Category Archives: Congress

Senator Warren says give students same break as banks

Unless Congress acts by July 1, 2013 student loan rates will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. Meanwhile banks borrow money from the US Government at only .75%.  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has filed a bill to give students the same loan rate as banks for a year.  Why should taxpayers be supporting banks – a private interest over a public interest – helping students to complete college.

In a Huffington Post article entitled Elizabeth Warren: Student Loans Should Have Same Rate Big Banks Get and in an article by Joan McCarter on Daily Kos entitled Elizabeth Warren: Students should get the same loan rate as big banks  a video is included of Warren’s statement before the US Senate:

“Some people say that we can’t afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low,” said Senator Warren. “But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right. And that is why I’m introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks.”

“Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed,” Senator Warren continued. “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let’s Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don’t have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right.” 

Daily Kos, joined by the Center for American Progress  goes a step beyond just reporting the story and posting the video by including a link to urge people help push this legislation by urging their Senators to co-sponsor this legislation.  Click on this link to tell the Senate to give students the same low interest rates the big banks get

Please help build support for this bill by joining in this effort.



Background Checks for Guns Supported by 91% of Americans

As Rachael Maddow notes, more Americans support background checks for people buying guns at gun shows than support capitalism, Italian food, or taking a vacation. What don’t Republicans in Congress and in our state legislature not understand? Talk about being out of touch.

The Washington Post ABC poll was conducted March 7 – 10th. As Bloomberg News reports:

More than nine in 10 Americans favor mandatory background checks for purchases at gun shows,  according to a poll out today.

The ABC News/Washington Post survey showed 91 percent supporting such checks, with 8 percent opposing them. Making illegal gun sales a federal crime was backed by 82 percent, with 15 percent in opposition.

President Barack Obama’s call to ban military-style assault weapons is supported by 57 percent and opposed by 41 percent.

A second poll done by the Quinnipiac University from Feb 28 to March 4th found similar results:

By an 88 – 10 percent margin, including 85 – 13 percent among voters in households with guns, American voters support background checks for all gun buyers. Voters also support 54 – 41 percent a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons and back 54 – 42 percent a nationwide ban on the sale of ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to move forward on background check legislation. The Committee vote was 10 to 8 with all 8 Republicans voting no.  Republicans are not listening to voters but to the NRA and gun lobby money. In the Quinnipiac Unviersity poll 83 % of Republicans polled supported universal background checks. Republicans continue to be out of tune with the public’s strong support for Congress to act to control gun violence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has also by a 10 to 8 party line vote approved the ban on assault weapons proposed by President Obama and to limit ammunition clips to a maximum of 10 bullets.

Members of the Judiciary Committee:

Democrats Voting YES

Patrick Leahy – VT

Diande Feinstein – CA

Chuck Schumer – NY

Dick Durbin – IL

Stephen Whitehorse – RI

Amy Klochbar – MN

Al Franken – MN

Christopher Coons – DE

Richard Blumenthal – CT

Mazie Hirono – HI

Republicans Voting NO

Chuch Grassley – IA

Orin Hatch – UT

Jeff Sessions – AL

Lindsey Graham – SC

John Cronyn – TX

Michael Lee – UT

Ted Cruz – TX

Jeff Flake – AZ



Why Democrats are not in the Majority in the US House of Representatives

Why is the US House of Representatives controlled by Republicans in 2013 when Democrats won the Presidency and picked up seats in the US Senate?  The answer is not that Republicans outvoted the Democrats when it came to voting for Congress. In fact its the opposite.  Sam Wang in a New York Times opinion piece entitled “The Great Gerrymander of 2012“, points out that:

  ” Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II.”

