House Republicans Block Bill To Pay The Healthcare For Ill 9/11 Responders

More common to the Senate, GOP obstruction spread to the House Thursday as Republicans blocked legislation to pay to care for those who have fallen ill due to their exposure to debris during the clean-up after the nation’s worst terrorist attack. The House voted 255 to 159 for H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, short of the two-thirds margin needed for passage for this bill. Some 155 Republicans voted against the legislation, which would provide medical monitoring and treatment to World Trade Center responders and survivors who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 16,000 responders and 2,700 others are currently sick and receiving treatment, according to … Continue reading

After Vote, Speaker Tells GOP: Stop Playing Politics With Border Security

The House Wednesday approved a standalone border-security spending bill in an attempt to overcome obstruction to an earlier attempt by Senate Republicans on a day when the issue of immigration was heating up. Lawmakers approved legislation authored by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) which would fund 1,700 new Customs and Border Patrol agents and officers to go to the Southwest U.S. border to address ongoing threats from Mexican drug cartels and improve operations at U.S. ports of entry. Total funding in the bill is $701 million, with $201 million of that total offset by cuts elsewhere in the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department budgets, according to a statement from Price’s office. Price is the chairman of the House Appropriations … Continue reading

Dems Slam Republican Senators For Hypocrisy Over DISCLOSE Act Filibuster

Angry Senate Democrats are calling out Republicans as hypocrites for obstructing a bill that would enhance the transparency of burgeoning special-interest spending on American elections. A united Senate GOP Tuesday mounted a successful filibuster of the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act, or DISCLOSE Act, which is intended to give Americans a window into the expected increase in corporate influence on elections coming as a result of the Supreme Court’s January Citizens United decision which swept away decades of bipartisan limits on special-interest election spending. Authored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the House approved the DISCLOSE Act a month ago. “Today, Senate Republicans once again voted to protect powerful … Continue reading

Pelosi Enlists ‘Most Eloquent, Persuasive Voices’ To Persuade GOP To Support Economic Aid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a direct appeal Monday to state lawmakers to convince Republican senators to drop their obstruction of initiatives aimed at shoring up state and local economies nationwide. Senate Democrats repeatedly attempted to pass legislation to provide federal subsidies to help states struggling with dramatic losses in a tax revenue, which in turn, threatens economic recovery nationwide, according to analysts. Specific provisions include so-called FMAP funding to help states support their Medicaid health programs, legislation aimed at preventing teacher layoffs, and a “comprehensive jobs bill,” Pelosi says. Despite GOP objection, Pelosi says Democrats’ legislation is “paid for,” in other words it would not add to the federal budget deficit or debt. Senate Republicans consistently upheld filibusters of … Continue reading

Senator Asks: Why Should We Trust BP’s Damage Assessment?

The federal government is relying too heavily on BP to help assess the damage the company itself has caused during the monster oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to to a Senate subcommittee chairman. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) expressed his concern in a letter last week in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ahead of a hearing the lawmaker intends to hold Tuesday within the Senate Environment and Public Work Committee’s water and wildlife subcommittee which he chairs. Specifically, Cardin worries about the role BP will play in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), a legal process that begins the process of holding BP responsible for the scope of the clean-up for three months of crude that … Continue reading

Shining the Light of The New Colossus Into Arizona

 Two things are assured this coming week. One is that Arizona will do its best to put into practice its controversial anti-immigration bill. The other is that a federal district court will rule whether that law is constitutional. The Arizona law requires all law enforcement officials who stop anyone for any reason to determine if that person may be an illegal resident. If the person can’t produce documentation, the police are required to detain the individual and to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The Arizona law is mostly based upon the fear by Arizonans that the state is being overrun by Hispanic illegals, and that the federal government isn’t curbing the problem. However, the Obama administration has increased both … Continue reading

Unemployment Benefits To Start Flowing Again, But Congress Left Some Economic Help Undone

Although unemployment benefits will once again start flowing to millions of jobless Americans, Congress failed to follow through on crucial pieces of their plans to aid the ailing economy. President Obama Thursday signed hard-fought legislation Thursday that extends the emergency unemployment compensation, or EUC, program and full federal funding of state extended benefits through November 27. Because the law is retroactive, eligible claimants now may be paid for weeks of unemployment after the previous law expired on June 5. Millions of out-of-work Americans had begun losing their unemployment benefits after the previous extension expired, causing even greater hardship for those looking for work and leaving many to face dire circumstances, such as homelessness. Republicans repeatedly blocked a new extension from … Continue reading