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Author Topic: YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK  (Read 43697 times)
Soldier4Christ
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« on: January 26, 2008, 10:34:58 AM »


Dem proposes $12 public highway fee
'You're just reallocating money from time-sensitive to price-sensitive'

A representative for a government already collecting state fuel taxes, license fees, ownership taxes and other fees to fund highway work now is proposing another fee – of $12 – just to drive on a public highway, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

The new consumer cost is the brainchild of Colorado State Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, who suggests that such a "reallocation" of money is a basic economic solution to congestion on Interstate 70 between Denver and the state's ski resorts in the mountains.

"You're just reallocating money from those who are time-sensitive to those who are price-sensitive, and that's a perfect market-based solution," Romer told the newspaper.

He explained to the paper this is not a "toll" on a highway he considers the Colorado economy's "carotid artery," but is a plan for "congestion-based pricing."

According to Romer's explanation, the highway gets plugged on weekend mornings during the winter with skiers heading to the slopes, so a fee of $12 should be charged for driving Interstate 70 during those weekend rush hours.

He also suggests a check of $25 be sent to those who want to travel, but choose to do so outside of those "congestion" periods.

He guesses his pilot program would need to reduce skier traffic by 10-15 percent to get motorists moving at a decent speed, which currently can drop to below 10 miles per hour in some spots on the highway, even in reasonable conditions.

Romer, who skis, told the newspaper he's tired of sitting in such rush-hour traffic, and as an investment banker would be happy to pay for his "time-sensitive" family to get to the slopes if his payments would encourage others to get out of his way.

Another lawmaker, Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, whose district includes one section of the crowded highway, said the idea of an incentive is good, "but we should avoid big government solutions or something that looks more like a fee."

Romer told the newspaper he knows a new payment for people who already have paid for the highway would be a hard sell, so he's suggesting launching with the positive incentives and moving towards a fee structure later.

His plan proposes eventual charges of $5-$12 just to drive on the public highway between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. on weekends.

"What teenager or college student wouldn't take $25 for gas money to move their departure time up 45 minutes," Romer told the newspaper. "Throw in a Chipotle burrito and you've probably got all of them."

As part of the infrastructure to regulate drivers, Romer envisions a website for signups, and parking lot attendants armed with scanners to note the arrival times for vehicles. An alternative would be a state highway department program to read license plates, he told the paper, although he would allow an exemption for "local traffic."

On the newspaper's forum, "ham," called it "genius."

"Just another incentive to NOT make the drive and the states cut of ticket sales drops. Genius."

"As one who travels I-70 each weekend and knows full well the traffic problems, I am pleased that Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, actually verbalized this idea. Now we know what the D after his name really stands for: Dumb, Dippy, Disgusting, Disingenuous, Deluded, Dope, and even possibly Deranged," added "Solpatroller."

"The Holy Grail of Democrats that will solve any and all problems is to INCREASE TAXES! Brilliant!" added "alanbl." "I especially am interested in how he plans to pay the $25 bribe to everyone who doesn't drive during those hours. That should be a nice little hit to the treasury."

And "Sasquatch" added, "This is just the type of financial moonbattery that led to the RECALL of California's Gray Davis. Wyoming is looking better every day."

"This is a classic … Is he saying that his 'time sensitive' family is more important than every other family on the road?" asked "NSRider."

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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2008, 08:37:56 PM »

Hey!  I have an idea that would solve "congestion" on our roads all across the nation! 

Sent the illegals home!

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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2008, 08:40:18 PM »

Hey!  I have an idea that would solve "congestion" on our roads all across the nation! 

Sent the illegals home!



Make that SEND....I do like the sound of sent though.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 09:51:39 PM »

Make that SEND....I do like the sound of sent though.

lol  ...   Yep, sent the illegals home does sound best. they also need to stop the Mexican transcontinental semi-trucks, that don't even meet U.S. safety standards, from being on U.S. roads. That would eliminate a lot of traffic.

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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2008, 09:58:10 PM »

If the cost of gasoline and automobiles doesn't go down soon you won't have to worry about congestion.
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 11:15:18 PM »

Brattleboro to vote on arresting Bush, Cheney

January 26, 2008

By Susan Smallheer Herald Staff

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro residents will vote at town meeting on whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont.