The fact of the matter is that Republicans had an organized strategy and carried it out to gain control of the redistricting process in a number of key state in the 2010 elections. Controlling redistricting controlled the process of setting new boundaries for Congressional races after the 2010 Census was completed.  As Sam Wang notes:

“Through artful drawing of district boundaries, it is possible to put large groups of voters on the losing side of every election. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based political group dedicated to electing state officeholders, recently issued a progress report on Redmap, its multiyear plan to influence redistricting. The $30 million strategy consists of two steps for tilting the playing field: take over state legislatures before the decennial Census, then redraw state and Congressional districts to lock in partisan advantages. The plan was highly successful. …

Gerrymandering is not hard. The core technique is to jam voters likely to favor your opponents into a few throwaway districts where the other side will win lopsided victories, a strategy known as “packing.” Arrange other boundaries to win close victories, “cracking” opposition groups into many districts. Professionals use proprietary software to draw districts, but free software like Dave’s Redistricting App lets you do it from your couch. “

The states with the largest imbalance of voting for Republicans and Democrats for Congress and Republican versus Democratic votes cast statewide were  – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and  Florida which had a severe imbalance in favor of Republicans. Arizona had a severe imbalance in favor of Democrats.   Texas and  Illinois had a moderate imbalance toward Democrats while Indiana had a moderate imbalance toward Republicans.

The net result of these imbalances heavily favored Republicans because of the gerrymandering that occurred. Republicans in these states had a 7% greater vote than the Democrats.  But in terms of electing members to the House of Representatives this 7% advantage  was dwarfed by their electing 76% more Republicans than Democrats. These 10 states elected 109 Republican Congressman to the House but only 62 Democrats.

As Wang notes:

In the seven states where Republicans redrew the districts, 16.7 million votes were cast for Republicans and 16.4 million votes were cast for Democrats. This elected 73 Republicans and 34 Democrats. Given the average percentage of the vote it takes to elect representatives elsewhere in the country, that combination would normally require only 14.7 million Democratic votes. Or put another way, 1.7 million votes (16.4 minus 14.7) were effectively packed into Democratic districts and wasted.

The National Conference of State Legislatures lists states with Redistricting Commissions as of 2009. The composition of a Redistricting Commission is important.  While Ohio has a Redistricting Commission, it was comprised of a Board consisting  “of the governor, auditor, secretary of state, and two people selected by the legislative leaders of each major political party”.  Republicans had 4 of the 5 seats, having elected a Republican Governor, Auditor and Secretary of State in 2010.  With this Republican partisan redistricting, Ohio’s  Republican Congressional Dominance continued.  In 2010 Republicans had 13 seats to the Democrats having 5.  In 2012, having lost 2 seats due to population changes nationwide, the Republicans however continued their dominance  with 12 seats to the Democrats having 4. This was despite Obama winning Ohio by 2,827,621 votes to Romney’s 2,661,407 votes and electing  a Democratic US Senator,  Sherrod Brown, by a vote of 2,762,690 to 2,435,712 over his Republican opponent.

Sam Wang suggests that such voting disparities between total statewide Democratic to Republican votes and the differing outcome of Congressional races should be addressed by setting up nonpartisan Redistricting Commissions not subject to  blatant partisan makeup like in Ohio or subject to which party controls the process in the Legislature because they are the majority party.  This would certainly more accurately reflect the national and state political makeup and not give disproportionate representation to one party over the other based on election results in other races that can be gamed.    He also said there needs to be stronger judicial review of gerrymandering to ensure a fairer voting outcome.

Washington State voters in 1983 approved Amendment 74 to set up an independent Redistricting Commission. It set up a Commission of 5 members, 1 each selected by the  Washington State House and Senate majority and minority leaders  in the Legislature  and the 5th member selected by the 4 appointed members.The measure was put on the ballot by the Washington State Legislature as a proposed amendment to the Washington State Constitution and passed  with a 61% yes vote. The Washington State League of Women Voters was one of the primary forces behind the measure. Washington State was the third state in the country to enact an independent Redistricting Commission.

Washington state in 2012 picked up an additional Congressional seat and elected 6 Democrats and 4 Republicans to the US House of Representatives.  President Obama received 56.16% of the vote in Washington State. Senator Maria Cantwell (D) won with 60.45% of the vote.  The 10 Democratic candidates for the US House of Representatives received 54.43% of the vote. (1,636,726 votes out of 3,007,096 votes). So Washington State having elected 6 Democrats to the US House out of 10 seats is pretty close to the statewide Democratic voting average. (Voting numbers are from results posted on the Washington State Secretary of state’s website).

