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How Paul Ryan Avoids Tough Questions

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Cross Posted at Peoria Progressive.

Remember how Paul Ryan got booed and had to answer tough questions about his medicare voucher plan when he held town hall meetings earlier this year? Well it seems the Congressman has discovered how to avoid such embarrassing scenes in the future: charge admission to keep out the riff raff. Per David Dayen at Firedog Lake.

I’ve been writing about the invisible town hall revolution, where dozens of conservative members of Congress have been bombarded by ordinary citizens delivering progressive messages. This actually started after the passage of the Paul Ryan budget in the spring, and some members have figured out methods to deal with it. Some do only tele-town halls. Some throw out “disruptive” constituents asking the wrong questions. Some screen the questions. Some hold no town halls altogether. Some stack town halls with loyal constituents. And now, Paul Ryan and friends have hit on a new approach – charge money for the town hall meeting. According to David Dayen at Firedog Lake:

It will cost $15 to ask Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a question in person during the August congressional recess.

The House Budget Committee chairman isn’t holding any face-to-face open-to-the-public town hall meetings during the recess, but like several of his colleagues he will speak only for residents willing to open their wallets [...]

Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) is scheduled to appear Aug. 23 at a luncheon gathering of the Arizona Republican Lawyers Association. For $35, attendees can question Quayle and enjoy a catered lunch at the Phoenix office of the Snell & Wilmer law firm.

And Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) took heat in Duluth this weekend for holding private events in his district’s population and media center — including a $10-per-head meeting hosted next week by the local chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which on its invitation notes that the organization “supported Chip in his stunning upset over long time Congressman Jim Oberstar in the 2010 election.”

There is no constitutional requirement that Congress Critters hold open meeting with their constituents, but citizens do have the right to petition their representatives and their government. There should at least be a political price to pay for such cowardly evasions. Per Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski:

“Paul Ryan has had a hard time going before open crowds, and for good reason,” Zielinski said. “I’m sure Ryan doesn’t want to go before the public to explain while his extreme ideology caused Standard & Poor’s to downgrade U.S. long-term treasury bonds. Beside, Ryan likes smaller settings — the kind where you can cozy up to a hedge fund manager and get a good $350 bottle of wine.”

Closer to home , I received an invitation to one of several “listening sessions” Rep. Aaron Schock will be holding in the near future. They are all in little bitty rural communities and appear to be scheduled to last about 20 minutes each, all in one day. No admission fee afaik. But I would much rather see Schock hold an open meeting for anyone who cares to come for a discussion devoted to jobs and the economy. Schock has some ideas about how to create jobs – or rather, he has talking points that have been given to him to mouth. Other people have other ideas. I think it would be useful to hold an open and open minded discussion about all these ideas in an atmosphere in which frank and honest exchanges are possible. No insulting or racist signs, no name calling by either side. Just a conversation between an elected official and all those he represents – not just friends of the Congressman.

Written by slothropia

August 16th, 2011 at 11:34 am

Aaron (Schock) and Me on Social Securiy and Debt Ceiling

with 2 comments

Following is the correspondence I have endured with my Congressman over the last few days:

Representative Schock,

Two days ago I inquired about the possibility of social Security Checks being delayed or canceled, as I am a Social Security pensioner. You responded as follows:

Dear Mr. Jones,

Thank you for contacting me with regard to the payment of Social Security monthly benefits in the event of a government default.

In the event of a government default, the government would lose authority to borrow more money, but it still will continue collecting regular tax revenue—which is substantial. The President is then responsible for prioritizing government expenditures, so it is up to him to decide which obligations are to be met. I see no reason whatsoever that President Obama would voluntarily chose not to pay Social Security recipients on time for the full amount of your monthly benefit.

I further believe—but cannot guarantee—that if the President were to chose to hold up Social Security checks that the Congress would ensure payments would be made up to recipients very quickly once an agreement on raising the debt limit is reached. But again, I see no need to interrupt Social Security benefits for even a few days.

Most importantly, I am hopeful that we will avoid such a situation entirely by reaching an agreement soon from the intense negotiations which are ongoing.

