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Are Democrats pulling away from taxing the Really Rich?

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President Obama has drawn a line on the Bush tax cuts: $250,000.

Whether he can hold it is another story: A growing number of voices in his own party are calling for greater flexibility.


Most recently, Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd, who is retiring, told CNNMoney that he would like to see the cuts extended for households making below $500,000.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who is facing a tough re-election challenge in Arkansas, said in the last week that she is amenable to extending the cuts for households making up to $1 million, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
And in September, 31 House Democrats, many of whom are also running for re-election, wrote a letter to the Democratic leadership calling for the temporary extension of the tax cuts for everyone.
Obama, in many recent speeches, has made a point of saying the country can’t afford to borrow $700 billion “to give a tax cut worth an average of $100,000 to millionaires and billionaires.”
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Before I saw this at CNN Money, I came across this quote:
“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”
-G.K. Chesterton 

Now I wonder if we’ll ever really put the money back that the Bush Administration sucked out of the budget.

I’d like to see Chris Dodd get out of the way…

Elizabeth Warren is not only right for the job, she is needed by this country.
Here’s a clip from the HuffPo… you probably want to go in and read the whole thing:
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Despite the outpouring of support for bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy to lead a new consumer protection agency, one prominent Democrat continues to publicly stand in her way: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd.
The Connecticut Democrat, who has lambasted lenders for taking advantage of cash-strapped borrowers and bank regulators for their poor record in protecting consumers, led the effort to get the recently-enacted financial reform law through Congress. The agency it calls for — a unit specifically charged with protecting borrowers from predatory lenders — survived attacks by the financial services industry and Republicans. It’s now hailed as one of the Obama administration’s top achievements.
Dodd has said that there are questions about whether the Senate would confirm her. Warren would have to garner 60 votes to end a filibuster before the Senate could give her nomination an up-or-down vote.
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Dylan Ratigan Summed Up The Dodd Bill Yesterday:

This was reprinted from Dylan’s show in HuffPo. I give you the whole transcript here:

Dylan Ratigan

Dylan Ratigan

Host of MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show”
Posted: May 20, 2010 04:45 PM

Who Will Your Senator Stand With Now?

At this very instant, many of those in our Senate are in danger of being led off the plank by outgoing Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd. With cloture passing, Senator Dodd now has one final chance to present a manager’s amendment to make a weak bill stronger (or possibly even weaker.)

Once again, this financial “reform” process has thankfully brought into the light of day that we have politicians who are brazen in their willingness to aid the same fraudsters who have brought a great nation to its knees. But as this week’s primaries have clearly shown, there is no hesitation by the voters in throwing out the Establishment that got us into this mess and apparently has no plans to help us get out.

Thankfully, once forced to vote, politicians can no longer merely pretend to working for the People as they do the bidding of the Banksters. So once you look beyond all of the well-documented behind-the-scenes work by Dodd to weaken financial reform, we also have his on-the-record votes on a few of the meaningful attempts at real reform:

* No on the Kaufman-Brown SAFE act to actually stop Too Big To Fail with actual laws.

* No on the Franken Amendment to finally end the horrendous scam that is the current credit ratings system.

* No on the Vitter Audit the Fed Amendment that would give true transparency to a shadowy organization that has helped destroy our economy.

And just so you don’t think he can’t say yes to anything…

* Yes on the Carper Amendment to actively prevent state Attorney Generals from fighting for your rights, because apparently the one lesson Senator Dodd learned from this mess is that our country will be much better off if he can just keep the next Eliot Spitzer from protecting citizens.

Now is the time to contact Senator Dodd and let him and his staff know that you demand real financial reform. Though the Senator is leaving office voluntarily, chances are that your Senator would like to stay. So if you are so inclined, ask them to exert their influence on the Chairman as well.

