Democratic Caucus Weekly Update - November 26, 2011
As we stop to offer thanks this year, too many Americans are suffering. With the economy continuing to struggle, and the Supercommittee behind us, it’s time for Congress to focus on the number one issue on Americans minds: Jobs.
Democrats know that we have to handle our debt responsibly — which means putting Americans back to work, because job creation equals deficit reduction. And that’s what Americans want Congress to focus on. But Republicans in Congress keep trying to eliminate millions of jobs while pushing ideas that independent experts say won't create jobs.
As we reach the end of the year, it’s time for Congress to buckle down and focus on getting the economy working again for all Americans. The 14 million unemployed Americans simply can’t wait an longer.
What You Need To Know:
- In just the last generation, the richest 1% almost quadrupled their incomes. The average wealth of the 1% is 225 times bigger than the wealth of the typical household — the highest it's ever been. At the same time, they're paying lower taxes than ever.
- The tax code is already skewed to help the richest few the most — and it's the result of the choices made by Republican politicians to make the richest 1% even richer.
- While an overwhelming majority of Americans called for a balanced plan from the Supercommittee, including a majority of Republican voters, Republican leaders refused to break their pledge to Grover Norquist.
- Simply put, the GOP crashed the Supercommittee "to protect millionaires and billionaires".
- Here’s a timeline of Republicans refusing to consider a big, bold, and balanced plan to create jobs and reduce our deficit.This year alone, Washington Republicans were repeatedly given the chance to support jobs for our teachers and construction workers and to rebuild the crumbling roads and bridges we all rely on, or choose millionaires. Every time, they chose millionaires.
- As a top economist in the Reagan White House recently said, "Republicans don't have any credibility whatsoever" when discussing America's fiscal challenges. Many of the GOP politicians now pushing to cut the deficit saw the Bush years as a time when it was "standard practice not to pay for things" because they thought "deficits don't matter" — until President Obama came along.
- After failing to compromise for the good of the country, Republicans are now vowing to undo the defense cuts that were part of the trigger.
- The Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created as many as 3.3 million jobs.Republicans in Congress have made it more difficult to make sure Wall Street doesn’t repeat the same mistakes that led to the recession.
- Congressional Democrats want to extend the payroll tax cut, but the GOP might block it. Click here to find out how much more in taxes you’ll pay if Republicans refuse to work with Democrats.
- There’s a startling new report out that details older, suburban, and struggling individuals — termed the "near poor".
In Case You Missed It:
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (WaPo): The Supercommittee failed because Republicans refused to compromise &mdash "When measured against the bipartisan standard set by Simpson-Bowles, Supercommittee Democrats made every effort to move to the middle and put forward a deficit-reduction plan that met the test of balance. Republican proposals, however, fell far short, relying totally upon spending cuts and achieving $1?trillion less in total deficit reduction."
Paul Krugman (NY Times): We are the 99.9% — "If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent — the richest one-thousandth of the population."
NYT Editorial Board: The Supercommittee Collapses — "The only reason the committee failed was because Republicans refused to raise taxes on the rich, and, in fact, wanted to cut them even below their current bargain-basement level."
Steve Kornacki (Salon): How the Tea Party Killed the Supercommittee — "These basic realities — the presence of so many true believers and the threat of a primary challenge for any non-true believers — have largely dictated the actions of the Republican-controlled House in 2011. It’s why the party’s leaders insisted on putting Rep. Paul Ryan’s politically poisonous Medicare overhaul plan up for a vote, even though it had zero chance of making it through the Senate and into law... It’s why the GOP House has forced several budget stand-offs with Obama, bringing the government to the brink of a shutdown several times and leading to the lowering of the country’s credit rating. And it’s why Boehner, who initially seemed to recognize what a good deal Obama’s "grand bargain" would be for Republicans, ended up walking away at the last minute this summer, as it became clear he’d face an intraparty revolt if he went any further."
Eugene Robinson (WaPo): Republican Obstinacy Doomed the Supercommittee — "Democrats envisioned meeting somewhere in the middle, while Republicans anticipated not moving an inch. This isn’t just my spin, it’s a matter of public record: Before the 12-member supercommittee ever met, House Speaker John Boehner warned that they had better not agree to any new tax revenue."
Steven Benen (Washington Monthly):The Right Blames Obama for GOP's Debt Failure — "Members of this committee were given a task: strike a deal. Democrats were willing to meet Republicans more than half way; Republicans weren’t willing to compromise. It’s only natural to wonder who’s to blame when there’s a breakdown like this, but holding the White House responsible is deeply foolish."
