There are two major economic and budgetary issues which Congress must address in the lame-duck session or soon afterward. First, how do we reverse the decline of the middle class and create the jobs that unemployed and underemployed workers desperately need? Second, how do we address the $1 trillion deficit and $16 trillion national debt in a way that is fair and not on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick or the poor?
Elizabeth Warren’s Journey into Politics : The New Yorker
‘Last summer, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor, held a series of houseparties around Massachusetts to test support for a possible run for the United States Senate. At one such event, held at the Andover home of veteran Democratic activist M. J. Powell, Warren was asked if she was engaging in class warfare. She replied, “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.” The writer terms Warren’s speech a “rousing defense of the welfare state.” Warren was unaware she was being filmed, and footage of the speech was posted to YouTube several days later. Warren declared her candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown. “The Warren-Brown contest has become the highest-profile, and most expensive, statewide race of the year.” Warren represents a genuine ideological challenge to Brown, and to her party as well. “Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.” Warren, sixty-three, has modest roots. She was married at nineteen and had her first child at twenty-two, becoming a school-teacher for special needs children before starting at Rutgers School of Law in Newark on her daughter Amelia’s second birthday. Warren has co-authored two books on bankruptcy which use “empirical research to demonstrate the precariousness of contemporary middle-class life.” In the mid-nineties, Congress decided to overhaul bankruptcy laws for the first time since 1978, and Warren was asked to be an adviser on a bankruptcy commission. This is where Warren’s real political education began. In 2008, Warren served on the panel overseeing the bank bailouts, known as TARP, where she directed “plainspoken questions” to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “The more enemies Warren made in the capital, the more popular she became elsewhere.” The Massachusetts campaign has so far been, by contemporary standards, high-minded. Warren says the 2012 election question is “What is the role of government?”
‘As for Reid’s assessment of the state of Senate races, he told HuffPo that “We feel comfortable in the Senate,” but said the growing influence of independent political groups could tip the balance of power toward the Republicans.
“Where the problem is, is this: Because of the Citizens United decision, Karl Rove and the Republicans are looking forward to a breakfast the day after the election,” Reid said. “They are going to assemble 17 angry old white men for breakfast, some of them will slobber in their food, some will have scrambled eggs, some will have oatmeal, their teeth are gone. But these 17 angry old white men will say, ‘Hey, we just bought America. Wasn’t so bad. We still have a whole lot of money left.’”’
‘In 2010, there was an effort — led mostly by freshmen Democratic senators like Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley — to reform the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid squelched their campaign. Last night, he apologized to them on the Senate floor:
If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight. These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate,and we didn’t. And they were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame…
Mr. President, I am finished here, but I just want to say again, for those that are listening here or watching, Senator Udall and Senator Merkley want to do something to change the rules regarding filibuster. If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule, because it’s been abused, abused, and abused.’
‘Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents. I believe I have offered that throughout my career. But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents. Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.
Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.
I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc. Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements. Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.’
What if There Were 83 Women Senators? (by SenatorSanders)
Sen. Franken’s Floor Speech Against the Blunt Amendment (by SenatorFranken)
Sen. Franken’s Floor Statement on Wind Energy (by SenatorFranken)
Current not-Romney candidate just the latest in a series of unsavory characters.
The short list on Rick Santorum from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
- Sen. Santorum runs the K Street project, created by conservative activist Grover Norquist and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), in which he ensures that all top lobbying and trade association jobs are filled by Republicans;
- Two days before Sen. Santorum introduced a bill that would benefit private national weather companies at the expense of the National Weather Service, the Senator’s political action committee, America’s Foundation, received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive officer of AccuWeather, Inc., a leading weather data provider located in State College, PA.;
- Working to undermine public confidence in the National Weather Service, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Sen. Santorum stated in an interview with a local Philadelphia radio station that the National Weather Service failed to predict the storm’s fury and that its warnings were “not sufficient.” In fact, the early warnings about Hurricane Katrina issued by the National Weather Service were praised for their accuracy by news organizations such as Associated Press, NBC News and The New York Times.
- Since the 2001-2002 school year, at least three of Sen. Santorum’s children have attended a Pennsylvania cyber charter school in Penn Hills, PA, costing local taxpayers about $67,000, despite the fact that the Senator and his family spend most of the year in Virginia.
In fact, Santorum was named one of the top three most corrupt members of congress for 2006.
Keep picking those winners, GOP voter.
‘Here’s a chance for some small measure of sanity to be introduced into the Catfood Commission II’s work, and the larger debate about deficits and the safety net, if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) can get enough cosponsors and momentum behind his efforts.’
End of Historic Senate Session 2011-07-30 (21:34:14-22:14:17) (by CSPANSenate2011)