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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Republican Pipe Dreams

In a news release late yesterday, LV Congressman Charlie Dent announces that he's voted for the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which extends current payroll tax relief, extends and reforms the federal unemployment insurance program, ensures Medicare beneficiaries continue to receive the level of care they deserve and helps create and preserve domestic manufacturing jobs and promote American energy security.

Sounds like a good thing, right? Sounds like something that should have bi-partisan support, right?


Before the vote, President Obama had already claimed he'd veto it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it wouldn't get that far, vowing he'd kill the bill himself in the Senate. “The bill passed by House Republicans tonight is a pointless partisan exercise," roared Reid, from the well of the Senate floor. "The bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. It was dead before it got to the Senate.”

It passed in the House, 234 to 193, largely along party lines.

The Bill does extend a "temporary" payroll tax cit, giving most of us an extra $20 a week. It does block a reduction in Medicare doctor reimbursements for another two years. It extends unemployment benefits, although it requires drug testing and GED programs for unemployment beneficiaries who never graduated from high school. It even blocks a scheduled pay raise for ... gasp! ... Congress.

So what the hell happened? The Keystone XL pipeline. That's a plan to draw oil from Canada all the way to the Gulf Coast, and it was inserted into the Bill. Unions want it because it will create 20-25,000 jobs from the get go. It would also reduce dependence on the Middle East. But environmentalists hate it for a myriad of reasons. Obama is undecided, is waiting for environmental studies, and resents having it shoved down his throat.

“While our nation fights to overcome the prolonged economic downtown, this bill advances numerous policies that are critical to the American people and domestic job creators,” explains Dent. “By passing H.R. 3630, the House has taken the first step to prevent a tax increase on hard-working Americans by extending temporary payroll tax relief for an additional year. The bill also extends the federal unemployment insurance program while implementing common-sense reforms that will help more Americans get back to work, and ensures countless seniors maintain access to their current doctors by preventing a 27.4% cut to physicians’ Medicare reimbursement rates next year.”

“Furthermore, H.R 3630 addresses excessive federal regulations that stifle job growth in numerous sectors of our economy and extends 100 percent business expensing through 2012 to allow job creators to invest in their growth,” continues Dent. “Finally, H.R. 3630 establishes a process for the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Not only will the construction of this crucial infrastructure create thousands of jobs for American workers, it will also provide the energy resources needed to fuel our economic recovery.”


Anonymous said...

Why hold the middle class hostage by attaching tax cuts to a pipeline... The middle class deserves a yes or no vote without an unrelated issue keeping the poor begging and the rich getting more shoved in their pocket. Do the right thing Charlie and tell your friends to pass relief for the middle class with no games.

Anonymous said...

Could you please use the current estimate of jobs created. It is down to 'MAYBE" 5000
Also a kitchy name isn't gonna make the lipstick on the pig look any better. If the GOP was interested in the payroll/unemployment extension why did they attach a totally unrelated item to it?
Oh the answer is the energy lobby.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Charlie,
we ain't that stoopid

Anonymous said...

Remember, Obama was for this project before he was against it. In the meantime potentials jobs are lost (does it matter how many to those who will lose them) and a secure source of energy that could be put on line in a time of ever increasing international tension is on hold. The president scratched the deal for pure politics. Now we should be outraged that the Republicans have played the game one better? This is why the public hates government. They are right.

Scott Armstrong

Jon Geeting said...

James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the top climate scientists in the country, called the Keystone XL "game over for the planet" This is not anything we want to be screwing around with. This was also not the only poison pill Republicans stuffed into this thing. They knew it wasn't going to pass, but they wanted to be able to say they voted for a payroll tax cut extension before voting down the real one. They are trying to push us back into recession before the 2012 election. That is why Dent doesn't want to extend unemployment insurance benefits either.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Obama for sending this piece of trash to the circular file. Payroll tax cut in exchange for increased taxes on the rich is the only bargain worth considering. A pipeline and drug testing unemployment recipients? You go for this absurdist nonsense, BO?

Tom Foolery said...

OMG Bernie! Does this actually mean that you disagree with Charlie Dent and his frat brothers in the Republican House?? I'm impressed..Honestly, it doesnt matter what crazy thing they do..If you haven't noticed they have taken easton and other parts of the Lehigh vally our of the congressional District..This way they strengthen their Congressional seats so no matter how often they vote against the nation's interests, they will be elected..Ahh, it's so great that we support democracy throughout the world, risking our soliers life and limb, while we absolutely destroy Democracy here..Amazing!

Tom Foolery said...

Oh God, please help me learn to type, lol...

gruntled said...

Oh, dear me. Such indignation and outrage from the liberals!
Grow up, kiddies. This is how Washington plays the game, no matter what party controls which house.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jon, I question why Rs would enact a measure they had to know would fail in the Senate and the President. But I am by no means persuaded that Keystone XL is a bad thing, and would would prefer to wait for the actual environmental studies being conducted at this time. And, to be honest, I do understand the desire to get something going. Welspun has just laid off 200 people, mostly bc that pipeline project has been held up.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom Foolery,

I do not condemn or endorse Keystone XL. But I do think it is foolish to attach a controversial idea like that to bill that would otherwise be noncontroversial and have broad bipartisan support.

