The purpose of this series of posts (This is number four -- scroll down for the others) is to give you ammunition. Ammunition for all of those friends and others from all sides of the political spectrum who blame Democrats who are not getting things done, when there are 375 examples of bills that were PASSED by Democrats in the House and BLOCKED by Republicans in the Senate.
In the last few days, I have received a few messages about these posts, including several suggesting that Republicans aren’t really against all of these things; that their ulterior motive for blocking all of this stuff is to make Democrats look bad and win elections.
Sorry, but that makes things worse.
I’m here to tell you; there is no justification for this, and I mean none. Saying “no” to anything that might help the people they supposedly represent is not something you go to the voters with, if you expect to win elections over the long haul. A list of accomplishments should entice the most voters. The only time voters fall for this stuff is when they are only offered one side of the debate. Voters should be aware of everything both parties are doing for them or to them. Pass this information along, folks. The election’s four weeks away, and this makes things crystal clear.
Once again; Democrats PASSED the following bills, and Senate Republicans prevented these bills from even coming to a vote. If you think these would be good for Americans, thank Democrats for trying to pass them, and blame Republicans for blocking them from actually making the lives of average Americans better.
H.R. 2142 – Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act – Yeah, I know; with all of the bitching they’re always doing about how bad government is, and how incompetent government is, one would think they’d be ecstatic to see a bill designed to make the government more efficient, increase its effectiveness and monitor and improve its performance. The purpose of this bill is to direct agencies to develop long-term strategies and goals, and to come up with plans to meet performance objectives. And every bit of information would be readily available on the Internet and elsewhere, for every citizen to look at and evaluate for themselves. In other words, this bill would make the government more responsive and accountable to everyone. But Republicans are against it. And lest you think they’re against it because they’re worried about the deficit, the total cost of implementing these programs at 17 different agencies would be a total of $150 million over five years, or about 35 cents per year per family of four, according to the CBO.
H.R. 2187 – 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act – The next time a Republican or Independent voter tells you the GOP got a bad rap for their non-response to Katrina, show them their blockage of this bill. The purpose of this bill is twofold; it would create a program of grants to renovate schools to make them more energy efficient, and to save taxpayers money. The jobs created would help to alleviate economic problems in a number of hard-hit geographical areas. Which brings up the second part of this bill, which would provide a little extra help in rebuilding and modernizing schools in the Gulf Coast region, which is still reeling from the effects of Katrina. (The Democratic House passage of this bill pre-dates the BP oil spill.) Such a bill would create thousands of jobs and make substantial infrastructure improvements to educational institutions all over the country, and will result in significant cost savings over the long haul. But Republicans won’t let it happen.
H.R. 2200 – Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act – So how tough are Republicans on terrorism, reallyy? This bill would not only fully fund the TSA, but it would implement a program to screen baggage for explosives, as well as a program to verify the identity and status of law enforcement officers who fly armed. And Republicans are blocking it.
H.R. 2221 – Data Accountability and Trust Act – This bill would actually create a regulatory structure that would require any business using personal information to establish security policies and procedures to protect that data. It would require information brokers and others to submit those policies and procedures to the FTC for approval, and it would prohibit such businesses from obtaining or disclosing, or soliciting to obtain, personal information by false pretenses. In other words, another step to make sure that eCommerce is safe, which would protect consumers and businesses in every transaction, and create a level playing field for everyone. But Republicans are blocking it.
H.R. 2352 – Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act – This bill essentially combines a number of other bills that Republicans had blocked in the Senate previously, and adds a few elements. The bill would again establish a Veterans Business Center Program; it would encourage and enhance Native American entrepreneurship; it would strengthen the Women's Business Center Program (the bill’s description uses the term “broadening,” which seems unfortunate); it would improve the SCORE programs; it would recommend major enhancements to the SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs; it would modernize and expand the Small Business Development Center Program; it would improve technology to create better distance learning and other educational programs for budding entrepreneurs; it would create a Microenterprise Training Center Program, to encourage and train low-income and unemployed folks to enter the market with a small business; it would establish a Military Entrepreneurs Program; and it would establish a Rural Entrepreneurship Advisory Council. In other words, this bill would encourage just about anyone with an idea to start a small business and hire people, and give them the knowledge they need to do so successfully. If small business is the backbone of the American economy, then why do Republicans object to strengthening the backbone?
H.R. 2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – This bill sets up a regulatory framework that would greatly improve our energy situation, which is probably our greatest national security concern for the future – or it should be, anyway. It would improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enable the overall transition to a clean energy economy, including provisions for agriculture and forestry related offsets. The provisions include: (1) creating a combined energy efficiency and renewable electricity standard and requiring retail electricity suppliers to meet 20% of their demand through renewable electricity and electricity savings by 2020; (2) setting a goal of, and requiring a strategic plan for, improving overall U.S. energy productivity by at least 2.5% per year by 2012 and maintaining that improvement rate through 2030; and (3) establishing a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and setting goals for reducing such emissions from covered sources by 83% of 2005 levels by 2050. Oh, now I get it – it’s that damn “cap-and-tax” that gets them! Does anyone actually care about the future of this country? The beauty of cap-and-trade is that the tax would constantly go down over time, as people use less and less energy. If only all taxes worked that way, huh?
