Posts Tagged ‘Vote

19
Jul
10

Obama to GOP: Restore unemployment benefits now

NEWS
Obama to GOP: Restore unemployment benefits now
President Obama Pushes for Up-or-Down Vote on Help for Our Laid Off Friends & Neighbors

Monday, July 19, 2010

President Barack Obama tore into congressional Republicans on Monday for blocking an extension of unemployment benefits, arguing that a “partisan minority” had allowed short-term political calculations to trump genuine economic need.

The Senate is set to consider a bill Tuesday that would extend the deadline to file for unemployment benefits through the end of November. The bill would cost $33 billion in additional deficit spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“It’s time to stop blocking emergency relief for Americans who are out of work and extend unemployment insurance,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

He accused Senate Republicans for “holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics.”

The bill, formally known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation, is a U.S. federal government program which assists states in providing additional weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who have been laid off due to no fault of their own.

The legislation, which has already cleared the House of Representatives on July 1, would retroactively restore benefits to recipients who as early as the end of May may have started losing their benefits. The Senate is scheduled to take up the measure on Tuesday.

Republicans have successfully blocked the bill from clearing the Senate for three times, quoting the additional budgetary burden as their main concern.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed Sunday that Republicans are “all for extending unemployment insurance” but not in favor of deficit spending.

“They’ve taken the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 3.2 percent to almost 10 percent in a year and a half,” McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Somewhere in the course of spending a trillion dollars, we ought to be able to find enough to pay for a program for the unemployed.”

Obama also urged the Senate to act this week on a package of tax cuts and expanded lending for small businesses, the two other legislative priorities Obama and Democrats agreed to last week following the passage of the financial regulation bill.

Good morning, everybody. Right now, across this country, many Americans are sitting at the kitchen table, they’re scanning the classifieds, they’re updating their resumes or sending out another job application, hoping that this time they’ll hear back from a potential employer. And they’re filled with a sense of uncertainty about where their next paycheck will come from. And I know the only thing that will entirely free them of those worries – the only thing that will fully lift that sense of uncertainty – is the security of a new job.

To that end, we all have to continue our efforts to do everything in our power to spur growth and hiring. And I hope the Senate acts this week on a package of tax cuts and expanded lending for small businesses, where most of America’s jobs are created.

So we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that we are digging ourselves out of this tough economic hole that we’ve been in. But even as we work to jumpstart job growth in the private sector, even as we work to get businesses hiring again, we also have another responsibility: to offer emergency assistance to people who desperately need it – to Americans who’ve been laid off in this recession. We’ve got a responsibility to help them make ends meet and support their families even as they’re looking for another job.

That’s why it’s so essential to pass the unemployment insurance extension that comes up for a vote tomorrow. We need to pass it for men like Jim Chukalas, who’s with me here today. Jim worked as a parts manager at a Honda dealership until about two years ago. He’s posted resumes everywhere. He’s gone door-to-door looking for jobs. But he hasn’t gotten a single interview. He’s trying to be strong for his two young kids, but now that he’s exhausted his unemployment benefits, that’s getting harder to do.

We need to pass it for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year and has been looking for work ever since. Because she’s eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she’s doing what she never thought she’d have to do – not at this point, anyway. She’s turning to her father for financial support.

And we need to pass it for Americans like Denise Gibson, who was laid off from a real estate agency earlier this year. Denise has been interviewing for jobs – but so far nothing has turned up. Meanwhile, she’s fallen further and further behind on her rent. And with her unemployment benefits set to expire, she’s worried about what the future holds.

We need to pass it for all the Americans who haven’t been able to find work in an economy where there are five applicants for every opening; who need emergency relief to help them pay the rent and cover their utilities and put food on the table while they’re looking for another job.

And for a long time, there’s been a tradition – under both Democratic and Republican Presidents – to offer relief to the unemployed. That was certainly the case under my predecessor, when Republican senators voted several times to extend emergency unemployment benefits. But right now, these benefits – benefits that are often the person’s sole source of income while they’re looking for work – are in jeopardy.

And I have to say, after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans like Jim or Leslie or Denise, who really need help.

Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried – not once, not twice, but three times – to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks.

That attitude I think reflects a lack of faith in the American people, because the Americans I hear from in letters and meet in town hall meetings – Americans like Leslie and Jim and Denise – they’re not looking for a handout. They desperately want to work. Just right now they can’t find a job. These are honest, decent, hardworking folks who’ve fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, and who have nowhere else to turn except unemployment benefits and who need emergency relief to help them weather this economic storm.

Now, tomorrow we will have another chance to offer them that relief, to do right by not just Jim and Leslie and Denise, but all the Americans who need a helping hand right now – and I hope we seize it. It’s time to stop holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics. It’s time to do what’s right – not for the next election but for the middle class. We’ve got to stop blocking emergency relief for Americans who are out of work. We’ve got to extend unemployment insurance. We need to pass those tax cuts for small businesses and the lending for small businesses.

