Monday, December 15, 2014

A Shut Down Is Preferable

The government-killing repugs in the House got everything they wanted in the Cromnibus.  And given that they did it with 54 votes from scum-sucking DINOs, the chance the "Democratic" Senate can fix it are slim and none.,


Dday has an important piece today about the CRomnibus  in which he illustrates just how much of the battle over the vote last night was actually a bit of misdirection. The disputed provisions in the bill (to roll back derivative regulations and campaign finance reform measures) were terrible, of course. But they were the tip of the iceberg:
But there’s so much more to the CRomnibus than just those two riders. Under the bill, trustees would be enabled to cut pension benefits to current retirees, reversing a 40-year bond with workers who earned their retirement packages. Voters in the District of Columbia who approved legalized marijuana will see their initiative vaporized, with local government prohibited from taxing or regulating the drug’s sale. Trucking companies can make roads less safe by giving their employees 82-hour work weeks without sufficient rest breaks. Pell grants for college students will be cut, with the money diverted to private student loan contractors who have actively harmed borrowers. Government financiers of overseas projects will be prevented from stopping funding for coal-fired power plants. Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be allowed to count “quality improvement” measures toward their mandatory health spending under Obamacare’s “medical loss ratio” provision, a windfall saving them millions of dollars.

I’m not done. The bill eliminates a bipartisan measure to end “backdoor” searches by the NSA of Americans’ private communications. It blocks the EPA from regulating certain water sources for farmers. It adds an exception to allow the U.S. to continue to fund Egypt’s military leadership. In a giveaway to potato growers, it reduces nutrition standards in school lunches and the Women, Infant and Children food aid program. It halts the listing of new endangered species. It stops the regulation of lead in hunting ammunition or fishing equipment. It limits contributions to the Green Climate Fund to compensate poor countries ravaged by climate change. I could go on. And even if the offending measures on derivatives and campaign finance were removed, all of that dreck would remain.
He goes on to make the important point that this is going to be the new normal. I think that's right. The progressive Democrats will now be free to make losing stand after losing stand --- which is a nice bit of theatre that excites people like me without having to disrupt business as usual --- while the Democratic centrists and the Republicans make "deals" for the benefit of their benefactors and trade off cuts to various benefits and regulations like they were baseball cards.  If any consensus exists in the US Congress it's that we need to protect the most vulnerable among us: rich people.

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