Bill Scher

How I Spent My August Recess: Rep. Dent Edition

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Penn., is considered by the White House to be vulnerable for defeat in 2008. He’s only in his second term, representing a swing district — both Al Gore and John Kerry won there by 1%. Dent won re-election with less support (53%) than in his initial election, even though he vastly outspent his poorly funded opponent. And his expected challenger in ’08 is raising money at a faster clip. How does Dent handle this precarious political situation? Vote against kids’ health insurance, and write about it in his hometown paper, the Allentown Morning Call. Genius! Or, not so much. His attempt at defending his vote with misinformation appear to have backfired.

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Bill Scher

How I Spent My August Recess: Sen. Chambliss Edition

Several congressional conservatives are continuing to spend their August recess spreading misinformation to justify their votes against children’s health insurance. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., is a notable member of the anti-kids crew. He’s up for re-election in 2008. A recent poll showed his standing among Georgia voters is much weaker than presumed. And earlier this year, Georgia’s federally funded child insurance program, PeachCare, had to temporarily stop enrolling kids because they were out of money.

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Bill Scher

China & India: Following Our Lead … And Our Money

As I’ve noted before, conservatives like to use China’s and India’s increasing carbon pollution as an excuse to do nothing on global warming, Of course, all they’re doing is following our dirty lead. But, as the Los Angeles Times reports, they’re not just following our lead. They’re following our money. At the Group of 8 summit of world leaders in June, President Bush repeated his calls for developing nations to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases … “We all can make major strides, and yet there won’t be a reduction until China and India are participants,” he told reporters. But just weeks earlier, the U.S. government had pledged to help finance one of the world’s most advanced oil refineries, taking shape in Jamnagar, India.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

After actually asking a Watchdog question last month, the Sunday show hosts return to their traditional pattern, as the Watchdog goes 0-for-3. On Face The Nation, Gov. Mike Huckabee was not forced to address his false statement about the Senate children’s health insurance bill. On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Sam Brownback was allowed to repeat his claim that he wants a “political surge” in Iraq, without being asked about his filibuster to block legislation that would do just that.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program, where I’ll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up. For GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Mike Huckabee: (CBS’ Face The Nation): In the last debate, you announced opposition to the Senate bill providing more health insurance for kids because, “it actually would bring cuts to the Medicare alternative, which is the worst thing we could do, because it then takes money away from seniors.” But the Senate bill doesn’t affect Medicare at all.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Pelosi’s Challenge In New Orleans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to lead a House delegation to New Orleans and the Mississippi coast starting Sunday in an effort that should draw fresh attention to what remains the shame of the nation, two years after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast. Their challenge is to make this trip more than either a political road show or a brief glance at the region’s suffering that rates little more than a few seconds on the TV news.

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Bill Scher

A Global Warming Bill We Can Work With

Last month, a bipartisan global warming bill from Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Arlen Specter, R-Penn., was uniformly rejected by environmental organizations, because it kept down the cost for creating carbon pollution, making it impossible to reduce enough pollution to resolve the climate crisis. This month, a new bipartisan bill from Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va. is being praised as a “huge breakthrough” by dedicated environmentalist Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California. While the response from environmental activists is more mixed (Hill Heat is tracking the discussion) it’s not being widely rejected out of hand like Bingaman-Specter was.

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Bill Scher

Dingell Fizzle

Last month, I remarked that Rep. John Dingell’s attempt to undermine progress on global warming with a disingenuous carbon tax proposal was “more likely to fizzle out than spark intra-party warfare.” And it appears to be fizzling. The American Prospect’s recent profile on Dingell reports: …there are signs that Dingell’s influence is on the wane… …he floated a proposal for a carbon tax, not because he seemed to want it pass, but because he wanted to demonstrate that the American people and Congress were unwilling to embrace the costs associated with global warming. But his proposed carbon tax has gotten little traction and stands almost no chance of being included in legislation passed by the House.

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Bill Scher

Kids, Keep Your Sicky Hands Off The Nice CEO’s Money

Yesterday, President Bush told reporters he’s considering more tax cuts for those who need it most — corporations, of course — while reiterating his plans to veto more health insurance for kids. The Moderate Voice makes the connection, exposing the priorities of the conservative movement. To be fair, Bush has his reasons for denying health insurance to children. Let’s give him the last word (via PoliticsTV).

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Bill Scher

How I Spent My August Recess

Congressional conservatives are spending their August recess in an interesting way: telling their constituents about their hard work … to keep health insurance away from kids. Well, they’re not quite that honest. Following the lead of the HHS Hacks, they’re spreading misinformation about House and Senate legislation around their home states. But bloggers are on the case. Ditch Mitch truth-squads Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s dishonestly named op-ed “Kids First.” Blue Jersey does the same for Rep. Scott Garrett’s propaganda, published in New Jersey’s The Record and the conservative site Town Hall. Texas’ Blue 19th finds Rep.