I absolutely understand how deeply many seniors rely on their Social Security checks for basic needs and that any interruption in benefits—even if only for a few days—would cause great difficulty for many seniors. As one member of Congress, I intend to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.

These negotiations are contentious and intense because of the tremendous consequences for our country. We have to stop borrowing money because sooner or later it needs to be paid back with interest. It is immoral for the current generations of Americans to enslave the next generations to a mountain of debt.

Current plans to deal with the deficit take great pains to ensure that everyone over age 55 will keep receiving 100% of both your current Social Security benefits and stay on the current Medicare program. Again, there is absolutely no reason to delay the payment of Social Security benefit checks for even a few days because of any plans to deal with our national debt.

I do not support measures to change or reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits for current retirees or those about to retire in the next ten years. Beyond that, we are working on strengthening both programs to meet the needs of the next generations of Americans to retire and support themselves financially.

Thank you very much for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future with regard to this or any other issue.

Sincerely,

My reply to you is this:

You and your party are wrecking this nation’s economy with your phony deficit hysteria. You are going to put millions more out of work and into poverty. How do you sleep at night?

I am sick of your talking points. Pull your head out and start thinking for yourself instead of parroting whatever madness Grover Norquist tells you to spout.

If I miss any Social Security checks I will hold you and your party responsible.

The GOP should grow up and govern or go out of business. Much more of this nonsense and maybe the voters will put you out of business.

Sincerely,

Larry Jones

Aaron (Schock) and Me

without comments

So I went to my email inbpox and found a newsletter from Aaron Schock (R- IL 18). Here it is:

Dear Friends,

Last week was a busy week in the House of Representatives. On Monday, we received President Obama’s budget for the next fiscal year and we voted to approve a funding measure called a Continuing Resolution.

Most of last week was consumed by debating and voting on amendments related to the Continuing Resolution. A “CR” as its called in Washington is a short-term resolution to keep the federal government operational. If you are asking why we would have to pass such a resolution, you would not be alone. Last year, for the first time since the 1970′s, the Democratic majority in the House failed to pass a budget. This is not something to be proud of or the way our government should operate.

However, I am proud of the work we did last week in regard to the CR for two main reasons. We were successful in cutting $100 billion from the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, and we kept the process open and transparent so that everyone could watch and participate. This being the case it took all week and many late nights to accomplish our goal, but its the way Washington should and needs to work.

I was able to play an instrumental role in our debate by successfully stopping additional stimulus funds from being used to produce more signs to promote stimulus related projects. In my opinion, we were able to save the taxpayers more than $20 million from a continuing self-promotion effort by the current Administration.

Last week’s CR began what will be a series of steps to rein in government spending that has produced record debt levels that are unsustainable. We are literally operating on maxed out credit cards at this point, and struggling just to keep up with the interest payments.

The budget that was proposed by the President needs a lot more work; even the New York Times said last week in an editorial that “[President] Obama’s budget is most definitely not a blueprint for dealing with the real long-term problems that feed the budget deficit.” While our discretionary spending (the funding of programs, departments and agencies) is a relatively small part of the overall federal budget, is an important starting point to cut away the wasteful spending that has been going on for decades. The real issue, and the one the President failed to address, is entitlement reform – social security, medicare and medicaid. These three entitlements alone make up 60 percent of our federal budget and will only consume more over time.

I know there is no silver bullet and no easy solutions, but our entitlement programs are a huge drag on our economy. We are well beyond debating the seriousness of reforming these institutions. We must begin acting now to shore up these programs. House Republicans will be offering their budget in April and we will be picking up where the president left off by offering viable solutions to reforming our entitlement systems and making our budget a more lean and efficient guide to federal spending. As a member of the Ways and Means committee and the subcommittee on Social Security, I intend to play a leading role in these debates.

We have a long road ahead of us, but I’m confident that if we begin the conversation now, we can have the kind of impact that we need to restore and rebuild the confidence that is sorely needed in our Federal government and economy. I will keep you posted as this debate continues.

