We are starting December with a very heavy rain… it began around midnight last nite and was still raining five minutes ago when I brought the dogs in from their 10:30 AM walk. I expect it to keep raining most of the day. The low spots on our back lot are flooded already and I imagine groundwater rises are happening all over town. I’ll find out when I go out to the store a little later.
December begins the three or so weeks that Congress has remaining in the Lame Duck Session before all the overpaid and underaccomplishing elected officials head home for the holidays to brag about what they did or didn’t allow to get passed and beg for money. Perhaps they will leave after making at least one or two progressive legal advances get through before the Republicans take over the House and add to their seats in the Senate. Taxing the Wealthy would be one legal wonder. I don’t count on it as Obama seems, as usual, getting ready to cave. To me, the best thing would be for nothing to happen and the taxes go back in place for everyone.
I heard one Republican Congressman say on a TV interview that if the taxes go back to pre-Bush levels, the average tax increase for us poor middle-classers will be around $2,150.00. This, of course, is not true… the average is thrown way off by the top 1% of the population whose millions-through-billions in income throw off the 99% that averages in the lower thousands. This is being done to scare the middle and lower class voters into supporting the Reps and Senators being paid off by the Murdochs of the world. I expect my taxes to go up a couple of hundred dollars at most… and the amount that would be taken from the wealthy 1% would bring in a huge amount of bucks… perhaps over a trillion dollars.
In reality, if the overall Bush tax cuts for EVERYONE are extended for a couple of years it will put us the same trillion-plus deeper into debt. And if you think that will improve our economy and increase jobs I have a great bridge to sell you.
- Scenarios: U.S. tax battle to go down to the wire (reuters.com)
- Obama, GOP eye deal on taxes (philly.com)
- Lawmakers stand firm on taxes as talks start (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Full Agenda Ahead for Congress During Lame Duck Session (foxnews.com)
- Obama may delay Hawaiian vacation over tax fight – CNN (news.google.com)
- Protecting the rich, afflicting the jobless (seattlepi.com)
- Lame Duck 2010: Finding the Middle Ground (abcnews.go.com)
- Lame Duck 2010: Finding the Middle Ground – ABC News (news.google.com)
- After the White House Summit: Towel-Snapping Partisanship Lives On (politicsdaily.com)
- Lame-Duck Hunting (volokh.com)
- Open Microphone picks up Senate floor discussion: “It’s all rigged” (pumabydesign001.wordpress.com)
- The lame-duck session, and why it matters – or doesn’t – Washington Post (news.google.com)
I especially saw just what I expected on the House side… even on votes to get debates started… Democrats vote to move forward, Republicans, virtually 100%, vote Nay on everything…even on things they have suposedly been working on in a bipartisan manner off the floor.
Every stall tactic to waste time is used as well: all votes have to be documented, which adds 5 to 15 minutes to every action (at least that’s what is supposed to happen, but most of the 5 minute votes last for around 12 minutes and the 15 minute votes can go on for close to half an hour.)
On the Senate side, I watched debate on food-related bills designed to protect the public from being poisoned by unregulated food importers, etc. The taffy-heads like Eric Cantor (R – VA) try to tell us this is all a State responsibility, when we know that imports from outside the country are best run from a Federal administrative base. Republicans aren’t going to vote for anything the Dems want to pass… and they will take just as long as the House to do anything, if not longer, as well.
- Dems set stage for DADT showdown in December (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Will lame-duck Congress settle differences or scores? (cnn.com)
- Food-safety overhaul bill clears hurdle in Senate (washingtontimes.com)
- Senator Hutchison Stalls As Immigrant Students Starve For a Meeting (immigration.change.org)
- CONGRESS: A Bloated Lame Duck (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Eleanor Smeal: Senate Republicans Tell Women: You Are Mere Pawns (huffingtonpost.com)
- Crippled Dems, Eager GOP Return for Lame-Duck Session (foxnews.com)
To start with, Senator McConnell and Representative Boehner have exercised their power by telling President Obama’s office that they can’t make the meeting he scheduled two weeks ago to speak with the Caucus Leaders… they’ve gotten it postponed to November 3oth. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have to do this…but they are certainly trying to make it clear who is in charge.
That out of the way, I’m listening to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D – Oregon) who is certain that Nancy Pelosi will be the overwhelming winner in the Leadership election among House Democrats. Blumenauer says he wishes that yesterday’s meetings on the subject had been open… they were not… so that the country could see that the Democrats are actually unified in their move into the minority. I’m not sure if that is really true, although we’ve gone from 16 to 5 Blue Dog Democrats, which should leave us with a majority of progressives, and Pelosi is the likely lead in the Liberal/Progressive community.
If Pelosi IS elected (which will probably happen today or tomorrow), it will be a message to Obama to get with the program and join the Progressives who didn’t abandon America as he seems to have done with his “cooperation” with the Republicans (who, as we see from the first item in this post, have no interest in cooperating with him.)
What all this means for the Lame Duck Session will become obvious very quickly (it is not a long session as it is) and the future activity of Congress in the next two years will be very predictable.
- Democratic Congressman Defends Debt Commission (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- You: Shuler launches bid to oust Pelosi, become Democratic leader (washingtonpost.com)
- Democratic Civil War Back On? (minx.cc)
- The case for Nancy Pelosi (politico.com)
- Pelosi Expected to Remain House Democrats’ Leader (time.com)