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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Landrieu’

A Letter from Senator Mary Landrieu

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

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Landrieu on Her Reluctant Vote for the Republican Obama Tax Deal

In December during the fight against renewal of the Bush tax cuts (now the Republican Obama tax cuts) for millionaires and billionaires, we posted a tribute to Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s strong condemnation of the immoral giveaway and wrote to her to say thank you

for your strong words . . . against the Obama-McConnell tax plan. Levees Not War has posted a ‘tip of the hat” (“If we had three hats we’d tip them all to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu . . .”) and we’ve urged our readers to contact your office to thank you for standing up for “justice and doing what’s right.”

. . . We’re concerned that if the tax cuts are extended, their cost to the Treasury will be used (again) as a rationale for cutting Social Security, Medicare, health care reform, and other social safety-net programs. As Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont has written in his letter to Speaker Pelosi, “Without a doubt, the very same people who support this addition to our debt will oppose raising the debt ceiling to pay for it.” This is wicked policy and cannot be abetted by Democrats.

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Senator Landrieu sent a reply, and we wanted to share some of her remarks:

On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, extending the lower income tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2004 for two more years.

Although this tax package was not perfect, I strongly supported portions of the legislation directed towards extending tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses including the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and the employer-provided child care tax credit, which were set to expire on December 31, 2010. You may be interested to know that this legislation provides income tax relief for more than 98% of Louisiana families. In addition, the legislation also contains a necessary extension of long-term unemployment benefits to help Americans who are out of work pay the rent, keep the lights on and feed their families while they look for a job. For these reasons I voted in favor of this legislation.

This bill also extended several Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone tax provisions that will mean almost $1 billion in Gulf Coast construction activity and jobs. In the next Congress, I will continue to work with my colleagues to pass a bipartisan provision that will extend the GOZone Low-Income Housing Tax Credit through 2012 so that critical recovery projects will not be stalled or completely shelved.

Even with the benefits for the middle class and the people of Louisiana, this legislation has much room for improvement and I hope that changes can be made during the next Congress. Please rest assured that I will keep your views in mind as Congress debates tax legislation in the future. . . .

P. S. : I am excited to announce that my office is launching new e-newsletters to keep you updated on what I am working on here in Washington, D.C.

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When Vermont senator Bernie Sanders held the floor of the Senate for eight and a half hours on Dec. 10 to denounce the tax cut extension—a diatribe so popular that it temporarily shut down the Senate’s web video server—Ms. Landrieu was one of the Democrats, along with Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who joined Mr. Sanders in speaking out against Obama’s misguided deal with Senate Republicans. We salute their stand. We vote for Democrats Who Fight.

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Sanctimonious Purists Unite

Friday, December 10th, 2010

“People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves, and sanctimonious about how pure our intensions are and how tough we are.”

President Obama, in reply to a question about “what your core values are, what specifically you will go to the mat on”

White House press conference, Tues. Dec. 7, 2010

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An Open Letter to Obama and Biden

NO DEAL

Unfair, Unaffordable  |  No “Kumbaya” for Billionaires

Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden:

You can denounce us “sanctimonious purists” if you like, but one thing you should understand is that we’re not just disgusted with the deal you’ve struck with the Republicans; it’s your timing, and the fact that this desperate compromise did not have to happen. What we oppose is your habitual over-readiness to compromise, your unwillingness to fight before you get backed into a corner. We’re not interested in your readiness to fight Republicans next year (we’ll believe it when we see it); we’re angry about your failure to fight them on these issues in 2010. For the past year you could have been speaking out loudly, publicly, in a sustained fighting-mode campaign, for the continuation of unemployment insurance benefits and against the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Instead you signaled a willingness to find “common ground.”

You never pushed for the unemployment extension when you had a chance, and when you had big Democratic majorities in Congress. You didn’t take the lead to embolden Congressional Democrats before the midterm elections, making big speeches in the districts of the wavering, cautious members of Congress up for reelection. (They weren’t bold, either, but had you taken the lead they would have had more calcium in their spines.) You didn’t meet with Congressional Democrats before you cut this deal with the Republicans, according to Senator Mary Landrieu, who denounces this deal’s “almost moral corruptness.” Now, if Mary Landrieu is disgusted, then the outrage cannot be said to be limited to “liberals.”