The Brattleboro Select Board voted 3-2 Friday to put the controversial item on the Town Meeting Day warning.

According to Town Clerk Annette Cappy, organizers of the Bush-Cheney issue gathered enough signatures, and it was up to the Select Board whether Brattleboro voters would consider the issue in March.

Cappy said residents will get to vote on the matter by paper balloting March 4.

Kurt Daims, 54, of Brattleboro, the organizer of the petition drive, said Friday the debate to get the issue on the ballot was a good one. Opposition to the vote focused on whether the town had any power to endorse the matter.

"It is an advisory thing," said Daims, a retired prototype machinist and stay-at-home dad of three daughters.

So far, Vermont is the only state Bush hasn't visited since he became president in 2001.

Daims said the most grievous crime committed by Bush and Cheney was perjury — lying to Congress and U.S. citizens about the basis of a war in Iraq.

He said the latest count showed a total of 600,000 people have died in the war.

Daims also said he believed Bush and Cheney were also guilty of espionage for spying on American people and obstruction of justice, for the politically generated firings of U.S. attorneys.

Voting to put the matter on the town ballot were Chairwoman Audrey Garfield and board members Richard Garrant and Dora Boubalis.

Voting against the idea were board members Richard DeGray and Stephen Steidle.

Daims said the names submitted to the town clerk's office were the second wave of signatures the petition drive had to collect, because he had to rewrite the wording of the petition.

He said he gathered nearly 500 signatures in about three weeks, and he said most people he encountered were eager to sign it. He started the petition drive about three months ago.

"Everybody I talked to wanted Bush to go," he said, noting that even members of the local police department supported the drive.

"This is exactly what the charter envisioned as a citizen initiative," Daims said. "People want to express themselves and they want to say how they feel."

He said the idea is spreading: Activists in Louisville, Ky., are spearheading a similar drive, and he said activists were also working in Montague, Mass., a Berkshires town.

The article asked the town attorney to "draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities."

The article goes on to say the indictments would be the "law of the town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro police ... arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro, if they are not duly impeached ..."

Daims said people in Brattleboro were willing to "think outside the box" and consider the issue.

Daims had no compunction in comparing Bush and Cheney with one of the most notorious people in history.

"If Hitler were still alive and walked through Brattleboro, I think the local police would arrest him for war crimes," Daims said.

Brattleboro to vote on arresting Bush, Cheney
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 11:16:19 PM »

That is so irresponsibly stupid it's hardly even funny.  I hope they enjoy being the laughing stock of the USA for the next few days.
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2008, 06:07:33 AM »

What else can be expected from an area that is one of the first to recognize homosexual unions and is the largest supporter of islamic terrorists in the U.S.

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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2008, 05:04:52 PM »

You know what, no matter how much I despised a President I would still respect his position. Did this town vote on the same thing when Clinton committed adultry while in the White House? How about when Clinton lied under oath to each and every American? I thank the good Lord each and every day for our country and our freedom but sometimes the freedom of speech thing can be carried too far.  Undecided
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 08:30:55 AM »

The New Crime of Thinking

It looks like the term “thought police” just might take on a whole new and real meaning. This depends on what happens in the U.S. Senate after receiving House bill H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This act (now S-1959 — Senate version) is now being considered by Senate committees and, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, will become law. Common sense would indicate that something this vague and dangerous would not make it out of committee, but considering that the House passed it on October 23 with 404 ayes, 6 nays, and 22 present/not voting, I’m not holding my breath.

The most disturbing aspects of this bill, and there are many, are the definitions noted in Section 899a. The three offenses defined in this document that will warrant prosecution are:

“Violent Radicalization: The term ‘violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.”

“Homegrown Terrorism: The term ‘homegrown terrorism’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

“Ideologically based violence: The term ‘ideologically based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.”

Besides the fact that this Act would greatly expand an already monstrous bureaucracy (Homeland Security Act of 2002), it is on its very face a threat to all ideological thinking not approved by the state. Any citizen at any given time could be considered a terrorism suspect and accused or prosecuted for “bad” thoughts. Since the very act of thinking could now be considered a crime, how would the populace react to this new paradigm? Would political debate among the citizenry become more subdued? Would watch groups, whether police or private, arise to monitor individual and group conversations? Would speaking out and writing against the government become a dangerous activity?

