Action Required

Heads up: Congress is debating a compromise to HR1 (the draconian House Continuing Resolution Budget bill) that would be devastating to Nevada.  Here’s a link to the original bill:  HR1  — Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. You can access my analysis of the appropriations chages by clicking here.  If you really want to verify my analysis or want to review the original bills, you can find links to all of the relevant approved appropriations legislation passed by the 111th Congress by clicking this link.

Even though Senator Reid brought the GOP’s HR1 up for a vote in the Senate on 3/9/11 (vote 36: failed 44-56) and then the Democratic counter-proposal up for a vote (vote 37: also failed 42-58) … GOP House Freshmen Reps (Teapublicans), specifically Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) claim that Senator Reid’s failure to consider HR1 is tantamount to a dereliction of duty.  Um … he not only considered it, he put it up for a vote. Ms. Hartzler, it FAILED passage in the Senate.

It’s not just freshman members of the house who don’t understand how government works.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor apparently doesn’t understand how laws are enacted per the constitutional process.  Yesterday, he announced that on Friday,the GOP will be voting on the “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act”  (HR 1255).  He went on to explain to reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!  Um … I do realize that Friday is April 1st or in other words April Fools Day, but there is no way on God’s green earth that a bill passed only by the House and not by the Senate, and in addition, not signed by the President, will every become the law of the land under our US Constitution.  Apparently Mr. Cantor decided to do a bit of dozing when they went through their opening day reading of the Constitution.  Good luck with that premise Mr. Cantor, we’re not the fools you make us out to be and you can’t just arbitrarily suspend the constitution to bully your bill into law.

The Republican leadership has said ‘NO’ to additional CRs, and now legislators have until April 8 to come up with a compromise budget for H.R.1 or else the government will stop operating.  The problem is, however, that the process for identifying and delineating compromises is NOT all that transparent and we the general public don’t have enough information about what is being demanded by the GOP

I’ve searched the web for an hour now and can’t find specifics, but supposedly, Rep. Boehner has agreed to look at a compromise in the area of  $33B in spending cuts versus the $61B in spending cuts included in HR1. The itemized cuts for Nevada below are purportedly part of the compromise and have been disseminated via mass-email by MoveOn.org:

  • $12 million would be cut from federal funds for clean and safe water in Nevada. [1]
  • 479 Nevada children would be immediately cut from Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood development services for at-risk children ages zero to five. [2]
  • $19 million would be cut from Pell Grants, affecting all 33,000 higher education students with those grants in Nevada. [1]
  • Job training and employment services would be effectively eliminated for 1,000 dislocated workers, 4,900 low-income adults, and 1,100 youths age 14 to 21. [1]
  • $1.6 million would be cut from law enforcement assistance, taking cops off the beat. [1]

It’s especially galling when the same budget includes special breaks for corporations like GE, subsidies for the oil companies and tax breaks for the very rich.  Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid need to hear from all of us about it right now, before they cut a deal in the next few days.

Just last night the news broke that Congress may be close to striking a deal on the budget. Now is the only time we can influence the outcome.

Can you call Sens. Ensign and Reid and ask them to oppose these cuts in the budget? You can pick one of the cuts in this list to highlight in your call.  Or better yet, take a look at one or more of the riders included in HR1 and tell them to make sure they strike those riders from the bill before any vote on a compromise bill.

Senator John Ensign Senator Harry Reid
Phone: 202-224-6244 Phone: 202-224-3542

Click here to report your call (what the Senator or his call answerer said and/or committed to do).

The cuts that the Republicans are proposing would disproportionately hit those who can least afford it in Nevada, and it’s up to us to stop them.

Thanks for all you do.

-Daniel, Amy, Milan, Tate, and the rest of the team

Resources:

  1. House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010
  2. Projected Reduction in Children Served in Head Start Based on H.R. 1—Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution,” Center for Law and Social Policy
  3. WP/Dana Milbank: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
  4. WP: House Republicans plan symbolic bill to pressure Senate on shutdown
  5. WP: House Whip McCarthy acknowledges meeting with Dems on fiscal issues
  6. Forbes: Boehner signals compromise in budget talks
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