Why should a Democratic-majority Congress vote for a measure Republicans want, a deficit-deepening measure for which the GOP will later hypocritically blame them? This is part of the GOP strategy. Let Dems do the lifting, then blame them. You know how Republicans operate.

We’re very concerned that if the tax cuts are extended, their cost to the Treasury will be used (again) as a rationale for cutting Social Security, Medicare, health care reform, and other social safety-net programs. As Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont has written in his letter to Speaker Pelosi, “Without a doubt, the very same people who support this addition to our debt will oppose raising the debt ceiling to pay for it.” You didn’t address this, and you can’t blame the “sanctimonious purist” liberals for this predicament.

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Mary Landrieu Slams “Obama-McConnell Plan”

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

“I’m going to argue forcefully for the nonsensicalness and the almost, you know, moral corruptness of that particular policy. . . . This is beyond politics. This is about justice and doing what’s right.”

If we had three hats* we’d tip them all to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who today blasted the Republican–Obama plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years. Levees Not War faxed a letter to Senator Landrieu’s office this morning urging her to oppose the deal; we had no idea she was so passionately opposed to the immorality of the giveaway. We salute her forceful statements and hope she will firmly vote “no” when the time comes. Please join us in phoning Senator Landrieu’s office to thank her for her stand against the unfair and unaffordable “Obama-McConnell plan”:

Phone

WDC:  202-224-5824  |  N.O.:  504-589-2427 |  B.R.:  225-389-0395

Fax

WDC:  202-224-9735  |  N.O.:  504-589-4023  |  B.R.:  225-389-0660

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“It’s what I’m calling the Obama-McConnell plan. We’re going to borrow $46 billion from the poor, from the middle class, from businesses of all sizes basically to give a tax cut to families in America today, that despite the recession, are making over a million dollars. I mean, this is unprecedented. Unprecedented.”

Senator Landrieu was quoted on MSNBC’s The Ed Show Tuesday night as saying that before Obama met with the Republican leadership to work out the tax extension plan he did not meet with the liberal Democrats, the moderate Democrats, or the conservative Democrats. Her remarks were reported by Ryan Grim in the Huffington Post (and on Dec. 8 by TalkingPointsMemo’s Brian Beutler under the title “Landrieu Blasts ‘Obama-McConnell’ Plan for Selling Out Black Voters”: full text below):

Mary Landrieu: ‘Obama-McConnell Plan’ Is ‘Almost Morally Corrupt’

Huffington Post, Dec. 7, 2010 | by Ryan Grim

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a conservative Democratic from Louisiana, lashed out Tuesday at President Obama’s deal with congressional Republicans that allows tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended for two years.

Extending the tax cuts for those making more than a million dollars a year is borderline immoral, Landrieu charged. “I’m going to argue forcefully for the nonsensicalness and the almost, you know, moral corruptness of that particular policy,” said Landrieu, walking into a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats. “This is beyond politics. This is about justice and doing what’s right.”

(more…)

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“Our Kinship Will Not Be Washed Away”

Monday, May 31st, 2010

We always hate to miss a good protest, so we really wish we could have been in Jackson Square yesterday for the big SAVE THE GULF rally (organized, at least in part, by Murdered Gulf). In her HuffPo blog Karen Dalton-Beninato brings us an account of the strong lineup of speakers, including Phyllis Montana-Leblanc and Dr. John, with a rain-damp but spirited crowd that included Spike Lee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Tim Robbins. (See photos posted by Derek Bridges @ Flickr and below; Editor B @ Flickr [with cool panorama]; Times-PicayuneNew Orleans Ladder; and NewOrleans.com.)