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Bill Scher

HHS Hacks Plant Lies in Letters

Four regional directors of the Department of Health and Human Services signed their names on copycat letters sent to editorial pages across the country, spreading misinformation about opposing children’s health insurance proposals. At minimum, in the southeast Chris Downing sent the letter to the Lincoln Tribune, Charlotte Observer, Beaufort Gazette, The News-Journal (Daytona Beach), The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) and Tallahassee Democrat. Maureen Lydon sent the same to the Indianapolis Star and Battle Creek Enquirer in the Midwest. Gordon Woodrow got it in the The Register-Herald (Beckley, WV), Charleston Gazette (WV) and Baltimore Sun. Out west, Tom Lorentzen placed the letter in the San Francisco Chronicle and Las Vegas Review-Journal. All four somehow managed to come up with identical wording for the same dishonest points.

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Bill Scher

Progressive Energy Bill Faces Veto Threat

Prospects for a stronger energy bill brightened Saturday, as the House passed a version requiring 15% of our electricity to come from renewable sources, and funding more renewable energy by repealing tax breaks for Big Oil. Conservatives had kept those provisions off the Senate bill by wielding the filibuster. But afterwards, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he had the 60 votes needed to break any filibuster. So the prospects for more renewable energy are good, although corporate interests will be trying to kill the key provisions when House and Senate negotiators craft the final bill.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Block And Blame Republicans

There is a telling graphic inside Friday’s New York Times that puts into perspective the Republican Party’s summer theme song, “Do-Nothing Congress.” It bears remembering as just one example of the difference Democrats are trying to make in how our country is governed—and evidence that the Republican spin that Congress can’t get anything done under Democratic rule is just plain wrong. On one column, there is a list of Republican scandals: Rep. Billy Tauzin getting a lucrative pharmaceutical trade association job after pushing through Congress a bill benefiting the industry, Jack Abramoff buying favors from Republican lawmakers with lavish trip and other gifts, Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham inserting money into an appropriations bill for a defense contractor whose owner bundled campaign contributions on his behalf, former Rep.

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Bill Scher

Caught on Tape! – The Plot to Bury Progress

The following was emailed to Campaign for America’s Future supporters by our Director of Online Communications Ian Mishalove. No progress on ending the war. No progress on new energy. No progress on health care costs. Why is the new Congress gridlocked? Conservatives are working hard to spin this as the fault of a “do nothing Congress.” But that’s like someone mugging the postman and then complaining that the mail isn’t delivered. The fact is it’s the conservative minority’s own filibusters and vetoes that are systematically killing progress. But now, our cameras have exposed the force orchestrating this obstruction. It’s gruesome stuff. You’ll see the right in action — gleefully suffocating stem cell research, strangling children’s health insurance, even axing decent rest and rehab for our soldiers.

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Robert Borosage

Challenging The Right’s Obstruction Strategy

“The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail … and so far it’s working for us.”   —Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss.    Roll Call, April 18 A partisan minority in the U.S. Senate has blocked legislation that would lower the price of prescription drugs for seniors, invest in alternative energy sources while cutting subsidies to oil companies, require U.S. soldiers get adequate rest and training at home between tours in Iraq, and empower employees to join together to form unions at work. Each of these enjoyed the overwhelming support of the American people, and majority support in both the House and Senate. In all, Senate Republicans have launched 43 filibusters in the first seven months of the Congress, on a pace to triple the previous record.

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Bill Scher

Feel The Compassion

Later today, the Senate is expected to snuff out a filibuster and approve more health insurance for kids. But the bill is not likely get the 67 votes needed to overcome President Bush’s threatened veto. Obstruction still reigns. Bush and other congressional conservatives appear unmoved by last week’s oped from his former director of Faith-Based Initiatives, John Dilulio (via Talking Points Memo), who charges Bush with contradicting his campaign themes of “compassionate conservatism,” and reports that several Republicans — including “former Bush advisers,” governors and Senators — are begging Bush to drop the veto threat.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

The five-week long streak is over! A Watchdog question was actually asked on the Sunday shows yesterday. On ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Sen.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program, where I’ll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up. For Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn. (CBS’ Face The Nation): This week, you suggested that a special prosecutor is needed to fully investigate the Prosecutor Purge because of conflicts of interest with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House.

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Bill Scher

Routine Hypocrisy

When the McClatchy Newspapers reported that the conservative minority in the Senate may triple the number of filibusters, Republicans tried to spread the blame. McClatchy reported: Republicans also say that Democrats are forgetting how routinely they threatened filibusters only a few years ago when they were the minority, especially to block many of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Routinely, eh? Well, the Institute for America’s Future crunched the numbers.

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Bill Scher

What Would Jesus Smoke?

No doubt there are legitimate arguments against funding children’s health insurance by raising taxes on harmful products like tobacco. But this isn’t one of them. (From CQ, sub. req’d): Kentucky Republican Ron Lewis tried his best to protect his tobacco state constituents with an amendment to strip out the tobacco exise tax that would fund much of the legislation, pleading with Democrats not to hurt his district’s industry. “I don’t know how you can find another way to fund this, but I’m sure you can be creative and find another way,” Lewis said. His amendment was defeated 16-23, despite his invocation of the Lord, whom in an extended analogy drawing on the Book of Genesis he said would not have taxed tobacco. Will Rep.

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