Ask them if they stand with Chris Dodd, who vacates his office with our nation in tatters largely due to the same banking system run amok that has plied him with campaign dollars, in danger of leaving this as his legacy:

* A weak reform bill that even in his own words he admits will not “keep the next crisis from coming.”

* A Sweetheart Mortgage Deal from notorious Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo

* Staffers who bought stock in the very banks they were secretly rescuing during the collapse.

* A revolving door of Wall Streeters working on his staff, as well as staffers leaving his office to go work on Wall Steet.

Chris Dodd can still do what is right and give our country real reform. But since he is leaving the Senate for what are sure to be greener pastures, there is very little incentive for him to work for the People other than in the hopes of saving his legacy. However, we have a right to be represented in our Government and this is the time for your representative to hear the will of the People.

Keeping up with the Senate… The Dems won, but no one seems to know why.

Here’s the review of the situation from Salon. I’ll give you a clip here, but go in and read the whole thing:
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Media: We don’t know what happened — but Dems won

The lack of details regarding the deal Senate Democrats cut with Senate Republicans to allow debate to proceed on the financial reform bill is a bit worrying. But that has not stopped and will not stop the press from pronouncing this a “big win” for Democrats. They just might’ve won the privilege of making the bill less effective!

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., right, and the committee’s ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
But we don’t know what happened yet. Maybe when Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would pull an all-nighter, that actually broke the Republican will to delay. Or maybe Chris Dodd, D-Conn., offered Richard Shelby some sort of minor, face-saving concession. Or maybe Richard Shelby won an actual concession.
According to “Roll Call,” “one Democratic source said Republicans had been promised votes on an unspecified number amendments.”
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This just in (6:06 PM):

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After Weeks Of Negotiating, Republicans Block Debate On Financial Reform Bill
Senate Republicans followed through on their threat today to block debate on a financial regulatory reform bill authored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). The final tally on the vote to break the filibuster was 57 to 41, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joining the Republicans, but failed to meet the 60 vote threshold required to end debate.
The move ratchets up a political food fight between Democrats and Republicans, with Dems on the offense, charging that the GOP’s decision to block progress on the legislation puts them on the side of Wall Street.
Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no — a procedural move he had to make in order to bring the motion up again later.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said the vote “reveal[s] who believes we need to strengthen oversight of Wall Street, and who does not [and] force[s] each Senator to publicly proclaim whether party unity is more important than economic security.”
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Well… now we know who is siding with the Wall Street Pigs and who is working for the people.

Or perhaps you can look a it this way:

Excellent news: Dodd gives up on the GOP

… says Andrew Leonard in Salon.

And at the end of the piece he adds:
“If the Democrats want to have any chance of salvaging the midterm elections, they need to show voters that they are willing to fight.”

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A sign of backbone from Chris Dodd?

Congressional Quarterly reports:

Bipartisan negotiations over a financial regulatory overhaul are at an “impasse,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd said Friday, adding ” have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to present to the committee later this month.The Connecticut Democrat said in a statement that while the panel’s ranking Republican, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, “assured me that he is still committed to finding a consensus … it is time to move the process forward.”

Translation: The Republicans are refusing to budge on their determination to block any meaningful reform. And why not? They’ve made the political calculation that preventing the Obama administration from governing is their best electoral strategy — and it’s been working like a charm.

Bipartisan consensus in this Congress is impossible. Now is the time to bring a solid bill to the floor, and force Republicans to filibuster.
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Looks like another vote for Reciprocal strategy.

From the NY Times: Dodd & Gregg think Bernanke will be approved…

This is a clip from the NY Times… go HERE for the whole article. There’s a lot more to it.

