Archive for house democrats

This Historical Moment Brought To You By President Madison

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James Madison

We have three branches of our government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. But according to history and an article in BUSINESS INSIDER, we almost had a fourth. Oh, and this one's a pip. Today the Republicans would be jumping all over it regarding Obamacare. But I get ahead of myself.

First the background. This story comes from Business Insider and is part of the commemoration of the upcoming  226th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution (Sept. 17th if you're curious). According to the article, Virginian, James Madison felt there was still a problem with the balance of power. He feared that the will of a majority-directed legislature would swamp the decision-making and oversight powers of the executive and judiciary.

Madison's solution? The Council of Revision.

The Council would comprise elements of the executive and judiciary, and would have the authority to, "examine every act of the National Legislature before it shall operate, & every act of a particular Legislature before a Negative thereon shall be final."

The dissenters to this proposed fourth arm felt that it would turn judges into lawmakers. Hmm. How interesting. 226 years later, some would say that's exactly what did happen.

A vote was taken to create this new branch but it was narrowly defeated, 4-3.

So, a council of revision. Boy, a chance for a do-over. Wouldn't that be grand. I bet today,with the current political climate, it would be used as often as the Republican filibuster. Nothing would get done.

Come to think of it, even without that forth branch, nothing seems to get done. And if you were thinking it could be a good idea, consider this. A council of revision was added to the French government in 1958.

bouillabaisse

France?! That alone should tell you it was not a good idea. If history tells us anything, the French could use another branch of their government but it would be called, nous nous rendons "We Surrender." For that and Bouillabaisse, the French are best known.

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House GOP votes down minimum wage increase. So did these six Dems.

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inequality income

Here are the final vote results for a bill that would have increased the minimum wage and helped a whole lot of people who could use a few more dollars in their wallets. Democrats tried to bring the national minimum wage of $7.25 up to $10.10 by 2015 via an amendment to a jobs training program bill.

That didn't work out very well.

Then again, neither did this income equality:

chart graph income inequality labor v corporate profits

House Republicans voted down the minimum wage proposal unanimously, so feel free to thank them. But some of that gratitude should be extended to the six Democrats who joined them. Here are their names:

John Barrow 

Jim Matheson

Mike McIntyre

Bill Owens

Collin Peterson

Kurt Schrader

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"Vast majority" of House Democrats are with V.P. Biden on marriage equality

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Vice President Joe Biden said he’s “absolutely comfortable” with marriage equality, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan didn't mince words: He is for same-sex marriage.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa even endorsed including a same-sex marriage plank in the national party platform.

Today, according to The Hill, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said that there are “mixed views” among House Democrats....

“But a vast majority of our caucus is where Biden is."

With so many groups and prominent individuals openly supporting marriage equality, and polls showing that more and more Americans agree, more pressure is being exerted to add it to the 2012 platform... which puts the president in the uncomfortable position of either frustrating gay rights voters or their opponents.

Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at the Human Rights Campaign:

If not for Obama’s reluctance, he said, “this would be something that would sail into the platform.”

Just say yes, Mr. President.

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196 House Democrats sign letter opposing voter suppression, disenfranchisement, voter I.D. laws

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Yesterday I posted a video of Rachel Maddow giving us a ray of sunshine, a smidgen of hope, saying that “There are signs of life” in the Democratic party.

The House Dems are moving on reversing the efforts of the GOP, mostly via state legislators, to systematically implement voter suppression, voter I.D. laws, essentially pushing for a single party rule. Now Democratic lawmakers are coming together to persuade state officials to take terrible laws intended to reduce the number of Democratic votes as seriously as they do.

It looks like they're having some success. Think Progress:

A massive 196 House Democrats — nearly their entire caucus — signed a letter to state election officials asking them to “put partisan considerations aside and serve as advocates for enfranchisement” during this unfortunate era of voter disenfranchising state laws...

These Congress members want one thing: To restore the basic right to vote.

Nor are voter ID laws the only Republican assault on our right to choose our own leaders. Republican lawmakers have gutted public financing laws that allow candidates without major corporate or other wealth backers to still compete in elections — even as Republican Supreme Court justices open the floodgates for corporations to buy elections. Republican officials have made it harder to register to vote, harder to vote early, and they have declared war on the landmark Voting Rights Act. Pennsylvania Republicans have even proposed rigging the Electoral College to help ensure that a Republican becomes president in 2013.

As you can see, the GOP has done everything they can to take a basic right away from eligible Americans. It's reassuring to see Democrats fight for democracy, while America watches Republicans fight against it.

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Turnabout is Fair Play Dep't: Democrats Use Constitution Rule to Attack Abortion Bill

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The GOP hypocridiots got their own "we're in charge now" demands thrown in their face. How's that Constitutiony Ruley thing workin' for ya?

Republican priorities collided Friday when a Democrat complained that a GOP bill to limit abortion funding does not comply with a new House rule requiring Members to cite the constitutional authority for all legislation.

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74 House Democrats say Justice Thomas should recuse himself in health care case

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If you recall, Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, is now a lobbyist, and as Lawrence O’Donnell said a few days ago on The Last Word, “...she brags about her influence.”

As luck would have it, Ginni now lobbies for repeal of the health care law, or as she likely calls it, “Obamacare”, a law which will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. And of course, her hubby is 1/9 of that court.

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

A few Congress members have a thing or two to say about that:

Seventy-four House Democrats have signed a letter to Clarence Thomas asking the Supreme Court justice to recuse himself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of the national health care overhaul, arguing that his wife's work as a lobbyist creates "the appearance of a conflict of interest."

The move is the latest indication that the court battle over the health-care law's constitutionality -- which is expected to be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court -- has already become a political tit-for-tat.

Orrin Hatch had a request of his own. He thinks it's Judge Elena Kagan who has a problem because of her work as Solicitor General during the endless health care reform debate-slash-town hall mob scenes:

"I think that Kagan, who was the solicitor general at the time this was all done, probably should recuse herself, which means it might not be resolved by the Supreme Court," Hatch told Fox News last week. "That means the lower court decision will be the acting law."

How adorable. Dueling recusal requests.

Well, Anthony Weiner has a zinger or three of his own:

The appearance of a conflict of interest merits recusal under federal law. From what we have already seen, the line between your impartiality and you and your wife's financial stake in the overturn of healthcare reform is blurred. Your spouse is advertising herself as a lobbyist who has "experience and connections" and appeals to clients who want a particular decision - they want to overturn health care reform. Moreover, your failure to disclose Ginny Thomas's receipt of $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent opponent of healthcare reform, between 2003 and 2007 has raised great concern. [My post about that here]

And then he goes on to mention Common Cause's efforts to investigate the visits by Supreme Court Justices to "closed-door political gatherings sponsored by two top Republican donors and industrialists", as in the Koch brothers, for instance.

You can read the entire letter from the House Dems here.

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Aide: Pelosi won't hold vote on Obama's tax plan

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Nancy Pelosi says she will honor the resolution:

(Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not bring President Barack Obama's current proposed tax plan up for a vote in her chamber, an aide said on Thursday.

Well then, she's serious about not passing this bill in its current form. That doesn't necessarily mean it won't be put up for a vote with a few tweaks.

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