It looks like Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell(R), forgot a rule from the standard GOP playbook, that rule being that you never ever admit that federal spending actually helps your state. In an interview on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” the governor said that his state is one of the highest recipients of federal dollars, that cuts to federal spending would disproportionately affect his state, long term, and that federal spending has helped his state especially when it comes to education and healthcare. Of course after making those admissions he promptly got back on message and stated that he supported cuts to spending.
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In an interview with Blog Talk Radio Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont, claimed that the new way to scam welfare was to go to college. Huh? I thought welfare cheats were generally lazy people who hung around day and night doing their best to avoid any and all work like the plague while looking for the taxpayer to support them, guess I was wrong. Rehberg made the following statement to BTR “So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century, You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don’t have to graduate from college. And there ought to be some kind of commitment and endgame.” and that a student could “go to school for nine years on Pell Grants and you don’t even have to get a degree.” Really? What exactly do Pell Grants have to do with welfare or any of the other low income assistance programs that the Representative listed? Yes, Pell Grants are government assistance for those who fall into the low income bracket, but one has nothing to do with the other. Is Rehberg trying to say that applying for federal help to go to college is the first step in ripping off the federal government?
In order to receive and remain eligible for Pell Grants year to year you actually have to show up and pass your classes, so the Representative is being completely dishonest when he says that there is no endgame. How does a student go to school and pass all his classes and not graduate?
Representative Denny Rehberg’s rhetoric on this issue is easy to understand. It’s a classic political strategy that the Republican Party has been using for quite some time now. His wild outlandish claims are an effort to make his vote to cut Pell Grant funding and make it harder for people to qualify for them look justified. Ironically Rehberg cites rising college costs as reason why these cuts are necessary. What’s even more ironic is that the Obama administration has been trying to restrict Pell Grant approvals to for-profit colleges because they have generally have higher tuition costs and higher drop out rates yet the GOP has been fighting against it. It’s just another in a long line of efforts to balance budgets and pay for tax breaks for the rich on the backs of the middle class and poor.
The families of the casualties of the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 that took place in February 2009, pushed last year for passage of tougher safety measures after it was deemed that the crash was due to pilot error. Investigators believe that fatigue played a major role in how the pilots reacted when they got caught in a an ice storm as they attempted to land in Buffalo. The co-pilot took a cross-country overnight flight and reportedly only slept briefly in an airline lounge the day before the crash. Both of the pilots were also heard yawning on the cockpit recorder. After 15 months of lobbying Congress, the families got a bill passed that raised pilot qualifying and training standards. The Shuster amendment will make it much more difficult for the federal government to enforce those new regulations. It warrants mentioning that Shuster has received $115,750 from the aviation industry over the course of his political career. Needless to say the families are outraged.
Susan Bourque of East Aurora, who lost her sister, said “You can try to dress this up however you like, but we all know which special interests that the amendment is attempting to help and what it’s attempting to do for them, which is make it more difficult for the FAA to do its job and regulate them,”. Chesley Sullenberger, hero pilot that landed a US Airways jet in the Hudson River in New York saving all 155 lives that were aboard said about the amendment “it creates a huge obstacle to new regulations,” and that, “at some point in the future, we don’t know when, it’s likely people will die unnecessarily.” Here he is on MSNBC’s The Ed Show via Thinkprogess.org Youtube channel speaking about the issue.
The battle of what to cut and what not to cut continues to rage between Democrats and Republicans over our governments budget. It appears though that both parties are tentatively working on a deal that would see cuts coming in the amount of 33 billion over the next 6 months, a little more than half of what the Republican controlled House recently passed.
According to some anonymous Democratic lawmakers, part of that deal would see President Obama going along with some GOP proposals that will roll back key environmental protections. Some of the proposed cuts would stop the government from being able to regulate greenhouse gases, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and shutting down mountaintop mines. What’s worse is the President’s round about way of agreeing to a bill that he knows will anger a large portion of his liberal base. According to members of the Congressional Black Caucus the administration stated that House GOP proposals restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate would have to make it into the final bill, so as to control how the White House’s position will appear. If all this is true it looks like Obama is ready, willing and able to once again give his base another reason to be disappointed in him, but then again in his desperate bid to appear centrist for the next election what’s one more disappoint for those who worked so tirelessly to get him in office in the first place?