The name Tammy Baldwin is known pretty well amongst progressive and LGBT politicos, but for those who have never heard of her, Tammy Baldwin currently serves as a U.S. Congresswoman for the state of Wisconsin. Baldwin, 50, a Democrat in office since 1999, will be the first openly-lesbian U.S Senator if she wins in November. If she loses, she’s out of national politics for now, as her seat in the House may go to Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocanan, openly-gay Democrat who won last night’s primary.
Baldwin is facing former Wisconsin Republican GovernorÂ Tommy Thompson, whoÂ served asÂ U.S. Secretary of Health and Human ServicesÂ under George W. Bush.
The Advocate notes that Baldwin “would be the first woman elected to represent the state in the Senate, and the first openly gay senator, distinctions that have earned her endorsements from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund andÂ LPAC, the new super PAC dedicated to lesbian visibility in politics.
The contest is expected to turn on the economy. Democrats seized on the Thompson victory to draw sharp contrasts with Baldwin, a seven-term congresswoman from Madison, based on the candidatesâ€™ economic visions.
â€œThis is a very good night for Tammy Baldwin,â€ said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil in a statement. â€œTonightâ€™s results provide Wisconsinites with a crystal clear choice between a fighter for the middle class like Tammy Baldwin and a self-serving multi-millionaire like Tommy Thompson who would cut taxes for the rich and pay for it by raising taxes on the rest of us, ending Medicare and privatizing Social Security.â€
Tommy Thompson of course is anti-gay. And of course, he doesn’t mention that — or any social issue positions — on his website. But Thompson in a 2007 presidential debate, when asked if it’s OK for a private employer to fire someone for being gay, stated:
“I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.”
Thompson the next day walked that statement back.
Speaking of Thompson’s website, here are a few items from his list of “accomplishments” as Governor:
“Tommy used his veto pen a record 1,900 times to slash more than $287 million in spending.Â He never signed a budget in 14 years as governor without cutting spending with his veto pen.”
“Under Tommyâ€™s leadership, Wisconsin became the first state to end the Aid to Families with Dependent Children federal assistance program, replacing it with a more fiscally efficient program that created a pathway to jobs for thousands of Wisconsin residents eager to work.
“As a result of Tommyâ€™s efforts, Wisconsin cut its welfare rolls by 93%, from 98,000 AFDC families when he assumed office to 6,720 W2 cash assistance families by the year 2000.”
“In 1990, Tommy created the nationâ€™s first private school choice program.Â Â He later expanded the private school choice program to include religious schools â€“ another national first for Wisconsin.Â This would be a decision that Tommy would have to defend all the way to the Supreme Court.”
The last thing America needs is another U.S. Senator who is anti-gay, anti-women, anti-poor, and is looking to “balance the budget” on the backs of the poor.
Let’s also remember that when President Obama is re-elected, we’ll need as many Democrats in the Senate to override Republican filibusters and attempts to kill Obama’s agenda. That includes likely Supreme Court appointments and the repeal of DOMA and passage of ENDA.
If you’re LGBT, if you’re a progressive, if you’re a Democrat, or if you just believe in a country that should be for people and against hate, please try to help Tammy Baldwin, and please make sure you’re registered in your state to vote.
Here’s Baldwin’s statement from last night upon learning her Republican opponent will be Tommy Thompson:
“Tonight, the Republican primary electorate presented Wisconsin voters with a clear choice for the November election. Make no mistake, Tommy Thompson will stand with those who already have too much power and influence in Washington.
I will fight to do what’s right for the middle class and Thompson will put those at the very top and the big monied special interests in Washington ahead of Wisconsin’s hard working families. I will take on these powerful interests in Washington, and in the Senate, I will stand up for Wisconsin’s middle class, as I always have.
Unlike Tommy Thompson, I will fight for Wisconsin’s middle class by working across party lines to move our economic recovery forward — working to build a “Made in Wisconsin” manufacturing economy; providing tax cuts for small business to fuel job creation; ending tax breaks for outsourcing and giving companies tax incentives to create jobs here at home. That is the road to a stronger middle class, a stronger Wisconsin, and brighter future.
I believe Wisconsin deserves a US Senator who is unafraid to take on the big moneyed special interests in Washington. And I believe that the middle class needs someone fighting for them to make sure they have a fair shot at the American dream.
Tommy Thompson disagrees and he couldn’t be more wrong.
Tommy Thompson supports the policies of the past. Policies that have failed. Policies from the past that crashed our economy, and got us into our fiscal mess in the first place. He believes we should slash the very investments we need to move our economy forward, in education, innovation, and infrastructure — all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.
Tommy Thompson would actually cut taxes for millionaires like himself while increasing taxes on the middle class, increasing out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors, increasing the cost of higher education for students and their families, and ending Medicare as we know it for future generations.
That is not the America we believe in and it is not the Wisconsin we believe in. I believe that path is wrong for Wisconsin, wrong for our nation, and that we need to do what’s right for the middle class.”
Every vote, and every penny, counts.
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‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
Speaker Kevin McCarthy unleashed his anger against his own House Republican conference Thursday as chaos erupted after yet another procedural vote on a defense spending bill failed and the clock ticks closer to a GOP-caused shutdown of the federal government.
