Last week, as many of you know, Senate Republicans voted for a major tax overhaul, working overtime to cut corporate taxes while raising taxes on thousands of middle class families. The corporate tax rate would be cut from 35% to 20% and the personal deduction would be eliminated. And even though they are doubling the standard deduction, the elimination of the personal deduction means that many families would end up paying extra.
That wasn't the only thing in the Senate bill. The bill removed the individual mandate and raised the threshold for the estate tax. The last one is good news for all those poor families who stand to inherit between $6.5 million and $11 million. Now people who will inherit only $10 million dollars won't have to pay those predatory taxes.Read More
The most challenging blog posts to write are the ones about political processes that I know nothing about. Having to admit there is something I do not know always creates a hurdle to actually sitting down and writing a piece, which was the case with this post.
Since the election, my friend Maya and I have been developing a project to encourage, among other things, the protection of Obamacare. We were informed by someone that our strategy may not work for Obamacare, since it was likely to be repealed through a process called reconciliation. Cue me furiously Googling to find out what exactly reconciliation is and how it can relate to Obamacare.Read More
First, on a serious note. Early last Sunday morning, a gunman burst into a popular gay bar in Orlando and opened fire with an AR-15, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others before being killed by the police. This is the worst mass shooting in American history by a single gunman, and LGBTQ people, specifically LGBTQ people of color, were explicitly targeted. All people were struck by the scale of this tragedy, but personally, it has hit me hard. Mass shootings are always more terrifying when you can see yourself in the people who were killed.
It can be hard and scary to be visible. A lot of queer people spend much of their adolescence, and sometimes much of their lives, hiding a big part of their identity. For me, even now that I'm fully and totally out, I'm faced with a lot of daily situations in which I have to make a choice between hiding a part of myself and coming out to a person I don't know very well. Sometimes I don't have the energy, sometimes I genuinely feel it's none of their business, and sometimes I feel I have reason to fear for my safety.Read More
"Medicare-for-all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us."
I understand what Paul Song was trying to say here, that money in politics prevents politicians from passing progressive policies. I see what he means so clearly, that I was almost ready to write off his use of a word that his almost exclusively directed at women, and used to demean women. At a rally for Bernie Sanders, Paul Song casually and tangentially called Hillary Clinton a whore, and to be very honest, it didn't really shock me all that much.
Much has been said about the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, so I won't try to rehash old points. I'll just say that those of us who have last names ending in vowels lost one of our own. Love him or hate him, he was an Italian, so I feel a certain kinship with the man.
But that doesn't mean I think that his seat should go unfilled for the next 11 months, because I know about the history of the court and it's nominations, and by the end of this blog post, you will too!Read More
In most interactions, I am "The Liberal." I take a progressive stance on 97% of all issues, so it's very unsettling to me when I find that I am the most conservative person in a conversation. Since Senator Sanders (D-VT) has been rising in the polls though, I've been in that position often. I've experienced an interesting turn around from being not excited about Hillary Clinton just a year ago, to adamantly defending her against people who say that Senator Sanders might be a better choice.
I'm not going to delve into the debate about the value of a tough primary challenge, or talk about how Hillary Clinton and her many years of experience dealing with foreign affairs make her the wiser choice for the commander in chief. But I want to clear up the idea that Senator Sanders is the only choice for progressives, because Hillary Clinton is a moderate wolf in Democrat clothing.Read More
167 days. That’s how long new Attorney General Loretta Lynch waited to be confirmed. After sailing through a confirmation hearing, the extremely qualified lawyer waited longer than the past seven attorney generals combined to have her nomination be voted on by the Senate. Unsurprisingly, she sailed through the vote, with 56 Senators voting for her, and 43 voting against. Ten Republicans joined all the Democrats in confirming Attorney General Lynch at the nation’s first African-American female Attorney General. Only Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not vote.
Interestingly, Senator Cruz also abstained from a vote held yesterday on S.B. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This bill, in contrast to the somewhat close vote to confirm Attorney General Lynch, passed with the other 99 Senators voting in favor of the bill. How did a bill that was previously contentious enough to create an unprecedented delay for a presidential nominee pass with the support of almost every Senator?Read More
It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the blog, but it’s also been awhile since Congress was on the brink of a shutdown of necessary government services, so I guess we both just had other things on our plates. Now, after over a year since the last government shutdown, Congress is once again flirting with the possibility of ending funding to a government agency. This time, it’s the Department of Homeland Security, and the Republicans are in charge. What a difference a year makes!
The Department of Homeland Security was created in the aftermath in the 9/11 attacks, and oversees border patrol, emergency responses, cybersecurity, and other industries that protect our nation from foreign threats. Their funding is running out, though Congress did pass a one week extension last Friday to fund the department for another week. But once this funding expires on March 6th, another bill will have to be passed to continue to keep our country safe.
The nuclear option has been deployed! We're all going to have to duck and cover!
If you're nervous about the frighteningly named "nuclear option" that you've been hearing so much about, you shouldn't be. The "nuclear option" is a dramatic name given to a rare procedural rules change the Democrats in the Senate implemented on Thursday. The measure prevents the minority from filibustering presidential nominees for cabinet positions and all judicial posts except ones on the Supreme Court.Read More
Negotiations to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks were over almost as quickly as they began. Late Thursday night, we started to hear that Congressional Republicans were going to meet with the White House to discuss possible negotiations. But early Saturday morning, House Republicans left their meeting with no deals and no plans for the coming days.
With the threat of the nation’s default hanging over their heads, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) met to negotiate. On Saturday, Senator Reid introduced a bill that would raise the debt ceiling to 1.1 trillion which would keep our country from defaulting until after the elections in 2014. Unfortunately, fewer than sixty senators voted to proceed to debate which means that cloture on the motion to proceed was not achieved.Read More