Times are hard right now. We are moving in the right direction. I know it’s getting close to an election, but there are times where you put elections aside. This is one of those times. And that’s what I hope members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will do tomorrow.

Thanks very much.

• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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12
May
10

Britain’s David Cameron becomes Prime Minister

NEWS
Britain’s David Cameron becomes Prime Minister

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

••• Conservative leader David Cameron has become Britain’s youngest prime minister in almost 200 years, after Gordon Brown stepped down and ended 13 years of Labour government.

Cameron said on Tuesday that he aims to form a full coalition government with the third-place Liberal Democrats after his Conservative Party won the most seats but did not get a majority in Britain national election last week.

The 43-year-old leader said it would be ‘hard and difficult work’ to govern as a coalition but added that Britain had serious economic issues to tackle.

This is going to be hard and difficult work.
Prime Minister David Cameron outside Downing Street

Cameron visited Buckingham Palace and was asked to form a government by the Queen.

Earlier Gordon Brown tendered his resignation to the Queen and recommended that Conservative leader David Cameron replace him as premier.

‘I’ve informed the Queen’s private secretary that it is my intention to tender my resignation to the Queen,’ he said in an emotional statement outside Downing Street alongside his wife Sarah.

‘In the event that the Queen accepts, I shall advise her to invite the leader of the opposition to seek to form a government.

‘I wish the next prime minister well as he makes the important choices for the future.’

The United States has no closer friend and ally than the United Kingdom.
President Obama was one of the first leaders to congratulate Mr Cameron

He added it had been a ‘privilege to serve’ the country and wished Cameron well.

‘Only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good,’ Brown said.

‘I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature and a fair amount too about its frailties – including my own.’

He also paid a glowing tribute to Britain’s armed forces, which are currently serving in Afghanistan.

Brown was then driven to Buckingham Palace where he is expected formally to tender his resignation to the Queen.

Brown’s Labour came second in Britain’s general election on Thursday which resulted in no clear majority for one party for the first time since 1974, triggering days of negotiations.

Brown said on Monday he was stepping down as Labour leader but Tuesday’s announcement brings the final curtain down on his political career at the highest level.
• Source(s): Sky News / Australian News Channel Pty Ltd. & British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. (BSkyB) / News Corp.
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06
May
10

Exit polls make Tories largest party

NEWS
Exit polls make Tories largest party
Tories just short of majority

Thursday, May 6, 2010

••• Britain’s Conservative party is on the brink of claiming back power from Labour in the U .K., based on a major exit poll of voters which predicts a hung parliament.

The joint Sky News/BBC/ITV poll predicted a hung parliament would be the key result from the tightly fought general election, with the Tories falling short of securing the 326 seats they need to form a majority government after 13 years in opposition.

The poll predicted the Tories would have the most MPs in the House of Commons – 307, up 97 on the number elected at the last election in 2005.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ruling Labour party stood to have 255 MPs, down 94.

The Liberal Democrats, who had enjoyed a surge in popularity during the four-week campaign, would have 59 seats, down four, while 29 seats would go to other minor parties and independents.

While exit polls have a shaky record at predicting accurate election results, if this one proved correct Tory leader David Cameron could lead a minority government.

Even if Labour did a deal with the Lib Dems, such a coalition would still only have 314 MPs and fall short of being able to form a majority government.

If a hung parliament is the outcome of the election, it will only be the first time since 1974 that such a result has been seen in Britain.

Voter turnout was expected to be high across the country in what has been the U.K.’s tightest election battle in decades.
Labour and Tory officials treated the exit poll results with caution, noting that polling booths had closed at 10:00 pm BST (05:00 EDT) just as the poll was being released.

Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove said while the poll suggested a strong vote for change, ‘a degree of humility’ was needed at this stage.

‘Exit polls in the past have given us rouge results and we need to treat it with caution,’ he told BBC One.

Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said it was to early to say what the election result would be.

‘It’s obviously going to be very close,’ she told BBC One.

‘But I think what’s clear is the country needs a strong and stable government to take us through the recession.’

The Lib Dems deputy leader Vince Cable described the exit poll result as ‘very strange’ and noted such polls had been ‘horribly wrong’ in the past.

The Tories led opinion polls carried out throughout the campaign, with Labour and the Lib Dems jostling in second and third places in terms of the popular vote.

However, the complexities of Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system mean that having the biggest share of the popular vote does not necessarily translate into having the most seats.

The exit poll based on surveys of voters at 130 polling stations across Britain by NOP and Mori.

