HouseAll that pinhead had to do was apologize on the House floor in front of his colleagues, and there would have been no need for this resolution. But of course, that was asking waay too much of this member of the “Sons of Confederate Veterans” (as noted here, and the party line vote tells you all you need to know about how much the “loyal opposition” truly respects President Obama).
Joe Wilson reprimand. Voting 240-179, the House expressed "disapproval" of Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's Sept. 9 speech to Congress. The South Carolina Republican shouted "You lie" when the president said his health-care proposals would not benefit illegal immigrants. Wilson apologized to the White House chief of staff, and Obama accepted the apology. Wilson has refused to apologize to the full House for his act. The disapproval measure (HR 744) was the mildest punishment the House could give to Wilson.
A yes vote was to reprimand Wilson.
Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.)
Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Not voting: Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).
And by the way, this was an interesting vote for Joe Sestak to miss (a cynical person would think that Sestak missed this because Obama has endorsed “Democrat” Arlen Specter for re-election...a cynical person, that is...).
Student loans. Voting 253-171, the House passed a bill (HR 3221) that would shift federally backed student loans to direct lending by the Department of Education, excluding the private-sector lenders that now dominate the government program. The bill would save $87 billion over 10 years by ending the private lenders' taxpayer subsidies, guarantees and bailouts. The bill awaits Senate action.As noted here…
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith
(HR 3221) would use savings from ending (the Federal Family Education Loan program) to boost spending on Pell Grants by $40 billion (yes, you read that right -- 40 BILLION DOLLARS) and significantly expand the low-interest Perkins Loan program so that financially needy students can avoid taking out high-cost private student loans.And as noted here, this legislation is a result of “months of scandals involving kickback schemes and conflicts of interest among lenders and college officials” dating back about two years, some of which involved a certain House Minority Leader, who once said the following to the CBA: “Know that I have all of you in my two trusted hands."
So how exactly would the bill's passage (supposedly) harm students?
According to the (Consumer Bankers Association), if the legislation is enacted and student loans are made entirely through the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan (DL) program, "students and parents would no longer have a choice of lenders, a right they've had since 1965."
A group of financial aid directors -- who appropriately call themselves "the Friday the 13th Group" -- made the same point in a letter they sent to lawmakers in April opposing President Obama's proposal. "By eliminating the FFEL program, we essentially remove the ability for borrowers to choose a lender," the group wrote. "This inherent freedom has been available for more than 40 years." ("Inherent freedom? Are you kidding me?" a financial aid administrator who supports the continuation of FFEL but is critical of the group's approach wrote recently on a listserv for aid officers. "Now freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion - those are inherent freedoms.")
With that in mind, is it any wonder why this was another nonsensical party-line Repug vote?
ACORN funding ban. Voting 345-75, the House barred the community-advocacy group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) from receiving funding in HR 3221 (above). This followed release of an undercover videotape in which ACORN workers are seen urging illegal activity. ACORN then fired some of those employees.I realize that Democrats from the largely white suburbs really don’t have any idea of what ACORN actually does (some of which I noted and linked to here), but still, this was a dumb vote for them (with Will Bunch making some good points on this subject here).
A yes vote backed the Republican motion.
Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Pitts, Schwartz, Sestak, and Smith.
Voting no: Brady and Fattah.
(Rachel Maddow did a report on ACORN last night, by the way – I’ll try to embed it later.)
SenateAs I noted in the ACORN post last week, I thought Bob Casey stood tall on this vote…
ACORN dispute. The Senate voted, 83-7, to disqualify ACORN from receiving grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's fiscal 2010 budget (HR 3288). ACORN has received HUD funds for advising the poor on matters such as obtaining mortgages and combating housing discrimination.
A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.
Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Ted Kaufman (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).
Voting no: Bob Casey Jr. (D., Pa.).
Guns on Amtrak. Voting 68-30, the Senate required Amtrak to allow passengers to stow handguns in checked luggage or lose its $1.6 billion federal subsidy. The vote, which occurred during debate on HR 3288 (above), gives Amtrak six months to comply.…and he absolutely groveled in obedience to his NRA masters on this vote.
A yes vote backed the amendment.
Voting yes: Casey.
Voting no: Carper, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.
It’s difficult for me to summon the words to express the utterly mind-numbing idiocy at work here.
As Thomas C. Carper of Amtrak said here (not to be confused with the individual who provided this pathetic moment today)…
…airlines and railroads currently have different abilities to screen for weapons. He said that unlike airlines, Amtrak did not already have a uniform system in place for screening and added that Amtrak’s baggage cars are more easily accessible.Even the wording of this horrible piece of legislation reflects a staggering ignorance of the subject matter.
“As a result of these significant differences with the airline industry, Amtrak would need a significant amount of time and funding to properly address this congressional mandate,” wrote Mr. Carper...
Here’s a news flash for the geniuses who voted for this (which should be the first veto by President Obama, assuming it’s not snuck into other legislation somewhere):
There is no such thing as “checked luggage” on an Amtrak train!
Do you know what would happen if the train attendants and ticket-takers checked every piece of luggage the way you would as if you were boarding a plane (which should happen now that this stupid law has been passed)? No damn train would ever leave the station on time again!
And good luck trying to enforce something like this as we approach the holidays, by the way (how long will it be before some nut gets all worked up over a real or imagined slight and decide to go reaching inside his or her bag for their "piece"?).
Mark my words: if the Republican Party decides to act like responsible opposition again in time for 2010 (a huge “if”) and the Dems lose seats in Congress, it won’t be because of fallout from health care reform, cap-and-trade legislation or the Employee Free Choice Act (assuming any of this stuff ever sees the light of day).
It will be because of votes exactly like this.
This week, the House took up extended unemployment benefits, while the Senate debated fiscal 2010 appropriations bills.