Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Are Conservatives Against Helping Youths Get Summer Jobs?


In all the commotion from the back-and-forth over the final passage of the healthcare reform bill by reconciliation (Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor and Ben Nelson voting with the Republicans against working families), couple with Republican terrorism against members of Congress trying to make their constituents' lives better, people may have missed Wednesday night's vote in the House on H.R. 4899, Dave Obey's Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act. The main purpose is to make "emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and summer jobs for 2010 to: (1) the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including the DHS Office of the Inspector General for disaster-related audits and investigations; (2) the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for certain training and employment services; and (3) the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the business loans program account."

It wound up passing 239-175, after surviving a Republican attempt to kill it earlier, which went down to defeat 239-176. The votes weren't identical and the differences are telling. In the motion to table the GOP parliamentary maneuver to kill the bill, 3 particularly worthless Blue Dogs sided with the Republicans, Boehner Boys Walt Minnick (ID), Gene Taylor (MS) and Glenn Nye (VA) and Republican lockstep, zombie-like was, as usual, completely cohesive. However, when it came to the final vote, there was some strategizing for future elections and a few positions altered.

Five ambitious Republicans-- all of whom, you'll recall, voted to kill the bill just moments earlier-- decided they wanted to be on the record as having voted for the bill. And in the end 8 Democrats wanted to be on the record as voting against it-- ConservaDems Brian Baird (WA), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT) and regular Democrats Jared Polis (CO), Adam Smith (WA), Gary Peters (MI) and Chris Murphy (CT). The Republicans who voted for summer jobs:

Ahn Cao (R-LA)- Louisiana voters get pretty nervous about votes against emergency disaster aid for some reason

Vern Ehlers (R-MI)- he's retiring anyway, so why be a dick?

Walter Jones (R-NC)- yeah, his district gets hurricanes too

Tim Murphy (R-PA)

Steve Scalise (R-LA)- see Cao

And Bill Cassidy (R-LA) answered "present" too scared to vote for or against. The $600 million for summer employment for young people is considered a waste of money to Republicans because so much of it is spent on minorities who they tend to hate to begin with. They didn't buy into the White House's statement that it will take "another important step forward in the ongoing effort to help put Americans back to work through the expansion of a youth summer jobs program and offers continued support to America’s small businesses, which are the backbone of the American economy.” The full White House statement before the vote:
The Administration supports the inclusion of $600 million for the Workforce Investment Act youth program for summer employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth.

This funding will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help young people open the door to future opportunities, while enabling them to generate additional income during these difficult economic times.

The Administration has long recognized the importance of putting youth to work as a way of developing the next generation and strengthening the nation’s economy.

The Recovery Act also aimed to create over a hundred thousand summer youth jobs to provide young people with meaningful work experience.

After passage Speaker Pelosi issued the following statement:
The House also passed the Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act. This bill ensures that our communities have the means to prepare for unexpected emergencies and recover from natural disasters. It invests in our most precious resource-- our next generation-- supporting more than 300,000 summer jobs for young people across the country and setting them on a path of personal and professional success. And it makes small business loans more available through an initiative that has already created or saved more than 560,000 jobs for our workers.

We are building on the Recovery Act-- on-track to save or create 3.5 million jobs-- and the health insurance reform President Obama signed into law this week, which promises to create up to 4 million more jobs over the next decade. This Congress will continue our work to restore jobs and build a strong new foundation for America’s economy.

Bill Hedrick is the Blue America-endorsed candidate running for the hard-pressed Inland Empire seat currently occupied by Ken Calvert. Calvert, who yesterday voted against taxing the bonuses bankers received from TARP, also voted against helping to fund summer job programs. I asked Bill for his take on the legislation. "Our problems are pretty straight-forward in California," he began, logically enough. We need jobs, and we need to strengthen small business, the real economic engine in our communities. "The Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act addresses this challenge-- hundreds of thousands of jobs for youth while it improves the availability of loans for small business. Moreover, it provides funds for local jurisdictions to prepare for emergencies and disasters. With the exception of those blinded by partisanship, here in Earthquake Country, it is incredible that any California representative would oppose such laudable goals." Imagine having a sensible Representative replace Calvert. You can do more than imagine.

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