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WASHINGTON — Two senior senators, a Democrat and a Republican, jointly issued a statement Saturday predicting that the Senate will confirm Ben S. Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, hoping to quell doubts that had shaken markets and forced the White House to scramble to keep him from becoming a casualty of populist anti-Wall Street fervor.
Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Democrat from Connecticut who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a Republican who is a longtime member of the panel, said in their statement that “based on our discussions with our colleages, we are very confident that Chairman Bernanke will win confirmation by the Senate for a second term.”
Mr. Dodd, who recently decided to retire as his own re-election looked doubtful, and Mr. Gregg, who also is retiring, not only forecast Mr. Bernanke’s approval but also provided a fulsome endorsement.
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It’s not that easy, though:

At least 11 senators have said they would oppose Mr. Bernanke, including four Democrats, Ms. Boxer, Mr. Feingold, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota and Jeff Merkley of Oregon; one independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont; and six Republicans.

“Especially since the election in Massachusetts, Democrats are waking up to the fact that Americans are profoundly disgusted with the behavior on Wall Street that led to the disaster we’re currently in,” Mr. Sanders said. “In the last week the president has decidedly changed his tone on Wall Street — in my view, quite appropriately. He would be well served to have an ally at the Fed who shares those concerns.”

A very good summary of where the Democrats are on the Health Care Bill from Chris Dodd:

As many of you know, I was born and spent a large part of my life in Connecticut, where I voted for Chris Dodd when he first ran for the Senate. Somehow, this has kept me on his e-mail list (and apparently the good list – not the one that simply asks for money). I got this today with a good summary on the Democratic Caucus this week and I pass it on to you:

Dear Bill,

We had a meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus yesterday, and I wanted to send you a quick update about the health care reform bill.

First of all, we had big news Monday when the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the cost of the reform bill to consumers. The CBO confirmed that our bill would lower health care premiums for almost everyone in America. Whether you have insurance through your job or purchase your own coverage, your premiums will likely go down under the current bill.

This was a watershed moment in this debate, because Republicans are making the cost of premiums one of their primary talking points. They insist that premiums would go up for middle-class Americans, and tout studies by their friends in the insurance industry to make their point. But the unbiased, nonpartisan CBO provides the definitive answer to questions about pending legislation, and its report shows once and for all that the vast majority of Americans will see their premiums go down.

Does this mean the Republicans will stop fighting our health care reform efforts? Of course not. In our Democratic Caucus meeting yesterday, we discussed the ongoing efforts by Republicans to delay, obstruct, and kill this bill using every means at their disposal. Their latest weapon of choice is the politically motivated poison pill amendment.

They are going to try to force Democrats to make politically difficult votes, votes that if they succeed would end our chances for passing a reform bill. In the Caucus meeting, we discussed the importance of maintaining the unity needed to beat back these efforts from the Republicans.

While they are working to kill this bill, Democrats are working to make it even stronger. A great example is an amendment, proposed by my friend Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, which would protect women’s health services. (NOTE: This amendment passed this morning 61 -39)

There’s a long debate ahead of us, and the continuing support that you have shown our reform efforts are helping us face the relentless attacks from the Republicans. Thank you so much.



Chris Dodd has Early Stage Prostate Cancer


The Hartford Courant quoted Dodd
on the subject of his condition and how it related to his drive for health care legislation:

“I wanted to let you know that I’ve been diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer,” Dodd wrote. “Luckily, a routine test allowed my doctor to catch it at a very early stage, and my prognosis is excellent – we expect a full and speedy recovery. I want to assure you that I am feeling fine.”

“After the Senate adjourns at the end of next week, I’ll have surgery to remove the cancer,” Dodd wrote. “After a week or two of recuperation, I expect to be right back to work. After all, as a member of Congress, I have great health insurance. I was able to get screened, seek the opinions of highly skilled doctors, consider all the available options, and choose the treatment that was right for me.”

He added, in a reference to his current work to pass healthcare legislation, “I know you’ll agree that every American deserves the same ability. We have healthcare legislation to pass – and an election to win. And I can’t thank you enough for your support.”

Let’s be clear: we ALL need a great health care plan. too. I hope Dodd gets it through.

Good Luck, Senator.