Archive for the ‘Specter’ Category

‘Card check’ bill loses key supporters

March 28, 2009
With Sens. Specter and Feinstein withdrawing their support, and the threat of a Republican filibuster, backers of the pro-union provision may have to consider less divisive alternatives.
By James Oliphant
The Lost Angeles Times
March 28, 2009

Reporting from Washington — Whether you label it the “card check” bill or the Employee Free Choice Act, you can also call it something else — in deep trouble.

Key senators this week appeared to cripple prospects for passing the highly polarizing measure, the labor movement’s top priority in Congress, which is aimed at making it easier for workers to join unions.

The latest hurdle came Friday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she would seek alternative legislation that was less divisive. Feinstein, a past sponsor of the act, cited the flailing economy as a reason; other critics of the bill have said it would drive up operating costs for businesses at a perilous time.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult economy, and feelings are very strong on both sides of the issue,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I would hope there is some way to find common ground that would be agreeable to both business and labor.”

Feinstein’s words came days after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) declared that he would not support the bill. Specter too had supported the act in the past, and his announcement was viewed as eliminating any chance that Democrats could muster enough votes to break a promised Republican filibuster.

The card-check bill would bypass the traditional union election process and allow workers to be certified as a bargaining unit if a majority signed cards indicating their support for a union. The proposal played a leading role in congressional campaigns across the country, with voters bombarded by televised ads applauding and demonizing the bill.

Now its supporters are scrambling to figure out their next move. It appears clear that if the legislation has a future, it will not be in its present form.

“We knew all along that this bill would be amended. It seems clear now we’ll have to look at some changes to get to the floor,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a cosponsor of the legislation.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworl
d/nation/la-na-card-check28-2009mar28
,0,4048410.story

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Mortgage relief stalls on Hill

March 14, 2009

Disagreement among Senate Democrats over how many struggling homeowners should qualify for court-ordered mortgage relief has stalled a key part of President Obama‘s foreclosure prevention plan on Capitol Hill.

Behind the scenes, top Democrats are offering banks and credit unions sweeteners to drop their opposition to the plan, hoping that even tepid support from lenders might win a few vital votes from skeptical Democrats and Republicans. The bill would give judges new power to lower the interest rate and principal on a primary home loan as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

The measure passed the House last week – but only after a small revolt by moderates forced Democrats to narrow who might qualify.

They made sure the help was restricted to people who couldn’t afford their mortgages without a court-ordered rewrite to lower their monthly payments, and those who had already tried to work out more affordable terms with their mortgage company.

The House bill also lets bankruptcy judges consider whether a homeowner has already been offered a deal by the lender that matched the guidelines Mr. Obama recently laid out in his housing rescue plan – one with monthly payments amounting to no more than 31 percent of the owner’s income.

Lenders cheered the changes as an improvement but were still opposed to the final bill. They have long argued that the measure would impose steep and unpredictable costs that would be passed on to homeowners as higher interest rates. A multimillion-dollar industry lobbying effort helped kill the measure last year.

Seeking to avoid a similar fate this time, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, is drafting an even narrower alternative.

One option essentially would prohibit anyone who could get a reasonable deal with the lender from seeking mortgage relief in bankruptcy, according to top Democratic aides and lobbyists familiar with the discussions. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the negotiations.

Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat, is working on a rival plan that would allow still fewer homeowners to qualify for home loan rewrites imposed by a bankruptcy judge. Mr. Bayh and Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania are discussing a measure that would be limited to subprime mortgages.

Mr. Bayh said the House bill would ultimately increase the cost of lending. “We have to work to strike a better balance and take into account some of the long-term concerns about driving up the costs of mortgages,” he said.

Mr. Durbin, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and other senior Democrats are shopping for a deal with industry figures that could win the support of key centrists in their party, plus a few Republicans.

Mr. Schumer has floated the idea of attaching a legislative gift that credit unions have long coveted – killing a decade-old limit on the amount they can lend to businesses – in exchange for their support, according to people close to the talks.

