Senator Scott Brown’s first floor speech

The new junior Senator from MA continues to shake things up in DC:

Transcript:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced his “Immediate Tax Relief for America’s Workers” Amendment on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and click HERE for video:

I come to the floor of the Senate today to give my first speech as a United States Senator from Massachusetts.

First, let me say that I am deeply honored to have been elected and allowed to serve in this great and historic chamber.

In addition, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address my colleagues and the American people for the first time about legislation I am introducing called the “Immediate Tax Relief for America’s Workers” Amendment.

Mr. President, families in Massachusetts, and across this great nation, are suffering during these tough economic times. One year after this Congress passed the stimulus package, Americans are still struggling to pay their bills, save money for college, or buy groceries to put on their kitchen tables.

But in Washington, the federal government is driving up our debt and creating government waste on projects that don’t create private sector jobs or provide immediate relief for American workers.

The hundreds of billions we spent, and continue to spend, on the stimulus package have not created one new net job.

Most Americans believe that Washington is not using this money effectively enough, especially while many Americans are suffering and needing immediate and real relief.

In fact, the federal government is sitting on roughly $80 billion of so-called “stimulus” funds that are either unused or unobligated to specific projects as of this date. That’s $80 BILLION in taxpayer money – stuck in a virtual Washington slush fund potentially used for special interest or so-called “pork” projects.

Mr. President – it’s time to put this money back to work and back into the pockets of the hardworking American families – so they get the help they need, provide for their families, save for their future, and put real money back into the struggling economy.

Providing immediate across-the-board tax relief to working families is not complicated economic policy – it’s simple and common economic sense.

Leaders on both sides of the political aisle – from Presidents John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have taught us that the best way to get our economy moving again is by returning money directly to the American people.

I believe that the individual citizen knows better how to spend their own money than the federal government does.

The “Immediate Tax Relief for American Workers” amendment would cut payroll taxes and provide across-the-board tax relief for almost 130 million American workers.

That number again, Mr. President – 130 MILLION people in the American work force, including more than 3 million in my home state of Massachusetts.

130 million workers would receive immediate and direct tax relief. By turning the estimated $80 billion dollars in unobligated stimulus accounts over to the American people, our workers could see their payroll taxes lowered by nearly $100 per month, saving them more than $500 over a six month period.

Working couples could receive a tax cut worth more than $1000.

Now, some people or groups in Washington might not think that is a lot of money – but families in Massachusetts, and across the country, know what a dollar is worth. For most American families, $100, $500 – and $1000 – is a lot of money that will help during tough times – pay for oil, food, medical bills or everyday basic needs.

The American people need this relief, Mr. President, they deserve this.

Families would immediately get the help they need to pay their bills – provide for their families – and put real money back into the economy, helping spark a true recovery.

And unlike tax cuts of years past, this one will be paid for entirely. It will not increase the deficit and could be implemented in about 60 days.

It would be paid for using the roughly $80 billion dollars in unused and unobligated stimulus funds that is currently sitting in a slush-fund in Washington D.C. – doing nothing to stimulate our struggling economy.

To not do this, Mr. President, would be a mistake and a disservice to the people who pay the bills – the US taxpayers.

Let me be clear — my amendment would not add one penny to our federal deficit.

And let me remind my colleagues in this chamber – Bipartisanship is a two-way street.

Last week, I crossed party lines without hesitation to support a bill that would put people back to work in Massachusetts and throughout the country. I took some heat for it, but held firm and looked at the bill with open eyes – it wasn’t perfect, but it was a good first start.

As I have said before, when I see a good idea, I will support it, whether it comes from a Republican or a Democrat, and the American people have made it clear they expect the same from their elected officials.

So now, here is our chance to show the American people that the partisan bickering is over. We can help people now.

With so many American families struggling – now is not the time for political gamesmanship. It is time to do the people’s business and we CAN do better!

When the “Immediate Tax Relief for America’s Workers” amendment comes to a vote – my colleagues have a very clear choice…. Support a measure that will immediately put money back into the pockets of all of your hardworking constituents.

