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Rep. Earl Blumenauer on the State of the Union

"In his State of the Union address, the President gave us no hint that he understands Americans' problems - or knows how to solve them."
Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Dear Friend,

In his State of the Union address last night, the President gave us no hint that he understands Americans' problems - or knows how to solve them. Instead of proposing common sense solutions, he continued to advocate and defend the misguided policies of his administration - from the quagmire in Iraq , to the failed response to hurricane Katrina, to spying on the American public, to his refusal to help those who lack adequate health insurance.

One of the most glaring examples was his call to end our addiction to oil. He never once mentioned "conservation" which is the cheapest, quickest and most effective way to reduce this costly and dangerous addiction.

The area that cried out most for Presidential leadership was fighting the cloud of corruption that hangs over Washington, DC, tainting everything that Congress does. It is unfortunate that there were no strong words from the President of his disgust with these abuses or a commitment to clean them up.



Here are a few of my reactions to the topics the President addressed:


Health Care

The President's proposed Health Savings Accounts and Associated Health Plans do nothing to help the 46 million uninsured Americans or lower the cost of skyrocketing health care. Designed for political gain from pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry, Health Savings Accounts primarily benefit those who already have insurance and do nothing to control costs.

Today, over 600,000 Oregonians are without health insurance. Even those who are fortunate enough to have health insurance are paying more for it every year. Health insurance premiums have increased by 73 percent while wages have increased by only 15 percent. Americans deserve a better solution to this growing crisis.


Energy

I'm disappointed that the President still wants to drill, dig, and subsidize our way our of his energy crisis. His proposal to rely on nuclear plants that require federal financing, his pursuit of futuristic hydrogen cell technology while ignoring cars that are already fuel efficient, and his continued advocacy for coal reflect his commitment to failed energy policies of the past.

I am proud to say that many Americans understand what we need to do. The public understands that conservation is the best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Just closing the loopholes in our current fuel efficiency standards could cut U.S. oil dependence by 1.5 million barrels per day in 2025.

If President Bush is serious about conserving energy and saving American jobs, he should figure out how to help American automakers regain a competitive edge on fuel efficient and hybrid cars. Instead, last night we heard more of the same empty promises and a lack of vision.


National Security

Protecting Americans is our number one priority. That means that the President and Congress must have the best intelligence possible to keep Americans safe.

But no one - not even the President - is above the law.

Sadly, the bipartisan 9/11 Commission gave the President and the Republican leadership a failing report: 17 Ds and Fs. Their final conclusion? Republican leaders have failed to implement recommendations that would secure our borders, protect our ports, and provide real-time communication links to first responders.

More than four years after 9/11, the Bush administration and the Republican Congress have failed to ensure Americans' safety.


Economy

While the President gives away tax breaks, hard-working, middle-class Americans are being squeezed financially. He has increased our national debt to over $8 trillion, expecting our children to repay his tax cuts. In Congress, Republicans are poised to pass their so-called Budget Reduction Act, which works hand-in-hand with increased tax cuts to add billions more to the national debt.

Although American families with the highest income - 1 percent of the population - received an average tax cut of $34,948 in 2005, middle income families received only an average tax cut of $742. Apparently, the President isn't interested in the plight of those who don't qualify for his tax breaks, nor in those who don't have a job. Today, 1.4 million Americans are currently unemployed, 2.8 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, and job growth continues to be below healthy levels. For most Americans, real wages have fallen in the past two years and the weekly earnings of a typical full-time worker have declined. Today, a total of 37 million Americans live in poverty; 13 million of those are our children.

Sadly, the President's remarks continue to reflect his isolation from the issues that are plaguing Oregonians. Whether it's working to make healthcare more affordable, creating good jobs for all Oregonians or making our tax system fairer, I will continue to bring these issues to the forefront of my work in Congress. As always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments.





Sincerely,

Earl Blumenauer







Congressman Earl Blumenauer
2446 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Telephone: (202) 225-4811

homepage: homepage: http://www.mbtranslations.com
address: address: http://www.dubyaspeak.com

THIS IS THE ONLY ISSUE THAT MATTERS PEOPLE! 02.Feb.2006 08:45

Focus!

The REAL hijackers are the US terror agents that operated the Remote Guidance Systems and crashed those planes into the WTC. The REAL terrorists are the black operatives that crashed a Global Hawk Predator Drone into the Pentagon, and either shot down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania, or crashed Flights 93 and 77 together in a mid-air collission. The REAL TERRORISTS are the illegally appointed neo-con fascists within the US government that PLANNED AND CARRIED OUT THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON 9-11! A FACT is still a FACT, no matter what misinformation, misdirection, smoke and mirrors snipe hunt those responsible attempt to distract you with. The EVIDENCE pertaining to the TREASON committed on 9-11 is overwhelming, and damning, and makes a mockery of the "official" conspiracy theory about rabid arabs. The claims of the neo-con fascists are absurd and about as substantial as a wet paper bag; anyone that believes their fairytale about the rabid arabs is either uninformed or in serious denial. So PLEASE, let's stop debating about the validity of ANY EXPLANITORY STATEMENT spoken by members of the GUILTY PARTY and get FOCUSED, holding this FACT in mind: AL QAEDA IS THE NEO-CON FASCIST BUSH ADMINISTRATION, and it's up to us to STOP THEM!!!