Currently, just 12.25 percent of a credit union’s lending can go to businesses. Efforts to lift the cap have run into fatal opposition from the banking industry, which doesn’t want the added competition.

Backing from credit unions could bring critical votes to the bankruptcy measure, because they are spread throughout the country and can activate a powerful grass-roots network on Capitol Hill.

So far, however, credit unions aren’t biting.

Democrats had hoped to move the measure through the Senate this week, but short of the 60 votes that would be needed to advance it past procedural hurdles, they held off. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, recited a March to-do list Thursday that omitted the housing measure.

The delay has emboldened critics to redouble their efforts to kill the bill – or at least try to exact a steep price for supporting it.

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, said the measure is losing steam as moderate Democrats express concerns and Mr. Obama fleshes out his broader homeowner rescue plan with many other options for working out burdensome mortgages. “The momentum has swung against it now,” he said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009
/mar/14/mortgage-relief-stalls-as-senators-
examine-options/

Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

March 13, 2009

Arch liberal Bush hater Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was on the conservative Fox News Channel today to say, “Our country is being looted.”

If he can get this: so can all Republicans.

This is time for Republicans to stand united or die trying.  And for some that are on the fence like Maine’s Snowe and Collins and Arlen Specter of the Keystone state: we say adieu or seppuku.

Health care?  Good luck: but try to stand united.

Schools should be federalized and the White House is writing the legislation?  No brainer.

Spending at the rate of $1 billion an hour?  Unsustainable generational theft.  Even China is worried.

Energy: are you with Al Gore or against him?

Foreign policy?  Do you believe Iran, China, North Korea and the Taliban will play nice?

Terrorism: a word Obama has removed from the lexicon, is still maybe a threat?  What say you.

Corruption: Republicans want an end of corruption and total truth and honesty in government.  Right?

Time to ressurect the Newt style contract with what’s remaining of America before it is too late guys and gals….

****************

Daniel Flynn writes in today’s American Spectator, “If fiscal restraint, individual responsibility, the protection of human life, support for the 2nd Amendment and a robust military, and an abiding believe in American exceptionalism, are unpalatable to the likes of Frum, the left will certainly welcome him as the latest intellectual quisling, and exploit him for their own political designs.”

http://spectator.org/archives/200
9/03/13/frum-right-to-wrong

**************************

Related:

 China’s Economic Might, Arrogance Should Cause Caution in the West

Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth

 Obama’s Schools Will Have To Follow Federal Rules, Like Socialist, Communist Schools

Obama’s mythical mystique of government and science and their inherent moral benevolence

Culture of Corruption: Many Americans Losing Trust in Government?

Obama stimulus is “welfare spendathon”

February 15, 2009

The largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.

A “welfare spendathon.”

The process?  Shameful.

Representative Says Stimulus “Stinks,” Details “Intentionally Hidden from Lawmakers, American Voters”

A return to rewarding no work with other workers’ hard earned pay. In massive amounts.

And pork.  Pork some say Americans don’t care about.  But I care about my money going to waste. I hate pork vendors.  Which means most Democrats.

Schumer Says Americans Don’t Care About Pork Spending

And I care about my money going to China.  And oil rich emirates where no men work….

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

It’s the stimulus.  The Obama stimulus.  The Democrats’ stimulus.

Oh, and three doomed Republican senators.  Snowe, Collins and Specter.  They joined the welfare Democrats, the Schumer poksters, the “we don’t care,” the idle, the “we don’t pay taxes.”  Those that gloat.

Pardon me if I’m angry.  I’ve always paid my taxes.  Probably overpaid.

Tim Geithner?  No.  Dashcle? No.  Obama?  Uncertain.

But we sure raided the Traesury big time this time.  Didn’t we?

“If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country’s screwed,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told ABC’s “This Week.” “I know bipartisanship when I see it.”

The president says Air Force One is a “spiffy ride.”

It’s my aircraft and my fuel, pal.  I paid and can prove it.

