Senate passes H.R. 1424 (previously H.R. 3997) Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Posted on October 1st, 2008 by bile
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H.R. 1424: To amend section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, section 9812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment, and for other purposes.

451 PAGES, up from the H.R. 3997′s 110 and the original’s 3.

Nay Yea
Democrat 10 40
Republican 15 34
Total 25 74

Senators Voting “Nay” on Federal Intervention in the Financial Markets: Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008:
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Official roll call for vote number 213.

Both of the senators from the state of New Jersey where I am a resident voted in the affirmative. They’ve already received emails indicating my displeasure with their actions.

To Frank Lautenberg:

I am disappointed by your vote in the affirmative on H.R. 1424. I will be doing what I can to to assure you are not reelected in November.

“We will not let this economy fail” -Senator Reid
“This bill creates jobs here at home.” -Senator Reid
“Inaction is not an option.” -Senator Reid
“America I hope saw  Congress, the United States Senate, acting as the forbearers and the Founders intended it to act.” -Senator Dodd

S. 3487 Serve America Act summary

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by bile
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  • Grants for “Youth Engagement Zones”, “not less than $250k and not more than $1m. Eligible partnerships include: a community-based agency, local educational agency, a State Commission or State education agency, local government agency, office of the chief executive officer of a unit of general local government, institution of higher education. Priority given to “eligible partnerships that serve high percentages or numbers of low-income students.” “including partnerships that serve urban, and partnerships that serve rural, communities.” $20m, $30m, $30m, $40m, $40m appropriated for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 respectively. The funds must be used for: ‘solve specific community challenges’, ‘improve student engagement, including student attendance and student behavior, and student achievement, graduation rates, and college-going rates in secondary schools’, ‘involve an increasing percentage of secondary school students and out-of-school youth in the community in school-based or community-based service-learning activities each year, with the goal of involving all students in secondary schools served by the local education agency and involving an increasing percentage of the out-of-school youth in service-learning activities over the course of 5 years’, ‘encourage participants to continue to engage in service throughout their lives.’
  • Grants for “Campuses of Service”, not more than 30 annually. $10m for each fiscal years 2009 through 2013. For 2 or 4 year, public or private institution of higher education.
  • Service-Learning Impact study. 10 year longitudinal study on the impact of the activities carried out. Examining student academic achievement, student engagement, graduation rates, the degree to which the participants in the activities engaged in subsequent national service, volunteering, or other service activities. Allocation “such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.”
  • Sec. 167. Establish the “Commission on Cross-Sector Solutions to America’s Problems.” 21 members. 9 appointed by the President, 3 by Senate majority leader, 3 by Senate minority leader, 3 by Speaker of the House, 3 by the House minority leader. No more than 11 from the same political party. “The Commission shall conduct a thorough study of all matters relating to was in which the Federal Government can work more efficiently and effectively with nonprofit organizations and philanthropic organizations… in achieving better outcomes.” “The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.” Terminates after 6 years
  • Sec. 167A. “Community Solutions Fund grant program.” Make grants for periods of 5 years, and may renew for 5 years. Not less than $1m not more than $10m. For entities focused on improving measurable outcomes relating to: education for economically disadvantaged students in public schools, child and youth development, reductions in poverty or increases in economic opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals, health including access to health care and education, resource conservation and local environmental quality, individual or community energy efficiency, civic engagement, reductions in crime. Funds must be matched not less than $1 to $1.
  • Sec. 167B. “Innovation Fellowship grants.” “To individuals to pay for the Federal share of carrying out projects in which the individuals establish innovative nonprofit organizations to address national and local challenges.” For periods of 2 years. Not more than $100k. Not more than 25 in a fiscal year.
  • To carry out section 167, such sums as necessary. Section 167A: $50m, $60m, $70m, $80m, $100m for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 respectively. For 167B: $3.5 for 2009, $5m each year after.
  • Read More…

Presenting the Serve America Act : S.3487

Posted on September 18th, 2008 by bile
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Serve America Act (Introduced in Senate)

  • (a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
    • (1) Engaging in service-learning and community service activities at a young age makes individuals more likely to continue to volunteer and engage in service throughout their lives.
    • (2) High-quality service-learning programs keep students engaged in school and increase the likelihood that they will graduate.
    • (3) Since its creation, the Learn and Serve America program has allowed over 15,000,000 students to take part in service-learning activities to improve their communities and schools.
    • (4) Most schools do not offer service-learning activities, but many students, particularly students at risk of dropping out, express an interest in service-learning.
  • (b) Purposes- The purposes of this section are–
    • (1) to provide increased high-quality service-learning opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth in high-need, low-income communities as a strategy to retain and re-engage youth likely to drop out and youth who have dropped out;
    • (2) to encourage more individuals to engage in lifetimes of service by teaching young people the value of service early in their lives; and
    • (3) to establish youth engagement zones with the goal of involving all secondary school students served by a local educational agency in service-learning to solve a specific community challenge, through a program that can serve as a model for other communities.

I’ve not read it yet but if you happen to get a chance and find anything of quality please point it out in the comments.

Here are the sponsors:
Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] – 9/12/2008
Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] – 9/12/2008
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] – 9/12/2008
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 9/12/2008
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 9/12/2008
Sen Obama, Barack [IL] – 9/12/2008

CAGW’s 2008 Pig Book released

Posted on April 8th, 2008 by bile
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Pig Book 2008…

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released the 2008 Congressional Pig Book, the latest installment in an 18-year exposé of pork-barrel spending.

“When Congress adopted earmark reforms last year, there was hope that the number and cost of earmarks would be cut in half.  By any measure, that has not occurred,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.

In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills.  That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007.  Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million).  CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991.

For the first time, the names of members of Congress were added to the projects.  The top three porkers were members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, beginning with Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with $892 million; Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) with $469 million; and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) with $465 million.

The Pig Book Summary profiles the most egregious examples, breaks down pork per capita by state, and presents the annual Oinker Awards.  All 11,610 projects are listed in a searchable database on CAGW’s website   Examples of pork in the 2008 Pig Book include:

 $3 million for The First Tee;
$1,950,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service;
$460,752 for hops research;
$211,509 for olive fruit fly research in Paris, France;
$196,000 for the renovation and transformation of the historic Post Office in Las Vegas;
$188,000 for the Lobster Institute in Maine; and
$148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute.

“Americans do not send their hard-earned tax dollars to Washington so that Sen. Daniel Inouye can bring home $173 million in defense pork and receive the Pacific Fleeced Award or get sapped by $4.8 million going to wood utilization research, on which the government has spent $91 million since 1985,” concluded Schatz.

Only the 2nd highest pork year? Come on Congress… next year go for gold. Not like you have to tax us directly for much of it.