Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders Fights For Working Families-- Florida Corporate Hack Patrick Murphy Is On The Other Side
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)-- like Ken and I, a graduate of James Madison High School-- has been trying to explain that “Yesterday, the Republicans were using the Affordable Care Act as the reason why they had to shut down the government and not pay our bills. Today, it’s ‘reforming’ Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What will it be tomorrow?
“Social Security, which is independently funded through the payroll tax, has nothing to do with the deficit. The deficit-- which has been cut in half since 2009-- was significantly caused by the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and the Wall Street-induced recession, which led to a significant decline in federal revenue.
“The Republican Party and Paul Ryan cannot be allowed to get their way by threatening the American people with a continued government shutdown and a default unless Congress cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That is not what the American people want. Rather, we should be passing legislation which rebuilds our infrastructure and creates millions of new jobs, address the crisis of low wage employment by raising the minimum wage, make college affordable and fight for equal pay for equal work."
Because he is a clear and plain-spoken and articulate advocate for working families-- something that is almost non-existent in Congress-- he gets invited onto TV shows from time to time to balance out the barrage of all the Conservative Consensus crap that dominates the Beltway media. Friday he was on CNN's Situation Room (video above), discussing the negotiations that everyone in Washington knows is leading to the Obama-Boehner Grand Bargain to further screw working families. "Here is what I worry about: these guys haven't quite caught on that they lost the last election. What I fear very much is that they are now going to demand that we cut Social Security, we cut Medicare, and we cut Medicaid-- and if you do all of these things that the American people, by the way, are overwhelmingly against, "well, we'll be nice guys and maybe we'll re-open the government." That is blackmail and we should not…" At this point, conservative hack Wolf Blitzer could no longer contain himself and jumped in with his own opinion: "But you know that separate from the Debt Ceiling, the government shutdown, even the president has been open to some 'entitlement reform,' as its called, even involving Social Security, cost of living index, stuff like that… you're not very happy with that?"
And no, Bernie is not very happy with that. No progressive is. "No, I disagree strongly and so do the American people. First of all, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus to pay out all benefits for the next 20 years. You want to make it solvent for the next 75 years, you know what you do? You lift the cap and you have people making millions of dollars contribute their fair share into the fund. Look, Wolf, the bottom line is the middle class in this country is disappearing, poverty is at an all-time high, the richest people are doing phenomenally well. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of the elderly and the children and the sick and the poor. End of discussion; that is just wrong."
Well, Bernie may think it's wrong-- as does every other Madison High School graduate here at DWT-- but quite a few freshmen seem utterly clueless about the simple facts he keeps talking about it. Some of them are just too dumb to understand… but not all of them. I used to sit on a board of directors with Kyrsten Simena and I can same with great certainly, she is no dummy; she's a very bright woman. Consumed with the worst kind of careerism and opportunism, sure, but not a dummy. She and conservative multimillionaire New Dems Scott Peters of San Diego and Patrick Murphy (who's actually a Republican playing the role of a conservative Democrat) were the only three Democratic members of the right wing United Solutions Caucus-- a GOP front group to advance the conservative agenda by making a small handful of Democrats feel "bipartisan"-- to go along with the latest anti-Social Security maneuvering. Notice in this press release from far right extremist Kevin Cramer (D-ND) on behalf of the "bipartisan" group there is no mention of increased revenue except through economic growth-- pure Republican Party agenda initiative-- nothing whatsoever to do with a "balanced" package. Multimillionaires and billionaires have nothing to worry about and are being asked to contribute nothing at all-- other than the legalistic bribes they pay out to finance the careers of politicians. I suppose it is good news that only 3 Democrats-- Sinema, Peters and Murphy-- signed on.
Today Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) along with fellow members of the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Scott Peters (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) released the following statement:Saturday, in an OpEd for his local newspaper, Republican/Democrat/New Dem Patric Murphy bragged that "I work with Republicans every day who are also frustrated with this extreme element of their party and with Speaker Boehner for caving to their demands. It would take only 22 of these Republicans to support ending the shutdown, and I believe if the Speaker would allow an up or down vote to get our government back up and running, we would get more than enough votes." And yet every time the Democrats have tried to get a bill on the floor so that Murphy's 22 Republicano amigos could show how much they opposed the government shut down the the threats of default, all but one of them, voted against it. But that hasn't stopped Murphy, one of the few Democrats in the House to embrace Boehner's and Cantor's strategy for pressuring the Senate with a piecemeal approach. He continues with more bullshit for his constituents:
"The United Solutions Caucus was formed by freshmen members of the 113th Congress as a bipartisan call to address our country's great fiscal challenges and end governing by crisis. Today, as the government is shut down and the debt limit looms ahead, we renew our call for Congress to address our challenges head on and solve this crisis with a long-term solution."
