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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THE FOLLOWING IS A COLLAGE OF ARTICLES FROM TODAY’S NEW YORK TIMES THAT POINT AT MORE DISCORD IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE LIBERAL’S HOPE THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL REFUSE TO PLAY BALL WITH THEM. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT LIBERAL-REPUBLICANS REBRAND AND FORM THEIR INDEPENDENT RANKS IN THEIR OWN INTEREST AND IN THE NATIONS INTEREST.

TOP NEWS

Lawmakers Gird for Next Fiscal Clash, on the Debt Ceiling

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and JACKIE CALMES

Even as Republicans vow to leverage the federal borrowing limit in their demands for spending cuts, President Obama, who signed the tax bill Wednesday, says he won’t join in more charged talks on the issue.

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Stalling of Storm Aid Makes Northeast Republicans Furious

By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

The depth of the anger that followed the House’s refusal to take up a package of assistance for Hurricane Sandy victims was extraordinary and exceedingly personal.

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Op-Ed Contributor

My Last Day in Congress

By GARY L. ACKERMAN

“Who am I?” a departing congressman asks, after nearly 30 years of service in the House.

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Op-Ed Columnist

Cliff After Cliff

By CHARLES M. BLOW

Not only is the era of grand bargains over, but the era of basic governance is screeching to a halt.

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Editorial | Dereliction Of Duty

More Battles Ahead

The unwillingness of House Republicans to work for the common good suggests that the 113th Congress will be bitterly unproductive.

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Editorial | Dereliction Of Duty

Hurricane Sandy Aid

Speaker John Boehner failed the thousands devastated by the storm when the relief package that passed the Senate was ignored in the House.

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Op-Ed Columnist

Looking Forward

By GAIL COLLINS

Wasn’t the 112th Congress something else? Well, don’t worry, people. The next one won’t entirely be more of the same.

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Taking Note

Ryan, Rubio and Paul Place Their Bets

By JULIET LAPIDOS

Does the Republican base crave pragmatism, or purity? With their fiscal cliff votes, three likely 2016 candidates indicated which way they think the wind is blowing.

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Letters

The Deal to End a Fiscal Showdown

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THE UPDATE

Sandy Flood Insurance Aid Bill Sails Through House After Outcry.

Posted: 01/04/2013 11:54 am EST  |  Updated: 01/04/2013 12:25

A $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from Hurricane Sandy sailed through the House on Friday with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, just two days after Republican officials in New York and New Jersey exploded in outrage after a much larger relief bill failed to come up for a vote before the end of the last Congress.

Friday’s 354-67 vote extends the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned on Tuesday was set to run out of money next week without additional funds from Congress. If the mandatory insurance program went broke, payments on more than 115,000 claims from Sandy would be delayed, the agency said.

The flood insurance measure now goes to the Senate, which easily approved a $60 billion Sandy aid package in late December that leaders in the Republican-controlled House declined to bring to the floor.

Another vote is set for Jan. 15 on an additional $51 billion in Sandy aid, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. That aid covers a wide range of needs related to the storm, including funds for financially-strained municipalities struggling with the recovery. More than half a million homes and business were destroyed or damaged in New Jersey and New York by Sandy, according to official estimates. New York City also suffered at least 11.7 billion in damage to its subway system and other infrastructure.

While the flood insurance measure had overwhelming support from both parties, Democratic legislators from New York and New Jersey on Friday continued to harshly criticize GOP leaders for the long delay in approving a comprehensive relief package for storm victims.

“It is a shame and an embarrassment for this institution that the House Republican leadership continues playing games with this essential assistance,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who represents parts of New York City devastated by the storm.

“Today we are taking care of flood insurance. What about small business? The job creators in our community? They are getting nothing,” Velazquez added.

Many Republicans from the Northeast who blasted the decision by GOP leaders to scrap the vote on the original aid bill appeared largely appeased by Friday’s vote and the scheduled vote on the broader aid package later this month.

“While it is unfortunately long overdue, I am pleased that we are finally here to help,” said Rep. Jon Runyan, (R-N.J.), whose district includes parts of coastal New Jersey hard-hit by Sandy.

Some Republican members took to the floor to defend the decision not to bring the broader relief package up for a vote, saying the $60 billion Senate relief bill contained millions of dollars of spending unrelated to the storm.

“We need to get the pork out,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

But Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a powerful House Republican who represents New York’s Long Island, which sustained billions of dollars in storm damage, refuted those claims. “The House bill never contained any of those extraneous provisions,” he said.