Probably the hottest and most articulate rant—worthy of Treme’s Creighton Bernette, or New Orleans’s late, beloved Ashley Morris—was given by activist Ian Hoch, who focused the crowd’s attention on the damage to the fishermen along the Gulf, on corporate malfeasance that is not limited to BP, and on the need to turn this oil slick crime into the moment when America shifts gears toward alternative energy sources. (See Gore, Kerry, Sanders at “In the News,” right.) Speaking through a bullhorn, Hoch aroused raucous cheers as he called for action and support of fellow Louisianians:

“Help the men and women in the coastal parishes yourself. Go visit St. Bernard, go visit Terrebone and Lafourche and Plaquemines. Eat at their restaurants and drink at their bars. I haven’t been fishing since I was 10 years old—I don’t even know if I like fishing—but I know that I would take immense pleasure in supporting a charter boat captain whose livelihood is endangered by BP’s corporate malfeasance. [applause] If everybody here today got together with a couple of their friends and booked a charter fishing trip I know we’d make a difference. And if everybody here asked the waiter every time they visit a restaurant, ‘Are you serving Louisiana seafood?’ I know we would make a difference. . . . I’m not going to stay here in town enjoying the current renaissance of New Orleans while our brothers and sisters are out on the water twisting in the wind.

“Let’s boycott BP, and let’s use less gasoline and reduce our carbon footprint. Thomas Friedman says “Change your leaders, not your lightbulbs.” So keep your anger focused on the politicians. Corporations will be corporations, and politicians will be politicians. But BP doesn’t answer to you. But Mary Landrieu and Bobby Jindal and David Vitter and Joseph Cao and Barack Obama do answer to you. [applause] Self-serving politicans enable the bad guys, and we enable the self-serving politicians. So call your congressmen and tell them they must not allow this disaster to corrode the social fabric of the coastal parishes. Tell them you want to be sure that BP doesn’t get to pick an oil-industry affiliated judge in Houston. . . .

(more…)

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“This Small Planet”

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

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At a loss for words while Louisiana’s at a loss for land, life

Like many bloggers we’re sometimes at a loss for words in the face of the widening catastrophe in the Gulf—the one that began with a bang on April 20, Earth Day. We want to say something, to do something that will stop the hemorrhage (we can’t) or make the federal government push harder on BP to work faster and be more honest in their damage assessments (any progress?). There is much we could say, some of it ambivalent or confused and self-contradictory or unrealistic. How is it possible to be realistic when we cannot see the full scope of the catastrophe? We want to be accurate and comprehensive (on one hand, on the other hand), yet the subject has grown so large that, as with the all-touching subject of Hurricane Katrina, comprehensiveness and accuracy seems beyond anyone’s grasp. So instead we’ll take bits and pieces. It’s okay to take small, focused subjects, too.

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One specific, poignant subject is the absolute heartbreak of seeing a dead pelican—the state bird of Louisiana—being carried in a plastic bag along the oil-stained beach by an emergency clean-up worker. Other photos show pelicans trying to clean the oil slick off their feathers. Only last November the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu announced that after some four decades the brown pelican, once driven nearly to extinction by the pesticide DDT, had repopulated enough that the species no longer required specific federal protection. Where is the pelican now? Dripping with oil, gasping for air, like the state it symbolizes.

(See “The Brown Pelican Is Back.” Click here for a gallery of photographs of the brown pelican by Times-Picayune photographer Scott Threlkeld • Boston Globe slide show • New York Times oil spill slide show • Washington Post photo gallery of the oil spill’s animal victims • ProPublica.org oil spill slide show.)

We treehuggers are often scoffed at for caring about the animals and other life crushed by industrial expansion, and it is true that sometimes environmentalists concerned about a single species in a specific habitat have lost sight of a larger good—sometimes a larger environmental good. Go ahead, we can take the scoffing—we have skin like tree bark—but who that has a soul feels nothing in common with other creatures? The animals are the same as us, only without the protections humans can (sometimes) afford. Let’s all remember that, as President Kennedy said in his famous commencement address at American University in June 1963:

“. . . in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

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Top photograph from ThinkProgress.org.

Bagged pelican photograph by Gerald Herbert/Associated Press.