Despite the uncertainty, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – a known supporter of Cameron – said on his Twitter feed he’d already called the Tory leader to congratulate him.
‘Just called @davidcameron to congratulate him on the victory. Even though results aren’t in we know the Conservatives had a great day,’ @Schwarzenegger wrote.

• Source(s): Sky News / BskyB / News Corp.

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23
Apr
10

Harry Reid moves forward with first financial reform vote

NEWS
Harry Reid moves forward with first financial reform vote

Friday, April 23, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’ll try to move a financial reform bill to the floor today–and if the Republicans object, as they’ve threatened to do, he’ll force them to take a tough vote on whether to allow debate on legislation to regulate Wall Street.

“If they let us move to it, I’d be happy to do that,” Reid said at a press conference with Democratic leadership this afternoon. “If they don’t … I’m filing cloture [and we’ll] have a cloture vote on Monday, 5:15.”

That won’t please the GOP. Just before the Democrats’ press conference, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), whose vote is still in play on financial reform, implored Reid not to move ahead until a final bipartisan agreement is reached.

“I hope that Senator Reid abandons his plan to force a premature cloture vote on Monday,” Collins told reporters. “I think that would be unfortunate in view of the fact that both sides of the negotiations say that progress is being made.”

Reid is undeterred. “I have been around for quiet a while,” he said. “What we have done on financial reform was just as energetic as what we did on health care. We worked for more than two months with [Sen. Richard] Shelby trying to come up with something … I’m not going to waste any more time of the American people while they come up with some agreement.”

“The games of stalling are over,” Reid said.

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22
Apr
10

President Obama seeks reform buy-in from Wall Street

NEWS
President Obama seeks reform buy-in from Wall Street
The President Speaks to Wall Street, Republicans, and All of America

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Barack Obama has railed at unfettered corporate greed as he laced a defining pitch for U.S. financial reform with stark warnings of future economic meltdowns if the bid fails.

Just blocks from Wall Street, the epicentre of high finance in the United States, the president sent a tough message to financial barons, American voters and Republican opponents critical of his plans.

Obama recalled how he had visited the historic college at Cooper Union during his election campaign to warn of the dangers of corporate excess.

‘And I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments then have largely been borne out by the events that followed,’ he told an audience of banking notables, including Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of fraud-tainted titan Goldman Sachs, on Thursday.

‘But I repeat what I said then, because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat them. Make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass.’

Obama assured investors he believed in the ‘power of the free market’ and a ‘strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and get loans and invest their savings’.

‘But a free market was never meant to be a free licence to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.

‘Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is a family looking to buy a house, to pay for an education, open a business, save for retirement.

‘What happens on Wall Street has real consequences across the country, across our economy.’

Obama urged Wall Street bosses to call off armies of lobbyists trying to thwart what he has promised will be the most sweeping regulatory reform drive since the 1930s Great Depression.

As Democrats and Republicans spar over the final shape of the financial regulatory legislation, Obama argued that middle-ground could be found on the draft law.

Plans include protections for taxpayers should one financial institution pose a systemic risk to the whole economy if it failed, and limits on the size of corporate entities.

‘A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts,’ Obama said. ‘The goal is to make certain that taxpayers are never again on the hook because a firm is deemed too big to fail.’

Obama also called for stronger protections for consumers and greater transparency by bringing risky financial instruments such as derivatives out into the open.

His efforts got a boost on Wednesday, when a Senate panel approved new restrictions on derivatives, a complex financial instrument blamed for partly igniting the meltdown from which America is just emerging.

Obama’s Democrats needs to peel away at least one vote from Republicans in a final vote in the full Senate, which could come within weeks.

Polls show Americans, though highly suspicious of government, support efforts to rein in Wall Street.

Obama’s financial reform effort is reaching a climax after regulators slapped civil fraud charges on finance titan Goldman.

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15
Apr
10

House Republicans split on terms of new ‘Contract with America’

NEWS
House Republicans split on terms of new ‘Contract with America’

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Tea Party Patriots have released their “Contract with America” today to praise from GOP House leaders.

The contract is the result of a months-long effort between tea party groups to discuss then vote on what their members feel are this nation’s most pressing problems and offer their ideas for solutions.

The Contract with America serves as a clarion call for those who recognize the importance of free market principles, limited government, and individual liberty. It is the natural extension of a movement that began in the local communities and quickly spread across America in response to unprecedented government expansion, reckless spending, and a blatant disregard by our leaders of the nation’s founding principles.

During the past several months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have debated thousands of ideas to solve our nation’s most pressing problems. 454,331 votes were cast. It has been an open process and has provided a genuine opportunity to give voice to a broad cross section of concerned Americans.

You can find the Contract in its entirety at the link.

House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised the effort:

“This ‘Contract with America’ captures the American people’s frustration with a government that has grown too big, too costly, and too arrogant. It is culled directly from the voices of Americans who have said ‘enough’ to permanent bailouts, ‘enough’ to government takeovers, and ‘enough’ to wasteful Washington spending.