OR – you can support business-as-usual in Washington – and leave the $80 Billion in unused stimulus funds in a Washington slush-fund – that will just create more bureaucracy and fewer private sector jobs in the years to come. The choice is pretty clear.

I would hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle would come together to support this common sense measure and not use procedural points of order to delay action on the economic emergency facing America’s workers. This amendment will help hardworking families – and boost our struggling economy.

After all, that is what we were sent here to do.

Thank you Mr. President. I yield back the balance of my time.

Unsurprisingly, Brown’s amendment was voted down in a 44-56 vote, mostly along party lines. Democrat Senators Bayh, Dodd, Lincoln, and Kerry (!) voted along with the Republicans.

No, the “Women’s Media Center” does not speak for this woman

This “feminist issue” totally escaped my radar until I saw/heard it being discussed on the O’Reilly Factor last night:

DENVER (AP) — Weeks after scoring a publicity coup with a 30-second Super Bowl ad featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is at the center of another marketing tug-of-war — this time involving the major governing body of college sports.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association removed a Focus on the Family banner ad from one of its Web sites this week, NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said Wednesday.

The NCAA made the decision after some of its members — including faculty and athletic directors — expressed concern that the evangelical group’s stance against gay and lesbian relationships conflicted with the NCAA’s policy of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation, Williams said.

The ad in question was not about sexuality. It featured a father holding his son and the words, “All I want for my son is for him to grow up knowing how to do the right thing.” Like the Tebow ad, it included the address of Focus on the Family’s Web site and the slogan, “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.”

Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger said that if such material were “all of a sudden labeled hate speech, we have deeper problems in our country than we even know.”

Williams said the decision to pull the ad was based not on the message but on the messenger.

Advertisers “should be generally supportive of NCAA values and attributes and/or not be in conflict with the NCAA’s mission and fundamental principles,” according to NCAA standards. The NCAA may exclude ads or advertisers “that do not appear to be in the best interests of higher education and student athletes.”

The NCAA Web site is maintained by CBS Sports, and the ad was part of Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl contract with CBS, Schneeberger said. CBS sells ads to support the NCAA.com site — which features information about NCAA championships — and the NCAA reviews the ads, Williams said.

He said the ad was reviewed and the content did not raise any red flags. Williams said he was sure there was some discussion of Focus on the Family, as well, but he did not know the details.

Schneeberger said there is nothing political, controversial or hateful about the ad, saying it’s meant to urge people enduring life challenges to check out Focus on the Family as a resource.

But Pat Griffin, a retired University of Massachusetts Amherst professor who is a consultant to the NCAA on gay and lesbian issues, said it’s not a generic feel-good message.

She said the slogan’s “life” reference is anti-abortion, and celebrating families does not extend to all families but “a very specific kind of family — heterosexual married families. A large part of their energy goes to preventing other kinds of families of having recognition.”

Gasp! Horror! Now that’s certainly anti-family if I’ve ever heard of it. Anti-abortion? You’re not really “pro-family.” Heterosexual married families? You’re not really “pro-family.” FOF wanting to “prevent other kinds of families from having recognition”? I don’t think so. As a Christian organization, they are supposed to encourage couples to get married if they want to start a family, rather than have any children out of wedlock. And they support the concept of a male and female parent structure because they believe – as a lot of people do Christian or not – that having a mother and father is the ideal way for children to be raised.

What do radical liberal “feminist” women believe? Well, first and foremost, that men are the root of all evil. So naturally, the ad is “hateful” because it features a father and young son duo (eeeevil!). Secondly, that it’s all about “me” – meaning “them.” If you’re a woman and you get pregant and that pregnancy is inconvenient to your lifestyle, then you should have a right to terminate the little unborn child growing inside of you. BUT, if you choose to have the baby, that it should be perfectly okay to raise that child with five mothers and one father or two mothers (all married or not) or, hey, whatever combo works for you – regardless of the potential consequences it will have on both the child and society on the whole. Now that’s “pro-family.”