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“Something Called ‘Volcano Monitoring’ ”

Friday, April 16th, 2010

[cross-posted at Daily Kos]

“[The Democrats’ stimulus] legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes . . . $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.” —Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Feb. 24, 2009

Remember Bobby Jindal’s celebrated response to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009? It included some, uh, noteworthy moments, not the least of which was his sneer at such “wasteful spending” as “something called ‘volcano monitoring.’” Some speechwriter was probably pleased with that line, but this was a contemptuous display of ignorance on the level of Rudy Giuliani’s ridiculing “community organizer—what’s that?” (6:08) at the 2008 Republican National Convention, and just as deserving of a reality-based comeuppance. The $140 million for the U.S. Geological Survey was partly intended to provide warnings of impending volcanic eruptions in the U.S. and around the world where American military bases are located. The Americans at Ramstein Air Base in Germany probably appreciate that monitoring equipment right about now.

With international air traffic to Europe disrupted for a second straight day following a massive volcano eruption in Iceland (some 17,000 flights were canceled Friday), we have to use the occasion to poke this over-ambitious governor in the eye and say: “Now do you get it?” Jindal the boy genius used to be respected for his intelligence (Rhodes Scholar) and precocious grasp of complex policy, but those days are over. He is not serving his state or the nation—and not his own career, either—by his know-nothing, anti-science statements and decisions. (See our earlier posts “Mr. Jindal, Tear Down This Ambition” and “From Rising Star to Black Hole.”)

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Mitch Landrieu for Mayor of New Orleans

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Mitch Is the Man

New Orleanians, the best way to make the Saints lucky on Sunday in the Super Bowl is by casting your ballot early and often (encore, repetez!) for Mitchell J. Landrieu as mayor of the great City of New Orleans. This is also the best way to boost the city’s fortunes for four years (at least). We are indeed fortunate to have a candidate so thoroughly qualified, politically able, well liked, and, yes, ethical. Let’s make it a Super Weekend, a one-two punch, Saturday and Sunday. Who dat say dey gonna beat Mitch?

Among many admirable qualities in this New Orleans native (he grew up in Broadmoor, graduated from Jesuit, and earned his law degree at Loyola), one that particularly impresses us is the fact that as lieutenant governor he was an early and vigorous supporter of the America’s Wetland Conservation Corps: he pushed America’s Wetland to affiliate with AmeriCorps to combine AW’s conservation agenda with the youth public service program to make Louisiana a better, greener place. Mitch gets it, and it’s working. The AWCC is administered by the Louisiana Serve Commission in the office of the lieutenant governor. Our regular readers know that we have been pushing for a new Civilian (or Coastal) Conservation Corps for the urgent job of restoring the Louisiana coastline to serve as a critical buffer from hurricane storm surges. Levees are not enough. Read more about AWCC here, and our plan for a new CCC here (at LaCoastPost).

In addition to the highly coveted endorsement of this blog, Landrieu has been endorsed by the Times-PicayuneGambit Weekly, the Louisiana WeeklyNew Orleans CityBusiness, the New Orleans firefighters, and the Alliance for Good Government.

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“We Need Strong Leadership” on Health Care Reform

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Talking Points Memo reports that Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, released a statement Tuesday that calls “troubling” the White House and Senate Democrats’ compromises on the public option—by this point a mere shadow of the original idea (itself a compromise short of universal coverage). Senate leaders and the White House, said Grijalva,

have already compromised far too much. At some point in this process, the question became not what was the best policy for the American people, but what could be done to appease a recalcitrant handful who have negotiated in bad faith. We need strong leadership so close to the finish line, not efforts to water down a bill to the breaking point in a misguided attempt to win votes that were never there.

The House of Representatives voted on its bill on November . Since that vote, the action has been in the Senate. The action has consisted mainly of compromises and wrangling with stubborn “conserva-Dems” such as Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, and “independent” Joe Lieberman, and continued courting of the Republicans from Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. As of this week, the Senate seems to be moving toward creating a nonprofit board rather than a truly public option (which Lieberman has said he will not vote for, no matter how watered down it may be). Grijalva says of the nonprofit board idea:

A non-public option without government support will not bring down prices, expand coverage or provide competition for private companies. . . . Voters will instantly recognize it as a whitewash of the problem we have spent the better part of this year trying to fix. They would be right to criticize any plan that fails to address their concerns, and they will be doubly right to reject this one.

We need a public option, period. . . . I cannot support a system that forces Americans to buy private insurance and then allows those companies to collect government subsidies without competition. Our final health care bill should be based on policy outcomes and the needs of consumers, and the direction the Senate is taking does not give me confidence.

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