Posts tagged ‘Democratic’

May 26, 2011

Jubilant Democrats demanded Republicans abandon their sweeping plans to remake Medicare on …

Dems rejoice over NY; will Medicare redo 2012?
May 26, 2011, 2:59 a.m. EDT
Associated Press
Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Selection Poll B.O.Page!WASHINGTON (AP) — Jubilant Democrats demanded Republicans abandon their sweeping plans to remake Medicare on Wednesday after casting a House race in upstate New York as a referendum on the popular program and emerging victorious.

“The top three reasons for the election of a Democrat in one of the most conservative Republican districts in America are Medicare, Medicare and Medicare,” declared New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the party’s congressional campaign committee.

House Republicans made little if any attempt to demonstrate widespread support for their controversial proposal during the day. And the National Republican Congressional Committee offered no explanation for having let hundreds of thousands of dollars in Democratic-funded attacks on the proposed Medicare overhaul go unchallenged in its own television advertising.

GOP officials said the presence of a third-party contender and other factors contributed to their unexpected defeat in New York.

They accused Democrats of campaign scare tactics, while the Medicare plan’s author, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released a five-minute video defending his work.

Under Ryan’s plan, for anyone younger than 55 the basic Medicare program for medical and hospital care would be replaced by a system in which insurance companies would offer coverage while the government contributed toward the cost of premiums. The program would remain unchanged for anyone 55 or older, including millions who currently receive benefits.

Kathy Hochul’s victory over Republican Jane Corwin in a multi-candidate race was the best political news in months for Democrats, who were voted out of power in the House and lost seats in the Senate last year in what President Barack Obama memorably dubbed a shellacking. She gained 47 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for her rival and 9 percent for Jack Davis, a former Democrat who ran as a tea party contender.

At the same time, Democrats stressed they did not view the race as a reason to walk away from high-profile bipartisan deficit-reduction talks being led by Vice President Joe Biden.

For Republicans, the New York race provided fresh evidence of turbulence for a Medicare remake they tout as a long-term answer to the program’s financing. In the weeks since they unveiled it, the proposal has been less than enthusiastically received by the public, judging from polls.

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich criticized it, and while he later apologized to Ryan he has not recanted his opposition. A second contender, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said during the day he will have an alternative that differs in unspecified areas from the one in the party’s budget in the House.

Israel and other Democrats said Hochul’s victory showed that the Medicare-overhaul proposal would prove a political dead weight for Republicans in dozens of races in the 2012 congressional elections.

It also is likely to embolden liberals who are not generally supportive of deficit cuts now under negotiation on the order of trillions of dollars.

Yet public opinion polls show strong support for reining in deficits, particularly among independent voters. And Obama, readying for his own re-election campaign, has dispatched Biden and other top officials to negotiations aimed at reaching a compromise with Republicans.

“Budget talks are proceeding in good faith and will continue,” said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

The party’s second-in-command in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, has said repeatedly that changes to Medicare should be on the table as part of deficit reduction talks, although he and others in his party remain implacably opposed to the Republicans proposal.

In an interview, Israel said Democrats would work with Republicans to strengthen Medicare “but not to do away with it.”

Republicans want “to end Medicare as we know it,” the president told an audience of invited guests last month, Ryan and other GOP lawmakers among them.

Democratic strategists have privately urged the party’s leaders to criticize the overhaul plan, in part to try and regain the allegiance of older and independent voters who helped Republicans in the 2010 elections.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, chair of the Senate Democratic campaign organization, said she, too, intended to make use of the issue in the fall.

“I’m confident that Senate Democrats will be able to play offense in races across the country by remaining focused on the Republican effort to end Medicare in order to” cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, she said.

In the race in New York, Hochul injected the GOP Medicare plan into the campaign weeks ago. Running in a conservative district, she aired ads saying she wanted to reduce government spending while accusing Corwin of favoring Medicare cuts to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

Corwin quickly counterattacked, accusing Hochul of wanting to cut Social Security as well as Medicare.

Both the Democratic campaign committee and the House Majority PAC, an outside group aligned with the Democrats, also aired ads critical of the GOP Medicare plan.

But the National Republican Congressional Committee did not mention the issue in running as much as $400,000 worth of television advertising in the district around Buffalo and Rochester. Instead, the group ran a commercial linking Hochul to Pelosi, an echo of the type of ad that proved effective in the 2010 campaigns.

Paul Lindsay, a spokesman, declined to say whether the organization wished it had acted differently. But in the future, he said, “Republicans will take this result as a call to action to challenge Democrats at every turn on their irresponsible plan to bankrupt Medicare.”

American Crossroads, an organization aligned with Republicans, spent more than $600,000 on television ads without seeking to counter the Democratic attacks.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman, said polling showed Medicare was the largest policy issue in the campaign “by a superslim and superlow plurality of 21 percent.”

