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Posts Tagged ‘112th Congress’

By ANDREW TAYLOR 02/18/12 06:47 AM ET

Associated Press AP via: Huff Post

WASHINGTON — The $143 billion payroll tax cut won by President Barack Obama may be the last significant measure he receives from a deeply divided Congress that promises to only get more polarized as Election Day approaches.

Obama’s coveted renewal of the payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more caps a five-month campaign-style drive against reluctant Republicans.

Under the bill Congress approved Friday, workers would continue to receive a 2 percentage point increase in their paychecks, and people out of work for more than six months would keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week, steps that Obama says will help support a fragile recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It would also head off a steep cut in reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients.

The tax cuts, jobless coverage and higher doctors’ payments would all continue through 2012.

Passage of the legislation hands Obama a victory over objections from many GOP lawmakers who oppose it but were eager to wipe the issue from the election-year agenda.

It also clears away a political headache for House Republicans, who blocked a two-month extension of the tax cut and jobless coverage in late December, only to retreat quickly under a buzz saw of opposition from conservative and GOP leaders from around the country.

With that history, Republicans seemed ready to get the fight behind them and change the subject for the rest of this election year.

“We’re dumb, but we’re not stupid,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters after he voted. “We did not want to repeat the debacle of last December. It’s not that complicated.”

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Tea Party: GOP Will Be Held Accountable For Backing Business In Debt Ceiling Fight

HuffPost- Michael McAullif

First Posted: 06/ 1/11 02:27 PM ET Updated: 06/ 1/11 02:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Think of Republicans’ Tuesday vote against raising America’s debt cap as their “honest, I do still love you” sop to last summer’s fling, the Tea Party.

Because, like all such overheated romances, this one could soon be headed for an ugly breakup over money.

Last year, the Tea Party’s interests and those of big business were nearly perfectly aligned, with companies pouring millions into campaigns to oust Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone dropped some $33 million, with 93 percent going to elect Republicans.

But things are different this year, and nowhere will the split be starker than in the fight over raising the debt limit. Those groups represented by the Chamber want it to go up, in order to avoid what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warns would be a catastrophe. The Tea Party — especially its more loosely organized, grassroots members — adamantly want the debt ceiling to stay put.

The big crunch will come sometime before August, when the United States is expected to begin defaulting on its debt if the limit is not raised. Then, Republicans — and the 86 freshmen who were powered into office on the Tea Party surge in 2010 –- will have to decide if they embrace the entreaties of the business world to increase the limit or the ardent pleas of their tea-sipping supporters who want Uncle Sam’s credit card cut off at the current $14.3 trillion.

“What we’re looking for is real control of Congressional spending, not some fallacy they invent to make the electorate feel good for a temporary time,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.

A fallacy, in his eyes, would be the plan Congressional Republicans have embraced to raise the debt ceiling once they get concessions on spending cuts and budget reforms from Democrats.

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In Arizona, Survivor Of Virginia Tech Massacre Talks Gun Control: ‘The Time For Thoughts And Prayers Is Over’

HuffPost- Lucia Graves

Posted: 03/ 1/11 06:44 PM

Almost two months after the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, is speaking to Arizona students about recovering from tragedy, as well as legislation that could help prevent gun violence on higher education campuses and elsewhere.

“What defines a community, what defines a group of people, isn’t the things that happen to them outside of their control — it’s how they choose to recognize and remember the people who were lost and injured that day and take steps to make it less likely to happen to someone else,” Goddard, 25, told HuffPost.

On April 16, 2007, the Virginia Tech shootings left 32 dead and 17 injured. Out of a class of 17, Goddard was one of seven students to survive. After graduating, he went to work on a documentary film about the massacre, “Living for 32”, and is promoting the documentary while serving as an assistant director of legislative affairs for the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.

“The time for thoughts and prayers is over,” Goddard said. “Now it’s time to actually do something that would stop a future Jared Loughner,” the alleged Tucson shooter.

Such calls have not gone unheeded. Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced legislation, supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that would require all gunbuyers to undergo a background check and increase penalties for states that fail to comply with the rule. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has already introduced legislation to make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) has announced a measure to limit the sale of high-capacity clips like the one used in the Arizona shootings.

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Tea Partiers Help ACLU, House Dems Stop Patriot Act Renewal

TPM Muckraker

Susan Crabtree and Ryan J. Reilly | February 9, 2011, 9:27AM

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Michelle Richardson didn’t know where things stood ahead of the House’s vote expended certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act last night.

“I have no special inside knowledge on how this is going to shake down, but we’re certainly going to be watching it closely,” she told TPM ahead of the Tuesday night vote.

The big mystery was how the Tea Party-backed members would break on the first national security vote in the new Congress — and whether the libertarian leanings of members from the right could align with concerns about government overreach on the left. Richardson said they’d be “seeing if the small government beliefs that have been espoused also apply in the national security context.”

In the end, 26 Republicans broke with their leadership to oppose the bill, which still gained a majority of votes (227 to 148) but didn’t pass.

While the bill to extend certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act had the support of the White House, it was a coalition of Democrats and Republicans that stopped the legislation from reaching the two-thirds vote needed under the House’s expedited procedures. The extension could still pass with a simple majority under a different process.

Under the provisions that are set to expire, the government is allowed to set up roving wiretaps, track foreign citizens who might be acting alone in plotting attacks and gain easy access to certain types of business records.

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After Giffords Shooting, Several AZ Republicans Resign Amid Fears of Tea Party Violence

By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at January 12, 2011, 9:26 am

What the Arizona Republic calls a “nasty little battle” has broken out among Republican members of Arizona’s Legislative District 20 in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Several Republicans have resigned, citing fears that local Tea Party supporters will harm them or their families for not being conservative enough.

Now-former Chairman Anthony Miller was among those to resign. A former campaign worker for Sen. John McCain, Miller sent an email to state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen just hours after Saturday’s shooting, saying, “Today my wife of 20 yrs ask (sic) me do I think that my PCs (Precinct Committee members) will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman…I will make a full statement on Monday.”

Miller said he faced “constant verbal attacks” from the Tea Party after being elected to his second term last month. Many of those attacks centered around Miller’s involvement with McCain’s bid last year against Tea Party darling J.D. Hayworth.

 

 

The first and only African-American to hold the party’s precinct chairmanship, Miller said he has been called “McCain’s boy,” and during the campaign saw a critic form his hand in the shape of a gun and point it at him.

“I wasn’t going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,” Miller said. “I love the Republican Party but I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

 

 

After Miller’s announcement, three other District 20 Republicans quit: newly-elected secretary Sophia Johnson, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson and former district spokesman Jeff Kolb, who said in an email, “This singular focus on ‘getting’ Anthony [Miller] was one of the main reasons I chose to resign.”

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