Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Webb Honored with “Andrew Jackson Presidential Award” for Commitment to Economic Fairness, Sound Principles of Governance
April 21, 2010
Washington, DC—Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has been awarded the “Andrew Jackson Presidential Award for Citizenship and Leadership.” Presented by the Ladies Hermitage Association, the award honors leaders who have “promoted the history and life of Andrew Jackson” and “who have demonstrated in their civic lives a dedication to the furtherance of our American democracy and to sound governance principles.”
Senator Webb ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006 on a platform of “Jacksonian Democracy”—that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base—committing to restore a basic level of economic fairness to the American people. For more than three years, his leadership in the Congress has upheld and embodied that commitment.
“I am struck by the multiple similarities when I think of President Jackson and Senator Webb,” said John Seigenthaler, award-winning reporter, editor, publisher and CEO for The Tennessean and founding editorial director of USA TODAY, when presenting the award. “They both were lawyers as well as warriors… Both of them served in Washington during times of intense partisanship. Neither of them will ever be remembered for giving sufferance to fools. Both were, and Jim Webb still is, committed to making sure that our government is true to those who come home from war in need of assistance.”
Senator Webb clearly articulated these priorities in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (“American workers have a chance to be heard,” November 15, 2006) and in his response to President George Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address.
His first act in Congress was the introduction on his first day in office of a new GI Bill to provide service members and veterans of the post-9/11 era with comprehensive educational benefits similar to those provided to veterans of WWII. Since the bill became law in 2008, over 480,000 veterans have applied for their benefits to attend college or other post secondary programs. In order to further expand employment opportunities, Webb introduced the Adult Education and Economic Growth Act last year to improve adult education, job training, and other workforce programs. After American taxpayers bailed out the Wall Street firms who created the financial crisis, Senator Webb introduced the Taxpayer Fairness Act to place a one-time 50% tax on excessive bonuses paid by Wall Street banks and other firms that benefited from billions of taxpayer dollars in 2009.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Webb described how Jackson has inspired his approach to leadership today:
“When I think about Andrew Jackson, I am struck by the unique impact that he had on this country. His presidency was the first that did not come out of the landed English aristocracy in the South or the English American elite in New England. He was the first Scots-Irish president, the first “bottom up” president, and he had enormous challenges inside the existing political structure. Thomas Jefferson called him ‘dangerous’ and ‘unfit for office,’ and John Quincy Adams called him a ‘barbarian,’ and refused to attend his inauguration.
“This was an individual who sincerely and fiercely believed in protecting the working people—the people who carried the load of society. He faced down the forces that threatened the very fabric of our society. Scholars agree that the most important presidential veto in American history occurred when legislation creating the Second National Bank came before President Jackson. This legislation would have allowed a permanent aristocracy in America. Two-thirds of Congress agreed that this legislation should go through. Andrew Jackson knew that if he vetoed this legislation, they were going to try to veto him. But he did.
“In his 1832 veto message, Jackson said:
‘Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every person is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing favors to themselves--have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.’
“This to me, is the most important articulation of the responsibilities of government leaders that I’ve ever read. The truth of that statement resounds today in numerous pieces of legislation we face in the United States Congress. The courage that it took to confront the forces of entrenched interests in order to challenge the conscience of all Americans also exists today. That is my duty. I continue in that tradition. That is the reason I so respect this great leader and also the reason I am so grateful to receive this award.”
Howard Kittell, President and CEO of the Hermitage, concluded, “The parallels between Andrew Jackson and Senator Jim Webb – their sound military judgment, no-nonsense, public-good approach to government, and commitment to democratic ideals—make Senator Webb the ideal choice for the 2010 Andrew Jackson Presidential Award.”
The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
WASHINGTON - "Right to Rent" is one of the most efficient and simple ways to help millions of families facing foreclosure remain in their homes, said national housing experts across the political spectrum in Congressional testimony earlier this week. The following day, a new "Right to Rent" bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Right to Rent concept was originated by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. It would increase the bargaining power and security of homeowners by temporarily changing the rules on foreclosure and allowing homeowners to remain in their homes as renters for a substantial period or time. During this time, homeowners would pay the market rent for the home as determined by an independent assessment.
"Right to Rent immediately gives the homeowner security in their home. They will be allowed to stay there for a substantial period of time, allowing their children to stay in their schools and families to prepare for and plan their future moves," said Baker in his testimony on Wednesday. "Right to Rent also would make foreclosure much less attractive to investors. This gives investors more incentive to modify loans on their own, without the involvement of the government."
The following day, "The Right to Rent Act of 2010" was introduced by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), which would allow homeowners whose homes have been foreclosed to stay in their homes at a fair market rent for up to five years. "The latest statistics on foreclosures and mortgage delinquency rates are an indication of the profound, historic crisis we face and the need for creative solutions like Right to Rent," said Rep. Grijalva.
In addition to progressive economists such as Baker and newspapers such as the New York Times, Right to Rent is endorsed by conservative economists such as Arnold Kling and Andrew Samwick. Kling, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, added his voice in support "Right to Rent" during the question period of Wednesday's Congressional hearing.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Republicans control the Florida House of Representatives making up roughly two-thirds of the lower chamber's membership. Nearly all Republican legislators in the state profess to be pro-life and many received endorsements from the Florida Right to Life Committee. Most of these same legislators voted on Thursday to eliminate prenatal care for expectant mothers and their unborn children. About 300 children will die each year because of this action. And the timing of these hypocrites - on the eve of Good Friday - couldn't have been better to showcase their moral depravity. Of course, silence from the Republican sock puppets at Florida Right to Life Committee and Life News.
The Florida House of Representatives budget cuts $4 million for the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions.
The organization oversees 31 statewide coalitions that help at-risk pregnant mothers receive proper medical care.
Supporters of the budget measure say county health departments will pick up the slack.
But, officials with the Bay-Gulf-Franklin chapter of Healthy Start say that's not the case. They say they use the state funds to raise about $32 million for their cause, and health departments can't solicit donations like that.
"We're talking about actually losing babies if this happens," said Trey Hutt, president of the Healthy Start Board of Directors. "I know that sounds dramatic, but about 300 infants, or fetuses, will die every year in the state of Florida if they cut this funding. "
Legislators will now meet in conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions. Hutt, and some legislators, hope they can eliminate the cut to Healthy Start during the reconciliation process.
WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) appluded a decision by President Obama to expand offshore production of oil and natural gas, saying, “The increased energy production will boost the country’s economic and national security, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Dorgan, who is Chairman of the energy and water appropriations panel and the second-ranking Democrat on the Energy Committee, has led the charge to expand offshore energy development in a responsible way. He successfully included a provision in the bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate Energy Committee to open the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area – an area that holds billions of barrels of untapped oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas – to leasing.
“Our country desperately needs to take steps to increase our energy independence to improve our national security and our economic well-being,” said Dorgan. “We need a comprehensive approach to our energy development that includes investing in renewable energy, as well as expanding our development of traditional energy sources such as oil and natural gas.”
“Today’s proposal by the President shows the administration’s commitment to responsibly developing all our energy resources in a common-sense, balanced way,” added Dorgan. “The proposal will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs in our domestic energy industry. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to move forward on new energy development. This announcement today, combined with the utilization of biofuels, implementation of new fuel economy standards, and moving towards the electrification of our transportation fleet, can significantly reduce our dependence on imported oil.”
Dorgan has long been a proponent of developing domestic sources of energy both offshore and onshore. Dorgan was instrumental in the re-assessment of the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Montana, which has attracted investment in the area’s oil resources. The Senator has also been a leader in support of maximizing the production of renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass.