Sunday, July 27, 2008

If Republicans Have Their Way, It May Be A Cold, Cold Winter


"Lower that thing and put on another sweater"

Yesterday over at FDL we spoke with Oregon Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, a proven champion for working families who will increase the quality of the Senate when he replaces mindless, doctrinaire GOP rubber stamp Gordon Smith. Until he and candidates like Andrew Rice (D-OK), Rick Noriega (D-TX), Mark Begich (D-AK), Tom Udall (NM), and Tom Allen (D-ME) get there, the Selfless Champions of Regular Americans Caucus in the Senate are pretty empty. (And don't expect corporate-friendly Democrats like Mark Warner, Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Bruce Lunsford, Kay Hagen, or Jim Slattery to sign up any more than the Republican corporatists they aim to replace.) But if there were really a caucus of senators looking out for regular Americans, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders would be the chairman. Bernie in the Senate yesterday:
"Do we vote to keep the old, the sick and kids alive when the weather gets cold or very, very hot, or do we spend money on people who make huge campaign contributions? That is part of what this debate is about."

Bernie was battling the Republicans who were keeping the Senate from voting on increasing aid to impoverished Americans-- mostly seniors-- who will be in jeopardy this winter because of high fuel prices. You know how bad Republican policies have been for gasoline; it will be far worse for heating oil. But McConnell mustered enough votes from die-hard reactionaries in his greed and selfishness caucus to block consideration of a bipartisan bill to rescue potential victims. "The government is devoting $2.6 billion in subsidies for helping people with low incomes pay heating and air-conditioning bills this year. Sanders' bill would nearly double that to $5.1 billion."

Although Olympia Snowe (R-ME) tried rallying Republicans to join her in crossing the aisle, she only managed to bring a few Republicans fearful of having to face the voters in November with her. Although some of the frightened rubber stamp Republicans-- like Liddy Dole (R-NC), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)-- joined McCain in not voting one way or the other, among the reactionary slobs who voted to freeze grandma and grandpa were many of the usual suspects:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Miss McConnell (R-KY)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)

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