Washington State’s 2013 Minimum Wage Remains Highest in Nation

On Jan. 1, 2013 Washington State’s minimum wage increased by 15 cents to $9.19 per hour.  Washington State’s minimum wage is the highest in the country. Nine other states minimum wages were also increased on Jan 1, 2013.  As noted in the Huffington Post:

Nearly a million low-wage workers will see their earnings rise because of the increases, most of which come courtesy of state cost-of-living adjustments that account for inflation. Washington State will once again have the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $9.19 per hour, after a raise of 15 cents for the new year. The other states raising their wage floors are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The federal minimum wage remains $7.25 per hour, with no cost-of-living adjustment, and prevails in 31 states that do not mandate a higher state minimum wage. The last raise to the federal minimum came in 2009, after a series of increases signed into law by President George W. Bush.    

The increase in the state minimum wages are as follows:

Washington State – increased 15 cents to $9.19/hr

Arizona – increased 15 cents to $7.80/hr

Colorado – increased 14 cents to $7.78/hr

Florida – increased 2 cents to $7.69/hr

Missouri – increased 10 cents to $7.35/hr

Montana – increased 15 cents to $7.80/hr

Ohio – increased 15 cents to $7.85/hr

Oregon – increased 15 cents to $8.95/hr

Rhode Island – increased 30 cents to $7.75/hr

Vermont – increased 14 cents to $8.60/hr

Except for Rhode Island’s minimum wage increase approved by their Legislature last year, the rest of the increases were the result of   state laws indexed to inflation and the consumer price index. Nevada, which also adjusts their minimum wage based on inflation, makes their changes on July 1st and is not included in the current list above.

Washington state was the first state to index their minimum wage to inflation when they passed Initiative 688 in 1998. Oregon followed with an initiative in 2002 and  Florida in 2004. In 2006 there was a big push nationally to index the minimum wage to inflation, with voters in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Ohio passing minimum wage initiatives.

The US Department of Labor  has a color coded map which breaks out state’s minimum wages by categories. Amazingly five states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina – have no state minimum wage laws.  Four states – Georgia, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Wyoming – have a state minimum wage lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  Twenty states have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and the rest of the states set their minimum wage at the Federal level.

Legislation has been before Congress to try to index the federal minimum wage to inflation, the same as Washington State does, but Republicans in Congress have prevented action on moving the legislation. Congress has a dismal record on dealing with increasing the Federal minimum wage.  As the Labor Law Center   notes,  Congress increased the minimum wage to $5.15 in 1997.  It took another 10 years to increase it to $5.85 in June of 2007, then $6.55 in June of 2008 and $7.25 in June of 2009. It has not increased since then.

As noted in the Huffington Post article:

Last year, Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced legislation known as the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would have raised the federal minimum wage to $9.80 per hour after three years and indexed it to inflation. Those bills failed and are expected to be reintroduced in the coming Congress, although the Republican-controlled House is unlikely to pass an increase to the minimum wage.

President Barack Obama, while campaigning in 2008, pledged to hike the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and index it by the end of 2011, “to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage,” as he said on his transition website. Obama ultimately failed on that pledge and hasn’t been vocal on the issue since his initial campaign. As EPI has noted, if the federal minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since its high in the late 1960’s, it would now be above $10 per hour.

Further action can be taken on the state level via both legislative efforts and initiative efforts.  For example, as Minnesota Public Radio reports,   the new legislative majority in Minnesota has prioritized raising their minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.

State Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, is sponsoring legislation to increase the minimum wage for large employers by $1.35 an hour to $7.50 an hour, and provide for automatic inflationary increases in the future. “Putting more money in the pockets of minimum wage earners is good for the whole economy,” Eaton said. “The money is going to be spent in local businesses, on job training courses and covering rent.”

The Initiative and Referendum Center lists 24 state’s that have the initiative process.  While it is more difficult in some states than others to get on the ballot, there are 15 additional states that could pass state minimum wage initiatives that are indexed to inflation. They are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. A couple of big states like California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan passing new state minimum wage initiatives indexed to inflation would give a big boost to efforts to enact such legislation in Congress.

