Kyrsten Sinema

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June 2013

Sinema Touts Bipartisanship: Is It Really a Good Strategy for Democrats? (video)

By |2013-06-17T17:57:00-07:00June 17th, 2013|AZ Congressional Delegation|

United-solutions-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Bipartisanship is a popular buzz word in some political circles. Republicans use the call for “bipartisan solutions” to strong-arm Democrats into voting for bad ideas (like increased militarization and drone surveillance on the border in exchange for a long and complicated path to citizenship).

Democrats tout the quest for bipartisanship as code for “I’m a Democrat who votes with Republicans when it’s politically expedient.”

When the vast majority of American voters want higher taxes on the 1%, universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, good jobs, relief from crushing student and credit card debt, safe roads and bridges, regulatory controls on Wall Street, safe guards on Social Security, legalization of marijuana, and the right to vote, Congress devolves into inaction and gamesmanship.

When real action is needed, but no action is taken, the “bipartisan solutions” rallying cry is revealed as a sham. The threatened filibuster that stopped the universal background check bill is the quintessential example of something that 90% of Americans wanted, but 40 men stopped.

Is bipartisanship a good strategy or just a trap to get Democrats to “punt on the first down”? More details and the video after the jump.

Misplaced Congressional Priorities: Pork for the Pentagon but Not for Children

By |2013-06-12T06:51:40-07:00June 12th, 2013|AZ Congressional Delegation, Civil & Human Rights|

Pentagon-moneyby Pamela Powers Hannley

During the Bush II Era, excessive deficit spending was no big deal for Republicans. Congressional Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsay Graham, and even current “budget hawk” Paul Ryan “spent money like drunken sailors”– particularly when the spending benefited the 1% (remember the tax cuts we couldn’t afford?) or corporations (two wars, Medicare Advantage, off-shoring jobs, more tax cuts, privatization, etc.)

But as soon as a Democratic President occupied the White House, the siren song became: We must tighten our belts and live within our means! Cut government jobs…er… spending! Cut Social Security… er… “entitlements”! 

This austerity screed intensified after the Democratic “shellacking” in 2010 when Teapublicans took control of the House of Representatives and the budget, and Senate Teapublicans began playing games with people’s lives by filibustering everything. (No wonder Congress has a 16% approval rating.)

For the past few months, Congress has been weighing the pros and cons of budget cuts and pork barrel projects. Food stamps and schools lunches are on the chopping block, while the Congress considers passing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, which authorizes $640 billion more in defense spending than the Pentagon asked for. (This action was passed by the House Armed Services committee last week; the full vote in the House of Representatives is scheduled for today– Wednesday, June 12.) More details about Pentegon pork after the jump.

October 2012

Boehner and the big money machine come to AZ for McSally, Paton, & Parker

By |2014-03-29T09:28:42-07:00October 23rd, 2012|AZ Congressional Delegation|

by Pamela Powers Hannley

In case your invitation got lost in the mail, here's a reminder to dust off your "business attire", break out a few thousand greenbacks, and hit the road for a Paradise Valley VIP fundraiser.

Arizona's elite Congressional team will be joined by Speaker of the House John Boehner to raise big bucks for Republican candidates Martha McSally (CD2), Jonathan Paton (CD1), and Vernon Parker (CD9), who are running against Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Kyrsten Sinema, respectively.

I guess the Republicans have really given up on Gabriela Saucedo Mercer (Congressman Raul Grijalva's Teapublican challenger), since she is not listed on the invitation. It is odd that Senate hopeful Jeff Flake-- who is running against Dr. Richard Carmona-- is not listed as a beneficiary. (I guess he's getting plenty of help from the Koch Brothers and their ALEC pals.)

See the rest of the invite after the jump.

August 2012

April 2012

Where are all the women at? We’re at war.

By |2012-04-06T04:30:00-07:00April 6th, 2012|Civil & Human Rights|

Burkaby Pamela Powers Hannley

No longer just a punchline from Blazing Saddles-- "Where are all the women at?" became a rallying cry for feminists across the country when a male-dominated Congressional committee refused to allow women to testify about insurance coverage for birth control.

Two Congresswomen-- Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes (D-DC)--walked out of the committee hearings because no women were included in the list of wittnesses dominated by male religious leaders. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) made the now-infamous decision to block Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke from testifying and labeled her an "inappropriate" wittness.

That fateful day in February, the Republican Party's latest barrage in the War on Women unfolded.

What began as political grandstanding on contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act, snowballed into dozens of invasive, crackpot bills proposed by Republican Legislatures across the country. Requiring women to submit to (and pay for) vaginal ultrasound examinations prior to having an abortion, requiring women to watch an abortion before having one, giving employers the right to deny insurance coverage for contraception based upon any vague "moral" grounds, giving employers the right to question female employees about their contraception usage, defunding Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions... the list goes on.

Couple these bills with the Bible-thumping piety from all of the Republican Presidential candidates, most notably Rick Santorum, and you have a bare-knuckle fist fight over women's health, contraception, and choice.

Two months into this latest round in the War on Women, the Republican attack on the country's largest voting block has resulted in an 18-point lead by President Obama among women voters. Obama leads R2publican challenger Mitt Romney 2:1 with women under 50.

On the local level, Republican candidates for CD8 (former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' district) have all jumped on the anti-woman bandwagon--ironically, even Martha McSally. In a recent Arizona Public Media televised debate, candidates Frank Antenori, Jesse Kelly, Dave Sitton, and McSally all agreed that contraception should not be covered by insurance, that a fetus' life sacred (unlike the lives of people they would bomb), and that women don't have the right to choose. Senatorial candidate, right-to-lifer, and current Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake--a hardened Teapublican--voted for the Blunt Ammendment which would have vastly expanded conscience exemptions to birth control coverage.

As for the Democrats, Senatorial candidate and former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona has been the most outspoken critic of the Republcan's wrongheaded fight against women's health. In a commentary on the Huffington Post, Carmona wrote, "A recent push to block women from getting access to contraception shows the Arizona legislature is not operating from an evidence-based or reality-based point of view."

Congressman Raul Grijalva and Phoenix-area State Senator and Congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema also have made strong statements, attacking the Republicans' War on Women.

In my opinion, the political upshot of the War on Women will be a rebirth of the feminist movement. You can see it on facebook and Twitter; social media has fueled the outrage. Prime examples are the backlash against Rush Limbaugh for his slutty comments about Fluke (and resultant loss of advertisers) and the flood of bad publicity targeting the Komen Foundation when it tried to defund Planned Parenthood (and the resultant fundraising loss to Koman and boon to PP).

You can also see it in the nationwide Unite Against the War on Women movement, which is organizing women and protest marches across the country on April 28-- including a march in Phoenix. Although the Republicans wanted to frame the anti-abortion and anti-contraception debate as a fight for religious freedom, it is all too obvious a continuation of their long-standing War on Women. They can't put this genie back in the bottle.

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