GOP To Filibuster Jobs Bill?

Even though unemployment dropped to 9.7% last month, the economy is still suffering.

We need to do more to put Americans back to work, which is why President Obama is urging Congress to pass a jobs bill full of tax breaks for small businesses and other incentives for job creation.

But now there are reports that the GOP may–surprise surprise–filibuster the President’s proposal. Even though millions of Americans are out of work, the GOP wants to stay true to their obstructionist roots to block the creation of millions of new jobs.

My message to Democrats: if the GOP wants to filibuster the jobs bill, let them.

Look, there’s no sense in going to the negotiating table–the GOP will never, ever support a Democratic policy, particularly a policy designed to help millions of Americans. They want to deny President Obama and the Democrats anything even approaching a political victory and they will throw the American people under the bus to do it.

Try to negotiate, Democrats, and you will spend months making concession after concession–and, in the end, you still won’t get any Republican votes. And, by then, the jobs bill will be unpopular simply because the process dragged on for so long–just look at health care reform.

Democrats should just put together the jobs bill they want, and when the GOP tries to filibuster it, let them. And if they succeed, then Democrats should hit them–hard–for killing millions of new American jobs.

Then Democrats should re-introduce the same exact bill and let the GOP filibuster again. And then they should hit the Republicans, again, for killing millions of new American jobs.

And keep doing that, for as long as it takes. Propose the jobs bill, let the GOP filibuster it and then hit the GOP for that filibuster, because it’s time the Republicans started paying a political price for their obstructionism.

Like President Obama said during his State of the Union, if the GOP is going to filibuster everything than they need to take some responsibility for governing this country. If the GOP blocks the jobs bill then they should get the blame for keeping millions of Americans out of work. Democrats should shame them into passing it.

The GOP is playing hardball. It’s about time Democrats started playing hardball, too–especially since Democrats are on the side of the American people, here, and the GOP is out for nothing more than political power.

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Senate Passes Health Care Reform

Sorry for the late posting; I spent much of today traveling.  It is the season, after all.

Anyway, as expected, the Senate passed the health care reform bill early this morning.

The 60-39 vote exactly mirrored last night’s cloture vote; once again, Jim Inhofe (R-OK) was the single absentee Senator.

Now the House and Senate versions of the bill will have to be reconciled in a conference committee, and then that bill will have to be passed by both houses of Congress.

Unsurprisingly, the GOP is still trying to delay the final passage of the bill–Roll Call reports that they’re blocking Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attempts to name the Senators who will sit on the conference committee.

Because of the GOP’s obstructionism and delay tactics, the debate over health care reform has become the second-longest debate in American history–the 25-day-long debate on health care reform is only surpassed by the 26-day-long debate on whether or not to enter World War I.

Some Republican Senators, though, seem to be throwing in the obstructionism towel–as James Inhofe, the absentee Senator on the last two major health care vote, recently said:

“I can assure you the vast majority of the [Republican] conference was on my side saying we’ve had all the fun we’re going to have.”

Hopefully more of Inhofe’s colleagues will see the light.

31 million Americans who currently lack coverage will receive it because of this bill. Our deficit will be reduced by more than $130 billion in the first ten years alone. Millions of people will get federal subsidies to help them purchase better health care coverage.

Merry Christmas, America.

Finally, A Revelation (UPDATED)

Congressional Democrats come to their senses:

At the same time, Democrats say the apparently unbridgeable health care divide has convinced them that Republicans are dedicated solely to blocking legislative proposals for political purposes. Several said they now realized that they would have to rely strictly on their own caucus to advance such defining issues as climate change in 2010.

“We have crossed the mark of over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction in less than one year,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said on the floor Sunday. “Never since the founding of the Republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding Civil War, was such a thing ever seen in this body.”

[Emphasis mine]

That’s a lesson the Democrats should have learned after the economic stimulus package, where they made concession after concession and bent over backwards to placate the GOP, yet won over only 3 out of the 219 Republicans in Congress.

The Republicans are not interested in governing this country. The GOP is only interested in scoring political points; they don’t care how much damage they cause as long as they can conceivably spin things in their favor.

The Democrats are the majority. The GOP knows that if they can obfuscate, obstruct, and effectively throw a wrench into the works of our government then they can turn around and portray the Democratic majority as impotent.

I would love to live in a country with a vibrant two-party system, where the right and left can sit down, negotiate in good faith and construct good, productive legislation that makes both sides happy.

Unfortunately, the GOP has pledged themselves wholeheartedly to obstructionism and hyperpartisanship, meaning that every time the Democrats sit down and try to work with the GOP they’re effectively pounding nails into their own political coffin.

The Democrats have the White House and sizable majorities in both houses of Congress.  They should focus on winning over conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson–winning over Republicans shouldn’t be a concern at this point.

The GOP had their chance but they blew it, proving themselves unable and unwilling to govern. Until Republicans show that they’re capable of working in good faith toward good legislation, winning Republican votes shouldn’t even be an afterthought for Democratic lawmakers.

UPDATE: From the above New York Times article:

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What’s Next For Health Care Reform

The short version: GOP obstructionism, an around-the-clock schedule and a possible Christmas Eve vote.

The long version:

Sen. Jim DeMint said Thursday he is prepared to use every procedural tool to delay a vote on the Democratic healthcare legislation.

That’s not surprising–the GOP just tried to force the Senate to read the entirety of the 767-page Sanders amendment, a farce that only ended when Sen. Sanders pulled his amendment from consideration.

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The Obstructionist’s Cookbook

New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg has penned a letter to his Senate colleagues that details various ways in which they can obstruct health care reform.

You can read the whole thing here.

In other words, the GOP is going to exploit every procedural nook and cranny, every legislative loophole available in order to obstruct health care reform. Even if the Democrats get the required votes to pass it, the GOP is going to make the process as lengthy and difficult as possible.

Republicans are dealing in bad faith here. They don’t care about governing this country–all they care about is partisan politicking and playing political games.  We have a broken health care system, one that needlessly kills 45,000 Americans a year; instead of pitching in to help pass the reform we need,  the GOP is trying to delay that reform as much as possible.

Every American should remember this come election time–President Obama and the Democrats worked to fix our broken health care system while the GOP used every dirty trick in the book to make sure the American people just keep getting more of the same. It’s shameful.

Dangerous Right-Wing Astroturf (UPDATED X3)

The corporate anti-reform astroturfing is getting ugly:

More from the Speaker’s office:

  • Protesters in Texas carried a sign displaying a tombstone with Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s (D) name on it.
  • At that same anti-Doggett protest, another demonstrator carried a sign with the Nazi “SS” logo on it.
  • At a rally in Salisbury, MD, an Americans for Prosperity-sponsored rally hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) in effigy.

And more below the fold…

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BREAKING: Judge Sotomayor Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

HuffPo has it:

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted to approve Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice over nearly solid Republican opposition, paving the way for a historic confirmation vote.

The panel voted 13-6 in favor of Sotomayor, with just one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joining Democrats to support her. The nearly party-line tally masked deeper political divisions within GOP ranks about confirming President Barack Obama’s first high court nominee.

[Emphasis added]

Next, Judge Sotomayor’s nomination will be referred to the full Senate, where she is expected to easily win confirmation despite the GOP’s attempts at obstructionism.