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January 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

It’s always interesting to look at small coalitions of lawmakers that buck the overwhelming majority of their party and vote the other way. For example, these six Democrats that voted against the House rules package:

Rep. Brian Baird [D, WA-3]
Rep. Michael Michaud [D, ME-2]
Rep. Walt Minnick [D, ID-1]
Rep. Edward Pastor [D, AZ-4]
Rep. Maxine Waters [D, CA-35]
Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D, CA-6]

I did some quick googling to see if they had released statements on their votes and found two.


>“The first vote of the new Congress asked members to support a package that includes a major provision that does not live up to the fiscal responsibility that the American people demand,” said Michaud. “All across my district families are being asked to tighten their belts, cut spending, and go without. It’s time that Congress learned to do the same.”
>By including in this rules package a provision to repeal the Medicare trigger, congressional leaders failed to deal with the long-term deficit faced by this program. The Medicare trigger is mechanism that states that if Medicare is financed by over 45% of general revenue, more than two years in a row, a plan must be presented as to how to make up the shortfall. If left with nothing to replace the Medicare trigger, spending financed by the taxpayers could increase uncontrollably.


>“As our economy continues to struggle it’s essential that policymakers have the fiscal flexibility to enact proposals that not only generate job creation, but protect the millions of families who have been caught in the worst recession in generations,” Woolsey told me today. “While pundits speculate on the size of the eventual economic recovery package, they are ignoring the fact that it will likely take a series of steps before our economy is back on track, not just one vote — no matter how large it is. Unfortunately, the rules package proposed yesterday could limit our ability to undertake such necessary steps by allowing future recovery proposals to be conditional on pay-go rules, making them vulnerable to political maneuvering and grandstanding.”

Their reasoning couldn’t be much further apart. I guess that’s the far-right and far-left of the Democratic party right there.

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