Not content to let the NCAA handle the issue, a group called the “Women’s Media Center” weighed in on the controversy and their comments were – yes – predictable:

This week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) – the major governing body of college sports – yanked a Focus on the Family banner ad from its website amid concern that the group’s agenda conflicts with the NCAA’s policy of inclusion. As the LA Times reports, the NCAA made the decision after some of its members — including faculty and athletic directors — expressed concern that the evangelical group’s stance against gay and lesbian relationships conflicted with the NCAA’s policy of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation. Pat Griffin, a consultant to the NCAA, said: “It’s not the right image or role for the NCAA to be endorsing an organization that has such an extreme right-wing Christian political mission.”

What is the “Media Women’s Center” supposedly all about? From their website:

The Women’s Media Center makes women visible and powerful in the media. Led by our president, the former Rock the Vote head Jehmu Greene, the WMC works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told and women’s voices are heard. We do this in three ways: through our media advocacy campaigns; by creating our own media; and by training women to participate directly in media. We are directly engaged with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, as sources and subjects.

So … this organization is primarily about “making sure women’s voices are heard”? All well and good but if that’s the case, why take policy positions if your primary purpose is to “make sure women’s voices are heard? Oh, wait, this begins to explain it:

The Women’s Media Center was founded in 2005 as a non-profit progressive women’s media organization by writers/activists Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem.

“Why” they do what they do? This one’s a laugh (bolded emphasis added by me):

Simply put, there is a crisis of representation in the media. We live in a racially and ethnically diverse nation which is 51% female, but the news media itself remains staggeringly limited to a single demographic. While women hold less than 3% of decision-making “clout” positions in media, they also earned only 25% of all new media jobs created from 1990 -2005, despite constituting 65% of all undergraduate and graduate journalism and mass communications students.

The media should reflect the reality of our lives and can also help to determine the political policies and elections that shape our lives. The underrepresentation of women and people of color is at its most acute on the influential Sunday morning political talk shows where male guests outnumber female guests four to one, and white guests outnumber guests who are people of color by seven to one. Our work in diversifying the media landscape is critical to the health of our culture and democracy.

Hmmm. So they want to “diversify” the media landscape by “making sure women’s voices are heard” but yet they apparently want to exclude from the “media landscape” a viewpoint expressed by FOF which many women themselves hold. Ah, I see – it’s about a select group of women, as we learn in reading the bio of Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center:

Throughout her career, Jehmu Greene has skillfully worked with the media to build powerful social justice movements. A frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, Greene helmed Rock the Vote, the largest youth [Democrat – ST] voter registration group. Under her leadership, its membership grew from 1500 to over 1 million. Earlier this year, Greene participated in the WMC’s nationally recognized leadership and media training program, Progressive Women’s Voices, which has trained over 60 progressive thought leaders who have achieved over 4000 media hits in the two years that the program has existed.

A native of Austin, Greene got her start working in the fertile ground of Texas politics including an early stint with Governor Ann Richards’ campaign in 1994. Greene later played key roles at both the Center for Policy Alternatives and the Democratic National Committee, where she ran the women’s office. An advisor and national surrogate for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Greene has worked on over 20 political campaigns at the local, state and national level. The recipient of numerous awards from organizations including Essence Magazine, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the National Council of Research on Women, the American Association of University Women and others, Greene has served on numerous boards of directors for various media, politics and social justice organizations.

“The Women’s Media Center is breaking down barriers and leading the way to make sure that women’s voices are powerfully represented in the ever-changing media landscape,” said Greene.

Make that “progressive women’s voices.” Conservative women’s voices, as usual, are not welcomed within elite gender feminism circles because, you see, we’re “willingly subservient to the patriarchy.” Or something like that.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what the ad looked like, here it is (hide the women and children …):

The Horrifying 'Offensive' FOF ad

Shocking …

Thanks once again to FOF for indirectly exposing, as they did with the Tebow ad “controversy” (which the Women’s Media Center also opposed) just how anti-diversity these “progressive women’s groups” really are.