Respectfully,
Aaron

Here is my reply

I received your newsletter by email this evening. Thank you for the update.

I am afraid, however that I do not agree with you on a number of the topics you touched on in the newsletter mentioned above. For one thing, you are incorrect when you imply that Social Security contributes to the deficit. You said, “We are well beyond debating the seriousness of reforming these institutions.” That is incorrect, sir. The debate has not even properly begun.

The Social Security program, as you must know, is in surplus and will be for at least 25 years. But if you think Social Security benefits (which people earn by paying payroll taxes) should be cut please let your constituents know what you think the retirement age should be or how much you would like to slash benefits.

Medicare and Medicaid are more problematic, but perhaps a universal health care and health insurance program would be a solution. Counties like France and Britain spend about half what the U.S.pends on health care and have better outcomes and, of course, universal coverage (By the way I would truly love to know how you would make sure everyone in this country has health insurance).

I am reliably informed that you and your Republican colleagues have only manged to cut $61 billion from the federal budget, which of course has not passed Congress and been signed into law by President Obama. Whatever the actual level of cuts that are implemented, can you tell me how the next budget will increase employment. As I am sure you are aware, unemployment is still above 9% in the U.S., but I don’t hear you talking much about how to solve that problem.

I guess the shorter way of posing this question is to ask, Where are the jobs?

But since Republicans do not want to talk about jobs, choosing instead to talk only about the federal debt and deficit. (looking new ways to undermine Roe v Wade and threaten women health), perhaps you should keep in mind the causes of the current budget shortfalls. The Bush tax cuts, of course, stripped revenue from the budget, while two wars were fought without being paid for in the federal budget. Years of financial deregulation then led to the financial crisis in 2008, just as a major recession was getting underway. Since these are the well documented causes of the federal budget crisis, why are they not addresses in an effort to find a solution fair to all that will strengthen the economy?

Again, thanks for your newsletter. I would eagerly welcome a detailed reply.

Written by slothropia

February 24th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Leave Aaron’s Health Care Alooone

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Had I not seen this I would not have believed it:

Scott Keyes at Think Progress got the interview and wrote about it:

This week, ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) to ask whether he would be joining his colleagues in rejecting government-sponsored health care for himself, given his push to repeal health care reform for the nation. Schock told us the “only” reason he would stay on the congressional health care plan because he was “a 27-year-old single male” who was “actually lowering” the premiums of his older colleagues. He also brushed off the notion that this was hypocritical on his part, calling them “completely separate issues,” despite the numerous similarities including taxpayer subsidies and a highly-regulated exchange:

SCHOCK: It is, yeah. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield when I came here as a 27-year-old single male. I paid about $80 a month. And now, because I’m in a risk pool with a bunch of older seniors, my health care costs me $170 a month now for the same Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. So I think it’s kind of interesting how people make such a big deal out of the health care coverage we have, which is not bad by any means. But I haven’t given it much thought because quite frankly I think I’m helping out the institution by lowering the risk pool for some of my older guys.

TP: I just know there are a lot of people who have made the hypocrisy charge, that there’s an average of $700 per month in taxpayer subsidies on these employee government health care plans, yet saying that the general public is not getting the same types of subsidies and help in buying health insurance for themselves.

SCHOCK: No, I get that argument. The only thing I would submit is because I’m an outlier in the group, I’m actually lowering the…(crosstalk)…When you’re under 30 in a body of…but, so.

TP2: Sir, you receive taxpayer subsidies even though you do have a lower rate. And you’re within a pool that’s highly regulated, as health reform does for the rest of the nation. Don’t you think it’s fair if you’re going to repeal health reform for everyone else, you should at least reject this subsidized, highly-regulated plan that members of Congress and their staff benefit from?

SCHOCK: No, I really actually think they’re completely separate issues.

TP2: Why’s that?

SCHOCK: Because I don’t think what we do with the health care bill has anything to do with what kind of health insurance programs members of Congress pay for.

TP2: No, it’s quite similar. There’s an exchange, there’s subsidies, just like you benefit from an exchange and subsidies, that are paid for by taxpayers.

