Thursday, June 12, 2008

BUSH AND 144 HOUSE REPUBLICANS OPPOSE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXTENSION-- BATTLE MOVES TO THE SENATE WHERE McCAIN WILL SHOW HIS LEADERSHIP ABILITIES

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The answer was "no"-- for Bush and whole GOP

Yesterday I got a chance to visit with Jon Powers, the Blue America-endorsed progressive running in an open seat in western New York. He was in town visiting friends and I stopped by to see him. So did a roomful of Iraq war vets-- each and every one a strong Democrat, strong patriot, and among the best of what comes out of our country. I felt humbled to hang out with these guys.

While I was meeting with Jon and his friends, the House voted overwhelmingly (279-144) to pass the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 (H R 5749). Someone had asked Jon what the top issue is in his district  (NY-26, which stretched from North Tonawanda and the Buffalo suburbs east to Greece and the Rochester suburbs and south to Wyoming and Livingston counties). His answer was direct: "Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs." I asked him about the high price of gas and he said that's part of "jobs." Republican incumbent Tom Reynolds, who Jon frightened into announcing he wouldn't seek re-election, voted with the 144 anti-working families Republicans against the bill. Only 49 Republicans abandoned their extremist party leaders to vote with working Americans. Even the worst of the Democrats-- creeps like Shuler, Barrow, Boren, Marshall, Bean-- voted for the bill. Most of the Republicans who crossed the aisle aren't exactly friends of working folks; they are just scared witless about an electoral tsunami headed their way.

Larry Joe Doherty is running against a congressman too out of touch even to be scared witless-- Michael McCaul in Texas. McCaul married into one of Texas' super-rich families and, like Bush, is clueless when it comes to the problems American families are going through today. We asked Larry Joe, who has been endorsed by Blue America, if McCaul's vote yesterday would be an issue in the campaign.
"With rising gas and food prices, even a brief period without work can devastate a family's finances. So what does Mike McCaul do? He kicks families while they're down. But what's worse is that he helped put the economy in this state by voting to spend billions on a misguided war while ignoring economic needs here at home and supporting policies that ship American jobs overseas.  Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, and we're sending you home."

Northern Virginia is a world a way from the Austin and the Houston suburbs but Judy Feder, the Democratic nominee for the seat now held by out of touch Frank Wolf, had much the same reaction. "The decision by Congressman Wolf to continue to support the failed economic policies of the Bush administration is particularly damaging at a time when many of Virginia's families are faced with concerns about financial and economic stability," Judy told us this morning. "Defending the status quo over the needs of Virgnia's hardworking families is just not acceptable-- they deserve better."

Among the hard core right-wingers who gave the finger to working men and women and signaled that they won't, under any circumstances, be available to help the victims of The Bush Economic Miracle were:

Steve Pearce (NM)
Michele Bachmnan (MN)
Scott Garrett (NJ)
Thelma Drake (VA)
Michael McCaul (TX)
Ken Calvert (CA)
Frank Wolf (VA)
Peter King (NY)
David Dreier (CA)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Two Families Values Fossella (NY)
Mark Kirk (IL)
John Shadegg (AZ)
John Kline (MN)
Mike Pence (IN)
Jerry Lewis (CA)
Marilyn Musgrave (CO)
Virginia Foxx (NC)

Seeing Foxx's name made me double check where little Miss Patty McHenry was. I had a good laugh thinking about how the loud mouthed closet queen once bragged how he would teach his GOP colleagues by example how a true right-winger should vote and how he would never waiver from the dark path. All it took was a strong opponent jumping into the November race and McHenry scurried across the aisle with his tail between his legs to squeak out a "yes," with the Democrats, who I'm sure were as amused as I was.

Despite an out of control unemployment rate (officially 5.5% but, when you include discouraged workers who have given up looking or can't afford the gas to go look, closer to 15%) Bush has vowed to veto the bill if it gets by obstructionist tactics by McConnell and McCain in the Senate. And the House was 3 votes short of a veto-proof majority.

One place the Democrats will not be able to look for one of the 3 votes needed to override Bush's promised veto is New Jersey 's most radical right ideologue, Scott Garrett. New Jersey voters have an opportunity to take him out with the trash in November and replace him with one of the most extraordinary people running for Congress this year, Dennis Shulman. We called Dennis and asked him what he makes of such a crazy and uncaring vote from a congressman representing such a mainstream and moderate suburban New Jersey district. "Scott Garrett's vote is yet another indication that he is out of touch with the economic crisis facing North Jersey and this nation.  Perhaps Garrett's twenty years as a career politician supported by the special interests gives him a false sense of job security, but his constituents know that we are in an economic crisis and that we shouldn't blame families just because the Bush-Garrett economy is failing."

I spoke with quite a few candidates about the vote last night. My favorite off the cuff remark was from Alan Grayson in Orlando. The Republican incumbent in his district, Ric Keller, a notorious rubber stamp, voted against unemployment benfits and Alan said, "Keller will wish that he'd voted for it when he's unemployed, on Nov. 5th." Please consider $5 donations for Alan, as well as for Dennis Shulman, Judy Feder, Jon Powers and Larry Joe Doherty, all easily accessible on the Blue America ActBlue page. It's our government. Let's not let special interests buy it up; we've seen the results of that.

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