Saturday, December 11, 2010


What happened on the floor of the US Senate this past Friday is no secret. It's actually front page news. There was a time when what happened in DC trumped what Lindsey Lohan and Lady GaGa were doing; today, not so much.   

Friday's event changed all that. Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders, launched a Faux-filibuster that morning against the President's tax cut compromise. Although he got a little help from Sherrod Brown and Mary Landrieux, Bernie held the floor for more than eight hours. He was clear and concise through his whole dissertation on why the Senate and House should reject the shoddy TaxBreak deal offered this week.

The deal will add $857Billion to our national debt and raise taxes on singles making $25K and families making $45K annually according to the latest CBO report.

Sanders has blasted the deal because it extends the Bush-era tax cuts to all the income of the nation's wealthiest. Proponents claim that these cuts will enable those at the top to create jobs for the middle-class. We now have eight years of these TaxBreaks to reflect on and study. Mr Boener, where are the jobs?  

In the years that the millionaires enjoyed their tax cut, they accrued more wealth than before while the median income of the lesser 90% saw wages go down. What did they do with their extra bonus? They closed even more of their businesses and shipped manufacturing to other countries while complaining that there were so many unemployed knocking on their doors looking for work.    

The extension as it sits, according to Sanders is unfair to the less wealthy and it will do nothing to boost the economy. The CBO and past GOP economic advisors admit, extending the unemployment benefits actually stimulates the economy while keeping even greater numbers from the threat of foreclosure.  
I say Senator Sanders has done something unusual and news worthy, because it so rare that we see one of our representatives actually make a stand against something they know is wrong. What he did is not the true definition of a filibuster in the modern sense of the word, but he got the country talking and out of their "We Cant Do Anything" frame of mind. 
Afterall, we are just the citizens they claim to represent.  

Reid was willing to let Sanders have his day on the floor because he's confident that he will get enough votes to reach cloture this coming week. Above is a graph showing the dramatic shift in Filibuster use in this congress compared to previous years. Stunning isn't it?
You may ask where do Schumer and Gillibrand stand on this package? I'm not sure. They seem outraged about it, but may vote for it anyway. Afterall, Bill Clinton made his plea for the deal. Will that sway people, I don't know.

But let me get to the core of the issue.  
60 Votes! Sometimes I question the need for a super-majority to allow bills to reach the floor of the Senate, other times I am thankful. The 60 vote threshold used to be needed only rarely. It has now become the norm. Even a vote to allow the Zadroga Bill for 9-11 Rescue Workers Health, fell short and may face a majority of non-patriots in the House next year. This was the time to do it. 
Will anything positive happen before they leave DC? 
We can only hope.


Anonymous said...

Bernie Sanders has been a steady voice of reason for decades. He continues to impress me. Your decision to promote Sanders' floor speech also impresses me. You'll be on a watch list for now on. Be careful out there.


Anonymous said...

I was also very impressed by Senator Bernie Sanders; and I don't know[lol] who got a video of his heroic actions up first. As far as former President Clinton backing President Obama on the extension of... so what? Another millionaire or billionaire... Right? I was composing a list, this am, of all the millionaire / billionaire politians and/or (ahem) religious "gurus" --- to show just who these proposed tax extensions for the mega-wealthy would "assist." Extremely hard work... Extremely interesting... But then, after working on it for hours, I lost [it wouldn't post and it wouldn't let me copy it to save it elsewhere] the whole darn thing!

Thanks Mike. You have class. NS

involved said...

The Dems brought this on themselves by INSISTING on deal-breaking items so they can make the Repubs look evil

ck yr facts they speak for themselves,,

ol country hardball politics,

compromise & pass legislation - it's the only way.

Anonymous said...

The Bush Tax Cuts created thousands of jobs! In China!