Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How many more outrages do we have to put up with before this is over?

It's certainly no longer shocking, but it is tiring, and saddening:
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto a bill backed by U.S. House of Representatives Democrats that would slash subsidies paid to college student-loan companies such as Sallie Mae, Citigroup and Bank of America.

Expected to come up for a House floor vote on Wednesday, the House bill and a similar measure in the Senate have been attacked by the $85 billion student-loan industry, but championed by industry critics, including some student groups.
What's there to say? We might as well affix a huge banner to the front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue which reads, The Republican Party: Proudly Keeping America's Sons and Daughters in Debt Well After They Graduate From College.

If you believe in prosperity and equality - opportunity for every American regardless of income level, disability, ethnicity, gender, or any other criteria - you can forget about bringing up those issues with the Republicans in Washington, D.C. They don't care. They kneel to the banks and credit card companies.

This veto threat is actually No. 16 - the latest example in a growing list of progressive legislative proposals that Bush has promised to torpedo. (Dubya has already vetoed the Promoting Life-Saving Stem Cell Research Act - H.R. 3/S.5 and the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act.

Here is the complete list, courtesy of The Gavel:

The College Cost Reduction Act - H.R. 2669
This legislation provides the single largest increase in college aid since the GI bill in 1944. The Democratic-led Congress is committed to growing and strengthening America’s middle class, and will ensure that college is affordable for every qualified student who wants to attend. This legislation both expands educational opportunities for our nation’s young people, and is an investment in our workforce that will continue our economic leadership in the world.
Passed July 11, 2007

Homeland Security Appropriations - H.R. 2638
This legislation funds 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents, provides first responders with the equipment and training they need, and provides tougher aviation and port security.
Passed June 15, 2007

State-Foreign Operations Appropriations - H.R. 2764
This legislation supports our allies in the campaign against terrorism, including providing more than $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan; and promotes global stability by strengthening development assistance and addressing humanitarian crises such as the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and Darfur.
Passed June 22, 2007

Interior-Environment Appropriations - H.R. 2643
This legislation fully funds the Clean Water Fund that the President proposed cutting by 37 percent, makes improving our national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national forests a key priority, and boosts basic research on climate change by 53 percent.
Passed June 27, 2007

The Energy Price Gouging Act – H.R. 1252
This legislation will reduce the burden of rising gas prices on American families, providing immediate relief to consumers by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of energy. It ensures the federal government has the tools it needs to adequately respond to energy emergencies and prohibit price gouging – with a priority on refineries and big oil companies.
Passed May 24, 2007

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264
This legislation enables the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. It does so by exempting OPEC and other nations from the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act when acting in a commercial capacity; by making clear that the so-called “Act of State” doctrine does not prevent courts from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments; and by authorizing the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against cartel members.
Passed May 23, 2007

FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill - H.R. 1585
This legislation will provide the necessary resources and authorities to quickly and efficiently reverse declining trends in training and equipment readiness, and will also provide our service members doing their duty overseas in multiple wars with the best gear and force protection possible. Under the bill, our troops will get better health care, better pay, and the benefits they have earned.
Passed May 17, 2007

FY 2008 Homeland Security Authorization - H.R. 1684
This legislation authorizes $39.8 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2008. Because the President has been submitting budgets that underfunded key homeland security priorities over the last few years, this bill is authorizing $2.1 billion more than the President requested.
Passed May 9, 2007

Hate Crimes Prevention Act – H.R. 1592
This legislation will provide new resources to help state and local law enforcement agencies prevent and prosecute hate crimes, and closes gaps in current federal hate crimes law.
Passed May 3, 2007

D.C. Voting Rights Act – H.R. 1905
This legislation will secure voting rights in the House for the District of Columbia, permanently expanding the U.S. House of Representatives from 435 to 437 seats. This provides a vote to the District of Columbia and a new, at-large seat through the 112th Congress to the state next entitled to increase its congressional representation (which, according to the Census, is Utah).
Passed April 19, 2007

Rail and Mass Transit Security Act - H.R. 1401
This legislation is designed to close the security gaps facing rail and mass transit and includes provisions on issues such as training, grants, security planning, research and development, and shipments of sensitive materials. Passed March 26, 2007

Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1255
Under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records are supposed to be released to historians and the public 12 years after the end of a presidential administration. In 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive order which gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely. The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 nullifies the Bush executive order and establishes procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records.
Passed March 14, 2007

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - H.R. 985
This bill strengthens protections for federal whistleblowers to prevent retaliation against those who report wrongdoing, waste, fraud, or abuse to authorities.
Passed March 14, 2007

Reauthorizing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund - H.R. 720
The Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund is a vital program for state and local governments that addresses critical water infrastructure needs. This bill authorizes a total of $14 billion for the fund over the next four years, ensures clean water and fosters economic development in local communities by helping pay for building and improving wastewater treatment facilities.
Passed March 9, 2007

Employee Free Choice Act - H.R. 800
The Employee Free Choice Act will restore workers’ rights by removing obstacles that prevent workers from choosing whether or not they want to form or join a union.
Passed March 1, 2007

Requiring Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices - H.R. 4
This bill repeals the current provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for those enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans and instead requires the Secretary to conduct such negotiations.
Passed January 12, 2007
Fortunately, in a year and a half, America will have an opportunity to elect a Democratic president who can put the common wealth ahead of the special interests. November 2008 cannot come quickly enough.

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