King was among the fiercest critics of the GOP leadership for scrapping the aid vote earlier in the week, calling it a “cruel knife in the back” to the Northeast and urging his constituents not to donate to the Republican Party.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said on Wednesday that the failure to vote on the aid bill was the result of “toxic internal politics” in the Republican Party. He added that he would have a hard time trusting Boehner and other national party officials after the “duplicity” surrounding the dropping of the earlier aid vote. Christie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress,” Christie said. “Disaster relief was something that you didn’t play games with.”

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GOP freshmen: Even more tea party than 2010?

Posted by Aaron Blake on January 4, 2013
 www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-…

The Republican freshmen sworn into Congress this week might be even more tea party than the Tea Party Class of 2010.

The tea party influence on last year’s primaries wasn’t as big a story as it was two years prior, as the label lost its luster and the rallies stopped. But the anti-establishment fervor of that movement lives on in the crop of 35 Republicans joining the House.

And in fact, it may even be ratcheted up.

Tea party freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) voted against John Boehner for speaker on Thursday and against a Hurricane Sandy aid bill on Friday. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Case in point: The vote Friday to approve a $9.7 billion aide package for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which some Republicans have criticized for not being accompanied by spending cuts.

In the end, 67 House Republicans voted against it. Of those 67, 19 came from the freshman class, compared to 22 who came from the Class of 2010.

Pretty close, huh? Well, when you consider that the 2012 class (35 Republicans) is less than half the size of the 2010 class (84 Republicans), things begin to come into focus.

In fact, while just more than one-quarter of 2010ers voted against the Sandy aid bill, more than half of 2012ers voted no. And while freshmen make up less than 15 percent of the GOP caucus, they comprised nearly 30 percent of the no votes.

(Also worth noting: four freshmen voted against John Boehner for speaker on Thursday — almost as many as the five defectors from the Class of 2010.)

Make no mistake: Even as the tea party isn’t as much of a thing any more, its ideals and anti-establishment attitude very much remain in today’s Republican Party and House GOP caucus.

And if the first votes of the 113th Congress are any indication, incoming members will continue to vote the tea party line — perhaps in even higher numbers than their tea party predecessors. Which make Boehner’s job very, very difficult going forward.

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Who voted against Boehner for speaker and why?

Posted by Aaron Blake on January 3, 2013
 www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-…

Twelve Republicans voted against John Boehner’s second term as speaker Thursday, making for a very tense final few minutes of the vote.

At one point, in fact, the number either voting for someone else or not voting reached into the high teens, raising the possibility that Boehner wouldn’t secure a majority on the first ballot. Eventually, a few of those who hadn’t voted — including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — cast their ballots for Boehner.

Boehner won with 220 votes — six more than the 214 votes he needed. (A speaker needs only a majority of the actual votes cast, not of all members of the House. And here’s the roll call.)

Below is a look at the defectors, whom they voted for, and our best guess as to why it wasn’t Boehner:

Rep. Eric Cantor (3 votes)

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) — conservative freshman who defeated Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) in a primary

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) — very conservative

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) — conservative freshman who defeated Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) in a primary

Former congressman Allen West (2)

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) — noted conservative maverick, Club for Growth favorite

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) — outspoken conservative

Rep. Raul Labrador (1)

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — libertarian ally of former congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.), recently stripped of committee assignments by House GOP leadership

Rep. Jim Jordan (1)

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) — very conservative, recently stripped of committee assignments

Former comptroller general David Walker (1)

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) — frequently votes against his party, recently stripped of committee assignments

Amash (1)

Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.) — freshman conservative, favorite of the Club for Growth

Voting present (1)

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) — has criticized Boehner for “being too harsh with conservatives

Not voting (3)

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) — conservative, frequent critic of Boehner

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) — critic of Boehner’s “Plan B” maneuver on the “fiscal cliff”

Boehner — speaker traditionally does not vote for himself or herself.

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And now a look at the Democrats who voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker. Basically all of them are Blue Dog Democrats.
And we would note that the defections are far less than the 20 who didn’t vote for Pelosi in 2011.

Rep. Jim Cooper (2)

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.)

Rep. John Dingell (1)

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah)

Rep. John Lewis (1)

Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.)

Colin Powell (1)

Cooper (D-Tenn.)

Not voting (3)

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) — her mother died recently

Lewis (D-Ga.) — his wife died this week

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

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