Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Are The Obstructionists Out To Get Hilda Solis?


Anti-working family fanatic Richard Burr sticking the shiv in Hilda Solis' back?

If you follow DWT or any of the Blue America blogs, you know that one of the Democratic members of Congress who we most respect is southern California progressive Hilda Solis. Our community has been directly engaging with her for the last couple of years. Of the 398 online donations to her 2008 re-election campaign-- she is so popular that the Republicans couldn't find a candidate to oppose her-- 380 donations came from Blue America, averaging $15 per contribution. Like everyone who thinks American working families deserve a hand-- and not the back of some Republican's hand-- we were overjoyed when President Obama nominated her to be Secretary of Labor. Today the editorial board of the NY Times joined us in demanding that the Republicans stop obstructing her confirmation so that she can get to work. The Times claims that obstructing her confirmation is "a way for Republican senators to score tough-guy points with business constituents who are driven to distraction by the thought of unions." Their hatred of working families knows no bounds and if they thought the election of Barack Obama and strong Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress was going to yield up another corporate patsy like Elaine Chao, it becomes easier and easier to see why the economy has become a shambles in their clueless, incompetent hands.
Unemployment is rising as mass layoffs grip the nation.

Millions of Americans who need full time jobs can only find part-time work.

Waves of professionals and college graduates are working at jobs beneath the levels associated with their career and educational achievement, which is bad for them and bad for the workers who would otherwise have gotten those jobs.

The employment picture didn’t suddenly turn dismal. The Bush years saw the worst job growth of any business cycle since World War II. Wages stagnated, even as labor productivity rose, which means that the gains from work found their way not into paychecks, but into corporate profits, share prices and dividends. As a result, income inequality has reached levels not seen since the Gilded Age.

If there was ever a time the nation needed a strong secretary of labor, this is it. And yet, for the past several days, at least one Republican senator has been using a parliamentary procedure to hold up the confirmation of Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-California), President Obama’s choice for labor secretary. The “hold” tactic delays a full vote by the Senate on the nomination, pending, well, pending what?

There was a great deal of speculation that Oklahoma serial obstructionist Tom Coburn, a sworn enemy of working families, was the one who placed the hold on Hilda's nomination but his office swears he isn't the miscreant this time and someone with a distinctly Oklahoma drawl has leaked it that the evil doer this time is North Carolina corporate shill Richard Burr, hoping for a few more million dollars from the Big Business interests that have financed his disgraceful political career. Burr's office refuses to confirm or deny and there is also a rumor floating around that it was one of the Wyoming loons, Mike Enzi, who activated the hold. But whichever obstructionist asshat it is, the tide of public opinion is not going in the Rush Limbaugh direction of hoping for failure for the new Administration. Even the staunchly Republican-oriented Pasadena Star-News is fuming over the way the far right is treating Hilda's nomination.
In the spirit of President Barack Obama's call for open, transparent government, we call for an end to the delays and shenanigans. As Obama said in his inaugural address, "let's put away childish things" and get on with the workings of government.

If indeed an anonymous Republican senator has placed a hold on Solis' confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as is allowed under the body's rules, that senator should come forward, lift the hold and ask the chairman to continue the hearing on a date certain.

If the delays and the politicking are not serious enough, a poster on HuffingtonPost Monday said some senators from the committee have begun interviewing Solis privately in their offices. We don't think that such literal behind-closed-doors hearings are what Obama and the majority of Americans who voted for him had in mind.

They too point out that Hilda Solis will never be a shill for Big Business interests demanding a Secretary of Labor who will wage war on American working families the way Elaine Chao did for the last eight years. "[T]here's no question," continues the Star-News editorial, "that Solis is a friend of organized labor. Her father was a Teamster steward who worked in a battery-recyling plant in Industry. From her ascent from the Rio Hondo College board to the Assembly to the state Senate to Congress, she has used the podium to speak out for the worker. She helped pass legislation that increased the minimum wage and walked the picket lines with striking grocery workers. Everyone knows her background. As far as we know, she's always paid her taxes. She has no known conflict-of-interest issues. Re-start the process, and in the end, approve Hilda Solis as labor secretary." And as Dave Neiwart demands at Crooks & Liars, "in the end," should be now.

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At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that 70% of the money raised by Ms Solis in 2007-2008 came from Political Action Committees (corporate and unions). Only 30% from individuals.

In the same period, only 26% of Senator Burr's contributions came from PACs.


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