senate budget committee

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee

“This chart demonstrates that revenue has to be part of the solution to the deficit. It shows that the last five times the budget was in surplus (in 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001), revenue was near 20 percent of GDP. Revenue is now at 15.4 percent of GDP, near its lowest level in 60 years.”

Sources: OMB, CBO

Some shit that went down today, September 29th, 2017: Day 253

So if the Democrats take the Senate, Bernie Sanders becomes head of the Senate Budget Committee? Which would make him the fourth most powerful individual in the United States.

Imagine how much we could get done with a Sanders-led Senate Budget Committee under a Democratic president who has already been forced to adopt most of his domestic policy in exchange for his endorsement.

If you really want to see the change we got behind Bernie for, get Clinton into the White House, and get Democrats into the House and Senate.

(Also keep in mind that this next president gets to decide what’s constitutional and unconstitutional for the next 30-50 years, as they will most likely get to appoint at least four Supreme Court Justices.)

Understanding Welfare

People throw around the word “welfare” as if our country is being sucked dry by takers, but there are actually a total of 83 programs run by the government that qualify as “welfare.” Some like to talk about welfare as if the government is mindlessly giving free bags of money without any strings attached or economic strategy behind it all so that lazy unemployed people can buy Cadillacs and eat steak for every meal, but take a look at what qualifies as “welfare” and decide for yourself if such programs might be valuable to our society or improve your life both directly and indirectly (via the Senate Budget Committee):

 Family Planning
 Consolidated Health Centers
 Transitional Cash and Medical Services
for Refugees
 State Children’s Health Insurance
Program (CHIP)
 Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug
Benefit—Low-Income Subsidy
 Medicaid
 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
 Breast/Cervical Cancer Early Detection
 Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
 Indian Health Service
 Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) (cash aid)
 Supplemental Security Income
 Additional Child Tax Credit
 Earned Income Tax Credit (refundable
component)
 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP)
 School Breakfast Program (free/reduced
price components)
 National School Lunch Program
(free/reduced price components)
 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
 Child and Adult Care Food Program
(lower income components)
 Summer Food Service Program
 Commodity Supplemental
 Food Program Nutrition Assistance for
Puerto Rico
 The Emergency Food Assistance
Program (TEFAP)
 Nutrition Program for the Elderly
 Indian Education
 Adult Basic Education Grants to States
 Federal Supplemental Educational
Opportunity Grant
 Education for the Disadvantaged—
Grants to Local Educational Agencies
(Title I-A)
 Title I Migrant Education Program
 Higher Education—Institutional Aid and
Developing Institutions
 Federal Work-Study
 Federal TRIO Programs
 Federal Pell Grants
 Education for Homeless Children and
Youth
 21st Century Community Learning
Centers
 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness
for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP)
 Reading First and Early Reading First
 Rural Education Achievement Program
 Mathematics and Science Partnerships
 Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
 Academic Competitiveness and Smart
Grant Program
 Single-Family Rural Housing Loans
 Rural Rental Assistance Program
 Water and Waste Disposal for Rural
Communities
 Public Works and Economic
Development
 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
 Supportive Housing for Persons with
Disabilities
 Section 8 Project-Based Rental
Assistance
 Community Development Block Grants
 Homeless Assistance Grants
 Home Investment Partnerships Program
(HOME)
 Housing Opportunities for Persons with
AIDS (HOPWA)
 Public Housing
 Indian Housing Block Grants
 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
 Neighborhood Stabilization Program-1
 Grants to States for Low-Income
Housing in Lieu of Low-Income
Housing Credit Allocations
 Tax Credit Assistance Program
 Indian Human Services
 Older Americans Act Grants for
Supportive Services and Senior Centers
 Older Americans Act Family Caregiver
Program
 Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) (social services)
 Child Support Enforcement
 Community Services Block Grant
 Child Care and Development Fund
 Head Start HHS
 Developmental Disabilities Support and
Advocacy Grants
 Foster Care
 Adoption Assistance
 Social Services Block Grant
 Chafee Foster Care Independence
Program
 Emergency Food and Shelter Program
 Legal Services Corporation
 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP) (employment and
training component)
 Community Service Employment for
Older Americans
 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult
Activities
 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth
Activities
 Social Services and Targeted Assistance
for Refugees
 Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) (employment and
training)
 Foster Grandparents
 Job Corps
 Weatherization Assistance Program
 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance
Program (LIHEAP)

Who the Heck is Bernie Sanders? A Primer.

When I first heard about Bernie Sanders, I really didn’t know who he was. I thought he might be some Libertarian Tea party guy coming in from the fringes. Or maybe a rogue Republican like Rand Paul. I was resigned to the idea that Hillary is the only Democrat contender, and therefore, it was going to be another business-as-usual campaign season that I’d try desperately to ignore.

