It's "Go, Blackhawks!"--But Then Aisle Crossin' On Unemployment
good mornin', Sunshine
The House started the day with a bang. Chicago Rep Mike Quigley's Resolution 1439 came up for a vote at 11:10AM and passed overwhelmingly, 395-5 (with Jason Chaffetz voting "present"), the House of Representatives going on the record congratulating the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. I don't even want to ask why Tom Rooney (R-FL), Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR) and Bob Andrews (D-NJ) voted NO and I figure Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA) and John Adler (proto-Blue Dog-NJ) base their votes on automatically voting against whatever Pelosi does. Other than that it was a nice placid, bipartisan kumbaya moment, Boehner resplendent in an eerie orange glow of not being the lazy bastard who leads the Party of No for a few moments-- and far more placid than when Al Jourgenson of Ministry dragged me to a Blackhawks home game once and led the entire stadium in such a horrendous chant of blood curdling hatred that the goalie of the visiting team seemed to have broken down.
The Democratic Leadership then tried to get a consensus, a motion to suspend the rules, to pass an emergency extension of unemployment benefits, something that the millionaires in the Senate killed last week. H.R.5618, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, introduced by Jim McDermott (D-WA) didn't get the kind of support the Blackhawks did. It did get 261 votes, but the 155 no votes prevented a suspension of the rules, so back it went to committee. It was nice that 30 relatively mainstreamish Republicans in hard-pressed districts-- like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Tim Johnson, and Vern Ehlers-- crossed the aisle against the wishes of Boehner and Cantor and voted with the Democrats. Or at least most of the Democrats.
As odd as it may seem, 16 members of the party that purports to support the aspirations of ordinary working families were scurrying across the aisle in the opposite direction. So who are these rabid haters of American workers, the 16 Democrats who disgraced themselves by joining 139 Republicans in voting against unemployed workers? Oh you can probably guess yourself. No surprises here:
John Adler (D-NJ)- still on autopilot
Brian Baird (D-WA)- willing to thumb his nose at voters since he's retiring
Melissa Bean (D-IL)- the Chamber of Commerce's go-to person inside the Democratic caucus
Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD)
Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN)
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)
Betsy Markey (Blue Dog-CO)
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID)- only Democrat, in a manner of speaking, endorsed by both the U.S. Chamber and the Tea Party
Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA)- still on autopilot like Adler
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
Don't get nervous about Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS) and Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC); they were both absent. More interesting is that some of the reflexive Boehner-boys didn't vote against working families yesterday: Barrow (who has a primary), Matheson (still chastened by his primary brush with mortality), Ellsworth (who has to appeal to actual Democrats statewide in a Senate race), Melancon (see Ellsworth) and Boren (who will be facing state Senator Jim Wilson in a primary next month and wouldn't dare spit in the face of workers the way he normally does). Perhaps AFSCME president Gerald McEntee's warning in Boston yesterday scared some of them:
"We need a new jobs bill that continues to fund our economic recovery. That jobs bill exists right now in Congress. It includes resources to help states avoid massive layoffs. Unfortunately, this bill is on life support. Just last week, Senate Republicans blocked the bill for the second time. They again decided to play politics with our lives and our jobs...
“We support the politicians who support working families. But these politicians, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, must understand: We are holding you accountable. You are not above the people who elected you. And if you turn on us you will pay the price!”