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Friday, February 26, 2010

Daily Democratic Wire 2-26-2010

George Wenschhof

Due to a power outage caused by high winds this post is delayed. Check back here later today as updates are added.


New York Governor David Paterson to end his campaign for election -
the announcement is expected this afternoon. Top Democratic Leaders and also the White House had worked to persuade Paterson to not run but he had not heeded the advise and had announced his intention to run for Governor last week. following his announcement the NY Times ran a story about how he had used his influence in regard to a domestic abuse situation involving a top aide. The top aide has now resigned, but too late to stop the damage done to the Paterson campaign. the expected Democratic candidate for Governor will now be favorite; State Attorney Andrew Cuomo. The NY Times City Room Blog has more here.


President Obama performed well at Health Care Reform Summit -
as a political wonk, I watched almost all of the seven hour meeting and once again came away impressed with the President's knowledge of the intricacies of the health care bill and his ability to deftly handle adversarial positions from Republicans.

The Republican "talking points" were clear; the bill was too big, incremental steps should be taken for health care reform, and finally the bill should be scrapped and Congress should start over.

Numerous attempts were made by Republicans present at the meeting to get the President to agree not to use the "budget reconciliation" process (only 51 votes in Senate needed for amendments prepared by the House) after the House passes the bill the Senate passed on XMAS Eve.

The President appropriately did not agree and instead made it clear he intended to move forward on passing health care reform.

Democratic "talking points" were basically "we are closer on so many items than we realize" and numerous statements were made referencing the inclusion of Republican positions in the bill.

There is no question in my mind that if Republicans do not move forward with indication of bipartisan support for passage, the House will move to pass the Senate bill and then use "budget reconciliation' to pass amendments to it in the Senate.

It is also increasingly clear the health care summit has proven to be a rallying cry and a unifying force for Democrats. The biggest difference highlighted in the summit is that Democrats believe government has the responsibility to provide insurance to the 40+ million uninsured Americans today where Republicans do not feel this is the responsibility of government. It is a policy difference that can not be overcome.

So, it is time for our Democratic Representatives to do what is right and move forward to pass the health care reform bill.

And, before you start buying all the crap from Republicans about how "budget reconciliation is a rarely used procedural option in Congress, take note: "Budget Reconciliation" has been used 22 times in Congress since 1981 and 16 of those times it was used by the Republican Party.

Below, in his closing statement yesterday, President Obama said "people don't want us to wait" and I agree.


President Obama to announce four more appointments to "Debt Reduction" Commission -
the President was forced to create this committee by executive action after the Republican Party of No, voted against establishing the committee after many of those same Republicans co-sponsored the bill. The silliness by Republican Representatives will backfire as the voters are not looking for obstructionists in Congress, especially when it comes to reducing the deficit.

Last week, Obama named former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson (Wy.) as co-chairs. Today, he will announce
Ann Fudge, former CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands, Andy Stern, President of SEIU, Alice Rivlin, former Federal Reserve Vice Chair and David Coate, CEO Honeywell International.

Republican and Democratic Leaders in Congress will be able to appoint 6 each to the committee. has more here.


House Ethics Committee finds Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) improperly received travel expenses -
in a finding that amounts to a slap on the writs, the committee found he had received payed travel to conferences in St. Maarten in 2007 and 2008 from a corporation that employed lobbyists which is a violation of a House rule. You can read more here.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands by Rangel, who is chair of the powerful Ways and Means Commission, saying the commission did not take any action against him. has more here.


DNC runs video on the Internet targeting Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio - the video pokes fun at the far right wing conservative, highlighting what was reported recently in regard to his alleged use of a GOP issued credit card for personal use.


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