Minimum wage legislation indexed to inflation is a progressive issue and could certainly boost turnout of Democratic voters in key states and help elect a more Democratic Congress keyed to helping average citizens rather than boosting corporate profits and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.  This is something to keep in mind regarding the 2014 and 2016 elections where members of the House and Senate are running.

Also as Henry Ford knew when he paid his workers higher wages than other industries, he was providing them with income to buy his cars. People working at or near minimum wages are barely getting by and are not going to put their money in a savings account.  They are going to spend it which keeps the money in circulation stimulating the economy. This helps everyone.

Republicans’ True Colors Emerge to Expose Their Relentless Agenda Against Women.

Sometimes the unexpected happens in campaigns to change everything and it happened this week in Missouri. Republican Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, running against Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, spoke out about his beliefs on rape and abortion and shocked even his own party by his outspokenness. The result threatens Republicans up and down the ticket.

As reported by CNN on Sunday, Rep Akin :

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy in an interview with KTVI. A clip of the interview was posted online by the liberal super PAC American Bridge.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

He added: “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

The Republican response was seemingly to denounce Akin’s comments. As the Washington Post reported on Monday:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the entire GOP national political apparatus launched a swift and relentless crusade against one of their own Monday, seeking to drive Rep. Todd Akin out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri after his controversial comments on rape and pregnancy threatened the party with widespread political harm.

But the reality of the situation is that Akin’scomments are mainstream Republican these days. And Romney’s running mate illustrates the hypocrisy. While asking Akin to leave the Senate race, the truth is that Ryan  is a Republican ally to Akin in  attempts to oppose all abortion. As noted in a New York Times editorial entitled “New Frontiers of Extremism”:

Mr. Ryan has said he doesn’t believe in a rape exception when outlawing abortion, and he worked with Mr. Akin in the House in trying to narrow the definition of rape so Medicaid would pay for fewer abortions of poor women. Mitt Romney says he supports a rape exception, but many of the politicians he has invited to speak at next week’s Republican convention disagree with him.

And the Republican Party as a whole supports this position and has for years, based on the Party platform. As noted on the Huffington Post:

Draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest, according to CNN.

One issue that seems left out of most of this current discussion is if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. While Romney is saying he does not support Akin,  an article in New York Times today again raises a question as to what he believes:

Mr. Romney’s views align with that of the Mormon Church, which opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest or when the life of the woman is in danger. He has said he is personally opposed to abortion; as a Mormon bishop in the 1980s he attempted to talk a congregant out of terminating a pregnancy after doctors advised her to do so because of a potentially lethal blood clot.

Romney has changed his views repeatedly on issues like abortion.  The real question is which Romney would show up as President. The above quote indicates that by trying to persuade a woman to not terminate a pregnancy he was seemingly not even consistent with his professed Mormon beliefs. What is one to believe regarding Romney and the Republicans these days. The best guide is perhaps to look at their history and as the same article notes:

… as a legislator, Mr. Akin has a record on abortion that is largely indistinguishable from those of most of his Republican House colleagues, who have viewed restricting abortion rights as one of their top priorities. …

It is an agenda that has enjoyed the support of House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the majority leader, who has called anti-abortion measures “obviously very important in terms of the priorities we set out initially in our pledge to America.”

If you believe that rape, incest or circumstances that threaten the life of a woman should be grounds for terminating a pregnancy, it would be a mistake to vote for putting Republicans in power. They are hell bent to restrict and end abortion for women no matter what the circumstances.

The same New York Times article also had the following which sums it up very well:

“All you need to know is that the House Republicans were willing to shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, in an e-mail on Tuesday. “This is in keeping with their efforts — whether it’s Congressman Akin or Chairman Ryan or others — to deny investments in critical women’s health services, weaken the definition of rape, and take away access to preventive care like cervical and breast cancer screenings.”

2012 Candidates Endorsed by the King County Democrats

The following is a list of candidates and ballot measures endorsed by the King County Democrats in Washington State for 2012. If you click on their name, it will take you to the candidate’s  website. Washington State has an all mail ballot election. The last day to mail ballots for the Primary is Tuesday August 7, 2012.  The last day to mail ballots for the General Election is November 6, 2012.