McCarthy “failed a crucial test Thursday of his ability to unite his fractured Republican caucus as he tries to rally support to pass a spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month,” CNBC adds.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate, and then you got all the amendments and if you don’t like the bill,” McCarthy admitted to reporters in what has increasingly become opportunities for him to trash the most far-right Republicans in the House.
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” he lamented. “It doesn’t work.”
“This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
— After House Republicans once again failed to pass a basic procedural rule to fund the Pentagon, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hits some members of his own conference pic.twitter.com/Qt4AR71jP3
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
“This is really unheard of,” CNBC’s Emily Wilkins reported. “I mean just a rule going down as a procedural thing, that’s pretty rare as is, and for it to happen twice in one week. Last night Republicans came ut of their all hands on deck Republican meeting. A number of them sounded optimistic about moving forward.”
Thursday failed procedural vote “really did catch Speaker McCarthy by surprise,” Wilkins added.
“He said he did not realize there were not going to be the votes to move forward on this.”
The House failed to pass a procedural rules vote today, @emrwilkins
reports. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “That doesn’t work.” https://t.co/1xf6Y33riV pic.twitter.com/kK31lrHOyr
— CNBC (@CNBC) September 21, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, where he was forced to educate Republicans on a wide variety of topics, from climate change to not needing passports to fly domestically, to subsidies for oil and gas companies.
In one heated back-and-forth, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who has been fighting a subpoena from Special Counsel Jack Smith, blamed Secretary Buttigieg specifically for “killing” the auto industry by supporting electric vehicles.
“I don’t know if you can justify or how you justify forcing my constituents to pay for EVs [electric vehicles] and EV infrastructure for coastal elites and wealthy people, but somehow you do,” Rep. Perry told Secretary Buttigieg.
“Well, I need to point out that wealthy people were specifically excluded from the Inflation Reduction Act,” Buttigieg replied.
“Well,” Perry replied. “Do you dispute that two-thirds of EV owners, are owned by people over 100,000, that make over 100,000?”
Buttigieg explained that the first electric vehicles were expensive, but “that number is going down.” Perry yelled it “doesn’t matter” that the prices of the electric vehicles are going down, his constituents “can’t afford them today,” which led Buttigieg to ask why he is opposed to “cutting their costs?”
“I’m not against cutting the cost. The market should do it,” Perry replied. “But you want the government, you want my taxpayers to pay to cut the cost.”
Buttigieg then asked about subsidies for the oil and gas companies, which cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars annually.
“If you are of the view that there should be no subsidy to propulsion vehicles, then are you against oil and gas subsidies?” Buttigieg asked.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg schools U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) on electric vehicles and the auto industry.
BUTTIGIEG: “If you are of the view that there should be no subsidy to propulsion vehicles, then are you against oil and gas subsidies?” pic.twitter.com/WmqkCroj5C
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) September 20, 2023
During another back-and forth, Buttigieg quelled a Republican Congressman asking him questions as he educated him on electric vehicles and why they are important.
“Nobody wants these electric vehicles unless you’re an elite that can afford them – people in may district sure as hell don’t want them.”
“We’re doing this for three reasons, even though the EV revolution’s going to happen anyway,” Buttigieg told U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
“Oh, it’s a ‘revolution’ –” the Congressman interjected, before Buttigieg cut him off.
“I would love to answer your question, Congressman.”
Moments later, when Buttigieg said “climate change is real,” LaMalfa shot back, “This one’s called Autumn.”
Buttigieg made him repeat it before explaining, “yeah, that’s the seasons changing which respectfully is not the same as the climate changing.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “What I can tell you is that climate change is real…”
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA): “Yeah, this one’s called autumn.”
Buttigieg: “That’s the seasons changing, which, respectably, is not the same thing as the climate changing.” pic.twitter.com/HNN4NcUIa0
— The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2023
And when U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO) appeared to be unprepared with facts and figures, Buttigieg was happy to provide them for him, upending his inquiry into the Transportation Secretary’s “private” flights.
“I knew this might come up, so I brought some numbers,” Secretary Buttigieg told Rep. Burlison. “Since getting the job, I have taken—these are estimates, give or take a couple—but I’ve taken 638 flights.”
“607 of them were commercial, 10 of them were on military aircraft such as Air Force One, and 21 were on FAA aircraft—representing about 3 percent of the flights.”
“I appreciate the chance to discuss this because I can’t help get the sense that some people want to make it sound as if I don’t travel most of the time on commercial aircraft, which of course is untrue,” Buttigieg added.
“Mr. Secretary,” Burlison continued, “I think I think the irony for most people in my district is that they’re being told that they’re going to have to convert to electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. And yet, not everyone gets to travel the way that you do.”
“Just once again,” Buttigieg replied, reinforcing what he had said, “the way I usually travel is an economy class aboard an airliner like everybody else, when we do it differently, it’s often because it will save taxpayer money.”
“I’m so glad you asked this,” Buttigieg concluded, saying he was “excited to share” this information.
Oh my god a GOP member of congress actually brought up the bogus “private flights” story to Buttigieg’s face. Immediate regret. pic.twitter.com/8gvPt01a6C
— chyea ok (@chyeaok) September 20, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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