Sunday, March 29, 2015

Miss Republican

 I've been writing about the increasingly rightward drift of conservative Democratic 1st District representative Michelle Grisham, who I think is positioning herself to pull a Susana Martinez and ditch the Democratic Party to try to unseat one of our two Democratic senators, and today the Albuquerque Journal provides some of the details.

Grisham hanging with Republican congressman Kevin Yoder

Note that in this Journal account of recent votes in congress Grisham votes with conservative Republican Steve Pearce much more often than she does with Democrat Ben Lujan. Grisham not only voted against the budget put forth by the Progressive Caucus but also against one put forward by the Black Caucus, joining Pearce in opposing budgets that tend to the needs of the working class, which should be her natural constituency, instead of the wealthy. Lujan voted for both the Progressive and Black caucus budgets.

Incidentally, the Journal, a conservative, Republican paper, endorsed Grisham for re-election and always gives her plenty of favorable coverage in comparison to other Democrats.

This is copied directly from the Journal article.

Contact your legislators at the U.S. Capitol
Zip codes: House 20515, Senate 20510
Capitol operator: (202) 224-3121
Ben Ray Luján (D)
Steve Pearce (R)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

BIPARTISAN HEALTH-CARE CHANGES: Voting 392 for and 37 against, the House on March 26 passed a bill (HR 2) drafted by Republican and Democratic leaders that would set higher reimbursement levels based on quality of care for doctors who treat Medicare patients.
The bill would also extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years on a budget of $39.7 billion and fund rural and urban community health centers for two years at a cost of $7.2 billion.

The bill is projected to cost $200 billion over 10 years, with $140 billion to be deficit spending.
$35 billion coming from Medicare premium hikes on well-off seniors and the remainder raised through a variety of fees and cost-cutting measures.

The bill also would apply “Hyde Amendment” restrictions on the funding of abortion services provided by community health centers.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it stands a chance of passage.


10-YEAR REPUBLICAN BUDGET: Voting 228 for and 199 against, the House on March 25 approved a 10-year Republican fiscal plan (H Con Res 27) that seeks to balance the federal budget by fiscal 2024.

This blueprint rules out tax increases and relies on mostly unspecified tax and spending cuts to reach balance, leaving decisions affecting trillions of dollars to House committees.

The GOP budget would reduce spending by $5.5 trillion over 10 years through steps such as slashing domestic programs; converting Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and food stamps to state-run block-grant programs; repealing the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law; imposing work requirements onable-bodied adults as a condition of receiving certain federal benefits; devolving K-12 education programs to state and local governments; changing Medicare to a voucher program for persons now younger than 56 and repealing the Affordable Care Act without offering a specific replacement.

This budget would set 2016 federal spending at $3.79 trillion and provide $619 billion for defense.

It would reduce Highway Trust Fund payments to states; cut the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent; reduce the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and cut taxes on corporate profits earned overseas.

The budget anticipates that Congress will reform the tax code to finance its tax cuts but offers no specifics on how that should be done.

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican budget.


DEMOCRATIC BUDGET PLAN: By a vote of 160 for and 264 against, the House on March 25 defeated a Democratic budget that differed from the main GOP plan (H Con Res 27, above) by not seeking balance while spending far more for education, job training, early childhood intervention, scientific and medical research, transportation, infrastructure repair, environmental protection and other domestic programs.

This budget would continue the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs as presently structured while ending special-interest tax breaks in a way that would raise $1.8 trillion over 10 years from corporations and wealthy individuals.
The Democratic blueprint would keep defense spending within statutory budget caps.

A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic budget.


CONSERVATIVES’ BUDGET PLAN: Voting 132 for and 294 against, the House on March 25 defeated a 10-year budget authored by the conservative Republican Study Committee that would reach balance three years earlier than the mainstream GOP budget (H Con Res 27) would get there.

This plan proposed deep cuts in domestic discretionary spending and entitlement programs.
It would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and unlike the mainstream GOP budget, it offered a replacement healthcare law.

Also in contrast to the mainstream plan, the conservative budget stayed clear of off-budget tactics for increasing the Pentagon budget.

The entire $6.4 trillion that it proposed for military operations over 10 years would be subjected to the regular appropriations process.

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican Study Committee budget.


PROGRESSIVES’ BUDGET PLAN: Voting 96 for and 330 against, the House on March 25 defeated an alternative to H Con Res 27 (above) offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

With an emphasis on helping middle- and low-income families and workers, this so-called “People’s Budget” proposed to begin universal pre-K education, end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas, permanently extend the earned-income and child tax credits, raise taxes on the wealthy, increase funding for education and job-training programs, relieve student debt, increase spending to repair roads and bridges, raise the minimum wage and expand the use of renewable energy to address climate change.

This budget did not increase military spending or seek to reach balance over 10 years.


BLACK CAUCUS BUDGET PLAN: Voting 120 for and 306 against, the House on March 25 defeated an alternative to H Con Res 27 (above) offered by the Congressional Black Caucus.
This plan would reduce annual deficits by $1.9 trillion over 10 years while ending the sequester and robustly funding programs for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as programs to boost road and bridge construction, small businesses, manufacturing, affordable housing, job training, voting rights and the social safety net.

This plan would increase the minimum wage and raise taxes on the wealthy, and unlike the mainstream GOP budget, it would continue traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

A yes vote was to adopt the Black Caucus budget.


Martin Heinrich (D)
Tom Udall (D)

10-YEAR REPUBLICAN BUDGET: Voting 52 for and 46 against, the Senate on March 26 approved a Republican- drafted budget (S Con Res 11) for fiscal 2016-2025 that would boost military spending, repeal the Affordable Care Act, retain traditional Medicare, prohibit tax increases, slash spending for entitlement and domestic programs, convert Medicaid and food stamps to state-run block-grant programs and require an unspecified reform of the tax code.
This budget would reduce non-defense discretionary and entitlement spending by $4.7 trillion over 10 years with the aim of balancing the federal budget by 2025.

To help reach that goal, the budget requires $1.2 trillion in unspecified cuts in entitlement programs and assumes over $1 trillion in new revenue will materialize to replace revenue lost by repealing the 2010 health-care law.

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican budget.


STUDENT-LOAN REFINANCING: Voting 46 for and 53 against, the Senate on March 25 defeated an amendment to S Con Res 11 (above) that would allow up to 40 million borrowers to refinance their student loans down to interest rates prevailing in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Those now holding Stafford undergraduate loans at 6.8 percent or higher, for example, could refinance to 3.86 percent.

To offset its $5 billion-plus annual cost, the amendment would impose a 30 percent minimum tax on households with at least $1 million in income from salaries and/or investments.

A yes vote was to make room the 10-year GOP budget for student-loan refinancing.


Note: I've also written about Grisham doing things that could be intrepeted as trying to gain favor with Republicans, such as voting with them recently when they tried to hold Homeland Security funding hostage in an attempt to block immigration reforms President Obama had enacted by executive order, or when she snubbed the president by attending a speech organized by Republicans by Israeli Prime minister Bibi Netanyahu intended to embarrass the president and to undermine his negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program..

Grisham also posts pictures to her Facebook page of herself schmoozing with congressional Republicans.

Grisham and Republican Rep Frank Lucas

Grisham and Republican Rep Kevin Yoder

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