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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 9, 2010 - "Are We Here To Perform Or To Legislate?"

ALERT (3:05 pm): Senate Blocked Defense Appropriation with Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal [Vote: 57-40].

The House passed their version of the Dream Act last night. This morning, the Senate voted 59-40 to table the motion to proceed to the Senate version of DREAM Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the motion to cancel this vote so the Senate could instead vote sometime later on the version that passed the House last night (H.R. 5281). If passed by the Senate, the House version of the DREAM Act would go directly to the president for his signature.

Last night, Reid failed to get cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 3991, a bill allowing more firefighters to unionize, failed by a vote of 55-43. And cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 3985, a bill for a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens, failed by a vote of 53-45.

Reid then failed to get cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 847, a 9/11 responders health bill.

Reid has moved to reconsider cloture on the motion to proceed to the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, S. 3454, which includes a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.  Burying the "don't ask, don't tell" issue in the Defense Authorization is despicable because conservative support the funding of the military but not necessarily the move to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”

In a floor speech yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s perfectly clear by now that our friends on the other side are more interested in pleasing special interest groups than in addressing our nation’s jobs crisis. Once again they’re insisting that the Senate spend its last remaining days before the end of the session voting on a liberal grab bag of proposals that are designed to fail. They don’t even intend to pass these items — they just want to show that they care enough to hold show votes. Which raises a question: are we here to perform or to legislate?

Democrats have certainly seemed more interested in the former since the beginning of the lame duck session. Despite a January deadline where taxes will increase on every American if Congress does not act, Senate Democrats began the lame duck session by spending over a week on a food regulation bill, which they proceeded to bungle, requiring it to return to the House and then the Senate again later. Democrats then began demanding consideration of everything from the DREAM Act, to judges, to filibuster reform.

Senate Republicans finally had enough, and all 42 signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that it was long past time to focus on the priorities of the American people first. “Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities,” they wrote. “For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.”

Yet Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats chose to ignore this letter and the message of the American people. Last week, Democrats did next to nothing on the Senate floor (while recessing the chamber for repeated Democrat caucus meetings) but then held a Saturday session for show votes on Democrat tax hike proposals that had no chance of passing. This week, Democrats have spent most of their time on even more political posturing. Reid scheduled votes on bills for his liberal base: one for unionizing firefighters and the other a version of amnesty known as the DREAM Act. Reid also held votes on bills attempting to paint Republicans as callous if they voted against them: one to give extra Social Security checks to seniors and another for health benefits for 9/11 responders.

Though Reid this morning pulled the DREAM Act for a later vote, Senate Republicans blocked all the bills that came to a vote because they simply are not the priorities of the American people at this moment.

As Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “It’s time to end the posturing and to work together to accomplish something not for the liberal base, but for the vast middle of America that needs us. The White House has signaled its concern over the economy — that its policies aren’t helping, and that it’s time to work with Republicans on forging a new path. We’ve reached a bipartisan agreement. It’s time Democrats in Congress reach a similar conclusion and enable us to act for the good of the whole country.”

Tags: US Senate, US House, White House, Washington, D.C., tax reductions, unemployment, Democrats, Harry Reid, Dream Act, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Defense appropriations To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:50 PM - Post Link

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