But then I started seeing memes of things he was saying. Things I wholeheartedly agree with. Who the heck is this guy? Eventually, I saw so many of these that I decided to do a bit of research. That’s when I discovered that he’s a political unicorn. By all evidence of politicians before him, he shouldn’t exist. Yet, the evidence was solid. He’s the real deal.

Here’s what I discovered:

Before he started his political career, in the early 60’s, he was very active in the Civil Rights Movement and in college was a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He coordinated sit-in protests against segregation. He was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League.

His start in politics was in 1971. He was a member of the Liberty Union Party, which grew out of the anti-war and people’s party movements. He ran for senator in 1972 and 1974. IN 1974 he finished third, only 4.1% behind the victor. In 1979 he directed the American People’s Historical Society, where he made a documentary about Eugene Debs.

In 1981 he ran for and became mayor of Burlington, VT and won three more times, beating out both Democrat and Republican candidates. While there, he funded Community Trust Housing and his administration sued the local cable company and won reduced rates for customers.

After four terms, he didn’t run and taught political science at Harvard and Hamilton College.

In 1990, he ran for Congress as an Independent and won with 56% of the vote. He described himself as openly Socialist.

He voted against the use of force in Iraq in 1991 and 2002 and opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has been very vocal against the Patriot Act. When it passed, he sponsored several amendments to curtail the power of the act and voted against every reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

He repeatedly called for an investigation into the Bush administration for their actions leading up to the Iraq war and for the illegal leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent.

In 2005 he proposed an amendment to disallow the gov’t from obtaining people’s library and book buying records. He consistently voted against every attempt to censor or surveil the internet.

He ran for Senate in 2006 and beat Republican Rich Tarrant by a 2-1 margin. He was re-elected in 2012 with 71% of the vote. During this time, both the NAACP and the NHLA gave him voting scores of 100%.

He very vocally opposed bailing out the banks and inspired many online petitions to oppose the same.

In 2015 he became the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee and presented a report aimed at rebuilding the middle class, raising the minimum wage, and increasing Social Security payments.

On April 30, he announced his run for President, refusing any SuperPAC funding, saying  "I don’t believe that the men and women who defended American democracy fought to create a situation where billionaires own the political process.“ Elizabeth Warren, who chose not to run, openly endorses Sanders. After four days, his campaign raised $3 million, all from small individual donations averaging $43.

In the last month, he has drawn larger crowds than every other candidate, regardless of party.

His platform includes:

Income and Wealth Equality

Raising taxes on capital gains and the wealthiest 2% of Americans, which he would use to lower the taxes of middle and lower classes.

Introduced legislation to break up the "too big to fail” banks.

Opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would dwarf CAFTA and NAFTA.

Rebuilding America’s infrastructure of bridges, roads, and creating a modern rail system on par with what is in Europe and Japan, which would create millions of jobs.

Introduced legislation to aid the creation of worker-owned co-ops, something he’s openly supported since 1976.

Eradicating student loans by making public universities tuition-free.

Seriously tackling global warming by transforming our energy from oil and fossil fuels to sustainable energy like wind, solar, and hydro energy.

Ending wiretapping and other forms of mass surveillance.

Increasing benefits for veterans.

Creating a true universal health care system on par with that of most of Europe.

Creating a guaranteed paid family, sick and vacation leave, including 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Calling for police accountability.

Also, he’s a non-practicing Jew (atheist), and is strongly in favor of separation of church and state.

Creating equality of pay for women.

To back all of this up, and show that he doesn’t just give lip service, but actively fights for these things, throughout his career he has sponsored the following (this is a short list of just a few. Go to govtrack.us to see everything he’s sponsored):

S. 1719 Low-Income Solar Act
S. 1631 Keep Our Pension Promises Act
S. 1564 Guaranteed Paid Vacation Act
S. 1373 College For All Act
S. 1364 Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act of 2015
S. 1206 Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Exist Act
S. 922 Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act
S. 731 Social Security Expansion Act
S. 2905 Carbon Pollution Transparency Act of 2014
S. 2901 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2014
S. 2450 Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014
S. 2422 Ensuring Veterans Access to Care Act of 2014
S. 2411 United States Employee Ownership Bank Act
S. 1982 Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014
S. 1583 Mental Health Support for Veteran Families and Caregivers Act of 2013
S. 1581 Survivors of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013
S. 1168 Restore Our Privacy Act
S. 332 Climate Protection Act of 2013
S. Amdt 210 Requires Labels on Foods with Genetically Modified Ingredients
S. 329 Sustainable Energy Act
S. 3433 Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars Act of 2010

He also co-sponsored these (a partial list, full one at votesmart.org):