The language contained in this proposed legislation is not only vague, it is also broad, sweeping, and unclear. The tenebrous and obscure nature of the above definitions is obviously not an accident. The broader the net, the more who are caught; the more who are caught, the more who live in fear of being caught. Ambiguity and fear are mighty deterrents, and ambiguity and fear foster obedience. In this case, unconditional obedience to the mighty state and its many dictates.

In the definition of “violent radicalization,” it is a crime to adopt or promote an extremist belief system to facilitate ideologically based violence. Neither “extremist” nor type of political, religious, or social change is defined. And what about “ideologically” based violence? Is it violence to simply advocate radical change that might lead someone else to initiate violence? Who decides what beliefs are okay and what beliefs are not? The state, of course, is the final decider. The door is left open for interpretation, but for interpretation by government only.

“Homegrown terrorism,” although similarly defined, is notable in that it concentrates strictly on U.S.-born, U.S.-raised, or U.S.-based individuals and groups operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States. The Bush administration has had its problems in the courts at times concerning American citizens and their rights, sometimes setting it and its agenda back. This bill could help alleviate those problems. In addition, to intimidate or coerce the U.S. government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives, is forbidden and considered criminal. Let me repeat; to intimidate the government to further political or social objectives is forbidden. If this is allowed to stand, what does it do to demonstration, protest, petition, and the right to assemble?

Remember, this proposed act is attached to the Homeland Security Act of 2002. This is what gives it the teeth so that the enforcers can pursue and detain those considered guilty of holding or promoting an “extremist” belief system or wishing to advance political, religious, or social change. I use the word “enforcers” because this bill allows for the federal authorities, including intelligence and law enforcement, to use any state or local law-enforcement agencies. In addition, the commission may contract to enable enforcement. Also, “The Commission may request directly from any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purposes of this Section.” (Section 899C.) What little privacy still exists will not exist for long with the passage of this bill.

One of the tenets of any totalitarian society is that the citizenry must acquiesce to government control. The state itself is supreme and sovereign, not the people. This has been true throughout history whether it was during Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Mao’s or any other of a number of brutal dictatorial rulers’ reigns. Dissent was stifled, whether it was ideological or physical, and accused parties faced humiliation, incarceration, or death for their unwillingness to conform. Is that where we’re headed?

The newest weapon we have at our disposal in our fight against tyranny is our advanced communication systems, especially the Internet. Reaching untold numbers of persons, something not possible only a few years ago, is now possible because of the Internet. With the mainstream media kowtowing to politicians and government, the Internet has become the major tool for those promoting liberty and truth. It has allowed many brilliant freedom lovers to reach and change minds. Even this has not escaped the watchful eye of Big Brother in this bill. In Section 899B Congress finds the following:

“The internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”

This bill, if passed into law, will do nothing less than muffle, if not destroy, our ability to speak out against government. Considering the combination of the USA PATRIOT Act, The Homeland Security Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the now-enhanced executive power, adding this single piece of legislation fills the only loophole left. With the passage of this abominable act, all U.S. citizens are at risk, not just those few radical persons and foreigners spoken about by government, but all of us. This very article could be considered as ideologically based violence, subjecting me to punishment by government. This could be the final piece of the puzzle.

This new proposed legislation will help an already tyrannical government in its effort to become supreme.

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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 10:39:43 AM »

I have no doubt that the American Republic is almost at an end, and George Bush's place in history will be to be remembered as the man who destroyed it. However, Congress is just as guilty for passing legislation like this and the Patriot Act.

I also have no doubt that governments worldwide will soon act to censor the Internet.

Supressing freedom of speech won't make America a better place. It will only free the government from having to listen to constructive criticism and allow them to make an even worse mess of things than they do now.

Those who can't "blow off steam" by speaking freely are more likely to act in violence. If they organize and copy the tactics of the Jihadists, America is in bad trouble - we haven't been able to counter those tactics effectively in Iraq, much less on our own soil.

