Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 22, 2010

JOBLESS AID PASSES, BUT WILL SENATE GOP KILL HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?.... It was a very busy afternoon in the U.S. Senate yesterday, with a flurry of important votes. Members considered a measure to block the Justice Department from pursuing legal action against Arizona's anti-immigrant law, but rejected it. Likewise, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) pushed a measure to permanently end the estate tax, which also failed.

Perhaps most importantly, the Senate was finally able to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, with a 59 to 39 vote. The House is expected to approve the same measure today, and President Obama will sign it into law as quickly as the bill can reach his desk.

So, what's next? A measure to help small businesses -- which Republicans are also trying to kill.

Perhaps the last best hope of Democrats to pass legislation aimed at creating jobs before the November elections seemed to be crumbling in the Senate on Wednesday as Republicans signaled that they would block a bill to expand government lending programs and grant an array of tax breaks to small businesses. [...]

[W]ith some Democrats viewing the small-business bill as critical to their political prospects in November, Senate Republicans were not about to let it through easily, and have insisted on a chance to offer amendments.

Yep, Republicans are fighting against a measure to help small businesses because it's more important to undermine Democrats than it is to help the economy.

Indeed, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who isn't exactly a liberal firebrand, noted what appears to be plainly true -- that the GOP leadership wants to reject a measure to help the economy for purely political reasons. "I think Senator McConnell knows and believes this bill could actually create millions of jobs and doesn't want to give the president and Democrats credit for doing what we do, which is standing up for the middle class," Landrieu said.

The main point of contention in the bill is a "$30 billion lending program that would make credit available to small businesses through local banks." It has broad Democratic support, and has been endorsed by the Independent Community Bankers of America and 29 state community banking associations.

But Republicans said it's a deal-breaker -- not because the lending program wouldn't work, but because it reminds them of TARP. Even Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who's supposed to be one of the more reasonable ones, said she'd block a vote against relief for small businesses if it includes the lending program.

Watching the Senate can be exceedingly unpleasant.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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This is (was?) the key constituency of the "Reagan" crowd, even before there was a Reagan crowd.
If Democrats can't even hang THIS one on the Republicans, they deserve to lose.
Ha! Did I just say I expect Democrats to successfully create a message? Never mind, what the Hell was I thinking!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on July 22, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

This should be shouted from the rooftops, the repubs are willing to cause suffering and unemployment for the American people just to make Obama fail. They are worried because he has passed a health care bill, a financial reform bill & many other good things. The strategy now is to divide the country along racial lines, please let's all support democratics running for office, these people must not get the upper hand, we will all be in trouble if they do. They are simply evil!

Posted by: jJS on July 22, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

That's the GOP in a nutshell: It's more important to score political points than to actually help millions of struggling Americans.

I'm not an economic expert by any means but I do think that one of the, if not the main reason the economy hasn't really taken off is that there is no credit flowing. The Wall Street shysters got their money and used it to replenish their bottom line.

Small business owners and start ups need credit to get going and they're not getting it.

And the GOP is fine with this. It'll be a very telling election coming up. Will Americans wake up, or be fooled again?

Posted by: citizen_pain on July 22, 2010 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

I read Robert Reich's piece about the 'One-and-a-Half Dip Recession' at HP this morning and now I'm too depressed to move.

I'm getting a sense that, at least in America, if you look at any crisis we're facing, its cause, continuation, and lack of government response can be laid squarely at the feet of blind corporate greed and perpetrated by the legislative stooges the corporations own.

Posted by: chrenson on July 22, 2010 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

On the bright side it is a small relief to have a break from the unbearable racist , upper volume , right wing drumming for the past few weeks . It is a part of my brain which hasn't been beaten quite as raw as the injuries from the relentless screaming racists , our own grass stained Tee Baggeurs , yet . Soon though no doubt , if yesterday , last year , the past forty years , are any indication the skin will be ripped off the delicate parts protecting sanity from its antitheses , the golly gee we hate 'em all brigades .

Posted by: FRP on July 22, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

citzen_pain, Americans will be fooled unless people like you and me tell our friends using every possible means at our disposal including our telephones and face to face visits.