National Office

Barack Obama –  President

Maria Cantwell –  Senate

Laura Ruderman –  Congress –  WA CD #1

Jim McDermott –  Congress – WA CD #7

Karen Porterfield –  Congress – WA CD #8

Adam Smith –  Congress – WA CD #9


WA State Office Candidates:

Jay Inslee –  Governor

Bob Ferguson  –  Attorney General

Jim McIntire  –  Treasurer

Peter Goldmark –  Commissioner of Public Lands

Kathleen Drew –  Secretary of State

Greg Nickels –  Secretary of State

Mike Kreidler –   Insurance Commissioner

Craig Pridemore –   Auditor


WA State Legislative Candidates

Rosemary McAuliffe Senate LD 1

Derek Stanford –  House LD 1  Seat 1

Luis Moscoso –  House  LD 1 Seat 2

Mark Mullet –  Senate LD 5

David Spring  House LD 5 Seat 2

Zack Hudgins – House LD 11, Seat 1

Steve Berquist –  House LD 11, Seat 2

Bobby Virk –  House LD 11 Seat 2

Bob Hasegawa –  Senate LD 11

Roger Flygare –  House LD 30 Seat 1

Rick Hoffman –  House LD 30 Seat 2

Brian L Gunn –  House LD 31 Seat 2

Cindy Ryu –  House LD 32 Seat 1

Ruth Kagi –  House LD 32 Seat 2

Tina Orwall – House LD 33 Seat 1

Dave Upthegrove –  House LD 33 Seat 2

Joe Fitzgibbon –  House LD 34 Seat 2

Reuven Carlyle –  House LD 36 Seat 1

Sahar Fahti –  House LD 36 Seat 2

Noel Frame –  House LD 36 Seat 2

Gael Tarleton –  House LD 36 Seat 2

Sharon Tomiko Santos –  House LD 37 Seat 1

Eric Pettigrew –  House LD 37 Seat 2

Maureen Judge –  Senate LD 41

Jamie Pedersen –  House LD 43 Seat 1

Frank Chopp –  House LD 43 Seat 2

Roger Goodman –  House LD 45 Seat 1

Gerry Pollet –  House LD 46 Seat 1

Sarajane Siegfriedt –  House LD 46 Seat 2

David Frockt –  Senate LD 46

Bud Sizemore –  House LD 47 Seat 2

Ross Hunter –  House LD 48 Seat 1

Cyrus Habib –  House LD 48 Seat 2


Judicial Candidates – Washington State Supreme Court

Susan Owens –   Position 2

Steve Gonzalez –  Position 8

Bruce Hilyer –  Position 9

John Ladenburg –  Position 9

Sheryl McCloud –  Position 9

Judicial Candidates – King County Superior Court and Sheriff

Bill Bowman – Position 19

Scott Johnson – Position 20

Elizabeth J Berns – Position  25

Sean O’Donnell – ourt Position  29

Kim Allen –  Position  30

Ken Schubert – Position  40

Judy Ramseyer – Position  46

John Urquhart – King County Sheriff

Ballot Measures

King County Prop 1 – Children and Family Services Center Capital Levy – YES – on Primary Ballot

Seattle Prop  1 –  Regular Tax Levy Including Seattle Public Libraries –YES  – on Primary Ballot

Referendum 74 – Marraige Equality – APPROVE

Initiative 502 – License and Regulate Marijuana  – YES

Initiative 1240 Charter Schools – NO

Initiative 1185  Tim Eyman’s 2/3 vote for revenue – NO



Eric Cantor and Republican Revisionist History

Republicans are great at continually revising history to fit their myth making. A prime example is their constantly using Ronald Reagan as the Great Tax Cutter. What is left out is that Reagan also raised taxes a number of times.

Widely circulated right now is the video of the  60 Minutes interview this last weekend with House Republican and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. When Leslie Stahl asks him about Reagan also being a compromiser and having raised taxes, Cantor falters as his press secretary off screen yells that’s not true.