Thankfully, I am old enough that I likely won't live to see it, but my children and grandchildren are going to suffer.
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2008, 08:28:48 PM »

I am far from making any prophecies in this but if things go as I think they are going to then President Bush will be one of the greatest Presidents ever in comparison to the damage that is going to be done by the next President and yes, Congress will be just as implicit in this damage as is already seen by our current Congress.

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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2008, 07:41:40 AM »

Judge: Counting petition signatures not required
Decision pushes state 'gay' marriage plans forward

A federal judge in Portland has concluded the state of Oregon doesn't need to count all of the signatures on a petition proposing a vote of the people on a state law to create same-sex domestic partnerships with rights and privileges identical to marriage couples.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman in December granted a temporary injunction requested by lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund, who argued the state illegally disenfranchised registered voters who signed petitions to put the issue on a statewide ballot.

But Mosman now has lifted his earlier order, allowing the state law to take effect immediately. He concluded the state has little significant obligation to count voters' signatures on the petition. His ruling came at the end of a hearing on Friday.

Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the ADF, called it "un-American" that Oregonians were being denied the right to have their votes counted.

"Our country is founded on the basic principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people," he said of the dispute.

The organization had sued on behalf of several state residents in different counties after the secretary of state and clerks' offices in 12 counties invalidated their petition signatures for a referendum that would allow voters to decide, again, whether they in fact approve of "civil unions."

The ADF said it now is reviewing its options for appeal.

"The judge stated that voters in Oregon have no legal right to have their petition signatures counted," the organization said.

"In America, every citizen's voice counts," Nimocks said. "Government bureaucrats cannot decide what is best for the people of Oregon."

The signatures in question were on petitions to bring the plan approved by the legislature and signed by the governor to create institutions that effectively are same-sex marriages to a vote of the people of Oregon, who had rejected such plans earlier.

"Their signatures were genuine, and no legitimate reason existed to refuse to allow these registered voters to participate in the democratic process," Nimocks said.

The ADF had submitted briefs in the case showing county clerks simply refused petition signers' requests to count their signatures after they had been "wrongfully rejected."

The petition signature total fell just five short of what was needed in Oregon to put the issue to voters, prompting the proponents to seek a review.

"The right to exercise one's voice in the democratic process is a crucial one, and state and county officials must not infringe upon that right," Nimocks said.

The ADF's brief concluded, "The only real dispute in this case is whether the Secretary of State and county clerks can constitutionally refuse to give excluded signers notice that their signatures have been rejected and refuse to give them any opportunity – even when they learn of the disenfranchisement on their own – to verify their signatures and make sure that their vote counts.”

The Associated Press reported that advocates for legitimizing same-sex "couples," were "beaming."

"We're a family. We've been waiting for this a long time," the wire service reported Cathy Kravitz of Portland celebrating.

The judge's ruling concluded signatures on a petition "call for an election, not a substitution for an election."

Homosexuals who register now with the state will be granted permission to file joint state tax returns, inherit each other's property and other provisions ordinarily reserved for married couples.

The issue in question already had been rejected soundly by voters in Oregon. In 2004, several thousand same-sex couples were given marriage licenses in Multnomah County, prompting Oregonians to approve by a 57-43 percent margin a constitutional ban on homosexual marriages. A court nullified the licenses.

The result aligned with 148 years of precedent in the state. However, 54 legislators in the statehouse during 2007 and Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski ignored it, working together on the new homosexual couples proposal.

They even included a section in a new law suggesting schools address the "attitudes" of those who do not choose to support those relationships.

When the petition signatures total was announced, signers had sought, personally, to affirm their signatures in order to overcome the publicized referendum deficit of five names, but they were rejected by county officials.

The state already has begun implementation of the new law, with plans confirmed by prison officials to allow inmates who are part of a domestic partnership to live in the same prison facility, and in the same unit, a privilege specifically denied married inmates.

"The problem I have with this is that the department will not allow heterosexual inmates who are married to live together in the same institution or on the same housing unit," said one state Department of Corrections employee, whose name was being withheld from publication.

"The new policy gives homosexual RDP inmates the special privilege of living together but denies it for heterosexual married inmates, just the opposite of what the policy is trying to achieve, and discriminates against heterosexuals based on their sexual orientation," the employee continued.

