Champions of the Rich, Enemies of the Poor and Middle Class
In this week's episode of fuck the poor, the mostly Republican House salvaged the $50 billion spending cut by a vote of 217 to 215 by not drastically cutting the programs for the poor, college students and farmers as much as they wanted to a week earlier. The Senate was a bit kinder to the poor avoiding direct cuts to the beneficiaries of antipoverty programs but allowing arctic drilling which the congress cut from it's spending cut bill. (WaPo)
In the meantime, big oil will continue to reap tremendous profits.
Democratic Senators which proposed a bill to make oil price gouging a federal crime and outlawing market manipulation by major oil companies was defeated by 3 votes. (link)
Earlier yesterday, the Senate rejected, 64-35, a proposal by Democratic Senators Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd to impose a 50 percent excise tax on oil companies' profits when oil exceeds $40 a barrel, unless profit is reinvested in exploration activities or developing new refineries. An amendment by California Democrat Diane Feinstein and New Hampshire Republican John Sununu to eliminate some tax breaks for large energy companies also was defeated, 51-48. (Bloomberg)
The Senate this week also voted against a way to fix Bush's Folly in Iraq. How dare senators require a timely end to the war. (USA Today)
Today the Senate will debate privacy protections regarding the Patriot Act. Yes, your privacy is still being debated you scaredy cats who willingly gave up your rights after 9/11. (link)
In an effort to keep the rich as wealthy as possible, a Democratic amendment which sought to pay for $60 billion in tax cuts by closing tax loopholes failed in the Senate on Thursday.
The U.S. Senate approved a $60 billion tax-cut measure that spares about 14 million [wealthy] Americans from paying higher rates under the alternative minimum tax. (link) Lawmakers defied a demand by the White House to delete a $4.3 billion tax increase on oil companies in the measure, which passed on a vote of 64-33 shortly after midnight last night. (link)
The tax-cut package would more than wipe out the $35 million in spending cuts the Senate approved earlier this month.
Today's Newsday editorial: "Even for a body composed of professional politicians, the Senate has had quite a week. First it offhandedly punched a hole in the Constitution, and then it sought public accolades for patching up part of the damage it had just caused." Indeed. (read the rest)