One wonders where Cantor’s press secretary got his education. And Cantor seems to feel no need to be more responsive or truthful.  It’s a prime example of right wing dogma trying to deny historical reality and rewrite history. 60 Minutes did the public a service by not editing out the press secretary’s comments but making them part of the story.

Here is the interview on Crooks and Liar’s entitled Eric Cantor’s Press Secretary Interrupts 60 Min to Claim Reagan Never Raised Taxes. It includes a a video clip of the exchange with Leslie Stahl, Eric Cantor and Cantor’s press secretary and a clip of Reagan noting the need to a reason he raised taxes.

Crooks and Liars in fact goes further than 60 Minutes

“As has been noted here at C&L, the Republican myth about Ronald Reagan being unwilling to raise taxes is just not true. Heaven forbid, Reagan raising taxes 11 times, not just several as the 60 Minutes report stated, might get in the way of their talking points about St. Ronnie.”

The Raw Story carried the story in a post entitledCantor refuses to admit Reagan raised taxes”   They note that:

After his huge tax cut in 1981 slashed all tax rates to 23 percent, sparking a   budget crisis, Reagan realized he’d also have to raise taxes in the years that followed. He raised taxes four times between 1982 to 1984, increasing the payroll tax, broadening the base of Social Security payees, applying the income tax to higher earners and rolling back corporate and individual tax breaks.

Reagan’s historic tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, whose rate went from 70 percent to 28 percent during his administration, ultimately forced the president to raise taxes on more people than any other U.S. president during a time of peace, according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

In total, Reagan raised taxes 12 times during his two terms in office.”

Republicans seem to have no limits these days to telling stories and making up history. It is important for the media to help sort out the myth making and revisionist history from the historical reality.  And voters need to realize that a lot of what is said by Republicans these days is just campaign talk and not true.


What Congressman Inslee Thinks about the Republican Plan to Privatize Medicare

Congressman Jay Inslee thinks the Republican plan to privatize Medicare is a bad idea. The Republican proposal by Republican Congressman Ryan would basically shift the burden of paying for Medicare from the nonprofit public sector onto seniors. The costs would increase dramatically over time to seniors as the voucher proposal is static and would not increase over time.

In addition as medical costs increase, seniors would be asked to pay these increased costs as well as salary increases for private health care administrators, financial returns to investors and shareholders and rising costs due to inflation.

As noted in a recent press release from the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“The Ryan plan does nothing to control private-sector waste in health care costs,” said David Rosnick, an author of the report. “As a result of the waste in the private system, beneficiaries will end up paying substantially more for Medicare, in effect paying a hefty new tax on their health care.”
The report, “Representative Ryan’s $30 Trillion Medicare Waste Tax, documents the potential effects of replacing Medicare with a system of vouchers or premium supports and raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 as suggested in the Ryan plan, which was passed by the House of Representatives with almost unanimous support from Republicans and no votes from Democrats. The authors note that each voucher under the plan will initially be worth $6,600, but would be frozen at this amount over the program’s 75-year planning window, paying less and less of a beneficiary’s health care costs over time.
In addition to comparing the costs of Medicare to the government under the current system and under the Ryan plan, the authors also show the effects of raising the age of Medicare eligibility. The paper also demonstrates that while Ryan shifts $4.9 trillion in health care costs from the government to Medicare beneficiaries, this number is dwarfed by a $34 trillion increase in overall costs to beneficiaries that is projected based on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis”.

The following is an email sent out by Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee stating how he feels about this Republican plan and urges you to sign a petition opposing this blatant effort to end Medicare as we know it and shift the costs unto seniors instead:


Lesson number one for any elected official worth their salt is that you can’t outrun the public record. But that’s exactly what many members of the GOP are trying to do. As public opposition to their Medicare privatization plan mounts, they’re doing everything they can to run away — despite overwhelmingly supporting it in the House as part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s extremist budget.Here’s the truth: Rep. Ryan’s budget plan ends Medicare as we know it. It forces seniors into the private insurance market where they’ll pay far more and get far less.The good news is our efforts to show how much people oppose their privatization scheme are having an effect. The privatizers are on the defensive, and if we can keep the pressure on, we stand a good chance of stopping this in the Senate when it comes to a vote next week.Join me and thousands of others who are already speaking out — urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Supporters of this plan have made a big show of claiming that it will bring costs down, but they’re not being honest. It doesn’t bring medical costs down — it just shifts them onto the backs of America’s seniors.No one is trying to hide from the fact that we need to seek out creative and comprehensive solutions to fix our long-term deficit. But trying to do that by telling Americans who’ve paid for Medicare throughout their careers that they’re on their own is unfair and wrong.We can win and protect Medicare, but to do it we need everyone who supports preserving this program to stand up and fight back. Can you help?Urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Thanks so much for your help.Very truly yours,Jay Inslee      

Tell the Senate: Oppose Medicare Privatization

Marko Liias Considers Run for Congress

I received the following e-mail earlier today.  Next year will be an exciting and busy year in Washington State for Democrats. It can well be an exercise in playing musical chairs for those looking at new opportunities to challenge themselves. Marko Liias is a welcome addition to those interested in playing the game and keeping politics interesting.
Marko 2012 Exploratory Committee
Dear Steve,
As a friend and supporter, I am writing to share some exciting news with you – and ask for your advice.
In the past few months, many people have asked me to consider running for Congress in the 1st District, in the event Congressman Inslee does not seek reelection. While there are many things left to sort through, I want to let you know I am seriously considering this possibility.
As someone that was born and raised in our community, it has been an honor and privilege to serve as a city councilman and now as state representative. I am proud of what we have accomplished together these last few years. With your help, I have stood up for our community, leading on critical issues like education, transportation and environmental protection.
But, as I have worked hard in our state capital, like you, I have been dismayed and disappointed with what I see happening in our nation’s capital. The best interests of the American people have been ignored as a Republican majority has pursued their ideological agenda with ruthlessness.
This Congress has attacked women’s fundamental right to make their own reproductive choices. The new majority would dismantle important environmental protections that keep our air and water clean. And, rather than fighting for Main Street businesses, this Congress wants to continue to give out tax breaks to Big Oil and billionaires like Donald Trump.
We need to send someone to Congress that will stand up for Washington families. Someone that can move beyond the tired old ideas of the past and help lead our country in a better direction. In short, we need to send a fresh, progressive voice to Congress.
While I won’t decide whether to formally enter the race until Congressman Inslee announces his own plans, I do think it’s important to start this conversation now. We have a unique opportunity to change the course of our country, and I am excited to hear your thoughts.
You can visit my Facebook site and share your comments there, or you can email me at
Thank you for all that you do.
All my best,

Debbie Wasserman Schultz new Chair of Democratic National Committee

President Obama has chosen a strong progressive Democrat to head up the Democratic National Committee. Obama today picked Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz to replace Tim Kaine of Virginia who resigned to run for the US Senate.

As Politico reports:

Wasserman Schultz, 44, was chosen for her strength as a fundraiser and as a television messenger and for her clout in the crucial swing state of Florida, the sources said….

Since she was first elected to Congress in 2004, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has emerged as one of the most outspoken leaders in the Democratic Party, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said in a statement.

“A strong voice for ordinary people who didn’t cause the recession but are too often asked to pay the price, Wasserman Schultz will be a great advocate for President Obama and for Democrats across the country who are fighting to grow the economy and create jobs for middle-class families.”

Vice President Joe Bidden in an e-mail to DNC members that was posted on Huffington Post noted that:

“Debbie has served the people of Florida – first in the Florida State Legislature, and more recently in Congress – for nearly two decades. During that time, she has fought for America’s children, seniors, and men and women in uniform.

In selecting Debbie to lead our party, President Obama noted her tenacity, her strength, her fighting spirit, and her ability to overcome adversity. President Obama expressed great admiration for her as a leader, and he was honored that she accepted this important challenge on behalf of the Democratic Party.

No one should have any doubt that Debbie will work hard to strengthen our party and our country. I hope you will welcome her as President Obama’s choice for the next Chair of the DNC.”