June 24, 2010
-- by Dave Johnson
If a filibuster happens in the forest and no one is told about it, did it really happen?
The GOP is said to be ready to filibuster the bill extending jobless benefits today. Will this be reported as the national emergency that it is? Will this be reported as a filibuster? Will this even be reported?
A Republican filibuster appears increasingly likely to kill long-sought legislation extending jobless benefits and a host of other spending and tax measures, despite a new round of cuts to the measure Wednesday that reduced its deficit impact even further.
Then, of course, rather than bring in the cots, require everyone to talk all night, hold press conference after press conference and bring it up again and again until the public understands, ... nothing. These tactics worked last time, in April, when the Republicans immediately caved over filibustering Wall Street Reform after the Democrats threatened to make a big deal out of it. Doing the same thing against build momentum toward victory. So why not do it again?
According to the report,
Democrats would then abandon the measure.
But none of this matters to anyone, right? You won't see headlines across the country. You won't see coverage break into regular programming.
Also from the report,
Failure to pass the bill would mean about 200,000 jobless people a week would lose benefits that average more than $300 a week because they would be unable to reapply for additional tiers of benefits enacted since 2008. Governors denied help with their budget woes are likely to lay off tens of thousands of state workers.
The Washington post says that 900,000 people will lose their jobless benefits by the end of the money. Millions are losing their health insurance right now as well. Why isn't this considered a national emergency. It is certainly an emergency for those people, for the stores where they buy groceries, their landlords or mortgage-holders, their children, their relatives and their communities. What is wrong with Washington that they don't care/ What is wrong with our elite media that they don't report this?
And the Democrats? What is wrong with them that they are not fighting? I have a question. Democrats started with a strong bill that included extending COBRA subsidies, getting rid of that special tax break for hedge fund managers, stong aid to the states, etc. They took piece after piece out, "to attract a few Republican votes." And now there is a filibuster, which means no Republican votes. So my question: when they took things out to get Republican votes, and ended up with no Republican votes, why didn't they get a promise of a vote in writing before they sacrificed such important items? And when the votes didn't materialize why didn't they put the items back?
The problem is that millions of people are being put into terrible circumstances by a Congress - Democrats and Republicans - that is failing them, failing the states, and is preserving a huge tax break break for billionaires. They just don't see this as an urgent problem, with some even calling the unemployed "lazy." Set aside the Washington games for a minute and look at the humanity. People who cannot find jobs - overwhelmingly older because age discrimination laws are not enforced - lose their heath insurance as the COBRA subsidies -- and COBRA itself -- expire. They are now losing their unemployment compensation. They of course will lose houses, even apartments.
Is this how a society treats its people? Is this how a Congress serves its constituents? Is this how a news media covers emergencies?
Posted by Dave Johnson at June 24, 2010 9:05 AM
So we get it in writing. Why would we believe that The Party of BP would honor that pledge any further than they honor their word? One of their smokespeople would merely say that circumstances had changed because the Democrats didn't play fair. And the Democrats would probably agree.
The Democrats should put everything back into this bill and bring it up for a vote once a week. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party should actively bring this to the attention of the voters in every Republican district. But that would involve fighting back and wouldn't be polite.
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