Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Back To Work Budget Didn't Pass


No one thought it would pass. It's far too good-- too sensible, too weighted towards the non-rich-- for any Republican to consider voting for it. It failed today 84-327 and, sure enough, not a single Republican voted for it. But, then again, neither did most Democrats. More than a few non-Progressive Caucus Members voted for it-- like Stephen Lynch who desperately wants Massachusetts Democratic primary voters to think he's a progressive-- but I was horrified and disappointed by the CPC members who didn't vote for it, as well as by other progressives who voted NO.

Last week, writing at Huffington Post, R.J. Eskow, explained why the CPC budget vote is the most important budget battle in the country.
We won't have a functioning democracy until more of our representatives stand up for the principles in this document. That's why every Representative's vote for this budget matters. It's why each member of the House, and each of us, needs to stand up and be counted.

The CPC budget is smart, effective, and practical, creating up to seven million jobs while reducing the Federal deficit by $4.4 trillion. And yet it's being marginalized by the press and dismissed by leaders of the CPC's own Democratic Party.  Its provisions are enormously popular with voters across the political spectrum. And yet in Washington's insular world of self-fulfilling prophecies we're told that this budget is unimportant because "it will never pass."

...The CPC budget begins by recognizing what most sensible economists understand: A lingering recessionary economy like ours needs an up-front jolt of public investment. (The first one wasn't big enough.) It invests $2.1 trillion in public investment and jobs growth, with $700 billion in its first twelve months.

That sounds like a lot until we compare it to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which, as Bill Moyers notes, may be as much as $4.4 trillion (plus another trillion in interest). Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that it will take another $3 trillion just to cover the overall cost of medical care for wounded soldiers.

Next to that, $2.1 trillion to restore our damaged economy is a bargain. The budget would create an estimated 6.9 million jobs, cut wasteful Pentagon spending, reduce Medicare costs by ending corporate giveaways, modestly increase tax levels for high- and ultra-high-income Americans, and assess Wall Street for its excessive risk-tasking behavior.

It reduces the deficit in part because its up-front expenditures are an investment, not a military waste of money (or, far more tragically, of lives).
The only high-ranking House Democrats who voted for it were Jim Clyburn (SC), the Assistant Majority Leader and Xavier Becerra (CA), the Caucus Chairman. The rest of the leadership team all voted with the Republicans: Pelosi, Hoyer, Crowley, Israel... Wasserman-Schultz hid in the ladies room during the vote.

I'm not going to bother to mention all the Blue Dogs and New Dems who crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans against the only sensible budget that's been proposed this year. But I do want to point out a list of Congressional Progressive Caucus members who voted against the budget; just shocking:
Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
David Cicilline (D-RI)- a Progressive Caucus vice chairman
Pete DeFazio (D-OR)
Lois Frankel (D-FL)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)
Ann Kuster (D-NH)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
Being pro-Choice or pro-gay marriage or against racism doesn't automatically make someone a progressive. If you don't care about economic justice issues... you're something else. Which reminds me... Gary Peters is probably going to run for the open Michigan Senate seat; Bruce Braley is definitely running for the open Iowa Senate seat; Allyson Schwartz is definitely running for governor of Pennsylvania; and my own congressman, Adam Schiff, found himself in a new super-progressive district so he dumped his membership in the right-wing Blue Dogs but voted with them today again anyway. These people expect progressives to support them? All 4 crossed the aisle and voted with Republicans against the Back To Work Budget today. I didn't embed this clip to show you that Kyrsten Sinema is a disappointing shill. That's just a coincidence. I wanted you to hear Jerry Nadler, Chris Hayes, Sam Seder and Heidi Moore.

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At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you justify celebrating so many Democrats getting elected and then attacking them for protecting their seats?

I want everyone to be the next Bold Progressive/Progressive Patriot, but it's unrealistic. We achieve more having numbers than having ideological homogeneity. I'm big into parties and I love calling myself a member of the Democrats. I hate real shills like the Heath Shuler's in Congress, but other members who occasionally take votes we don't like... I think we just have to accept it and unite.

The way you'd like it to be, I don't think we could ever govern with a majority.

I'm not attacking you. I think you make all the right points and I'm as progressive as progressive can be. But I think we need to be a bit more pragmatic, and a bit more realistic about what to expect. Calling fellow Democrats shills just because you don't agree on policy I think is unfair.

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Phil Perspective said...

Do you know anything about this budget? If you did, you'd know why Howie is calling out the supposed progressives who voted against it.

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An old saw, "You have to spend money to make money". I'm with Klugman and old FDR. Corporations are going to work with as few workers as possible. They only hire if absolutely necessary. Small innovators need start up funds. Sometimes they will fail, sometimes it takes failure before success. We need more and smart government investment. But it won't happen when Republicans, and scared Democrats, villify it or drag their feet.

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous joel hanes said...

Any chance you could link to the roll call vote ?

I googled for a bit, but couldn't find it.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Joel, in the first paragraph, the link 84-327 goes to the roll call. That's always the way we link to roll calls at DWT.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous wjbill said...

what does the democratic party stand for? social justice? not so much! social security .... not su much! Medicare ... ditto, Medicaid, ditto, gun manufacturers & the nra ... Yay!
I have contributed to various candidates (Ann Kuster) .... no longer!

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous me said...

The rest of the leadership team all voted with the Republicans

That's because they ARE republicans.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous me said...

Anon is Pelosi.

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous me said...

I agree with you. They are shills. We don't need those assholes.

Drop them from your contribution list, and spend the money on people who voted FOR the Back To Work budget instead.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Kim Kaufman said...

I'm now in Schiff's district also and have made quite a few calls over there -- asking him to vote for the BTW budget and then how disappointed I was when he didn't (well, not really but I said it). And still asking that he sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter which probably ain't gonna happen. They're trying to be accommodating to the new district and I guess we're a lot more vocal than Glendale over here. It just seems very sad right now with no hope of getting anything positive done. Next up is the hideous Trans Pacific Partnership ...


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