H.R. 2510 – Absentee Ballot Track, Receive and Confirm Act – This bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to reimburse states for costs incurred in establishing an absentee ballot tracking program for federal elections. Couple that with H.R. 2499 – Puerto Rico Democracy Act, which would allow Puerto Ricans to hold a plebiscite to either confirm their current status as a commonwealth or approve a change in political status, as well as to hold another plebiscite every eight years after that, and you can see that Republicans aren’t big on democracy. Oh, wait; these are all bills they won’t allow to be voted on; I guess that’s apparent, huh?
H.R. 2529 – Neighborhood Preservation Act – This act would authorize any bank to offer a lease/purchase agreement for up to five years to anyone for any property it came into ownership of through foreclosure. This exception to the law would only be allowed for two years, while the current housing mess shakes itself out. Such a move would do a couple of things; it would keep homes occupied, and mitigate the negative effect on home values of having too many empty homes in a neighborhood, and it would create home purchase opportunities that would otherwise not be available. This type of program would do wonders for stabilizing home values, which is key to fixing the housing market once and for all. And your Republican Party won’t even allow a vote on it. Look at the empty homes in your neighborhoods, and put the blame where it belongs; Vote Democratic.
H.R. 2554 – National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act – Remember that economic meltdown we had a few years back? I know you do. Well, apparently, Republicans would like you to forget about it. This bill would reinstate a key component of Glass-Steagall that was removed when Republicans rammed through Gramm-Leach-Bliley and made it possible for pretty much anyone in the world to call himself a “broker,” and sell any “financial instrument” he or she wanted to sell, without oversight. This bill would reestablish the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) as a nonprofit corporation to oversee licensing and insurance producer qualification requirements and conditions, although states would retain authority with regard to licensing, supervision, disciplining, and setting of fees, as well as insurance-related consumer protection and unfair trade practices. It also requires anyone applying for a license to undergo a thorough criminal background check, and all members will be required to continue their education as they work. It restores sanity to the insurance and financial services industry, and Republicans are blocking it.
H.R. 2611 – Authorizing the Securing the Cities Initiative of the Department of Homeland Security – Exactly what it says. You know, if Republicans really don’t want another terrorist attack, they sure have a funny way of showing it…
H.R. 2664 – Promoting Transparency in Financial Reporting Act – Again, Republicans would like us to forget the financial meltdown, which was largely the result of massive investment in a number of “financial instruments” that even experts had a difficult time understanding. This bill would work to create standards whereby disclosures for bonds and other instruments have to at least make sense and are written in “plain English.” The bill also includes a reassessment of outdated or arcane accounting standards in favor of principles-based accounting standards (you know, in which $2 + $2 = $4, instead of $6, including sleight of hand) in which everyone up and down the line deals with real, not hypothetical money, and encouraging the use of interactive data. The reason Republicans are against this is because they don’t believe in real investment with real money. Think about it; Every period in which they’ve bragged about the “booming” economy has featured phony money – money that doesn’t actually exist, but which they can put onto paper, as if it was actually real.
H.R. 2693 – Oil Pollution Research and Development Program Reauthorization Act – Once again, this bill was introduced and passed by the Democrats in Congress BEFORE BP’s deep water rig blew up and ruined a large swath of the Gulf of Mexico. But even nearly six months after that, this bill sits and waits to be voted on in the Senate. It would authorize a “comprehensive federal oil spill research program, complete a research assessment on the status of oil spill prevention and response capabilities, and develop a federal oil spill research plan. Directs the Committee to: (1) establish a program for conducting oil pollution research, development, and demonstration; (2) submit to Congress an assessment of the status of oil spill prevention and response capabilities; and (3) establish the priorities for federal oil spill research and development.” Gosh, I can’t think of any reason why we’d need something like that, can you?
H.R. 2749 -- Food Safety Enhancement Act – Among other things, this bill would require that all food processing plants not already under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture be registered with the department, and any plant that produces contaminated food loses its registration. In other words, it would make our food supply safer. And Republicans are against it.
H.R. 2868 – Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009, Drinking Water System Security Act of 2009 and Wastewater Treatment Works Security Act of 2009 – This bill would enhance security at chemical plants, wastewater treatment plants and drinking water facilities, to guard against terrorism. What do Republicans have against national security? I mean, one might get a sense that they actually want an attack while Democrats are in charge.
That’s not all of them, folks. More tomorrow…