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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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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)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Senate Dems Oppose Vote on Repeal of Obamacare & Bloated Farm Bill in House

Today in Washington, D.C. - August 31, 2012
Today the House will convene at 2PM for legislative business. Votes are postponed until 6:30 PM.
Bill to be considered under suspension of the rules:
HR 828— Federal Employee Tax Accountability
S 679 — Removing Senate confirmation process for certain federal appointments
HR 4365 — Amending the Thrift Savings Fund
S 300 — Government Charge card Abuse Prevention Act
HR 1627 — Honoring American veterans
HR 4073 — Railroad right-of-way in Colorado
HR 4606 — Right-of-way permits for natural gas pipeline in Alaska
HR 3641 — Pinnacles National Park Act
HR 3706 — Creation of the office of Chief Financial Officer of the Virgin Islands
S 270, S 271 — Land conveyance in Oregon
HR 3803 — DC Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
HR 1950 — National Park System
HR 3120 — Student Visa Reform Act
HR 6029 — Penalties for foreign and economic espionage
HR 6063 — Child Protection Act
HR 4362 — STOP Identity Theft Act
HR 3796 — Authorizing appropriations for child protection programs through 2017
HR 6062 — Grant program reauthorization
HR 1550 — Law enforcement recruitment and retention

During the remainder of the week, the House will convene at noon Wednesday and Thursday and at 9 AM on Friday for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
Other Bills pending in the House:
Under suspension of the rules:
H Con Res 127 — Sense of Congress to preserve Internet governance
HR 4273 — Resolving grid reliability and environmental conflicts
HR 897 — Commuter and residential toll fairness
HR 5797 — Freedom to fish in Mille Lacs Lake, Minn.
HR 3158 — Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act
HR 1171 — Debris in marine areas
HR 2446 — Home warranty clarification
HR 2139 — Lions Clubs commemorative coin
HR 3187 — March of Dimes commemorative coin
HR 4104 — Pro Football Hall of Fame commemorative coin
S 3363 — Commemorative coin surcharges for the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
Subject to a rule:
Draft — Farm bill extension
HR 8 — Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act
HR 6169 — creating jobs through a simpler tax code

The extension of the Farm Bill has become a "Sacred cow" for many representatives and senators. The pressure on them is great when they have large agriculture regions in their districts or large populations centers dependent on food stamps. Farming in America is more than very important and the government rightly in the past has assisted with crop insurance assistance because of the varying aspects of natural calamities and the weather which are beyond the control of the farmers.

However, the Farm Bill has become the sacred cow of politicians because the Farm Bill in the past has become the burden bearer for numerous other programs which would rightly suffer major reductions if these programs had to stand on their own and the Farm bill was a true "farms only" bill. One example is the corrupted and wasteful "food stamps" program. Another has been the government telling private farmers what and when they could grow crops. Then there is the massive farm subsidies which has become a method for government regulators to control farmers. The Farm Bill has become a double edged sword, a system of of both control and assist certain farmers and a system to protect elected politicians with votes in districts where they can rally constituents dependent on the food stamp programs or garner support by farmers or investors in corporate farms who relying on subsidy checks to turn a profit in their farming operations.

Public Notice, an independent non-profit dedicated to providing facts and insight on the economy and how government policy, summarized the situation as follows:  "An economic recovery will only come when our leaders in Washington start to budget and spend responsibly. This goes for all areas of the federal government, no matter how large or small. The farm bill is no exception."
  • The farm bill has outgrown its original purpose, becoming a vehicle to subsidize large corporations at taxpayers’ expense.
    • For example, last year, one large corporation received a subsidy of $2.2 million thanks to the farm bill.
  • While our debt burden has increased 48 percent since 2009, farm incomes are surging.
    • In fact, compared to others, farmers have done well in recent years. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reports that “farm household incomes have surged ahead of average U.S. household incomes” in the last decade, and that “rising commodity prices and land values have pushed farm incomes to record levels.” In 2012, it’s not exactly hard times down on the farm.
  • It all comes down to priorities. As Americans all over the country struggle to make ends meet, can we afford to continue spending billions subsidizing large companies? 
This is a classic example of how a program intended to protect and sustain the nation’s food supply has been distorted by Washington into a political game.
  • The farm bill has become a vehicle to allow those with access to Washington’s power structure to get ahead and now encourages many in agribusiness to play a game, instead of focusing on creating value.
  • Huge spending in the bill allows large and small businesses, farmers and ranchers, and others to game the system for financial gain at the expense of taxpayers.
  • This system encourages greed and deceit by the players — and we, the taxpayers, are the losers.
The Senate reconvened resumed consideration of S. 3414, the cybersecurity bill.  Votes on amendments to the cybersecurity bill are possible today. Also possible is a vote on the nomination of Carol Galante to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Yesterday, as Senate Democrats tried to break precedent by advancing an appeals court nominee late in an election year, Republicans blocked the move by denying cloture on the nominee, making sure the Senate continued the precedents used by Democrats in 2004 and 2008.

Politico writes this morning, “Democrats are trying to talk up the benefits of ‘Obamacare’ for women’s health Tuesday — but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is still trying to force a vote to repeal it. On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, McConnell asked [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid if the Republicans would have a chance to offer a repeal amendment to the cybersecurity bill — just as Reid was finishing a passionate floor speech about how the law would be a big step forward for women and recalling his wife’s own battle with breast cancer. Reid called the request ‘ridiculous,’ and asked the Senate floor reporter to ‘note the smile on my face.’ ‘I guess the answer is no,’ McConnell said — but insisted he’ll keep trying.”  Video of exchange:


So Senate Democrats are spending the day talking about Obamacare and how it affects women, trying to promote the unpopular legislation, but they won’t take a vote on it. If Reid doesn’t want to mix health care with the cybersecurity bill, he has an odd way of showing it, since Democrat senators spoke on the floor for over an hour outing new Obamacare regulations that begin tomorrow.

The Senate Democrat majority has repeatedly blocked amendments that would repeal their unpopular health care law.

Meanwhile, the news about how bad this law is keeps coming. Just yesterday The New York Times headlined a story, “Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law.” The Times reported, “The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. . . . Health experts, including many who support the law, say there is little that the government or the medical profession will be able to do to close the gap by 2014, when the law begins extending coverage to about 30 million Americans. It typically takes a decade to train a doctor. . . . Moreover, across the country, fewer than half of primary care clinicians were accepting new Medicaid patients as of 2008, making it hard for the poor to find care even when they are eligible for Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid accounts for more than one-third of the overall growth in coverage in President Obama’s health care law. Providers say they are bracing for the surge of the newly insured into an already strained system.”

As Sen. McConnell explained this morning, Democrats “are going to spend the week lauding the advantages as they see it of an immensely unpopular bill that was passed a couple years ago on a straight party-line vote: Obamacare. Yet in a week in which apparently they are going to laud the various provision of it, they're not willing to have a vote in support of it. So I gather that's a vote we will not have. I will request the opportunity to do that again . . . .”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, farm bill, cybersecurity bill, politics, news, debt, government spending, repeal of Obamacare, voteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:13 AM - Post Link

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