Why didn't you vote Earl? 02.Feb.2006 17:01

A constituent

Hey Earl,

It's easy to post a PR piece here on Indy spouting off about how you care about the working class. But it's just a little too hard to put your money where your mouth is and vote on the Repugs Budget Reconciliation bill - which passed by only 2 votes!!

Thanks Earl. Thanks for NOT voting against draconian cuts in Financial Aid, Child Support, Medicaid, Child Care Assistance, Foster Care, and TANF that data has already shown will decimate what's left of the social safety net for the poorest Americans - some of which reside in your district!

"Apparently, the President isn't interested in the plight of those who don't qualify for his tax breaks, nor in those who don't have a job."

Oh, really Earl? And you do? Spoken like a true sanctimonious, self-serving, hypocrite! How do you have the balls to say something like that after yesterday?

I detest the Busheviks for their blatant victimization of the working class, but you and your ilk are more despicable. You claim to be on our side, make your speeches, post your propaganda BS on "progressive" sights like Indy - but - miss the vote on the one piece of legislation that's going to most directly affect the poorest among us. Hypocrite! You wonder why we're so disgusted with the Democrats.

I haven't heard why you didn't vote yesterday. And I really don't care. No excuse would suffice. THAT was the ONE vote I elected you to make. You let us all down. I'm going to go out of my way to campaign AGAINST you. Congrats. You got this uninvolved voter INVOLVED.

Oh yeah, I'm still waiting for the reply to my e-mail I sent you which your website promises would be sent within 24 hours. More empty, easy, nice-sounding promises that go unfulfilled... Guess you were too busy going into PR overdrive, fending off other comments like mine, huh?

Straight party-line vote, Blumenauer's vote could not have changed it 02.Feb.2006 19:29

g.d. dem

Going to house.gov shows this


Yeas Nays PRES NV
Republican 216 13 2
Democratic 200 1
Independent 1
TOTALS 216 214 3

Not one Democrat voted for this -- the 13 Republicans that voted against it were all the Republicans that ever would vote against the Republican bosses and the White House. In other words, neither of the 2 non-voting Republicans would ever vote against it, so even if Blumenauer had not missed the vote, it still would have carried 216-215.

If somehow the vote against had gotten up to 216, you can bet the Republican bosses of the House would have found ways to (1) get the two non-voters to show up, and, (2) twist the arm of at least one of the 13 Republicans who voted against to switch to a AYE vote. Even if they had to hold the voting open for an indefinite period of time - they do that kind of thing all the time. This was a done deal before the vote was ever taken. Earl knew that his vote wasn't going to matter. It's a Republican Congress.

Of course, I would have appreciated it if Blumenauer could have been there -- how much better for the g.d. dem to be able to say ALL the Democrats voted against this horrible cut-back for services for the poorest and least in our "rich" country.

It would be great if Walden could be got rid of in November - if he could even be replaced with a populist Republican like Ron Paul or Walter Jones (who both voted against on this issue as they have voted against the war). Eastern Oregon deserves better.

vote results format problem 02.Feb.2006 19:41

g.d. dem

The table from house.gov didn't translate, so here are the results in better format, I hope --

Republicans: Yeas 216 Nays 13 Not Voting 2
Democrats: Yeas 200 Not Voting 1

The one Independent (Bernie Sanders of Vermont) voted Yea

TOTALS Yeas 216 Nays 13 Not Voting 3 (including 2 Republicans)

more vote results format problem 02.Feb.2006 21:22

g.d. dem

Dyslexia struck again -- got Nays and Yeas upside down. Here's the corrected results in better format, I hope --

Republicans: Yeas 216, Nays 13, Not Voting 2
Democrats: NO YEAS, Nays 200, Not Voting 1

The one Independent (Bernie Sanders of Vermont) voted Nay

TOTALS Yeas 216, Nays 214, Not Voting 3 (including 2 Republicans)

BTW: Imagine if we just had a couple of Independents in the House! Might be a different world.

Yeah, but... 02.Feb.2006 22:01

mh

I understand what you're saying, but by that logic the entire Democratic delegation would not have to show up 90% of the time.

Earl talks the talk, he should walk the walk. Excuse me, but did he have some more pressing business than to go on record with the rest of the Ds in, at least, symbolic opposition to this raping of the poor?

One of the few objective ways we have of measuring our lawmakers' performance is by his/her voting record. It's the most basic part of their JOB, for cripes sake. Wish I could be paid so well, and defended so adamantly, for NOT doing my job!

What do you what and what are you willing to pay for it?... 03.Feb.2006 11:22

Pravda or Consequences

I think the "More than four years after 9/11, the Bush administration and the Republican Congress have failed to ensure Americans' safety." bothers me the most.

If we are truely democratic in speech and action throughout the world then we are safer because we show that we respect all interests, not just the fortunate.

The reason 03.Feb.2006 17:26

Fish

From PSU Daily Vanguard:

Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer was unable to attend the vote because he was flying back to Oregon to attend to a medical issue involving his mother, though he opposed the bill, Blumenauer spokesperson Kathie Eastman said.


Didn't Earl vote against this same bill 4 time already? Its not like he hasn't fought it.