Category Archives: House of Representatives

Awesome graph: GOP budget cut priorities

Thanks, ReChan, for ruining my day again. 😐

Like, it’s almost cartoon level evil. Taking help for the poor simply to give it back to the rich.

I’d like to point out that this is, in fact, a redistribution of wealth, and it’s giving it to the people who already have plenty of it. If this was actually good for the economy, you’d imagine that the US would have the greatest economy on the planet right now.

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Look, I know there are dumb Democrats, too…

…but honestly. HONESTLY.

Benishek fielded several suggestions on how to increase funding for Medicare, ranging from ending oil subsidies to increasing taxes on the wealthiest two percent, suggestions that Benishek summarily dismissed.

Benishek also displayed a shocking lack of self-awareness about his level of knowledge of some key facts. “There are no government subsidies for oil,” he told one woman who suggested ending the very real subsidies given to oil corporations to help defray the cost of Medicare.

At one point, the discussion turned to health care reform. Benishek, who served as a medical doctor before he was elected to Congress in 2010, was thrust onto the national stage after his predecessor Bart Stupak cast the deciding vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. He told the audience that the United States has the best health care system in the world, before he was literally laughed at by several attendees.

“We have the highest life spans in the world,” argued Benishek. Several women in the audience quickly pointed out that in fact, many countries with universal health care place higher than the United States in terms of life expectancy, including Canada, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. The United States ranks 50th, just behind South Korea and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I don’t believe that’s true,” said Benishek.

“How can you not know that, you’re a medical doctor?” one woman replied.

This is part of a trend I see far too frequently on the right (remember Mitch McConnell vis a vis the “war on women”?): the assumption that something must be true because it feels true. It’s not an error that’s specific to any particular ideology, either; it’s the same thing that makes you wonder how a TV show you never watch could possibly still be on the air. You’re wrapped up in how things have worked for you that you just assume that’s how it is everywhere. You’ll notice that everyone claiming that the US has the best health care system in the world are people who have only been exposed to the best it has to offer; they’re not looking at it in its entirety. To someone who’s had a relatively easy walk in front of them, it sure seems like our medical care is awesome and you can be a millionaire if you just put some elbow grease into it.

Where we do have a left/right divide is in the glorification of the “gut”. Conservatives all too frequently snort and sneer at “higher-educated elites” and scoff at eggheads, worshiping at the altar of good ol’ fashioned common sense. Now, common sense is great, and sometimes you have to stop overcomplicating things and simply call it like it is, but when you build an entire platform around that, it results in a wave of dopes who think that any ol’ instinctive assumption that crosses their cortex just has to be true.

Friend of the Razor Ryan and I chit chatted about this a bit, and we came to the conclusion that, by and large, lefties will call out their own for stuff like this whereas the right does far less frequently. I’ve hopped on the side of Rick Santorum and Trent Lott, and I’ve raked Al Franken and Barack Obama over the coals. To me, there’s no satisfaction in “winning” if it’s based on falsehoods. A debate isn’t “won” simply by flummoxing the other person, it’s by proving yourself to be correct. And frankly I’m even more angry when my side does it, because it undermines everyone else’s efforts thanks to guilt by association.

Anyway, big ol’ tirade over. Just another doofy Gopper. Move along.

Did the House "cave" on the payroll tax bill?

That’s how it’s being framed, by multiple members of the press as well as some angry freshman republicans. “Cave” is this cycle’s buzzword, and I don’t like it.

You often hear me complaining about the adversarial nature of current politics, and language is a big part of it. The word “cave” implies defeat, that Republicans allowed Democrats to win this battle. But as I said at the beginning, the Senate was fairly bipartisan in passing the thing, so we’re not talking about a Democratic dream bill here.

Obviously I’m rocked that the payroll tax cut is sticking around, because who couldn’t use an extra $40 every payday? But it shouldn’t be flaunted as a winners and losers situation politically. All that does is foment resentment and cause the “cavers” to want to avoid such embarrassment in the future by not reaching across next time.

I’ll be the first to dance and shout when the Dems ram an awesome bill through despite GOP opposition, but this is one of those cases where the two dudes should shake hands, not fists.

Our maybe I’m just feeling all warm and fuzzy from xmas nog, who knows.

House Speaker cuts off C-SPAN feed

When in doubt, make sure no one can see what’s going on.

HOUSE Republicans shoot down payroll tax cut bill

I want to specify that it was the House that did this, and not the Senate.

Rather than have a straight up-or-down vote, the House on Tuesday used a maneuver in which it rejected the Senate bill while requesting to go to conference with members of that chamber in a single measure, protecting House members from having to cast a politically unpopular vote against extending a payroll tax cut.

Which they did after the Senate left with no prospects of returning. Sort of the “I’ll do it when you hop on an airplane and pay for me to do it” gambit.

See, the House is far more beholden to the crazy-bananas Tea Party simply by virtue of being district-based (it’s a general rule of Political Science that the bigger the stage, the more moderate the candidate), and so even though the Senate passed it 89-10, the House shot it down with a damn-near pure party line vote.

This really needs to be in every Democratic campaign ad. The Teabagging House is all about helping out the already well-off, but middle America? Go fuck yourselves.

Boehner Bill passes

Not long now before it dies in the Senate.

Congress goes home rather than voting for FAA authorization

PROTIP: if you want to pretend like you’re actually serving the country, you can’t just go home when something like this is looming overhead.

The disagreement means the FAA has to furlough as many as 4,000 workers tomorrow and stop collecting about $200 million a week in airplane-ticket and other taxes until it is resolved, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said yesterday. Air- traffic controllers, considered essential employees, would remain on the job.

The agency has been without long-term funding legislation since 2007 and has operated on a series of short-term extensions, the most recent of which expires at midnight.

I’m sure those 4,000 people are going to be completely sympathetic that it was late and everyone was tired and didn’t want to keep debating.