SCHOCK: Well, I think the bill we voted on is completely different.

Representative Schock thinks the two things are separate but can’t explain how. He can, however, flap his flippers on command as he balances a beach ball on his nose.

Written by slothropia

January 8th, 2011 at 8:45 am

Aaron Schock, Destroyer of the Middle class

with 2 comments

Well, the holidays are over and I’m out of egg nog so it’s time to climb out of my cozy little burrow and engage the world, or at least the blogosphere, once more.

And I have drafted a provocative title for my first post holiday post, no? Do I really mean to say that Aaron Schock is trying to destroyed the middle class in the U.S.? Why yes, yes I do. Please allow me to ‘splain.

Schock is a Republican, and the Republicans in congress do not talk much these days about unemployment and the need to create jobs. They do talk a lot about “balancing the budget” and reducing federal spending. They see the deficit and national debt as a crisis but unemployment not so much. What most economists will tell you however is that it is going to be pretty hard to do much about deficits until unemployment is solved.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s my favorite Nobel Economics laureate, Paul Krugman:

What the government should be doing in this situation is spending more while the private sector is spending less, supporting employment while those debts are paid down. And this government spending needs to be sustained: we’re not talking about a brief burst of aid; we’re talking about spending that lasts long enough for households to get their debts back under control. The original Obama stimulus wasn’t just too small; it was also much too short-lived, with much of the positive effect already gone.

It’s true that we’re making progress on deleveraging. Household debt is down to 118 percent of income, and a strong recovery would bring that number down further. But we’re still at least several years from the point at which households will be in good enough shape that the economy no longer needs government support.

But wouldn’t it be expensive to have the government support the economy for years to come? Yes, it would — which is why the stimulus should be done well, getting as much bang for the buck as possible.

But of course, Schock and his reactionary party opposed the inadequate stimulus proposed by Obama and disposed by Congressional Democrats. stimulus Obama supported. And based on the year end tax cut sell out and GOP rhetoric, Republicans don’t care about the deficit anyway, as long as taxes for the wealthy are cut and the rich become richer.

On December 30 of last year the Peoria Journal Star published one of their periodic puff pieces written by Karen McDonald and based on an interview with Rep. Schock (or maybe just a press release – hard to tell) in an attempt to convince Schock’s constituents that he has their best interests at heart, that he is working to make life better for the good people of the fightin’ 18th. The piece, touches on the plans Schock and the GOP have for the upcoming congress:

Schock recently was appointed to Congress’ most powerful committee – the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee – for the 112th Congress. It also has jurisdiction over trade policies, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Medicare, among other responsibilities.

He said top priorities for the new Congress will be approval of the nation’s free trade agreement with South Korea – recently reworked from its original 2007 form to address concerns from both sides – and free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. They are important to growing the agriculture economy in the 18th District and manufacturing base, Schock said.

When Congress reconvenes Jan. 5, Republicans will be in charge of the House and hold more seats in the Senate.

“We can’t fix the unfunded liabilities in our entitlement programs and make significant cuts in federal spending with just a Republican House. These efforts will require bipartisan support,” Schock said.

So Schock wants to “fix the unfunded liabilities in our entitlement programs and make significant cuts in federal spending “. That is, he wants to cut and/or privatize social security and medicare while taking demand out of the economy during a period of high unemployment and under employment. So why would anyone who is not stinking rich vote for this guy?

Is it just me or does it not seem odd that Schock fails to mention a determination to fix unemployment as his primary goal in the upcoming Congressional session? He seems to think that trade deals will give the economy a boost, based apparently on the success of NAFTA in creating new employment in this country . Caterpillar, a major employer in Schock’s district, have created a lot of new jobs recently – in other countries.

Schock has it easy since getting the GOP nomination in Illinois 18 back in’06. His political life could become more interesting now that Illinois has lost a seat in the House of Representatives. He may find himself running in a district not so friendly to GOPers and Tea Baggers next time. Maybe that will encourage the Congressman to moderate his views and join with the Democrats on some House votes. But I doubt it.

