Life is not a newsreel, someone once said. It is not a sound bite. It is not the mere reporting of Republican Reich Wing obstruction.
It is real life–life and death, injury and loss, jobs and unemployment, homes and homelessness, wealth and poverty.
There are 290 bills passed by the House of Representatives pending in the Senate, being held up by Republican Senators. The House of Representatives is the People’s House, where all the local districts around the country, 435 of them, send a Representative to Congress to get things done.
Fifty-four percent of the people who voted in the last election voted for a Democratic President. The voters elected 257 Democratic house members, or roughly 59% versus 40% for the Republicans. Those numbers should tell you what the people wanted from this government.
Republicans continue to obstruct. They were not completely able to obstruct some bills, but weakened them seriously and continue to attack them. When Republicans attack Democratic legislation, they are working for their constituents, the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the oil companies or the big international corporations who make huge profits by sending jobs that could be done here overseas for still higher profits, and, of course, the big Wall Street firms who want to continue their multi-million dollar bonuses at your expense.
On health care. After total–100%–opposition by all Republicans, the Democrats passed a health care bill. It is not even close to what the Democrats wanted for the people, but the Republicans, all of them…every single one…voted with the health insurance industries, trying to shut down and then later stall and string out the process so that it would run out of time. They are still campaigning against health care for the American People, trying to get the votes to overturn it. That can only benefit the health industry. Not you.
Health care reform will enable several things. First, it makes Medicare solvent for a long, long time. When the health care passes fully, costs will begin to go down dramatically, even though right now the health insurance companies are raising rates as fast as they can, with California experiencing rate increases over 30%. In other words, the robbers are picking up every last dollar off the bank vault floor before running out to make their getaway.
Those up to 26 years old will have health care automatically if their parents have it. More doctors, over 100,000 more family practitioners will come into the health care communities all over the country. More family clinics will be set up. Insurance collectives, where people can find better insurance for lower and more competitive insurance rates will be set up. No one can be denied insurance. Medicare part D will eventually phase out the donut hole, which will save seniors billions
On the over all economy, the Republican Reich Wing, in fact every Republican opposed the Stimulus Bill. Senator DeMint of South Carolina said that the Republicans would oppose every effort of the Obama Administration, making their denial of legislation his “Waterloo.” DeMint, no Napoleonic scholar or scholar of any kind, meant that they were going to deny any Democratic legislation. That in turn means that they would try to deny the will of 60% of the American People.
The stimulus program started allocating funds within weeks and helped the economy immensely by helping state and local government stay afloat and by creating what eventually turned out to be about 2 million jobs. The effects are still showing up and increasing every day. The jobs created were a drop in the bucket compared to the 700,000 a month lost in the last year of the Bush Administration, but at least there were 2 million more than would have been created by the Wall Street bankers even after having been given $700 billion in TARP funds. The stimulus plan gave hundreds of billions in tax breaks ( a waste of time and money but a GOP demand) saved hundreds of thousands of critical state and local government jobs and gave unemployment to many more individuals and jump started huge numbers of infrastructure projects that are still underway today.
Financial reform. The giant mess of a Recession that we’re in today has to do with a wild spree of speculative investment that not only had more lax regulations but also had more lax regulators. The Republicans literally went to Wall Street to tell them that they would not support any legislation trying to improve the regulatory system. They voted against regulation and are still trying to impede the process of passing regulatory reform.
Those are some of the obstructions that the Republicans participated in but were unsuccessful. Here are some of the pieces of legislature that they are still blocking and what they mean to you. It should be noted that of the 290 pieces of legislation being held up by Republicans in the Senate, many are very simple pieces of legislation, naming post offices or handling housekeeping details of one sort or another. But the acts below are all issues that need to be addressed and there are easily the same number or perhaps double this number that are also not being enacted.
HR 12 Paycheck Fairness Act. If you, as a woman or a minority, have been cheated out of pay, this act allows you to get recompense. In other words, action can be taken against your employer and if he retaliates against you, there would be serious consequences.
HR 448 Elder Care Victims Abuse Act. Takes a much stronger posture towards the handling of the elderly in health care facilities. Strengthens the government’s position in dealing with this issue.
HR 403 Homes for Heroes Act. This creates the availability of low income housing for Veterans and begins to take on the problem of Veterans’ homelessness. A very important issue as we have many veterans who are in dire straights, many homeless and need help.
HR 466 Wounded Veteran Job Security Act. This act protects Veterans who have to go to specific places for treatment of wounds or conditions in service-related situations. Protects jobs and pay and seniority benefits if they must be away from work for any period of time.
HR 626 The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2009. This increases leave time to take care of a newborn child and allows the employee to to use accumulated paid leave to substitute for non-paid leave. In general makes parental leave more usable and less pressurized.
HR 756 National Pain Care Policy Act of 2009. Accelerates the continuing programs for pain alleviation and does more research on how pain can be alleviated. Offers some grants and in general moves the program to alleviate pain ahead much faster for people in serious and chronic pain.
HR 985 The Free Flow of Information Act. This protects certain individuals involved in the communication of information in the public interest against government demands for access to records or testimony of that material unless a serious situation occurs requiring it. Protects journalists in the situations such as that of Judy Miller of the New York Times.
HR 1139 COPS Improvement Act of 2009. Essential act for retraining of police for anti-illegal immigration, anti-gang, anti-terrorist activities. A wide range of improvements needed in local police forces around the country. Very important.
HR 1171 Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. This legislation does all manner of things to help homeless veterans reintegrate into society. Very important legislation.
HR 1262 The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009. Water is already becoming a very serious issue in this country. Whether or not you believe in man’s contribution to global warming, one thing we know. Glaciers and high mountain snow packs are evaporating. That and other serious problems with our annual water supplies mean that we must reduce the pollution of our ground water, make appropriate investments to conserve the larger water supplies that we do have. This is a critical piece of legislation.
HR 2454 The Clean Energy and Security Act. Why security? Because this act is designed to to what the Clean Skies Act did very successfully some years ago. It will reduce the use of carbon energy…oil and coal and offers incentives for the big polluters, corporations, to exchange bad environmental energy for new, alternative energy sources. It requires that some progress be made each year, about 2.5% which is not much but which will over the 30 years that the program is scheduled, gradually reduce the polluting and global warming effects of fossil fuels, converting to biomass, hydro, solar, wind and other solutions. Solves dependence on Arab oil, some global warming effects and creates literally millions of jobs.
HR 2847 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (formerly: Jobs For Main Street Act). This is an extremely important multi-purpose hiring act, which has tax incentives, uses highway funds and sets off many, many highway and municipal projects, using highway trust fund revenues. It would be a major employment act and generate huge new infrastructure improvements.
HR 3014 Small Business Health Care Information Technology Financing Act. This says that if you are a small organization in the health care business, like a small clinic, the SBA will guarantee 90% of any loan made by an SBA bank for the purpose of updating medical records to an electronic filing system. This is another part of the health care reform program that the Republicans are trying to obstruct.
So these are some of the legislation that is not being passed. This is only a fraction of the very essential items that are not passed. Even more is sitting, not being attended to as would normally be the case.
It is your government. You voted for action. If you want action, you must do everything in your power to make this government works. The Republicans work for the Corporations. If you want action, you need Democrats. Remember this. In the 8 years of the Bush Administration, none of these things were addressed…not health care, not SEC reform, not energy efficiency, not jobs, not veterans’ affairs…but all the problems were there. In that same time, however, the Republicans spent $7 trillion more than they took in. It went somewhere. It could only be two places. Either you received $7 trillion in benefits more than your taxes paid for or corporations did. You decide.