Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has instructed Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to produce a revamped climate bill as soon as possible, according to sources, a task Kerry intends to accomplish within two weeks.
So the Washington Postreported at 7:37 pm ET, at their cleverly (ironically?) named Post Carbon site.
Yesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) responded to White House requests for the GOP to post a comprehensive health care bill online by explaining that Republicans had already offered and voted on a comprehensive alternative on the House floor. “Our House bill has been scored by the CBO and will bring down insurance premiums. That’s what the American people want right now while we’re in economic times of unprecedented unemployment,” he said. Calling the GOP bill “a better way,” Cantor characterized the President’s bill “is a nonstarter” that “the American people have resoundingly rejected.”
Republicans have yet to coalesce around a single health care proposal or commit to offering a viable alternative at tomorrow’s bipartisan health care summit. But since the GOP is demanding that Democrats scrap their proposal and adopt the GOP’s solutions, comparing the two bills may be instructive. As it turns out, the GOP alternative would do little to lower health care spending or expand access to affordable coverage:
The majority of Americans who purchase coverage through the exchanges would pay premiums that are “56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.”*
Families purchasing coverage in the small business market could save up to $100 annually.*
Families purchasing coverage in the large-group market could save up to $200 annually.*
CBO concluded that healthier Americans would pay less for insurance.
CBO concluded that the bill would slightly reduce premiums for healthier Americans who purchase coverage in the individual or small group market but “would tend to increase the premiums paid by less healthy enrollees.”
The bill eliminates some waste and fraud in the Medicare system.
The bill gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage.
The bill extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 9 years.*
Closes the doughnut hole that affected 3.4 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2008.
The bill eliminates some waste and fraud in the Medicare system.
The bill gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage.
The bill extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 0 years.
Keeps the doughnut hole open.
Small employers can take advantage of large risk pools by purchasing coverage through the bill’s state-based exchanges.
Small employers would receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees.
Small employers can come together and purchase coverage in associations. Association health care plans have sole discretion in selecting specific items and services that can be included as benefits. Not required to provide a standard package of benefits. Can craft skimpy policies that attract healthier applicants.
Small employers would not receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees.
The most conservative government estimates conclude that the bill would reduce national health care expenditures by at least 0.3% by 2019.*
Does not reduce national health spending. Establishes state innovation program grants to reward states for lowering the cost of their premiums.
ThinkProgress recently released a report documenting more than 110 GOP members of Congress who voted against the economic Recovery Act last year, but later touted the funds or asked for more money. However, it appears that this stimulus hypocrisy is not limited to elected Republican officials.
Politico reports today that Shelby County, Tennessee Commissioner George Flinn, who is running to challenge Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), has joined his Republican friends in Congress:
He attacks the Recovery Act on the Jobs section of his website, writing, “The so-called stimulus bill adopted by the Democrat Congress has done nothing to help the situation.”
But in addition to being a radiologist and radio magnate, Flinn has a sideline as a self-help guru for aspiring entrepreneurs, and a website, YourAmericanDreams.com.
And in one of the videos from the site, he teaches aspiring businessmen how to apply for government grants, including — explicitly — stimulus monies.
Here’s what Flinn says in the video:
There are all kind of grants. There are grants for doing everything in the world you can think of. Maybe you can apply for one of these grants, maybe you can get some money that the government’s spending — they’re just not spending it on you right now. But they’re spending it. And some of it’s part of the stimulus package. So, we want to make sure that you– anything that’s available to you, that you deserve, you get.
Moreover, this month, the Shelby County commission accepted a $1.6 million federal grant provided by the stimulus to fund a local Head Start program. The resolution passed 12-1 with Flinn voting to approve. Flinn has also sponsored a number of resolutions to authorize funds provided by the Recovery Act.
Ron Kirkland, one of Flinn’s primary opponents, has heralded the stimulus as well. The Hill reported this week that, “as a recent president of the American Medical Group Association,” Kirkland “last year touted the group’s work in getting a payment to doctors inserted into the stimulus package.” Former senator Rick Santorum recently had some advice for those Republicans itching to promote the benefits of stimulus funds while attacking the stimulus. “I wouldn’t be promoting it,” he said.
Throughout the economic recession, anti-immigrant groups have been eager to blame California’s budget woes on the state’s undocumented immigrants. However, yesterday, in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) denied these accusations. While recognizing that undocumented immigration does pose some costs to the state, Schwarzenegger reiterated that the recession that California is experiencing is the result of a larger economic downturn, not immigration. And while the anti-immigrant crowd is quick to cite California’s economic troubles as a reason to clamp down on immigration, Schwarzenegger supports a more open policy that gives immigrants an opportunity to contribute to the state of California:
SCHWARZENEGGER: The fact of the matter is yes, it does create an extra burden on our economy and also on our budget situation. But, at the same time, that is not the reason why we have an economic downturn. This just was a crash that happened world-wide, it happened in all different countries all over the world. [...]
VAN SUSTEREN: Is immigration a factor in this state — I mean, what would you do about illegal immigration?
SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I’ve said many times we need immigration reform…we’ve got to go and make a decision so that people can come to this country legitimately, rather than having quotas there. Because we need the farm workers, we need the construction workers, we need people to do certain jobs that maybe we cannot fill otherwise. So I think we ought to provide that.
Schwarzenegger also appeared critical of those who are holding back immigration reform:
SCHWARZENEGGER: So, there are kinds of things like this that we ought to do in immigration reform and it ought to be done now. We should not every two years say: “this is not the right time,” “it is an election year,” “I think we should postpone it until next year.” It will never get done this way and we will always live in this kind of chaos. It’s living in denial basically, like ignoring that we have this major problem and people are coming across the border.
Schwarzenegger also pointed out that it’s “irresponsible” to welcome foreign students to study in the U.S. and then require them to leave once they are finished with their education. “I think they should stay here, they should work here, and they should take that knowledge that they have gained in California and put it to good use for California,” said Schwarzenegger.
A study by Manuel Pastor of the University of Southern California found that immigration reform would increase California’s “state and local tax base by about $350 million in the short run.” A separate study by Raul Hinojosa of the University of California, Los Angeles similarly found that immigration reform which includes a path legalization could generate at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.
The NCAA made the decision after some of its members – including faculty and athletic directors – expressed concern that the evangelical group’s stance against gay and lesbian relationships conflicted with the NCAA’s policy of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation, [NCAA spokesman Bob] Williams said. [...]
Williams said the decision to pull the ad was based not on the message but on the messenger.
Advertisers “should be generally supportive of NCAA values and attributes and/or not be in conflict with the NCAA’s mission and fundamental principles,” according to NCAA standards. The NCAA may exclude ads or advertisers “that do not appear to be in the best interests of higher education and student athletes.”
On Monday, Pat Griffin, a former professor and consultant to the NCAA on LGBT issues, wrote, “Focus on the Family is a right-wing Christian political organization that not only opposes a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, they also are one of the most powerful national opponents of civil rights for LGBT people. … Now they want to impose their values on the NCAA tournament and college basketball fans and the NCAA and CBS are inviting them to. They are rolling out the red carpet and I am deeply offended by the NCAA’s complicity in this.”
Our guest blogger is Sarah Collins, intern with the Energy Opportunity team at the Center for American Progress and a graduate of the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
The Congressional Budget Office’s new analysis determined that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created up to 2.1 million jobs and boosted the economy by up to 3.5 percent in the last three months of 2009. This assessment disproves the claims of nay-saying conservative lawmakers who voted against ARRA and continue to claim that it has not created jobs while wasting money. Despite their opposition to and untrue claims about the nationwide benefits of ARRA, many Congressional Republicans continue to seek funds for clean energy projects and programs that would create jobs in their state or district.
For instance, every member of the Illinois congressional delegation signed a letter urging Gov. Pat Quinn to provide “Recovery Act (ARRA) funding to expand the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network.” Among the signers were Republican Reps. Mark Kirk, Don Manzullo, Peter Roskam, Tim Johnson, Aaaron Schock, and John Shimkus. They received $1.7 million for campus energy projects such as green skills development, decreasing campus energy consumption, energy technology demonstration, and green collar jobs creation. Yet all of these members have attacked ARRA:
– Kirk: Out of control federal spending and borrowing is not sustainable and threatens to dramatically increase the long-term tax burden of our children.
– Manzullo: The original bill was chock full of spending that would neither create jobs nor stimulate our economy, and very little was focused on job-creating infrastructure improvements and putting money back in people’s pockets so they could re-invest it in the economy.
– Roskam: By spending over $1 trillion, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that this legislation will have zero impact on our gross domestic product by 2013, and a negative impact on GDP by 2019 — greatly weakening our economy over time.
– Johnson: This plan was flawed from the outset and nearly everything in it runs contrary to common sense.
– Schock: And while our unemployment continues to hover around 10 percent, Speaker Pelosi and the Administration continue trumpeting this failed plan as a success story despite the fact they know it has failed to meet the goals they set.
– Shimkus: I have expressed my discontent with how much money is being spent in Washington, and my votes reflect that position.
In 2005, frustrated by Democratic opposition to some of President Bush’s far right judicial nominees, Senate Republicans threatened to change the rules of the Senate in mid-session to prohibit Democrats from using the filibuster to block votes on judicial nominees. Then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) dubbed the maneuver the “nuclear option” because it would be so divisive.
For months now, conservatives have been trying to similarly label the budget reconciliation process, which has been used 22 times between 1980 and 2008, the “nuclear option.” With Democrats warming to the idea of using reconciliation to complete passage of health care reform, the conservative Naked Emperor News posted a compilation video to Breitbart.tv today of Democrats — including President Obama and Vice President Biden — denouncing the 2005 GOP plan to rewrite the Senate rules as a “naked power grab.” The video was titled “Obama & Dems in ‘05: 51 Vote ‘Nuclear Option’ Is ‘Arrogant’ Power Grab Against the Founders’ Intent.” Watch it:
As Media Matters notes, the video has now been promoted by right-wing luminaries such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ed Morrissey, Matt Drudge, Fox Nation as proof of hypocrisy if Democrats use reconciliation for health care reform. Human Events even claimed that the Democrats were calling reconciliation “unconstitutional“:
The Obama White House has recently announced that they will go forward with a reconciliation process — sometimes called the “nuclear option” — to try and pass their government run healthcare plan in the Senate. This process circumvents a Republican filibuster and only requires a simple majority vote of 51 rather than 60.