…The 113th Congress House Republican and Democratic new members are troubled by the fiscal crisis facing the country, with burdensome debt and trillion dollar annual deficits, which affect economic growth for all and healthcare assurances for our seniors. Members of our class implore the President and Congress to address this serious challenge now. In recent years, Congress has lacked the political will to come together and find solutions. The freshman members of the 113th Congress believe now is the time to work together.
We call upon leadership to no longer accept piecemeal solutions and to work toward finding long-term solutions to avoid financial collapse like Greece and other European countries. The bi-partisan freshmen members, as noted below, come to the table with mutual understanding and without personal agendas or political gamesmanship.
We affirm the following actions to secure the fiscal health of our nation:
Strengthen and Preserve Medicare and Social Security-- While protecting current recipients and seniors, we must reform the Medicare and Social Security’s long-term financial obligations by addressing rising health care costs and changing demographics. The goal is to make sure these essential programs meet our obligations to our seniors and ensure that these bedrocks are available to future generations, while reducing our long-term deficit and debt issues.
Promote economic growth to generate revenue-- Of critical importance is a fair and broad tax plan including eliminating excessive corporate subsidies, tax loopholes and other subsidies to provide lower rates, that will encourage a pro-growth economy, providing added revenue for the federal budget. We must also encourage innovation with less stringent regulation to help small businesses grow, which will lower unemployment.
Cutting spending-- While some spending cuts have already been made, we must look for additional savings moving forward to further reduce spending, while seeking to protect the programs that are crucial to our future health as a nation.
Identify efficiencies and consolidations-- Restructure and consolidate agencies and departments, eliminating duplication and waste.
Medicaid fraud-- Aggressively pursue Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.
We believe that a bipartisan effort encompassing these needed reforms will yield a prosperous future for our country, while making good to today’s seniors who are counting on the federal government to fulfill its obligations. We are committed to a new era in Congress where bipartisan solutions are the norm. We are dedicated to working with leadership to help bring these solutions to reality. The common good of the country demands good faith negotiation, compromise, and immediate and significant action.
Although this may seem far-fetched these days, I remain hopeful that members of Congress can work together to find common-sense solutions to fund the government responsibly. I co-chair two bipartisan groups, United Solutions and No Labels, and for the past few weeks we have been meeting on an almost daily basis to find a way to move our nation forward. A majority of members on both sides of the aisle agree with the American people that enough is enough, that the tone in Washington must change, and that members of Congress must work together to find a balanced, comprehensive, and long-term solution to our fiscal issues to stop inflicting unnecessary pain on our country.While Murphy was posturing and triangulating on the Treasure Coast Saturday, Alan Grayson, a real Florida Democrat, was introducing a statement of principle-- so nonbonding but able to convey a sense of the House-- Congress "prefer-- and would support-- a comprehensive, clean continuing resolution to end the government shutdown.” (H.J. Res. 80) Eric Cantor was able to prevent it from being voted on through parliamentary guile and inappropriate and unusually rough heavy-handedness with some punk GOP staffer, Chris Vieson who works for Cantor, on the floor trying to push around Democratic congressmen.
And another real Florida Democrat, candidate Nick Ruiz, who's running for the Orlando-area seat John Mica has occupied far too long, has ideas about Social Security that are very much at odd's with Cantor's-- and Mica's-- chopped it to buts goal. "A few misguided persons in Congress do not get to decide for the rest of the country how generous, or not, America's public retirement system ought to be," is how he put it yesterday. "That's for the whole of America to decide. Our decision is that Social Security is not to be cut. In fact, we determine that Social Security is inadequately serving the needs of the elderly as it stands. It is for that reason that as a nation, we seek to increase the Social Security benefit by a reasonable cost of living adjustment, and further, to lower the retirement age, so that Americans can enjoy the retirement leisure they've earned in good health, before death and infirmity deliver us to eternity."
A few minutes after Cantor prevented a vote in the House, every single Senate Republican-- including self-styled "moderates" from mainstream states like Kirk (IL), Ayotte (NH), Christie's guy (NJ), and Collins (ME)-- stood behind the Ted Cruz/Mike Lee filibuster that prevented a vote on the debut ceiling. The GOP is hopeless… can't even read polls and figure out what's going to happen to them in November of 2014. In fact, House Republicans will soon be in such bad odor with voters that not even gerrymandering and Steve Israel's incompetence will be able to save them!