August 04, 2006

Senate Blocks Poison-Pill Bill

The majority of Senate Democrats along with two Republican Senators voted to block the "minimum wage" bill that the House had passed last week. The Democrats understood that despite the label, minimum wage, the actual package was toxic because the Republicans were using it to once more screw Americans by tying it to lowering the estate tax and by sneaking in that despicable attempt to lower the minimum wage for some 1 million tipped workers while giving their employers a tax break on their backs. About that attempt to lower the wages of tipped workers?

Democrats also charged the legislation could reduce wage protections in several states for workers who earn tips, despite assurances from some Republicans that they wouldn't let that happen.

Another case of just trust us: we'd never allow something that was cynically added to the bill - sort of like that doughnut hole that was added the drug bill tied with the non-compete clause that made sure many seniors could be screwed so the drug companies could rake in their profits while tax payers are left paying the bills.

This bill also was a genuine Republican scam. They passed it so they could blackmail Democrats into backing it or explain to their constitutents why they voted against it. And they'd added some bribes for the borderline Democrats to try to get the Paris Hilton bill passed.

GOP leaders had packed the bill with a number of incentives to pressure key Democrats to support it. That included breaks for the timber industry in Washington state and miners in West Virginia, and bonds for Arkansas, as well as a number of nationally popular tax credits for college tuition, sales tax deductibility and research and development.

This bill was a classic Republican bill, one that gave a huge benefit for the rich, a tax cut to employers on the backs of workers, bribes to try to peel off a few Democrats so they can pass it with a very narrow margin and then if it goes down, use the vote to blast the Democrats for voting against workers. Yet one more reason we can't afford to have Republicans in charge. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing for Americans.

Jeers to Lincoln, the two Nelsons and Bryd. And the Republicans that voted against? Chafee, Voinovich, and (surprise!!) Frist. I wonder what got into Frist.

Update: The Washington Post story says what happened with Frist:

The official Senate tally was 56 to 42 in favor of proceeding to a vote on the wage-and-tax bill, short of the 60 required. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) supported the package but switched his vote -- reducing the final number to 56 from 57 -- to enable him to seek a reconsideration later. Republicans Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.) and George V. Voinovich (Ohio) joined one independent and 38 Democrats -- including the two from Maryland -- in opposing the bill by backing the filibuster. Four Democrats and 52 Republicans -- including Virginia's two senators -- signaled their support for the bill by voting to limit debate.

They also discussed the Republican strategy which they called the "trifecta" because this bill was designed to do one thing only -- cut taxes for the extremely wealthy -- by cobbling a bill together that was supposed to force Democrats to vote for it.

Republican leaders in Congress have long wanted to eliminate or slash the taxes levied on estates left by wealthy people, but the Senate has repeatedly refused. Hoping to attract enough Democratic support, House leaders last week added a sweetener: the first increase in the federal minimum wage in nine years, plus an extension of several popular tax breaks for businesses. The House passed the complex measure -- dubbed "the trifecta" because of its three main facets -- and sent it to the Senate, which planned to vote before adjourning this weekend for the August break.

They sure are relentless in trying to kill the estate tax, aren't they? We need to show them the door so we can get some real work done for the American public. We can't afford another rubberstamp Congress.

Posted by Mary at August 4, 2006 07:48 AM | Economy | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

I am sure that those making the minimum wage are cheering the fact that they might not be getting a raise, but by God those evil rich people won't get to give their money to their kids when they die without having to give half to the government. How does this move by the Dems help the poor? As usual, they don't give a damn about the one half of one percent of wage earners getting the minimum wage, they care only for the election year issue. Protecting the American public from the rich. I know I'll sleep better tonight.

Posted by: manapp99 at August 6, 2006 07:47 AM

looks like more is about to happen
Democrats Back Lamont; Lieberman Files for Independent Run

Posted by: grendeina at August 9, 2006 03:01 PM