United States Congress
Though it took going past the deadline into the New Year, the United States Congress managed to settle on a deal that raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans who make over $400 thousand a year for individuals and $450 thousand for couples and yet continues the Bush tax cuts for everyone else.
There was dissatisfaction from both sides of the aisle, as some Democrats were angry about President Obama raising the threshold for raising taxes, from $250 thousand a year to the $450 thousand, and some Republicans were angry because of the lack of spending cuts in the bill. The last step for final passage of the bill in the house, saw the Republican leadership split, with House Speaker John Boehner (OH) voting for the bill and Eric Cantor (VA) voting against.
The bill passed the U.S. House 257-167 and now awaits Obama’s signature which he has assured us he will sign. Read more
Nothing since 9/11 has affected so many Americans with so much grief and heartache. The horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut reaches most of us — Democrats and Republicans — deep down and on a personal level; we can only imagine what the families of the victims are going through. Our hearts go out to them, through much sorrow and the shedding of many tears.
Personally, the tragedy has made me feel so helpless and I have cried my eyes out too many times to count. Children should never have to face such an awful ordeal.
The mass killing at Sandy Hook elementary school — unlike other tragedies of this type — revealed a common ground between all of us: it is our children — do not hurt our children. Read more
I for one do not believe that most Republican lawmakers really care about unborn children that much, if they did then they would not be spending so much effort into taking food out of poor children’s mouths.
What I do believe is, Republican legislators in both the United States Congress and in state houses across the country, really want is to control women’s bodies. This is just a speculation here but it seems there are still many men, who look upon women as though they are property, or at least should be.
Recently a certain lawmaker made the news because he inadvertently revealed his personal thoughts about rape, which really is the personal thoughts of many of the GOP, but his mistake was to reveal what he really thought, instead of what the GOP’s talking points are. Bad boy, out you Go! Read more
Last week there was a brief flurry on the micropublishing service re: possibility of a version control system (VCS) for laws. Background links via the incredible research of Rob Richards – this post by Abe Volcker on “GitLaw” made a splash on Hacker News. Here’s an unedited-draft, non-exhaustive, quick-fast sketch of a response from my point of view. Read more
Quick call-to-action – today, Friday May 18th at 9:30 am 11am ET (changed, per Daniel Schuman’s photo – ed.), the Legislative Branch Subcommittee is holding a markup of a major appropriations bill. This is a crucial window of opportunity to compel the out-of-touch gatekeeepers at the Library of Congress and the members of Congress who oversee them to make public data open to the public in full. Background on OC Blog: our campaign is to #FreeTHOMAS now. Read more
Remember the harsh budget trigger the government was supposed to face as a reprecussion of the deficit supercommittee’s epic failure? Yeah, well, Congress this week is going to start working on a way to avoid that.
Under a series of bills to be voted on in the House this week, the budget trigger would be revised to eliminate $600 billion in scheduled defense cuts over the next decade and increase cuts to social programs. According to the AP, one quarter of the new spending cuts would “come from programs directly benefiting the poor, such as Medicaid, food stamps, the Social Services Block Grant, and a child tax credit claimed by working immigrants.” Read more
In a snap vote last night, the House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyberintelligence Sharing and Protection Act, more commonly known as CISPA. The final roll call was 248-168, with most of the Republicans voting in favor and most of the Democrats voting against. Read more
Recently, large corporations such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Kraft and the latest, Wendy’s, have been dropping out of supporting American Legislative Exchange Council also known as ALEC, a conservative political organization that introduces and pushes pieces of legislation through Congress and state houses across the country. Read more
With taxes fresh on everyone’s mind, Congress is returning from a two-week recess today and will immediately begin voting on a series of partisan tax bills.
The first vote, which will be in the Senate, is the Democrats’ so-called “Buffet Rule” that would ensure that people who earn more than $1 million per year pay an effective 30 percent tax rate. That vote — technically on defeating a GOP filibuster on the motion to proceed — will take place this afternoon.
The second vote will happen later in the week in the House on a Republican bill to cut corporate taxes for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, regardless of the size of the company based on assets held.
The full schedules for both chambers are below. House first: Read more
The Republican House leadership of the 112th Congress has shown more of a commitment to opening up the inner workings of Congress than the leaderships of the recent past. They’ve liberaized the rules on what technologies members can use, improved live video offerings of floor activity, and created a new website for accessing the texts of some bills. But on the essential issue of making the raw data of Congress available to the public in a reliable, timely and systematic fashion, they have come up far short. Read more
It seems we’ve often met like this before.
We looked at each other in the same way then.
But I can’t remember where or when
Well; here we are again.
The reason I can’t remember where or when is that there have been so many times when we as a people have had to face the same shame and the same sense of loss.
We have been forced by our humanity and our conscience to internalize the pain and the heartache that comes with the senseless slaughter of women and children.
Force ourselves to feel the deep dark sense of loss that the parents of these dead children must feel. Read more
With the Supreme Court hearing arguments for the next three days on the Affordable Care Act, many commentators, including Dahlia Lithwick appear to have so much contempt for the Roberts court that they believe the issue will likely be settled on politics rather than law. Read more