Friday, March 06, 2009

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act Passes, While GOP Demands All Democrats Be Just Like Their Pals The Blue Dogs


As expected, the House passed H.R. 1106 yesterday, John Conyers' bill that seeks to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability by allowing federal bankruptcy judges to change the terms of mortgages in some cases. It passed 234-191. Before the final vote, 8 Democrats joined every single Republican in opposing the enabling legislation (to allow a vote to take place on the bill)-- reactionaries Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Walt Minnick (ID), Harry Teague (NM), plus progressives Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur, both of Ohio, who felt the bill didn't go far enough in assisting working families.

Then right wing kook Tom Price (R-GA) added an anti-family amendment, again targeting victims instead of perps, which was supported by all the Republicans and 37 Democrats, mostly Blue Dogs. That was followed by the Republicans ritual recommit motion to kill the bill, which all Republicans voted for as well as 8 Democrats who think help is what we give banksters, not families-- John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC), Walt Minnick (ID), and Harry Teague (NM).

The final vote came just after 6PM and 24 Democrats joined all but 7 Republicans in opposing a rescue plan for homeowners. The Republicans who broke ranks with the Party of No were Mike Castle (DE), the notorious Diaz-Balart Brothers (FL), Walter Jones (NC), John McHugh (NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and Mike Turner (OH).

The Democratic Hall of Shame today:

Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY)
Marion Berry (Blue Dog-AR)
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)
Rick Boucher (VA)
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS)
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA)
Lincoln Davis (Blue Davis-TN)
Chet Edwards (TX)
Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog-IN)
Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN)
Parker Griffith (MS)
Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN)
Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA)
Ron Kind (WI)
Larry Kissell (NC)
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)
Betsy Markey (CO)
Eric Massa (NY)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Bart Stupak (MI)
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS)
Harry Teague (NM)

The battle will now go to the Senate, where sledding is expected to be a lot rougher. McConnell, Kyl and DeMint will lead the Grand Obstructionist Party in a de facto filibuster which the Democrats will need 60 votes to overcome. So... even if they can hold onto reactionary members of their own caucus like Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, they will still need a handful of Republicans-- since neither Kennedy nor Franken will be voting-- to win the day. Are there enough Republican senators willing to take the side of homeowners over banksters and special interests?

Meanwhile the NRCC was up to some new silliness yesterday, attacking Democratic freshmen who aren't joining up with Republican allies, the Blue Dogs. The way the NRCC tried spinning it was that 18 House Democrats didn't get into the Blue Dog Caucus because they're not conservative enough. The joke was that not a single one of them wanted anything to do with the treacherous reactionary grouping that frequently undermines Democratic values and principles.
Those Democrats the NRCC said were “rejected” by the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition included: John Boccieri (Ohio); Kathy Dahlkemper (Penn.); Steve Driehaus (Ohio); Alan Grayson (Fla.); Debbie Halvorson (Ill.); Martin Heinrich (N.M.); Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio); Larry Kissell (N.C.); Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.); Dan Maffei (N.Y.); Betsy Markey (Colo.); Eric Massa (N.Y.); Tom Perriello (Va.); Gary Peters (Mich.); Mark Schauer (Mich.); Kurt Schrader (Ore.); Harry Teague (N.M.) and Dina Titus (Nev.).

We contacted several of the congressmembers on the list and every one of them said they had no interest in joining up with the Blue Dogs. Larry Kissell (D-NC) said, "I pledged I wouldn't join the Blue Dogs and I haven't. This is another political game by the NRCC." Alan Grayson (D-FL) made a similar point telling the Orlando Sentinel that he never applied to be a Blue Dog and accused the GOP of being dishonest. "The national Republican Party has become the party of lies." Eric Massa, a founding member of the Populist Caucus, which, unlike the corporate-oriented Blue Dogs, works for the betterment of working families, also noted the inherent dishonesty of the Republican Party attack on him. His spokesman told us, “Rep. Massa never asked to be in the Blue Dog Caucus, period. This is the third time in our first two months in office that we've seen a blatant distortion of the truth from an 'insert Congressman's name here' NRCC press release. Representative Massa is focused on creating jobs and is open to having a substantive discussion about how to achieve this goal with our friends on the other side of the aisle, but it would be nice if they would stop making things up first.”

Ironically, some of the most right wing Blue Dogs, like proto-Republicans Heath Shuler (NC), Allen Boyd (FL), Collin Peterson (MN) and Melissa Bean (IL) voted for the foreclosure prevention bill while some of the Democrats targeted by the NRCC for not being conservative enough voted against it, including Massa, Kathy Dahlkemper, Harry Teague and Betsy Markey.

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At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I have to wonder is whether there are any populist action groups forming anywhere within the districts of these Blue Dogs, to do everything possible to harass that specific, hilariously so-called "servant of the people." Because we never hear about these. I wouldn't mind contributing at all to really well thought-out, staffed, and run action groups designed to put choke collars on Blue Dogs, and pull them into line.

With the full understanding, of course, that some Blue Dogs are simply representing their constituency, for better or worse. Usually worse.

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops....disregard that

guess I better read the article.

my bad.

Grayson has joined the Progressive Caucus, BTW, the only Blue America endorsee to do so.....

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Charles D said...

Food for thought:

41 members of the House belong to the Blue Dog Coalition. 71 belong to the Progressive Caucus. Why shouldn't the "leadership" worry about satisfying the progressives in order to get their vote?

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Michael J. Bernard said...

It’s funny how Rep. Bart Gordon calls himself a “blue dog” but is basically walking in lock-step with the expansion of government while also wasting taxpayer money on trips to Europe for him and his wife.


At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I challenge each and every one of you to name ONE PERSON you know PERSONALLY who has benefitted from any of these programs and saved their home from foreclosure. We all know lots of people losing their homes. I challenge you to find A SINGLE ONE who has been helped by any of these new programs. Please. I would give anything to be proven wrong.

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