is complaining about "real border security" at around 0:40 seconds, and sure, why not complain about that? If they really want a militarized border with 20,000 new border patrol agents, drones, radar, a hundreds of miles of new fences then maybe they should pass a bill that has that, unlike the Senate. I mean, it's not like their immigration bill would have any of that, right?
So wait, it's not enough that the Senate passed a bill with bipartisan support that militarizes the border with tens of thousands of agents and drones - I mean, really? Drones? If introducing what amounts to a new military the size of Ireland's standing army along the border isn't enough "border security," what would be?
The answer is, "Anything but the Senate." They could pass immigration reform that reintroduces the gold standard, outlaws marriage equality, and privatizes social security. Boehner simply wouldn't accept it as "good enough."
July 9, 2013
Thanks to CNN for the great piece
Do you agree?
Economy and Jobs
July 9, 2013
In the first 6 months of Obama's 2nd term, GOP obstruction has only allowed 15 bills to come to his desk for signing. When Reagan and Nixon had a split congress, they each had 60 or more in the same amount of time.
But in Obama's first term, a few might remember that the GOP's goal was to make him a one term president. From 2009-2013, here are a few of the standout filibusters that took place:
- H.R. 12 - Paycheck Fairness Act
- H.R. 448 - Elder Abuse Victims Act
- H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
- H.R. 515 - Radioactive Import Deterrence Act
- H.R. 549 - National Bombing Prevention Act
- H.R. 577 - Vision Care for Kids Act
- H.R. 626 - Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
- H.R. 1029 - Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act
- H.R. 1168 - Veterans Retraining Act
- H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
- H.R. 1293 - Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
- H.R. 1429 - Stop AIDS in Prison Act
- H.R. 5281 - DREAM Act
- S. 3985 - Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
- S. 3816 - Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
- S. 3369 - A bill to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs, and other entities
- S. 2237 - Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
- S. 2343 - Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
- S. 1660 - American Jobs Act of 2011
- S. 3457 - Veterans Jobs Corps Act
The GOP's use of the filibuster has taken on a new meaning than even 10 years ago. Its "proliferation," so to say, has been extremely obstructionist and in the cases listed above, used to force Obama to be a one term president.
July 8, 2013
Violence in Chicago may down by 27% compared to 2012, but what does that mean when the city marked it's 200th death from gun violence this year over Independence Day
12 lives were ended over the weekend with dozens more wounded in street crime. This includes a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old shot in separate incidents. The grizzly weekend was yet another reminded of the work that the government needs to do to curb gun violence, which the NRA believes can be done by discriminating against those with mental health problems.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said the ongoing violence underscored the need to pass legislation to reform gun laws.
What comes next? Quinn is working against the NRA's heavy influence in Illinois politics, and is ready for a "showdown" over the future of the state's gun laws.
So what separates Chicago from other cities? Its murder rate is traditionally higher than New York City, despite having a significantly lower population. Could it be a tradition of organized crime that dates back to the prohibition era?
Or could it be that it's just easier to get guns? The neighboring state of Indiana is very lax about gun laws, and New York City's criminal justice system was designed to get criminals off the streets during the crack epidemic. Cities like NYC and LA have the advantages of being removed from states that have easy-access to guns. Chicago doesn't have that privilege.
Chicago's system is starting to work though, picking up a racketeering law aimed at gangs that New York City's had for decades, but for a city that is only a fraction the size of New York City it has a long, long way to go.
Chicago's laws just aren't designed to handle violent gun crime.
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