Monday, March 1, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/1/10-The Bunning Blockade

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Before you continue, make sure you catch up on the week in politics in the Weekly Strike.

BUNNING: Senator Bunning (R-KY) is holding millions of Americans hostage. Bunning, with tacit support from the Republican leadership, has objected to numerous requests to pass a bill that extends unemployment and COBRA benefits, along with other expiring programs. Today, because Bunning has blocked transportation funding, 2,000 workers began furloughs.

Bunning says that he wants to offset the bill with spending cuts. Democrats obviously disagreed with him, but offered to let Bunning offer his cuts as an amendment. Bunning declined. Democratic leaders now have to go through many procedural hurdles to pass these extensions. This process could take several days.

And now we are learning that he's not acting alone. Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) now says that we shouldn't be extending unemployment benefits because it is a "disincentive" to work. The Democrats NEED to exploit the Republicans on this one. Republicans and their tea party allies can talk all they want about "limited government" and "cutting government spending." They rally their base by saying that they have to stop runaway spending. Bunning's hold is the manifestation of these views. No unemployment or COBRA benefits for you or your family is the consequence of the conservative ideology. I think pointing these facts out to the American public would be very useful.

ELECTION NEWS: We just learned tonight that former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford (D) will not challenge incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the New York Senate Primary. Ford's campaign has been a complete joke. He said that he had been in every New York borough only "by helicopter." He completely changed policy positions from his days as a member of The House. He even positioned himself as a defender of Wall Street. Gillibrand has been a very effective Senator mainly because she was positioning herself against a potential liberal primary challenge. I hope now that Gillibrand's path to the Democratic nomination is clear, she still maintains her liberal voting record.

THE WHITE HOUSE: Today, President Obama announced $900 million in grants to low-performing schools to help improve drop-out rates. The move was announced at the education foundation started by Colin and Alma Powell. I'm glad the President is embarking on this initiative, though $900 million is very little money in the grand scheme of things. It seems that, so far at least, the President has been more content to pursue a piecemeal education agenda.

That's it for tonight. See you tomorrow!

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