I believe government is compromise, and although I understand the desire to put people to work, I do not think Rs are helping themselves when they insert provisions in a bill that they know are doomed from the get go.

To me, it would make more sense to urge a rapid completion of environmental studies that Obama states will not be complete until after next year's election. That sounds just a tad too political to me.

As I've noted in a precious comment, this delay is costing jobs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:33, I go for some of it, but would have voted No. I do not see a need to do drug testing on someone just bc he or she is collecting unemployment. To me, that is insulting. I do see a need for a GED for an unemployed person who never completed high school. The bill does draw revenue from more wealthy Americans, so I am not sure what you are talking about there.

Chris Miller said...

I do hope that all of you supporting the extended payroll tax know that it will take money away from Social Secrity because the payroll tax is the tax that supports that program. Keep in mind that Obama has already promised seniors a 3.5% COLA this year so he can gain their vote. Here is a porject, a pipeline, that promises 20K jobs for the union but the idiotic greenies are Obama's buddies on this one. Where are the loud mouthed union thugs on this one. Canada is already looking to sell it to China.
As to those supporting extended unemployment benefits, stop hanging on the public teat. You are now part of the problem in that sitting your butt at home for 99 weeks really delays the recovery. That goes for you part timers who are playing the game by working part time and still sucking up your benefits.

Anonymous said...

Wow. ^ That dude is totally out of touch with reality.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, a "top climate" change "scientist" is insisting that this pipeline is game over for the planet based on what exactly? His skewed and manufactured global warming data? Or the fact that he just doesn't want people to have jobs and disagrees with the plan therefore he is willing to say anything to sway public opinion.

Gimme a break...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed. I would rather wait to see the studies.

c said...

Regarding the Keystone pipeline....I understand the desire to maintain our current system of things. I am fearful of damage to an aquifer that supplies 20 million people with clean water however. It also bothers me to see that to get to the Canadian tar sands we must decimate one of the last remaining boreal forests on the planet to utilize a resource that is very costly to recover. It almost equates to ethanol production in terms of effiency.

Please allow me to step outside of the box. I almost hate to go here for fear that some will think that I'm out of my gourd. Providing the petroleum industry does not suppress the technology, there is an Italian scientist named Andrea Rossi who may have developed and perfected the process of cold fusion....yes sure we heard undertones in 1989...but from what I have read this may be the real deal. Small scale commercial production has been scheduled for next year from what I have read. Game changer. We need to hope that it is true. It is however difficult to imagine how any technology could succeed that bucks the energy industry and their two hundred trillion dollar piggy bank that lies beneath us. Furthermore how could we expect a petroleum based economy to support, promote and further develop this? For the sake of my children and their children however I will learn what I can and will believe that it is possible. Sure it seems far fetched...but what if I'm right? Thanks for bearing with my digression.

Anybody ever heard the name John Gault?

Anonymous said...

Dear 10:10,
You are correct. he is really out of touch with reality..

Dear Gruntled,

You are correct..Both parties gerrymander. The Dems just suck at it.. but it tears the fabric out of our Democracy..However, that doesn't seem to concern you..Why do you think there is such gridlock in Washington? You got it..Gerrymandering districts means you have mostly far right and far left reps who don't give a crap about the nation's issues, only their districts..So basically it's screw the country..Doesn't matter if 80% of the people agree that the top 1% should pay more in taxes because the 1% are protected by all those Republicans in gerrymandered districts..By the way, Chris has no idea what he talking about in regard to Social Security..Any monies lost are replaced by general fund money so, no, it isn't costing Social Security anything..Stop watching the no real news channel and pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Chris condemns sucking on the Government teat...ha ha

He forgot to add teachers shouldn't get pensions.

And some quote from a founding father.
Who BTW would have hung him for treason if he lived back in the good old days.

Did you bother to research the newest estimate for job creation associated with that project or are we simply going to run with Boehner and Cantors talking point memo?

Straight up vote on extending the tax cut .....cowards.

gruntled said...

To Anon 1:16
Gerrymandereing is the root of all our problems? It's an issue, but not the biggest one.
You are meandering all over the place. Have you ever won an argument?

Anonymous said...

why no story on the gerrymandered 15th? Is it because it is impossible to defend and will set back 40 years of regional efforts. This is shameful and not small "d" democratic. Regardlesss of your political party this is bad for the region and economic development. Every regional organization in the valley, and there are many (LVEDC,Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, LVIA or ABE Airport, RenewLV, LV planning Commission and the Lehigh Valley Partnership just to name a few) needs to condemn this in the strongest terms. Including Charlie Dent who was predictably "unavailable for comment". Talk about duck and cover. Oddly he was avaiable yesterday to explain why the middle class did not deserve a simple up or down vote on tax relief. You can not give him a pass and then regurgitate his press releases. Dont be a toad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um, in case you haven't noticed, I've been pretty busy with that taser story, attended a meeting, and just got back a few minutes ago.