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One ...
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One in Washington enroute to Chicago to spend the President’s Day holiday weekend with his family at their home there February 13, 2009.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/13/air.force.one/
index.html?eref=ib_topstories

We’ll, he’s living on my money.  We both have to get used to it.  We don’t have to like it…..

Now I am the schmuck.

How do you feel?

******************

The new administration’s economic stimulus plan may undo reforms that cut the dole queues, critics say

RONALD REAGAN started it, Bill Clinton finished it and last week Barack Obama was accused of engineering its destruction. One of the few undisputed triumphs of American government of the past 20 years – the sweeping welfare reform programme that sent millions of dole claimants back to work – has been plunged into jeopardy by billions of dollars in state handouts included in the president’s controversial economic stimulus package.

As Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with a return to his Chicago home for a private weekend with family and friends, his success in piloting a $785 billion (£546 billion) stimulus package through Congress was being overshadowed by warnings that an unprecedented increase in welfare spending would undermine two decades of bipartisan attempts to reduce dependency on government handouts.

Robert Rector, a prominent welfare researcher who was one of the architects of Clinton’s 1996 reform bill, warned last week that Obama’s stimulus plan was a “welfare spendathon” that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.

Douglas Besharov, author of a big study on welfare reform, said the stimulus bill passed by Congress and the Senate in separate votes on Friday would “unravel” most of the 1996 reforms that led to a 65% reduction in welfare caseloads and prompted the British and several other governments to consider similar measures.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new
s/world/us_and_americas/article573
3499.ece

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Related:
 Obama ‘Business as Usual’ Despite Pledges

GOP Lawmakers Feel “Screwed”
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02
/15/obama.gop.stimulus/index.html?sec
tion=cnn_latest

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

 Stimulus Proves Obama (And The NYT) Have No Idea What “Bipartisanship” Means; Or Could Care Less

Obama Team: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
2/15/taxpayer-revolt-porkulus-pro
test-in-seattle/

http://alphainventions.com/

McCain as Worthless Old Man:
http://suzieqq.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/shrum
-on-mccain-he-has-gone-from-being-an-angry-o
ld-candidate-to-being-an-angry-old-defeated-candidate/

Republicans Helping Obama Reduced By One: On Linclon’s Birthday, Turncoats Wobbly?

February 12, 2009

Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire who agreed a few days agao to join the Obama Administration’s Commerce Department as the Secretary of Commerce nominee, abruptly removed his name today.

The withdrawal appeared to take the White House by surprise, with members of the president’s media operation learning of Gregg’s decision from reporters.

Gregg seemed to indicate that he was not fully briefed on the White House plan to move the census from Commerce to the Executive Branch and he was havig difficulty swallowing the Obama stimulus.

Three Republican senators did vote for the stimulus: Senators Collins and Snowe from Maine and Arlen Specter of  Pennsylvania.

The GOP had been reluctant to embrace the stimulus plan, but Collins,  Snowe and Specter largely stood out by bucking their party. They were the three Republicans who supported the first Senate version.

Obama described Snowe and Collins as “outstanding legislators who care about their state but who also care about this country.”

Today, Lincoln’s birthday, President Obama asked all Americans to stand united and behind one flag.

But for Judd Gregg, a man noted for his principled stands, the census deal and the stimulus were just too tough to take.

David Lightman wrote:

Two of the renegade Republican senators critical to getting the economic stimulus bill through the Senate – Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins – represent a state where folks are known for their flinty, thrifty ways.

The other, Arlen Specter, is from Pennsylvania, where the government has long been regarded as an economic lifeline.

So it’s hardly a surprise that the three moderate Republicans are the only lawmakers in their party so far to go along with the Democrats’ economic stimulus plan. They play a key role in shaping a compromise stimulus package, since Democrats control 58 Senate seats and need at least two more to cut off procedural roadblocks.

Read the rest:
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/
news/politics/story/619082.html

http://michellemalkin.com/2009
/02/12/judd-gregg-withdraws-n
omination/