The one thing we can't rely on is the press to actually tell the truth to the American people. It won't.

Please get outside and tell somebody we are headed to hell in a golf cart because the Republicans (and some Democrats) in the US Senate don't want America's economy to recover.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 22, 2010 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a fan of Ron Buyers.

Posted by: JS on July 22, 2010 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Senator Foghorn Leghorne (R) SC: "No, no, no! Y'all don't unnerstan' We is all for hep'in the small bidniz man, but that $30 billion gots to be paid for. Deficits, friend, deficits!"

Senator Eustice Tilly,( D) NY: "Yes, of course, I agree. And a slight increase in the estate tax will more than cover the $30 billion. . ."

Posted by: DAY on July 22, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

But Republicans said it's a deal-breaker -- not because the lending program wouldn't work, but because it reminds them of TARP.

A deal-breaker because it reminds them of the former Republican administration's program?

Posted by: Oh my on July 22, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Another he said/she said report from the link to the NYT. Where is any mention or link to the actual bill or bill number? I think I found it at Thomas.gov as H.R.5297 since the amount mentioned is $30 billion. The sponsor of the bill is none other than Barney the Frank, so one must now be suspect, according to the right wing noise machine(RWNM).


We are talking about "community banks" and we all know the hand they had in the demise of the economy, according to the RWNM. How many "community" Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and others received TARP money? It's truly sad when lawmakers have to use simple terms like "TARP" to play to the lazy and too stupid, who complain that bills are not read and voted on. No where does it state that "troubled assets" will be purchased, so how is this like TARP?

Posted by: flyonthewall on July 22, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Watching the Senate can be exceedingly unpleasant.

- unless you're compiling lists of awkward, embarrassing, and revealing votes by Republicans that can be effectively used against them in the fall election campaigns. In which case the storehouse of available material just keeps on growing.

I assume Democratic candidates are cataloging the many, many damaging Republican votes and quotes, and licking their chops at using all of this to devastating effect in the fall. Aren't they?

Um, aren't they?

Posted by: Basilisc on July 22, 2010 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

That damn Obama! He can't do anything! If he'd just use those super talkin' skillz he has, turn on the old Obama charm, those Republicans would fall to their knees.

He's such a disappointment.


Posted by: MsJoanne on July 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK


Here's the ad:

Scene: montage of happy people going to worried people to "for sale" signs to pics of unemployment checks. Note, state specific is the order of the day here.

Voice: it's a tragic scene repeated over and over these days, the Republican created recession put millions of people out of work, perhaps you or one of your friends.

While you are looking for work, so to keep body and soul together you rely on unemployment, which totals $240 a week.

But your Republican Senator, who is worth millions, wants to cut your unemployment insurance off, falsely accusing you of drug abuse and worse.

Time after time he has voted against extending your and your family's unemployment insurance which you paid for out of your check each month falsely accusing the Obama admin of increasing the deficit which HE inflated by giving tax breaks to rich friends and corporations.

Time to end this cycle of revenge and lies. Vote democratic this fall. You and your family will be glad you did.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 22, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers -- thanks for the nudge. Will do.

Posted by: RR on July 22, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

And--ok, I shouldn't be amazed any longer--it's a $30 billion LENDING program. Lending as in the small business will have to pay it back. Lending as in loan payments. Lending as in what on earth is the problem here??? LENDING PROGRAM! LENDING PROGRAM! LENDING PROGRAM!

Words fail me.

Posted by: gifgrrl on July 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Let's just abolish the Senate and be done with it. Time to call a Constitutional convention. It's our right under Article V.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on July 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Even Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who's supposed to be one of the more reasonable ones, said she'd block a vote against relief for small businesses if it includes the lending program."

GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN!!! Mitch McConnell must have this woman scared SHITLESS!!!

Posted by: BigDaddyRich on July 22, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

So, the selling point Republicans continuously trot out for eliminating the estate tax is that it will save family businesses, which of course it doesn't apply to. But when they get a chance to approve something that actually does help small business, they reject it. Here's another gift from the Republicans that you can be sure the Democrats will leave under the tree unopened.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on July 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK



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