“This document is just the latest example of how the Tea Party movement has done this nation a great service by giving Americans who believe their government is no longer listening to them a platform to come together that transcends party and ideology. Republican elected officials must continue to listen to them, stand with them, and walk among them.

“Every lawmaker – Republican, Democrat, and Independent – should consider the ‘Contract from America’ required reading and heed its call for a return to the principles on which our nation was founded.”

House Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) also responded immediately to the release of the Contract:

“I want to commend the grassroots effort of the Contract from America initiative. Its principles represent a good start toward the essential goals of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

“I hope that many conservative leaders will join with this bold initiative that’s marked by powerful ideas to get our government’s fiscal house in order. As Republicans move forward developing our agenda for the 112th Congress, efforts like this will be invaluable.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also offered his support:

“Today there is an unparalleled level of frustration directed at Washington from across the country, and for good reason. Washington has become entirely too intrusive in every aspect of our economy and far too irresponsible with taxpayer dollars – and Americans know it. The economic insecurity felt by American families and businesses has not just created a sense of tangible fear, but legitimate disagreement with the agenda being pursued by President Obama and the Democrat Congress. People wonder whether Washington can actually fix anything with the kind of misguided legislation that is being passed and enacted into law. And can anyone blame them? Washington must stop pretending there won’t be severe consequences for their out-of-control spending programs that impede job creation and economic growth, while creating a permanent dependency on the government.

“The Contract with America represents a grassroots awareness that people have been over taxed and Washington has been overspending for far too long. It is born out of love for the Constitution and transcends partisanship in the hope that those controlling the levers of power in Washington finally start listening to the people again. America has long been governed by a common sense conservative philosophy that goes back to the days of our Founding Fathers. We believe in free markets, we believe in individual responsibility, and we don’t believe that the government has all the answers.

“That’s why we will continue to fight to restore balance to Washington by bringing responsible, adult leadership that focuses on job creation, economic opportunity, putting the country back on the path to financial stability, and limited government. We must also work to repeal and replace the Democrats’ overhaul of health care with a system that will improve access to care and make health insurance more affordable for everyone. I want to thank all those Americans who had a hand in developing and putting forward the Contract from America. Our republic benefits from their work.”

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12
Apr
10

Scott Brown Won’t Attend Boston Tea Party, But Sarah Palin Will

NEWS
Scott Brown Won’t Attend Boston Tea Party, But Sarah Palin Will

Monday, April 12, 2010

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, whose stunning victory in January was fueled in part by Tea Party anger, has snubbed the fiery grassroots group and declined its invitation to join Sarah Palin Wednesday at a massive rally on Boston Common, the Herald has learned.

Brown’s decision to skip the first big rally in Boston by the group whose members are credited with helping him win election has some experts saying he’s tossed the Tea Party overboard, as he prepares for re-election in 2012.

“He wants to mainstream himself before the election,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist.

Brown, who took heat for the alleged misbehavior of some of his supporters at campaign events, may be trying to distance himself from what could be a volatile event, said political analyst Lou DiNatale.

“You’re worried at a rally that there’s a sign, a statement, an incident that’s certifiably cuckoo occurs,” DiNatale said.

“To win re-election, Scott Brown floating to the right is a serious problem.

“And showing up at a Sarah Palin, Tea Party event is not the way to the middle.”

But Brown spokesman Felix Browne said the senator applauds the “energy and enthusiasm” Palin and the Tea Party bring to GOP politics.

The Senate is in session and Brown can’t get away, Browne said.

“He’ll be doing the job he was elected to do – serving the people of the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Browne said.

Sabato said it’s “possible” Brown can’t get away but noted senators do travel to their districts during the weeks-long stretches that the Senate is in session.

“It’s not like they’re voting constantly,” Sabato said.

Tea Party members said they don’t feel slighted.

“It’s not about paying favors back,” said Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, which organized the rally and invited Brown.

“I’d happily forgo (having him) if he’s truly doing the job of the people.

“He has half a century of Kennedy damage to compensate for, after all.”

Barbara Klain, head of the Greater Lowell Tea Party, said Brown also turned down an invite to speak at their April 15 rally in downtown Lowell.

“He said he was going to be in Washington,” Klain said. “He needs to be doing his job.”

It’s a view Sabato suggested was willfully naive.

“It’s naive, but they’re cutting him some slack,” Sabato said.

“But he’s their hero, more so than Sarah Palin – they got him elected.”

This won’t be the first time Brown has appeared to distance himself from Palin.

Shortly after his triumph, Brown denied receiving a congratulatory call from Palin, only to remember the exchange when pressed.

Palin is a possible 2012 presidential rival to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose aides were the architects of Brown’s Senate win.

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