Ezra Klein (WaPo): In supercommittee, Dems moved right and Republicans moved righter — "If by ‘at fault’ we mean ‘unwilling to compromise,’ we can do better than listen to the self-serving remarks of the players. We can look hard at the movement in the actual plans. Before the supercommittee, there were the Obama-Boehner negotiations. And we have a pretty good idea of the plan that almost -- but didn't quite -- clear those discussions. We also have the deals on the plans that were offered in the supercommittee. And if you look at the numbers, it's pretty easy to see which party moved further towards a compromise. Hint: It's the one that named Sen. Max Baucus as one of its six key negotiators."
Michael Ettlinger and Gadi Dechter (CAP): 9 Ideas for Congress to Address the 99 Percent — "The sign of a healthy economy is the well-being of all families, not just corporate profits and a rising stock market. The U.S. economy today is not working for most Americans and that’s why people across the country are demanding attention—and answers. These nine measures are not a cure-all for what ails us but they will go a long way to making the economy work again for most Americans, not just the privileged. And they will help restore the promise of the American Dream: If you work hard and play by the rules, you can build a good life for yourself and your family."
Matt Compton (WH Blog): President Obama's Record on Taxes — "Right now, President Obama is going all out to extend the payroll tax cut for the middle class -- and expand it for 2012. And that effort underscores an important fact: This President has proposed and enacted thousands of dollars of tax relief for American families and small businesses."
Chuck Marr (CBPP): A Vital Tax Table for the Holiday Season — "Failure to extend the payroll tax cut would hurt workers in nearly every job and income category. For example, the nation’s 1.4 million truck drivers, whose salaries average $39,450, would pay $789 more in payroll taxes, on average. The nation’s 2.7 million nurses, whose salaries average $67,720, would lose $1,354, on average."
President Obama (Weekly Address): On Thanksgiving, Grateful for the Men and Women Who Defend Our Country [Watch] — "I know that for many of you, this Thanksgiving is more difficult than most. But no matter how tough things are right now, we still give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny. The problems we face didn’t develop overnight, and we won’t solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part."
House Democrats in the News:
Fairfax News: Obama Signs Rep. Gerry Connolly Bill to Grant Tax Relief to Small Businesses.
Pasadena Star-News: Rep. Judy Chu helps families get turkeys for Thanksgiving.
The Eastern Echo: Rep. Maxine Waters blames GOP for gridlock.
KPCC Radio: Reps. Raul Grijalva, Joe Baca, Zoe Lofgren and Grace Napolitano protest Alabama immigration law.
The Hill: Rep. Gary Ackerman talks about his rescue mission to Egypt.
Santa Barbara Independent: Rep. Lois Capps helps put on a Thanksgiving dinner for 200 people.
AnnArbor.com: Rep. John Dingell spoke at the commencement of a bridge construction project.
Honolulu Civil Beat: The paper spends a day with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
San Jose Mercury News: Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky work to test immigration policy in the courts.
The Week Ahead:
- The House is not in session on Monday. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer will give an address on the U.S. budget and the economy at the University of Maryland, College Park.
- On Tuesday, the House is in session. First votes are at 6:30pm. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark-up farm dust, retirement, and FCC bills.
- On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will mark up financial services legislation. The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training will hold a hearing on college tuition affordability. The House Small Business Committee holds a hearing on the effectiveness of SBA disaster assistance programs.
- Wednesday evening, CNN and the Arizona Republican Party host a GOP Presidential Primary Debate.
- Wednesday also marks the 18th anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act into law.
- On Thursday, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac oversight. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security holds a hearing to assess Social Security Disability Insurance.
- Thursday also marks the 56th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and standing up for desegregation and equality.
- On Friday, last votes are expected at 3:00pm. The Labor Department will release the November jobs numbers. Friday also marks the 41st anniversary of the EPA, and the 10th anniversary of the Enron bankruptcy.
Tweets of the Week:
@chakafattah: Jobs for Veterans, President Obama signs first part Jobs bill today. This is great, we should now pass the rest of the jobs agenda.
@JohnCarneyDE: The debate is not over. Both parties must continue working towards acceptable long-term deficit reduction plan that is responsible & fair.
@timryan: GOP fought for tax cuts for richest 1% instead of job creation. #supercommittee
@RepJohnOlver: Very disappointed #SuperCommittee R's would not consider any plan to raise revenues from taxes on #theonepercent
@RepKathyHochul: Proud to support the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, signed into law yesterday, which will put unemployed #vets back to work & help small biz grow.
@RepBecerra: I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! I hope you are able to enjoy this holiday with family and friends.
@RepHansenClarke: Wishing you a very happy, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving Day!
@repjohnlewis: As we reflect on our blessings this Thanksgiving Day, let us not forget our brothers and sisters who are struggling.
@RepKarenBass: I'm thankful for another year of good health, happiness, family and friends. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
@RepMcGovern: A happy, healthy, and reflective Thanksgiving to everyone. May we all take a moment to focus on combating hunger in anyway possible.