Written by slothropia

January 4th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

2010 Mid Term Election Predictions and Analysi

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Well, time to dust off the ol’ crystal ball and see what’s gonna happen tomorrow. Fear and loathing in the Midwest. One thing I’m pretty sure will happen is I will drown my progressive Green Wobbly sorrows at Drinking Liberally – Kelleher’s Tavern on Water Street in Peoria, 6:30 to?

Let me start locally. Here in Tazewell county, I predict that the incumbent Republican Sheriff will lose to the Democratic challenger. Davis (Dem) over Huston (GOP). Spanos will win a judgeship in the 10th circuit.

I think Mike Smith and Jehan Gordon (both Dems) will survive and retain their seats in the Illinois House.

In Central Illinois U.S. House races, Dems will suffer painful losses. There is very little chance of DK Hirner beating Aaron Schock of the fabulous 6 pack abs. What am I saying? There is no chance. This time. The Green party’s Sheldon Schafer will exceed expectations and get 3 or 4 per cent.

In Illinois 17, I think Debbie Halvorson will be a victim of the Republican wave and lose to whoever the tea baggers are running. Over in Il 19, I think Phil hare will win by a whisker, thanks to superior gotv. Get it? Hare by a whisker. Ha ha. I slay me.

Moving on to U.S Senate, sadly, Lealan Jones will come in third. Giannoulias will be first runner up, and the new Miss Illinois is Mark Kirk. Ptoui.

Pat Quinn will fall victim to the anti-incumbency mood, Blago hangover and his own dithering and hand the Governorship to tea bagger Bill Brady. Illinois is so screwed. Whitney of the Greens has a chance of getting five per cent and keeping his party on the ballot.

One caveat: if the Democratic gotv is really really good, one or both of Giannoulias and Quinn might squeak through.

Shall we look at selected races around the U.S. of A? First, the bad news: Rubio takes the Senate seat in Florida (big surprise,eh?). The good news is that FL’s new Governor will be Democrat Alex Sink.

Up the coast a bit, I am bravely predicting Tom Perriello retains his House seat. Maybe after a recount. Delaware…well, you know. O’Donnell is toast. But we can still feel lust in our hearts for her. maybe she’ll be back on TV with Bill Maher. Oh, and congrats to new Senator Chris Coons.

Joe Sestak will not be so lucky (unless the gotv is spectacular), but Blumenthal in Connecticut and Mancin in WV will be.

In Ohio, Dems reelect Strickland as Governor but lose the open Senate seat big time.

In KY Paul has the jelly. More ptoui.

In Co, Bennett beats buck. I do believe Reid will sneak past Sharon Angle, one of the most repulsive politicians I have ever seen live or on tv.

Good news for the Dems in CA, where Brown and Boxer both prevail.

Way up north in Alaska, I am going to go way out on a limb and predict that Scott Macadam will be the new Senator from the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Those are some cherry picked races to which I have paid enough attention to be able to predict a winner. I don’t really have a system or methodological basis for such predictions. I just soak up whatever info I can find in various media and then let my gut make the call. Accuracy sometimes suffers from wishful thinking. Please do not use these predictions for betting purposes. I couldn’t live with myself if you lost your home because my gut was acting up.

As far as the big picture goes, the Go Teabaggers will have more governorships after tomorrow. The Democrats will still have a Senate majority. In the House, everybody is predicting 50 or so seats lost by theb Dems to the GOP. Some see the possibility of 70 to 77 Dem seats changing hands – or whatever it is that seats change.

Nate Silver is one of those pundits predicting the Democrats will lose 55 or 56 House seats. But silver also sees a possibility that Dem losses might not be so bad. In fact, he says it is possible the Democrats keep their House majority.

I have found it hard to believe that U.S. voters would reward republicans so lavishly for creating the Great Recession and then being obstructionist and completely uninterested in trying to end it. The GOP – and to be fair, the Democrats – have run a pretty vacant campaign. Neither party has had much to say about how to lower unemployment. Yes, the right talks about reducing taxes, government spending and something called the “size and scope of the federal government”. Who cares about such abstractions when people are losing their home.