Sander Levin, not Pete Stark, will be “acting” chair of HWMC

Via Fox News:

Rep. Sander Levin has been tapped to replace Charlie Rangel as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, after Democratic lawmakers had second thoughts about elevating another lawmaker who was technically next in line to the post.

Levin, a Michigan Democrat, was talked about as a potential replacement Wednesday shortly after Rangel announced he would step down amid a wide-ranging ethics probe. But then New York Rep. Pete Stark, the next most-senior member to Rangel on the panel, emerged as the likely candidate.

This decision, however, had many Democrats fretting, since Stark was seen by some as too volatile to lead such an important committee. His racially, sexually and politically charged remarks have gotten him in trouble in the past.

Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., said after a meeting Wednesday that members wanted a consensus candidate. They met again Thursday to make their final decision.

Though Levin will be “acting” chairman provided the full House approves the shift, it’s unclear whether Rangel’s departure is temporary. The entire chamber would have to approve any attempt by Rangel to return to the post.

Levin may be considered a safer choice for the job than Stark.

Rangel, who was admonished last week by the ethics committee over corporate funding of several trips he took to the Caribbean, said Wednesday that he was stepping down to avoid being a distraction, but Stark — in the few hours he was considered for the job — was already filling that void.

The Republican National Committee blasted out an e-mail Thursday morning containing a slew of Stark’s controversial commentary from the past two decades, calling him a “walking YouTube clip.”

In one notable quote, Stark, who is white, called former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, who is a black, a “disgrace to his race” back in 1990. He later said Sullivan was being “programmed” by the “overseers on the Sununu plantation.” He was referring to then-White House Chief of Staff John Sununu.

In a famous 2007 incident on the House floor, Stark also accused President Bush of sending troops to Iraq”to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

It’s all about politics, folks …

WH to Democrats: Don’t “flip flop” on HCR

This is rich:

Two senior administration officials said the White House is telling Democrats reconsidering their support for health care reform that they will pay the price for their original vote no matter what happens, so they should reap the political benefits of actually passing a law.

There are 59 senators and 216 House members who put themselves on the record in support of the Democratic plan for health care reform. And the way the White House and Democratic leaders see it, they have little choice but to vote for it again: Think John Kerry, and his immortal words about an Iraq war appropriations bill – that he was for it before he was against it.

“Flip-flopping is dangerous in this business,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide familiar with the strategy.

This coming from a WH whose flip-flops are quickly becoming legendary? I’m literally laughing out loud.

Their argument really doesn’t make sense, though. What happened with Kerry is that he voted against funding for the troops before he ended up supporting it, and then tried to use his vote for it as a way to shore up his foreign policy creds. That was the problem and why his quote was used against him. You either support funding the troops or you don’t. It’s that simple. What the WH is saying here is that “regardless” of how wavering Dems vote on healthcare “reform,” that their “original vote” will be used against them. Seriously? Everytime a Congressional Democrat has switched their opinion/vote from being in favor of the current legislation to being against it, they are praised like crazy – as evidenced by what is seen on Twitter and on the webpages of Republican Senators and House members. They argue that those Dems have seen the light on the folly of ObamaCare and welcome them for joining them in opposition. About the only group Democrats who change their opinion on this to “anti” have to worry about would be left wing groups, including unions, who would use the vote switch to paint their fellow Dems as – yep – “flip-floppers.”

Essentially, this is the WH’s version of Pelosi’s “be willing to sacrifice your House seat for the greater good” plea. The arrogance of this tactic is astonishing, considering Pelosi is taking no political risk on this issue with her constituency and considering that Barack Obama won’t be up for re-election for a couple of years – and considering the fact that the bill wouldn’t take effect until 2014, two years after Barack Obama presumably gets re-elected.

Democrats asking others to make sacrifices that they themselves don’t have to worry about making. Imagine that! 8-|