S. 2578 Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014
S. 2223 Minimum Wage Fairness Act
S. 2199 Paycheck Fairness Act
S. 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013
S. 47 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
S. Amdt 3058 Expands TRICARE Coverage of Autism
S. Amdt 3018 Prohibits the Indefinite Detention of Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
S. Amdt 2156 Increases Funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
S. Amdt 2111 Prohibits Pharmaceutical Companies from Delaying the Release of Generic Drugs
S. Amdt 2108 Prohibits FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Fish
S. 2230 Establishes a Minimum 30 Percent Tax Rate for High-Income Taxpayers
S. Amdt 3989 Debit Card Fee Regulations

This track record of fighting for civil rights, equality, sustainability, fairness, and overall humanity proves he is for real. He has never been for sale. He has never wavered in doing right by all of us. He supports everything that most of my friends support. His words and his voting and sponsoring record aligns consistently.

No other candidate, in this or any other election, has had a level of integrity, consistency of vision, and progressiveness that even approaches Bernie Sanders. They had nice words, but their records did not match those words, and therefore we ended up fooled again.

Every other candidate either wavers their position with public opinion, takes corporate funding, or their words do not match their record, which itself often fluctuates with political winds.

Please, try to find some dirt on him. Find evidence of wrongdoing. Show accusations of corruption. Find a scandal. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

In the meantime, consider this: just once, wouldn’t you like to cast your vote for someone who has always supported the things you support? If the above isn’t the kind of thing you support, then by all means, vote for someone else. However, the vast majority of my friends are in alignment with the same values Bernie Sanders has always had.

If he loses, what we’ll be left with is the same crap we’ve had all our lives. A President that panders to corporate interests and is for sale. Just once, let’s support real hope, not a campaign slogan of hope.

A lot of people are still angry about the primaries and that is understandable. The power structure of the Democratic Party didn’t give us a fair chance and many of you feel like Bernie Sanders gave up too soon.

He didn’t give up. If Hillary Clinton wins he will become the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. That’s a big deal, he’ll be one of the most powerful people in congress, and congress is where the real change happens. I would have loved a Bernie Sanders supreme court, a Bernie EPA, a Bernie Department of Justice, and all of those things would change the country for the better. Bernie Sanders as chairman of the budget committee is honestly almost as influential. 

Bernie will hold the purse strings, he gets to shelve bills in committee, and ultimately has a HUGE say in what we spend our money on. Obviously, his power is limited, but because of the work we put in, our movement has some legitimate power. If you think the Democrats are beyond saving that’s understandable, but our movement is in a better place now than it was a year ago. Bernie will have a real position of power if Hillary Clinton wins and we can enact some real change. We can’t do that splintered though and in my opinion, the best way to do that is influencing Hillary Clinton through a more liberal congress with more liberal commitments. And the best way to do that is support Democrats up and down the ticket.

We have a real chance to sway one of the biggest institutions in the world, but it’s going to take some work, we can’t just build something that big and long lasting. We have real influence if we keep pressuring, it’ll take time, but it’ll work. It’s worked for the Civil Rights Movement, it worked for women’s rights, it worked for the labor movement, it worked for the LGBTQ community. In all of those areas we still have work to do, but progress is a long fight and we have to keep moving forward. Luckily, in my opinion, we have a very clear path.

This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars — unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.
—  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senate Budget Committee, Nov. 18, 2011
washingtonpost.com
An interview with Bernie Sanders: Deficit Hawk
Sanders says he has known Elizabeth Warren since before she was Elizabeth Warren.
By https://www.facebook.com/kelsey.snell.3

Sen. Bernie Sanders has become a surprise hit on the campaign trail as he competes to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee by running against the establishment and promoting a liberal agenda.

He’s a longshot to unseat front-runner Hillary Clinton for the slot, but Sanders (I-Vt.) is using the race to draw attention to issues he’s been highlighting for years.

Long before Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came on the scene, Sanders was pushing for stronger regulation of Wall Street, higher taxes on the rich and dramatically lower defense spending.

This year, he climbed the party ranks to become the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, a position that gives Sanders greater voice in the debate over how Washington spends money and taxes citizens.

Sanders recently sat down with The Washington Post to talk about his role on the committee, why he says he’s a real deficit hawk and the economists who would have his ear if he were to win the White House. What follows is a transcript of that interview edited for length.

These 11 States now have More People on Welfare than
they do Employed! Last month, the Senate Budget
Committee reports that in fiscal year 2012, between
food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and
other benefits, the average U.S. Household below the
poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support.
What’s the problem with that much support? Well, the
median household income in America is just over $50,000,
which averages out to $137.13 a day. To put it another way,
being on welfare now pays the equivalent of $30.00 an hour for a 40-hour
week, while the average job pays $20.00 an hour.