What did top Democrats think of this process previously? See below…
Despite the fact that the Democrats weren’t talking about the reconciliation process, Congressional Republicans are falsely claiming on Twitter that they were. For instance, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) links to the Human Events article and claims Obama and Biden “opposed reconciliation” in 2005:
As Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero notes, “The Democrats in the video are railing against the ‘nuclear option’ as defined by Lott, not the new definition conservatives have decided to bestow upon the phrase.” Additionally, as NPR reported today, the use of reconciliation to change health care would be in line with historical norms. “In fact, the way in which virtually all of health reform, with very, very limited exceptions, has happened over the past 30 years has been the reconciliation process,” Sarah Rosenbaum of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University told NPR’s Julie Rovner.
Responding to the announcement that former White House green jobs advisor Van Jones will be the recipient this Friday of an NAACP Image Award, Fox News relaunched its smear campaign against the environmental leader. According to NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, Van Jones is an “American treasure” who has been “one of America’s most effective and inspiring bridge-builders,” finding “creative solutions to the ecological and economic crises.” However, the Fox & Friends morning show — hosted by Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade — took the announcement as an opportunity to run “some of his most spectacular sound bites that we’ve strung together in a montage form”:
. . . You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child . . . the white polluters and the white environmentalists are basically steering poison into the people-of-color communities . . . Wait a minute, aren’t you an oil company? Aren’t you killing —s in Nigeria? Hold on a second . . . some cowboy cliques in the police department who have a frat boy mentality . . . the President of the United States sounded like a crack head . . . like a crack head trying to lick the crack pipe for a fix . . . the answer to that is they’re a—s. And Obama’s not an a—e . . .
It is certainly true that Van Jones has been a harsh, sometimes incendiary critic of polluters and social and racial injustice. But he has always confronted the difficult issues of race and pollution with humor and compassion:
“You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child” Excerpted from a 2006 speech about social justice, Van Jones expresses his anger that both white and black young men are suffering in this country, and asks for concern, love, and compassion for young men.
“the white polluters and the white environmentalists are basically steering poison” Clipped from a January 2008 interview, Van Jones was explaining how the environmental movement evolved over the 20th century with the influence of Silent Spring and the environmental justice movement. He talks about how he is part of the “third wave” of environmentalism that is “solution oriented” and “investment oriented,” and how to make it “rainbow from the beginning.”
“some cowboy cliques in the police department who have a frat boy mentality” In 2005, Bay Area Police Watch president Van Jones criticized members of the San Francisco Police Department who “ignored the diversity training” and created homophobic, misogynistic, and racist videos. Twenty officers were suspended, and the creator of the videos has since resigned. The chief of police called the videos “egregious, shameful, and despicable.”
“the President of the United States sounded like a crack head” Excerpted from his hour-long 2008 address to the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Jones mocked President Bush for begging the king of Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. Before stepping down from his White House position, Van Jones apologized.
“the answer to that is they’re a—s” Cut from a February, 2009 lecture to the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative. Responding to a question about why Democrats “need” 60 senators to pass their agenda but Republicans didn’t, Jones explained that the Republicans are “assholes,” a “technical, political and scientific term” which he said also applies to himself. Before stepping down from his White House position, Van Jones apologized.
Not only were the Fox & Friends crew uninterested in context in their continued smear against Van Jones, they were unconcerned with accuracy. “Most of those were from before the time he was a green czar,” Doocy said, “and then of course they came to light and of course he had to resign from the Obama Cabinet.” In fact, Jones, who was never a member of the Cabinet, made none of the comments while at the White House.
More important than any impolite language, of course, is the reality of the dirty, deadly influence of polluters on our society, economy, and politics — which even the propaganda machine of Fox News cannot hide. Van Jones will receive his Image Award in a live broadcast Friday on Fox.
Something liberal Jews like to say is that Israel has an interest in securing peace with its neighbors, because if a state of war and occupation proceeds indefinitely then American support for what will become a de facto apartheid state will become untenable.
The logic is fairly clear to me, but the structure of public opinion as reported by Gallup casts some doubts on this line. For one thing, most people think there will never be peace:
And people are firmly on the Israelis’ side:
Both support for Israel and pessimism about the possibility of peace are correlated with Republican partisan self-identification. To conjecture a bit beyond what the data can strictly tell us, I think it’s plausible to posit that there’s a large Republican-identified Christian Zionist bloc that’s extremely comfortable with the idea of aligning itself with Israel for the purposes of an endless religious war and of course they have their counterparts in the “revisionist” strand of Zionism in Israel and among American Jews. To my way of thinking—and I think that of most Jewish liberals—this is a chilling vision and we choose to believe that the conflict both can and will be resolved at some point. But many Americans have a level of cultural and ideological affiliation with violence and coercive domination that makes it easy for them to identify with this version of future Israeli history.