I also think the Democrats gotv effort could mitigate their losses.

Nate silver also see this as a possibility. In fact, he has a post at 538 today titled 5 Reasons Democrats Could beat the polls and keep the House.

1. The cellphone effect. This one is pretty simple, really: a lot of American adults (now about one-quarter of them) have ditched their landlines and rely exclusively on their mobile phones, and a lot of pollsters don’t call mobile phones. Cellphone-only voters tend to be younger, more urban, and less white — all Democratic demographics — and a study by Pew Research suggests that the failure to include them might bias the polls by about 4 points against Democrats, even after demographic weighting is applied.
(snip)
2. The ‘robopoll’ effect. Unlike in past years, there are significant differences between the results shown by automated surveys and those which use live human interviewers — the ‘robopolls’ being 3 or 4 points more favorable to Republicans over all, although the effects vary a lot from firm to firm.
(snip)
3. Some likely voter models, particularly Gallup’s, may “crowd out” Democratic voters. Gallup’s traditional likely voter model has consistently shown terrible results for Democrats this year, having them down by around 15 points on the generic ballot, which could translate into a loss of 70 to 80 House seats, or maybe even more. The Gallup poll and the Gallup poll alone is probably responsible for much of the sense of impending doom that Democrats feel and the (premature for at least 24 more hours) sense of triumphalism that Republicans are experiencing.
(snip)
4. Democrats probably have better turnout operations. This is always what a party says when it’s about to lose an election: our amazing turnout operation will save us!

Still, Democrats probably do have an edge in this department with the voter lists and infrastructure they built up during Barack Obama’s campaign, and which have been perpetuated to some extent by Organizing For America. John McCain, by contrast, eschewed his ground game, devoting almost all of his money to advertising.

Now, Republicans may not need a terrific turnout operation — their voters are charged up enough, and probably don’t need a lot of glossy fliers and door-knocks.

Nevertheless, Democrats might be able to coax an extra percentage point or two of their vote to the polls, especially in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania where they’ve invested a ton of resources over the years. And in the event where Democratic turnout equaled that of Republicans (it won’t; the point is they might be able to get it a bit closer), they would probably hold the House, even with most independents breaking against them.
5. The consensus view of Democratic doom is not on such sound footing as it seems. When a party is likely to sustain fairly significant losses in a midterm election — and Democrats are going to sustain fairly significant losses tomorrow — there are a lot of things you might expect to see.

This is the optimistic view, and Silver doesn’t see this scenario as probable. But it is not impossible either.

Bottom line, I go along with the consensus that Dems will lose the House, but, I would not be surprised if we are all surprised.

Tomorrow, I will consider what the changed landscape in Congress (whatever it is) might mean.

Schock and Bush at the Riverplex

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Early yesterday afternoon I went to the Peoria Riverplex for my semi regular workout. I was a gluttonous pig during the Labor Day weekend and will be working off that karma for quite awhile yet.

When I got to the front entrance I found that the glass doors had been plastered with signs saying that between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, access would be restricted to the track, gym and game room (where they have these nifty exercise video games, like wii and others, that I am far too old to enjoy).

When I checked in I asked about the signs and their meaning. Turns out that the reason for the restricted access was a special event hosted by U.S. congressperson Aaron Schock (R IL). Apparently Mr. Schock has some sort of summer reading program for the youngsters in the fightin’18thand the participants gathered at the Riverplex to be read to by Laura Bush and Schock.

In preparation for the Post Imperial visit by Mrs. Bush, the secret Service was all over the place. There is a 1/8 mile oval track that circles above the gym at the Riverplex that was closed during the event. I went for a run on the track an hour before the event and got the evil eye from a guy in a suit who was up there checking every nook and cranny for what? Dust bunnies? BTW, the French translate dust bunnies as “mouton” or sheep.

And when I left the facility I had to fight my way past what seemed like hundreds of kids and their parents. Which it actually was.

