A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Stimulus Plan Is Working

US Sen. McCaskill accuses Mo. politicians of posturing on use of federal stimulus funding.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill accused Missouri officials of political dishonesty Monday for bashing big spending by Washington while using federal stimulus money to help balance the state budget.

McCaskill didn't call out anyone by name, but the Democratic senator generically targeted Republicans who control both the Missouri House and Senate.

"Instead of anybody in the state saying thank you for helping us in this incredibly difficult time in the economy, they're busy saying Washington is evil," McCaskill said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Right now, they're having it both ways -- they're railing against Washington spending and then they're busy spending" the federal stimulus money.

Since Obama's term began, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks has risen more than 25 percent and the economy rebounded from a 6.4 percent decline during the first three months of last year to 5.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter.

Chris Hayes, Washington editor for The Nation, talks with Rachel Maddow about the shameless hypocrisy of congressional Republicans who rail against the stimulus bill on the national stage but celebrate its benefits in their home district.

The GOP was joined by Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in defeating President Obama's nominee, Craig Becker, by a vote of 52-33. The 52 votes were in favor of Becker, while the 33 were in opposition. In today's Senate, that's enough to block a nominee.

Senator Richard Shelby has released his hold on all but three Obama nominees as he continues to argue for federal money to be spent in his home state – the kind of spend he’d described as pork for other states.   Leahy said that the overuse of filibusters by the GOP was leading Democrats to consider ways to modify it and he recently conferred with former Sen. Walter Mondale about filibuster reform. Mondale led the charge that last changed the rule in the 1970s. "He said it was just inconceivable to anybody at that time" that it would be abused as it is now, Leahy said. "The reason the filibuster rule has been supported all these years is people have used it responsibly...this is unprecedented."  

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), another long-serving member, said that abuse of the filibuster is unsustainable. "I think it will either fall of its own weight -- it should fall of its own weight -- or it will fall after some massive conflict on the floor, which has happened in the past where there have been rulings from the chair that have led to reform," Levin told the Huffington Post, adding that the filibuster should be restricted to major issues.

Bush had this right. In his first year in office, he was using recess appointments and running major legislation through the reconciliation process. That normalized those moves for the rest of his administration. Using those tools wasn't a story. The Obama White House, by contrast, is holding those moves in reserve, which has allowed Republicans to paint them as extraordinary measures. But they're not extraordinary measures. They're basic elements of governance in an era of polarization and procedural obstructionism, and the White House should treat them that way.

Vice President Joe Biden will be sitting in that chair in January when the Senate next has a chance to modify its rules, and is studying the issue of the filibuster.

Rachel Maddow uses the stimulus bill as an example of Republicans opposing and criticizing a policy designed and proven to help Americans only to praise and take credit for its effects at home, demonstrating that Republicans are not interested in productive policy but only in sabotaging President Obama’s agenda.


CNN Report - http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2010/02/21/rs.media.calling.gop.cnn


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