Think Tank: Deficit Reduction Should Not Increase Poverty and Hardship

As President Obama and lawmakers of both parties continue to joust over continued federal deficit reduction, they must adhere to a principle that such reductions should not increase poverty or further erode the nation’s safety net, according to a group of analysts at a prominent Washington think tank. “If policymakers heavily target programs that serve vulnerable Americans, they will run the risk of increasing poverty and hardship and reducing opportunity for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, limiting their future educational and employment prospects,” say analysts from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “If, however, policymakers take a more balanced approach to deficit reduction, one that includes adequate new revenues to complement additional spending cuts, they … Continue reading

Democrat Harry Reid Extols Rand Paul’s Talking Filibuster

There isn’t much on which Harry Reid and Rand Paul can agree, but after tea party Republican Paul spent 12 hours on the Senate floor filibustering President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, the chamber’s top Democrat appreciates Paul’s willingness to step up to actually engage in a talking filibuster. Too often, Republican senators filibuster only by threat of cloture vote, or the procedural need to reach 60 votes just to put a bill to a final vote, says Reid, Senate majority leader. On the same day that Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, chattered away hour after hour to filibuster Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, Reid complained other Republicans “hid behind a cloture vote – a filibuster by another term … Continue reading

Nurses Union Slams Lew’s Opposition To Wall St. Tax

As the clock ticks down to the deep federal budget cuts known as the sequester kick in Friday, the nation’s new Treasury secretary is coming under fire for his opposition to a tax on financial transactions. In a statement reported by Bloomberg news, Lew escalated the Obama administration’s opposition to a small tax on Wall Street trades that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars for repairing the U.S. economy – in sharp contrast to the direction of many of the leading nations of Europe which are moving to enact a similar tax, according to a politically progressive nurses union. “With such concern in Washington about the sequestration and the need for additional revenue, it is appalling that the administration’s … Continue reading

Armed Services Dem Praises Hagel Vote

A Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee is singing the praises of Tuesday’s vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. After a lengthy filibuster mounted against Hagel by his fellow Republicans, the Senate voted to confirm the former Nebraska senator to head up the Pentagon on a 58-41 vote. The filibuster of the Hagel nomination was the first filibuster of a defense secretary in U.S. history. Just a handful of Republicans joined all Democrats to vote in favor of Hagel. “Chuck Hagel is a man who valiantly defended our country in Vietnam and will bring proven leadership skills and a strong record of service to the Pentagon. I am pleased that the Senate confirmed his nomination … Continue reading

W.H. Adviser: Boehner’s ‘Ass’ Talk ‘Not Helpful’

A top White House adviser slammed House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday shortly after the Republican demanded that the Senate to ‘get off their ass’ to approve a bill to avert the deep federal budget cuts coming this week known as the sequester. Democrats and Republicans have been tussling over how to avert the budget cuts set to start Friday that were enacted as a sort of “doomsday device” as part of the budget battle of 2011. “We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something,” Boehner says. White House adviser David Plouffe was quick to respond via Twitter. “Boehner … Continue reading

DNC Mounts Full-Tweet Press On Sequester

Brad Woodhouse knows a thing or two about sports, so it should come as no surprise that the communications chief at the Democratic National Committee went for a “flood-the-zone” strategy of all-sequester-all-the-time Friday on Twitter as House Republicans remained away from the Capitol. By mid-day, Woodhouse had re-tweeted several sequester-related messages to his more-than 16,000 followers. He also was showing off the #StopTheSequester hashtag. One such tweet was a photo of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, warning that the deep cuts the sequester would bring would cause air-travel delays. Another of Woodhouse’s tweets broadcasted the new DNC video on the sequester, the large slash-and-burn budget ax which is to fall March 1 without further congressional … Continue reading

On Eve Of Daytona, Gun Control Advocates Push Waltrip, NASCAR To End Silence

A car driven by race champion Michael Waltrip honoring the victims of the Newtown massacre qualified for this Sunday’s 55th running of the Daytona 500, a highly anticipated event watched by 13.5 million Americans every year. The car, fielded by the Swan Racing Company, is #26 in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown, Conn., schoolhouse massacre. However, a group of gun control advocates wants something more tangible from Waltrip and the NASCAR organization than mere showmanship on the track. “This could be just the occasion for Waltrip, along with his fellow drivers, to stand with their millions of devoted fans and demand real substantive policy reform. On the Swan Racing website, it says explicitly that Waltrip racing the … Continue reading

Sanders, Boxer Move on Climate Change

While much of the current legislative debate revolves around gun control and the coming federal budget cuts known as the “sequester,” two top Senate progressives already are moving forward on climate change. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced comprehensive legislation on climate change. Boxer is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Sanders sits on the environment committee and also is a member of the Senate energy committee. Under the legislation, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies … Continue reading