I’m guessing there were no snipers up on the track because the event went off without a hitch:

Former first lady Laura Bush arrived at Peoria’s Riverplex to a room of almost 500 children. These students participated in Congressman Aaron Schock’s summer reading program.

After praising the children for reading 15 books this summer, and reading her children’s book she wrote with her daughter Jenna, the former librarian and teacher answered some personal questions from her young audience.

After all this hullabaloo, Mrs. Bush attended a fund raiser for Schock at the home of the Caterpillar CEO who has a German sounding name I can neither remember nor spell.

Hey, that’s right. This is an election year and Schock is up for reelection. And isn’t this a swell way to campaign? Spend time with children and the ever gracious and elegant former First Lady. No need to get all sweaty talking about jobs and the economy – even though voters are apparently ready to punish Democrats for the lack of jobs and a weak economy.

But then if Schock did get down into the real world he might have to explain the failure of the GOP to offer any solutions to the nation’s problems. I would hope his main opposition, Democrat D.K. Hirner, is going after Schock for his shortcomings as well as the Bush administration’s disastrous handling of the economy and everything else. It is an uphill climb for Hirner, but it’s important to keep making the case against Schock and his party. it will pay off one day, even if it’s not this year.

Congressional Votes by Central Illinois Critters and Senators

with 2 comments

A bit over a month ago I promised to keep an eye on votes in the House of Representatives by three local Reps: Debbie Halvorson, Phil Hare and Aaron Schock. I also thought it would be a good idea to monitor actions by Illinois’ one and a half Senators (I can’t really consider Burris a real Senator. Can you?)

I am ashamed to say I have gone several weeks without recording such an update, but I will now try to redeem myself. If you are keeping score at home you can get roll call votes and all sorts of info on House actions at the House Clerk’s office.

Yesterday (June 24) the House passed a bill imposing tougher sanctions on Iran. All three locals voted yea. The Senate passed their version way back in March.

The House vote btw, was 408 to 8. The 8 nays included six Dems (among them Conyers and Kucinich) and two GOP (such as Ron Paul).

Also yesterday the House passed its version of a Medicare update bill to make sure Doctors are properly reimbursed for treating Medicare patients. This is the bill that Nancy Pelosi said would not be passed until the Senate dealt with a jobs/unemployment benefits bill. The Senate in fact dealt with such a bill this week, although it did not pass.

The House this week passed and sent to the Senate a bill to provide consumer protection to users of prepaid phone cards. Hare and Halvorson voted to protect consumers. Guess who Aaron Schock voted to protect. Yup. Corporations.

Other major legislation (excluding resolutions and amendment votes) passed by the House in recent weeks include:

  • The FHA Reform Act of 2010. All three locals voted for.
  • The Small Business Lending Fund Act, designed to give greater tax breaks to small businesses. Hare and Halvorson voted for but Aaron Schock and his Republican brothers and sisters apparently don’t think small businesses should get tax breaks to create jobs.
  • The DISCLOSE Act, to (among other things) require CEOs to appear in campaign ads their corporations pay for.
  • Again, Halvorson and Hare on one side and Aaron Schock on the other, the side of corporations of course. Quel surprise, non?

    OK, so that’s your quick and dirty summary of major House action over the last few weeks. I will be more diligent in the future.

    Coming soon, a rundown of Senate action since the Memorial Day break.

    Written by slothropia

    June 25th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Halvorson, Hare, Schock Votes – May 6

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    On Thursday, May 6 Halvorson and Hare in favor of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act. Schock voted Nay.

    The Bill passed 246-161, with 12 GOP voting yea and 7 Dems voting nay.

    I haven’t checked but I assume all three local reps voted on Wednesday to support Mothers Day. No, seriously, there was an actual resolution passed to support Mothers Day. Talk about your profiles in courage…

    Also on Wednesday, the House passed a resolution to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre (referred to as ‘shootings’ in the resolution).

    The final vote was 415 to 0 with 2 Republicans (neither of them Schock) voting present. All 3 Central Illinois reps voted yea.

    Written by slothropia

    May 7th, 2010 at 10:16 pm