Category Archives: Immigration

(Update) A budget deal, but can it pass? Demand a DACA vote in the House

In an eleventh hour deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to fund the government and set spending levels for defense and nondefense programs over the next two years. Senate leaders agree to two-year budget deal:

The legislation would avert a government shutdown on Friday, when federal funding is due to expire, and boost defense and nondefense programs.

It also lifts the debt ceiling to March 2019 [which was to have been the next manufactured crisis for GOP hostage taking in a few weeks.]

The deal is backed by McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and will almost certainly be cleared as part of a stopgap funding measure by the Senate before a Feb. 8 deadline to prevent a shutdown.

It is not entirely sure the package will win enough support to pass the House, however.

As anticipated, GOP fiscal hawks revolt against Senate budget deal:

House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility.

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The swift backlash from fiscal hawks means that Ryan and his leadership team will need dozens of Democratic votes to help get the caps-and-funding deal through the lower chamber to avert a government shutdown set for midnight Friday.

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Brinksmanship in Congress with only one day to a government shutdown

So the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” went ahead with his kabuki theater plan to pass his fifth temporary spending bill (CR) that everyone knows was DOA in the Senate. He no doubt wants credit for his farce. House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money:

House Republicans passed a spending package on Tuesday night that pairs a full year of defense funding with a temporary patch for the rest of the government, even as Senate leaders pursue a different plan to avoid a shutdown when funding runs dry on Thursday.

The continuing resolution (CR), which passed the House 245-182, would fund the Defense Department for the rest of fiscal 2018 and keep the rest of the government’s lights on until March 23. It also includes two years of funding for community health centers and extends several expiring health care programs.

But the defense-CR package is unlikely to fly in the Senate, meaning senators will need to rewrite the stopgap measure and “ping-pong” it back to the House.

Spending bills are supposed to originate in the House, but since that clown show is held hostage by the House GOP Freedom Caucus who are not serious about governing responsibly, the serious work of keeping the government functioning is being done in the Senate. Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp:

Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget deal that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.

As negotiations for the long-term deal continued, the House passed a short-term measure that would fund the government past a midnight Thursday deadline and avert a second partial shutdown in less than a month.

The House bill, which passed 245 to 182, would fund most agencies through March 23 but is a nonstarter in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.

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(Update) More government shutdown theatrics this week?

These people are just not serious about governing responsibly. For them, everything is about producing propaganda grist for the mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing noise machine.

Back in 2011 when the Tea-Publicans were holding the government hostage over a manufactured federal debt ceiling “fiscal cliff crisis” — something the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires Congress to increase to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debts — the sequestration spending caps idea was born to resolve this manufactured “crisis.”

Spending cuts would apply to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021 and be in an amount equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. These spending caps would equally affect security and non-security programs. The automatic sequester provisions would go into effect in 2013 if Congress failed to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.

At the time, everyone said Congress would never agree to the automatic sequestration caps, and yet, it became law, the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress, of course, failed to do its job and we have been living under the automatic sequestration spending caps since 2013.

There have been repeated attempts to remove the sequestration spending caps on defense spending (while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending). Congress has agreed to several waivers of the spending caps over the years.

This long-running Kabuki theater is now central to the budget dispute in Congress to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on February 8.

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, the “zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” is siding with defense hawks and the radicals of the House GOP Freedom Caucus to bust the sequestration spending caps on defense spending while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending — a move Democrats oppose.

The point of this evil GOP bastard plan is to either roll weak-kneed Senate Democrats or to force them to vote against the House GOP spending plan and to shut down the government, so Tea-Publicans can beat their breasts and claim Democrats do not support our military and national defense. Or as President Trump trotted out yesterday, to assert they are “un-American” and to accuse them of “treason.”
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No deal on DACA or immigration is possible

Last week, President Trump proposed a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, but holds them hostage to his ransom demand that Democrats support $25 billion for border security, including his proposed border wall, and strict new limits on legal immigration. Trump’s immigration plan draws harsh reviews from left and right, and some conservatives label him ‘Amnesty Don’:

The 1.8-million figure would go well beyond the nearly 700,000 immigrants currently covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, expanding the protections primarily to cover people who were eligible for DACA but did not apply.

The White House designed that element of the plan in hopes that it would provide a strong enticement for Democrats, who offered little sign of support on Thursday.

But the plan quickly generated opposition from some Republican conservatives.

“Amnesty comes in many forms, but it seems they all eventually grow in size and scope. Any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening Pandora’s box,” said Michael A. Needham, the head of Heritage Action for America, an influential conservative group. “That should be a nonstarter.”

And even before details of the plan emerged, blowback was building among parts of Trump’s base.

“Immigration Shock: Amnesty Don Suggests Citizenship for Illegal Aliens,” read a headline on Breitbart News, the conservative, nationalist website once run by Trump’s former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

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More government shutdown theatrics this week?

After a weekend government shutdown a few weeks ago, Congress once again kicked the can down the road with a continuing resolution (CR) spending bill to keep the government open until February 8.

So have they made any progrrss since then? What do you think.

The Hill reports, This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown:

Time is running short for Congress to avoid another shutdown once funding runs out after Thursday.

The vote comes roughly three weeks after the government closed for three days amid a fight over the fate of an Obama-era immigration program.

But GOP leadership appears confident Democrats won’t risk another shutdown, after they folded last month on their demand to link immigration policy to a must-pass bill.

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House Democrats are scheduled to depart for Cambridge, Md., for their retreat on Wednesday, which may help ease the skids for passing another temporary stopgap measure to keep the government open in time.

A vote in the House is expected on Tuesday, per a Republican aide.

Two sources familiar with the situation told The Hill that the continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government through March 23, though the decision hasn’t been finalized.

Asked about a six-week CR, an aide for the Senate Appropriations Committee said they are “on board, with a primary interest in accepting any date that makes the most sense in context of getting a deal and final resolution of the [fiscal year] 2018 appropriations.”

Lawmakers are hoping a longer CR will allow them to clinch a budget deal, which has been hamstrung by the immigration fight and demands of equal increases in defense and nondefense spending, as well as write a longer “omnibus” bill that could take weeks.

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Billy Kovacs Outlines 5-Point Plan to Grow Arizona’s Economy

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic candidate Billy Kovacs outlined a detailed plan for how he would grow Arizona’s economy as Tucson’s Congressman.

“We can grow our economy without giving massive tax breaks for corporations,” he said at a recent meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson.

Among the five serious candidates, Kovacs is the only one emphasizing the economy in Congressional District 2. As Bill Clinton pointed out in 1992, winning elections is about “the economy, stupid!”

In a nutshell, his plan focuses on:

  • Education – creating an educated workforce.
  • Renewable resources – solar energy and energy storage.
  • Public transportation – expanding the Tucson streetcar in all directions and preserving Amtrak in Arizona.
  • Infrastructure – creating millions of jobs with a $1 trillion investment over 10 years.
  • Immigration – creating a path to citizenship for 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants.

“We need to attract companies and workers to Arizona, and I’m talking about smaller companies that want to live in Arizona because of our natural resources and trained personnel from the university — and not for tax breaks,” he said.

Education

According to Kovacs, the US Department of Education is gutting public education with budget cuts to after-school programs, teacher training, Pell Grants, literacy programs and even school lunches. He calls for:
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