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November 18, 2010

Congressional Republicans ban earmarks, with a nonbinding agreement

Sounds great, right? Until you realize that some congressfolk don't even know what earmark are. Minnesota's Michelle Bachmann straight up said that money that comes to her district for special projects shouldn't be considered earmarks. So, yeah. House Republicans renew voluntary earmark ban - Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday adopted a voluntary ban on pet projects known as earmarks when they take control of the chamber in January from President Barack Obama's Democrats. The action came two days after Senate Republicans announced a voluntary ban, prompting Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to say he would allow a vote on a binding moratorium. Reid made the offer even though he and lawmakers in both parties have long favored earmarks to deliver a variety of projects to their home states. . . . Although earmarks account for less than one half of a percent of the federal budget, they have become a symbol of wasteful spending for many grassroots "Tea Party" activists who helped Republicans win big in the November 2 elections.

November 17, 2010

Senate Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Bill To Help Guarantee Fair Pay For Women

ThinkProgress -- Senate Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Bill To Help Guarantee Fair Pay For Women
Today, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against legislation to close the pay gap between women and men. The Senate voted 58-41 against allowing debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help end discriminatory pay practices against women. It had already passed the House. More than 45 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, the pay gap shockingly persists with women still earning on average 77 cents to every man’s dollar. According to the National Women’s Law Center, “This persistent pay gap translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average female worker.” The gap is even worse for women of color: African-American women earn 61 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar a white non-Hispanic man earns. This afternoon on MSNBC, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said it was “outrageous” and “egregious” that “these senators voted against fair pay.”

Health Insurance companies promised to work with Obama, but secretly spent $86 Million to fight insurance reform

And of course the $86 million used to bribe lobby officials came from raising your insurance premiums. ThinkProgress -- New Report Reveals Health Insurance Industry Pumped $86 Million Into The U.S. Chamber To Kill Reform
This morning, Bloomberg reporter Drew Armstrong broke an incredible story revealing that health insurance companies, like UnitedHealth and CIGNA, funneled $86.2 million into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 to pay for the Chamber’s multifaceted campaign to kill President Obama’s health reform legislation. In January of this year, the National Journal’s Peter Stone reported that insurers had pumped $20 million into the Chamber for its anti-health reform campaign. Armstrong’s report exposes the true extent to which insurers worked to fool the public and defeat health reform. However, the report also poses new questions about the role of insurance companies in the health reform debate. Why did insurance companies try to hide their donations to the Chamber’s anti-health reform campaign? Given their own unpopularity and Obama’s pledge to be the first leader to successfully reform America’s broken health system, the health insurance industry hatched a plan to fundamentally deceive the public, the press, and politicians. Instead of fighting reform tooth and nail, the insurance industry worked to manipulate the process and ultimately kill reforms by adopting what ThinkProgress termed “The Duplicitous Campaign.” In public, health insurance lobbyists and executives promised to support reform and work closely with reform advocates. The top health insurance lobbyist, Karen Ignagni, went to the White House early in the reform debate and promised Obama, “You have our commitment to play, to contribute and to help pass health-care reform this year.” In private, the health insurance industry worked with conservative think tanks and media, right-wing front groups, and highly ideological trade associations like the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber to kill the bill.

November 16, 2010

Anti-Obamacare GOP freshman Congressman rages about having to wait 28 days for his new government healthcare

Did someone put something in America's water that has made us immune to irony? ThinkProgress -- Morning Joe Mocks GOP Freshman For ‘Bitching About Not Getting His Government-Run Health Care For A Month’
Last night, Politico’s Glenn Thrush reported on a curious incident in which Representative-elect Andy Harris (R-MD), a Republican freshman elected to Congress on his promise to repeal President Obama’s health care reform law and resist “government-run or government-mandated insurance”, “surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.” “He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” Thrush reports. “‘Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,’ added the aide [who witnessed the encounter], who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.”