"Not only is this a discriminatory policy but it will be an enforcement nightmare for correctional staff. If the RDP inmates are allowed to live on the same housing unit, are we going to allow them to shower together or … let them sleep next to each other? And if we don't allow them to do those things will we be sued for discrimination because of their sexual orientation? The whole thing is just nuts!" the employee said.

In a column on the issue, Alan Sears, chief of the ADF, noted that the issue of marriage consisting of – and only of – one man and one woman is supported overwhelmingly in the U.S. Twenty-seven of 28 states where voters have decided the question have limited marriage to one man and one woman.

"Those seeking to fabricate same-sex 'marriage' have long recognized the American public is a roadblock to their success. In 1998, after ADF-allied litigation allowed Alaska citizens to vote on (and pass) a constitutional amendment barring same-sex unions, the ACLU executive director declared: 'Today's results prove that certain fundamental issues should not be left up to a majority vote.'

"When the (new) referendum was submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State on Sept. 26, signatures exceeded the required number by more than 6,000. However, the Secretary of State announced there were not enough signatures to sustain the referendum. The evaluated 'sample' was said to be only five signatures short. If you wonder how this could happen, you aren't alone. As it turns out, there is a very clear explanation – many of the signatures were wrongfully rejected," Sears said.

"Signatures were invalidated for allegedly not matching their voter registration cards, being illegible, or coming from unregistered voters. But according to ADF attorneys who examined the signatures, several of those kicked out did match, were legible, and the affected voters actually were registered. In other words, many valid signers were ignored," he continued.

Clerks have "adamantly"' resisted efforts by signers to authenticate their signatures. "One county clerk even told a rejected signer, in person, and to their face, 'tough nuggets,'" Sears said.

Bill Burgess, the clerk in Marion County, confirmed the state had given county clerks instructions to follow a "precedent" and not correct any incorrectly classified signatures they may have been told about.

"We also have a legal obligation to follow the guidelines and precedents of the past and our attorney has told us, and the Secretary of State has advised us, that there is no place in this petition signature checking process for a person to come in later on and attest that that was their signature," he told WND.

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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2008, 10:42:18 PM »

Senate passes $170 billion stimulus package
Reid criticizes Republicans: 'They're following this president right off a cliff'

The House on Thursday quickly passed a Senate-approved economic stimulus package and sent the bill to the president's desk for his signature.

 The House voted 380-34 to accept the Senate's $170 billion measure, just a few hours after Democratic and Republican senators reached accord and ended a days-long stalemate over the bill.

The deal, passed in the Senate on a 81-16 vote, includes rebate check amounts of $300 to $600 for people who have an income between $3,000 and $75,000, plus $300 per child.

Couples earning up to $150,000 would get $1,200.

But the plan also gives checks to more than 20 million Social Security beneficiaries and 250,000 handicapped veterans and their widows.

Two White House officials said President Bush will probably sign the bill next week.

Senior administration officials said the Internal Revenue service will start working to implement the rebate check program as soon as the final details are reached and will not wait for the president to sign the bill. Officials said checks could be sent to millions of Americans this spring.

"I'm very happy that the vast majority of the U.S. Senate agreed that we have to change the economic direction of this country, and we've done that," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters.
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But he expressed dismay the package omits a number of provisions Democrats had sought, including an extension of unemployment benefits and checks for people aided by the food stamp program and the low-income home energy assistance program, measures that Senate Republicans and President Bush opposed.

"They're following this president right off a cliff," Reid said. "What they don't realize is he's already over the cliff."

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he was happy with the outcome: "I think we've demonstrated to the American people that we are, once in a while, able to come together and do something important to the country with a minimum amount of bipartisan bickering and do it in a timely fashion."

McConnell said the Senate bill also fixed a "glitch" in the House bill that would have made it possible for illegal immigrants to receive checks.

Senate Democrats agreed to scale back their economic stimulus package in order to gain Republican support for the measure.

The measure stalled Wednesday over GOP concerns the bill was too big and loaded with special-interest provisions, said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana.

 Congressional leaders and the White House had hoped to pass a stimulus package quickly to address economic fears of recession.