He said one out of five voters said it was the most important issue, yet five out of ten voted for Hochul. “When you look at it that way, it’s really not the big deal that everyone made it out to be.”

Hochul will be sworn in within days, the first Democrat to represent the district in four decades. She replaces Chris Lee, who resigned after shirtless photos he sent to a woman he’d flirted with on Craigslist surfaced online.

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April 25, 2011

Past House GOP killed Democratic priorities using obscure parliamentary maneuvers

Past House GOP tactic proves useless to Democrats

Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, when Republicans were in the minority on Capitol Hill, they drove Democrats crazy by using an obscure parliamentary maneuver to change, delay and even kill Democratic priorities.

Now that Republicans are running the House, Democrats have tried to stymie the GOP agenda by relying on the tactic, known as the motion to recommit. But they’ve failed on every one of their 23 attempts this year.

That motion is almost always the last step just before the final vote on a bill. It gives the minority party, which has little voice and few rights in the House, a last chance to amend a bill, or in a more traditional sense, return it to the committee level for further work.

Often, the maneuver is aimed at forcing members of the majority into an untenable choice between opposing their party’s position or casting a vote that opponents could use against them in election campaigns.

For a recommit motion to work, the minority party must pick off at least some members of the majority. Thus Democrats would need at least a few dozen of the House’s 241 Republicans to vote with them this year. Their best showing so far on any motion: two GOP votes.

Republican leaders may have a hard time keeping their troops in line on the budget and social issues, but there’s near ironclad unity when it comes to keeping Democrats in their place.

A Democratic motion on a recent bill to cut off federal dollars for National Public Radio would have continued money for Amber alerts on NPR regarding abducted children. The motion didn’t get a single Republican vote. Nor did Democrats get a nibble when they called for federal air marshals on high-risk flights as part of aviation legislation.

On a highway spending bill, Democrats were shut out when they tried to cut off federal aid for “bridge to nowhere” projects in Alaska. They drew a single vote on a motion to the last short-term spending bill stating that there would be no cuts to Social Security or Medicare. “That is simply a fog screen,” GOP Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in opposing it.

Such motions rarely succeed for either party. But Republicans in the recent past have managed to entice conservative and vulnerable Democrats with motions on sensitive subjects such as guns, abortion and immigration.

Republicans nearly succeeded in derailing the health care act last year with a motion to recommit that contained anti-abortion provisions. Democratic leaders had to appease their own anti-abortion wing to secure their votes against the GOP motion.

In 2007 Democrats had to withdraw a bill giving residents in the District of Columbia a vote in the House because of a motion to repeal the city’s tough gun laws.

Last spring Republicans succeeded in changing a bill to subsidize people who buy energy-efficient products for their homes. GOP lawmakers made the changes part of a recommit motion barring contractors from hiring child molesters.

A week later they watered down a science and technology bill by attaching their version to a proposal to fire government works who view pornography on the job. Many Democrats, envisioning election-year attack ads claiming they supported pornography, had to go along.

In December, Republicans used a similar tactic to force Democrats to withdraw temporarily a bill expanding child nutrition programs. By voting against the Republican alternative, a lawmaker could be portrayed as supporting federal food money for institutions that hire convicted sex offenders.

Norm Ornstein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Republicans have developed the procedure as “a potent weapon of embarrassment.” They focused, he said, not so much on offering alternatives as entrapping Democrats with “gotcha” proposals.

“The Democrats have not been as relentless or adept as Republicans as far as crafting” the motions, Ornstein said.

Democrats predict they’ll have more success as the 2012 election approaches. “It depends on whether the Republican rank and file come to listen to their constituencies,” said Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for the House Democratic campaign committee. “Right now they are listening to their leadership.”

Republican leaders have explained to their members that Democrats are given opportunities to offer amendments, and that the motions are merely procedural votes on issues where Democrats are trying to score political points.

It wasn’t always that way.

In 1909, opponents of autocratic Speaker Joe Cannon, R-Ill., forced a rule change giving priority to an opponent to offer an alternative before a final vote. In 1932 that was changed to give the minority party a last shot.

Democrats increasingly squelched that right in their many decades of controlling the House. When Republicans took over in 1995, they promised that the right to offer a motion to recommit would be honored even as they united in defeating Democratic proposals.

The Democratic return to power in 2007 was accompanied by the continued trend, starting under the Republicans, of limiting the minority’s right to offer amendments. The motion to recommit was often the only chance to affect legislation.

“In recent years, and not just under the current majority, the minority has been forced to use the motion to recommit, often in ways that are painful for the majority, to ensure the minority’s voice is heard,” Ohio Rep. John Boehner, then the minority leader, told the American Enterprise Institute in a speech last September. “And in turn, the majority has responded by conjuring up new ways to shut the minority out even further. It’s a cycle of gridlock.”

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Online:

Congressional Research Service: http://tinyurl.com/3zstryw

Congressional Glossary: http://tinyurl.com/3rftfwh

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

 Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…

Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!