Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's Wrong With The Confused Republican Position On Sequestration? Stockman, Bachmann, Isakson


Bachmann: all pearls, no meat

Monday I noticed that far right-extremist-- some would say domestic terrorist-- Steve Stockman (R-TX), who keeps changing his twitter handle as though he's trying to hide from the FBI again, tweeting away about how Obama is responsible for the Sequester's painful impact on people in his poverty stricken, backward district northeast of Houston. No one who knows squat about Stockman's virulently anti-family ideologically-driven voting record could possibly think he gives a damn about Texas special ed students or poor students-- even if he is a former vagrant who spent years sleeping under a highway underpass. And as much as he would like to spread the GOP myth that Obama owns the sequester, this is the warning the White House put out, for residents of Jasper, Vidor, Lumberton, Silsbee, Liberty and Livingston before Republican nihilists like Stockman forced it into existence:

If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Texas this year alone are:

Teachers and Schools: Texas will lose approximately $67.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 930 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 172,000 fewer students would be served and approximately280 fewer schools would receive funding.
o Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Texas will lose approximately $51 million in funds for about 620 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 4,720 fewer low income students in Texas would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 4,800 children in Texas, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Texas would lose about $8,467,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Texas could lose another $2,235,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total.
o Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $233 million in Texas.
o Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Texas would be cut by about $27 million.
o Navy: Reduce procurement of the Joint Strike Fighter from Texas, and cancel scheduled Blue Angels shows in Corpus Christi and Fort Worth.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Texas will lose about $1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Job Search Assistance to Help those in Texas find Employment and Training: Texas will lose about $2,263,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 83,750 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 2,300 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children: In Texas around 9,730 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $665,000.

Public Health: Texas will lose approximately $2,402,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Texas will lose about $6,750,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And Texas’ health departments will lose about $1,146,000 resulting in around 28,600 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Texas could lose up to $543,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 2,100 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Texas would lose approximately $3,557,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
Not that Stockman is the only right-wing hypocrite forcing Boehner's and Cantor's sequestration down everyone's throat and trying to blame it on the Democrats.
The sequester passed on the evening of August 1, 2011. 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted for it. 95 Democrats also opposed it (as did 66 Republicans). Boehner, as Speaker, wasn't expected to vote. But he did. He wanted to make a point. He voted YES. So did all his top lieutenants: Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Whip Kevin McCarthy, NRCC head Pete Sessions, Party Conference Chair Jeb Hensarling, Budget chair Paul Ryan, Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon, Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, Energy and Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton, Financial Services Committee chair Spencer Bachus, Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers, Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen... Boehner's entire inner circle of elite GOP leaders voted for the sequestration.

Leading the opposition were progressive Caucus leaders Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Donna Edwards, Chellie Pingree, Jim McDermott, Dennis Kucinich, John Lewis, Jerry Nadler, Barney Frank, Jan Schakowsky, Xavier Becerra, Judy Chu, Ed Markey, John Yarmuth, Brad Miller, Yvette Clarke, Barbara Lee... and the Republicans who voted with them against this? Outliers like Ron Paul, Tom McClintock, Michele Bachmann, Todd Akin, Louie Gohmert, Paul Broun, Joe Walsh, Jeff Duncan, Mo Brooks, Lynn Westmoreland, Steve King, Quayle's kid, Mick Mulvaney, Justin Amash, the freaks and loons that the GOP Establishment would like to muzzle and neutralize.
Yes, Bachmann originally voted against it-- though she has since come around to a Boehner perspective. That hasn't stopped her from whining about the consequences for her own constituents. I looked again to see if she had signed the simple "end the Sequester" bill that John Conyers and Alan Grayson introduced. In fact, as I look down the list of cosponsors, the closest thing I see to a Republican on the list is California ConservaDem Juan Vargas... no actual Republicans, not even Stockman or Bachmann. Greg Sargent Monday:
Michele Bachmann has taken a fair amount of heat lately for various over the top statements about the evils of government spending, from her false claim that 70 percent of food stamp money goes to “bureaucrats” to her false claim that President Obama and his family enjoy $1.4 billion in personal “perks and excess.”

But there’s nothing like a few spending cuts in your own district to concentrate the mind. Bachmann is, understandably, upset to hear that the Federal Aviation Administration-- as part of its move to close air traffic control towers across the country due to sequestration’s spending cuts-- will be closing two towers in Bachmann’s district. And she’s suddenly making sense, putting out a statement decrying the sequester cuts and calling for a more “responsible” approach:
“I am deeply disappointed with the FAA’s decision to close the air traffic control towers at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport and St. Cloud Regional Airport. Throughout this decision-making process, I have been in touch with FAA and DOT officials urging them to focus first on eliminating waste and trimming non-essential items in the FAA’s budget before they even consider shutting down essential safety operations. Today’s decision shows a troubling lack of priorities-- closing control towers should be a last, not a first, resort.”

She added: ”While I certainly agree we need to balance our budget, it must be done in a responsible way that sets priorities, not in an arbitrary way.”
As the Star-Tribune’s headline aptly put it: “FAA tower closings bring sequester home for Bachmann.”

Now, presumably Bachmann would insist that the sequester cuts must be replaced only with other spending cuts, and no new revenues. But the point here is that, with some Republicans trying to cast the sequester as a “victory” for the GOP, not even the ardently anti-government-spending Bachmann can maintain this pretense when it comes to cuts that are hitting her district with particular force. Instead, she’s forced to distance herself from them by positioning herself as an advocate for replacing them with something more “responsible.”
Then you have ole Johnny Isakson, the right-wing Georgia senator who isn't retiring next year. He says Georgians are so happy to see Congress cutting the budget that they don't care about the impact of the Sequester. Except he's wrong. Sam Stein writes that "a survey of local news reports in Isakson's home state paints a very different picture, with Georgians in all sectors of society-- the military, education, health care and transportation-- worried about how they will grapple with the $85 billion in federal spending cuts to programs across the country."
Across the country, stories are emerging about the dramatic ripple effects of sequestration, from air traffic towers being closed to scientific research being slashed, from tuition assistance for military personnel getting suspended to Head Start programs being gutted.

The White House estimates Georgia will lose around $28.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, meaning the jobs of 390 teachers and aides will be at risk.
This will probably come as a total surprise to Senator Isakson, the wealthiest Georgian in Congress, all of whose social acquaintances are stinking rich and unaffected by anything touched by the sequester-- unless the local airport where their private planes are kept have to shut down. No one knows exactly how much Isakson is worth-- he guards that carefully-- but his public financial statements show the reported figure somewhere between $6 million and $17.7 million-- so, in all likelihood something north of $10 million. The sequester was designed to hurt people whose net worth is considerably south of $10 million-- like in the $1,000 to $10,000 range, like many Georgians whose interests Isakson has never shown the slightest interest in.

The Republican Party of Stockman, Bachmann, Isakson and the rest have a vision for a dark dystopian future. Paul Ryan summed it up best:

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