The agreement came shortly after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urged Congress to move with haste on the package to reduce the odds of the nation's economy descending into recession.

"We believe that a growth package must be enacted quickly, it must be robust, temporary and broad-based, and it must get money into the economy quickly," he told the House Ways and Means Committee.

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, in an effort to get the Senate-blocked economic stimulus package rolling, said the House was ready to respond.

"We are eagerly awaiting the decision of the Senate as to how they will go forward. ... If they do not, we stand ready to do so." Pelosi said.

"Decisions have to be made, and again we want this to be timely so that it makes a difference for people right away, targeted to those in the middle class, and those who wish to be in the middle class; and ... [timely], so that people will use it," she said.
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On Wednesday, seven Republicans joined 51 Democrats in supporting the broader Senate package, which would have injected about $50 billion more into the sagging economy than the plan President Bush and House leaders supported. But the Senate ended up two votes short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill in the face of a GOP filibuster.

The nearly $150 billion package Bush proposed last month was approved overwhelmingly by the House January 29
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2008, 11:45:24 PM »

GOP kills Senate stimulus bill

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked a Democrat-sponsored bill for a $40 billion expansion of the compromise economic-stimulus plan to which the House and President Bush agreed last month.

The bill — which called for more tax-rebate checks, more business tax breaks, extended unemployment benefits and home-heating aid for the poor — died in a 58-41 procedural vote, two shy of the 60 votes required under Senate rules to end debate and move to final consideration.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, chided Republicans for standing in the way of plans to add 20 million low-income retirees and 250,000 disabled veterans to the ranks of Americans to receive tax-rebate checks for up to $1,200.

"When given the opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner to help people hurt by our struggling economy, Republicans chose politics first," said Mr. Reid. "And while they may view this vote as a win, the American people lose."

The various measures in the Senate bill would have boosted the two-year price tag for the House-passed plan from $161 billion to $205 billion.

Republicans objected to the slew of add-ons, which they said decorated the bill like a "Christmas tree," including $100 million to pay a lawsuit settlement to coal companies and tax credits for renewable energy initiatives.

Mr. Reid stressed that the bill won support from a majority of senators, including eight Republicans, even if it didn't get the 60 votes.

The vote cut closely along party lines. The chamber's Democratic presidential hopefuls — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois — voted yes. Republican front-runner Sen. John McCain of Arizona did not vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, called on Democrats to take up the House bill with an amendment to send checks to seniors, disabled veterans and veterans' widows and to prevent illegal aliens from receiving the rebate checks.

The Republican plan would add about $10 billion to the House package.

"We didn't block this proposal," Mr. McConnell told reporters after the vote. "We said there is a better way to go."

Under the House plan, most workers get a tax rebate check for $600 and married couples get $1,200, with payments phased out for taxpayers earning more than $75,000 a year and couples making $150,000. Businesses receive tax breaks for investing in new plants and equipment.

Senate Democrats would cut checks for $500 to $1,000 for workers and families, but would include retirees and veterans and double the income ceiling to $150,000 for individuals and $300,000 for families.

They also would pay for government-insured bonds to help homeowners refinance mortgages and let businesses with losses write off previously paid taxes.

Both the Senate and House plans award families with children a $300 income tax credit per child.

Mr. Reid said he would meet with Mr. McConnell to negotiate a way to proceed. The majority leader had set a deadline of Feb. 15, when Congress starts a weeklong break for Presidents Day.

President Bush urged the Democrat-led Congress to speed the legislation to his desk so the Internal Revenue Service can start issuing checks. At this time, consumers would not receive the rebates until at least May.

Earlier in the day, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, warned the Senate against slowing down the stimulus package with too much tinkering.

"I think the American people were pleased the House came together quickly and agreed with the president and moved a bill that both sides felt was something they could support," he said. "It wasn't what either side wanted, but that's the legislative process."

In a procedural move, Mr. Reid switched his vote from "yes" to "no" when the votes were tallied in order to preserve his right to recall the bill. The first vote count showed that the bill fell one vote short of the 60-vote majority.

The Democratic Party and Mrs. Clinton last night criticized Mr. McCain for skipping the vote, saying he was too busy campaigning to cast the sole vote needed to pass the stimulus package.
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