Fighting Back: “We need real, direct investment in infrastructure, not more gifts to the donor class”

 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

(Chief Deputy Whip Jeff Merkley (D-OR))

My Democratic colleagues and I know that America’s success is measured around the kitchen table, not the Wall Street boardroom table. So whereas President Trump plans to sell us out to Wall Street developers, Democrats want real, direct investments that make our nation competitive in the 21st century, strengthen our middle class, create good paying jobs, and grow our economy.

We believe we can not only be proud of America’s incredible past achievements – from the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam to the Eisenhower interstate highways – but that we can create a new generation of incredible infrastructure that will awe our children and grandchildren, and power our economy for decades to come. Let’s make it happen!

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

No transcript available at this time. Comment from Senator Merkley’s Facebook Page:

I was honored to be asked to deliver this week’s Weekly Democratic Address, on a critically important topic: rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

My Democratic colleagues and I know that America’s success is measured around the kitchen table, not the Wall Street boardroom table. So whereas President Trump plans to sell us out to Wall Street developers, Democrats want real, direct investments that make our nation competitive in the 21st century, strengthen our middle class, create good paying jobs, and grow our economy.

We believe we can not only be proud of America’s incredible past achievements – from the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam to the Eisenhower interstate highways – but that we can create a new generation of incredible infrastructure that will awe our children and grandchildren, and power our economy for decades to come. Let’s make it happen!

Any bolding has been added.

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Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.

It’s been an exciting week, pretty exciting: Conor Lamb’s victory. Thousands of students here about gun safety. A powerful 7,000 empty shoes on the steps of the Capitol. And still no agreement on the omnibus. Lots of news breaking about Russia and still no enforcement by the President of the sanctions legislation that we sent – that he signed and we sent to him.

We are very exciting about welcoming a new Member from Pennsylvania, our newest colleague from Pennsylvania, to the Caucus. Hopefully that will be very soon. Conor Lamb’s upset victory is a tribute to his extraordinary personal record and story and a laser focus on the economic issues that matter most to hardworking families.

What’s interesting about it is that millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars in dark special interest ad money still couldn’t make up for the toxic reality of the GOP agenda in Washington. The tax message simply failed. And this isn’t a place where the President says he won by 22; it’s probably 20 points. The 20 point lead evaporated, and the tax message failed.

Families are fed up with the Republicans trying to sabotage and steal their healthcare. Health care is an important issue. And despite all the Republicans’ hype, Americans can see through the GOP tax scam: Giving 83 percent of the benefits, you know it, 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, ultimately raising taxes for 86 million middle class families while contending that it’s a middle class tax cut, handing a $1.5 trillion tax cut to corporate America with interest, taking us over $2 trillion further into debt, robbing from our children’s future and the middle class’ future.

I just want to reiterate a couple things about it because the Wall Street Journal has found that more than $200 billion in corporate buybacks were announced in the past 3 months. Now this is money that was supposed to be raises and all that. $200 billion in buybacks. Morgan Stanley analysts estimated that almost two-thirds of the corporate tax savings for the corporations would go to buybacks, dividends, mergers and acquisitions. Just 13 percent would go to bonuses and raises. Republicans mortgaged again the future of the middle class and our children to pad the pockets of big corporations and the top 1 percent.

Meanwhile, a new poll of small business owners from battleground states found that a majority believe that the tax scam favors big corporations and doesn’t put small business on a level playing field. Seven in 10 will not hire new employees. Seven in 10 will not hire new employees, and 6 in 10 will not give employees a raise.

As the Trump budget shows, after adding over $2 trillion to the debt, Republicans plan $2 trillion in cuts for Medicare and Medicaid plus more from Social Security Disability Insurance, food stamps, education, HUD, the list goes on.

So the Medicare issue was an important issue in the Pennsylvania race. Medicare, Medicare, Medicare. It is so important in people’s lives. It’s so at risk under the Republicans. The Speaker for a long time, since a long time ago, has had in his budget to remove the guarantee of Medicare. And now, with the tax cut for corporate America and the President’s budget that says we’re going to cut a half a trillion for Medicare and a trillion and a half from Medicaid, people know that this is not a good deal for them. It’s a raw deal. Democrats have A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.

American workers, seniors, all deserve better, and they are standing up for it in elections. God bless everyone who votes. I have such respect, however they vote, the fact that they vote is a real statement of patriotism and citizenship.

And speaking of standing up, yesterday, America witnessed the inspiring example of students across the country organizing walkouts to demand action to prevent gun violence. I was proud that so many congressional Democrats joined in a congressional walkout to join the kids out here. The extraordinary courage and eloquence of this generation of young people is simply extraordinary. We were proud to greet many of them outside the Capitol to join in their call to say: Enough.

I think my best line they liked, the one they seemed to like the most is, as I say on the floor on a regular basis to my colleagues: Your political survival is not worth anything compared to protecting the survival of our children. We need a vote.

Inside the Capitol today, this afternoon, we’ll put forth our Previous Question for commonsense bipartisan gun violence prevention: the Thompson-King public – the background check bill; Background Check Completion, Mr. Clyburn; the Gun Violence Restraining Order, Mr. Carbajal; and the Gun Violence Research Act, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy. She’s been the leader, a great leader, on that.

There is bipartisan consensus in the Congress. There should be an opportunity for bipartisan actions in the people’s House. We just ask the Speaker to give us a vote. But, instead of that and instead of creating good-paying jobs or raising wages for hard-working men and women, Republicans are giving Wall Street a free pass to drag us back to the catastrophic meltdown in 2008.

The Republican Congress is more interested in holding votes to eliminate key safeguards to protect consumers, taxpayers and our economy from bad behavior on Wall Street. The GOP is giving a break to many of the same banks that were bailed out by taxpayers. They are taking us right back to unraveling the protections for consumers, for taxpayers, again, for our economy. They’re eliminating protections against risky financial marketplace abuse and against the cruel practice of redlining, which denies many of our communities the American Dream.

It’s a showcase of a Republican Congress that relentlessly prioritizes the interests of the well-connected and the wealthiest 1 percent while the needs of working families are undermined or ignored. Democrats continue to offer hardworking middle class American families A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, A Better Future, real solutions, like bold investments in job creating infrastructure, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and other necessities, protecting Americans’ endangered pensions. And that is something we hope will come out of the caps deal when we form the commission to protect pensions.

But here we are in our fifth continuing resolution still waiting for the Republicans to come back with a global offer as to how they would like to proceed to pass a bill until the close of this fiscal year, September 30, to invest in the American people. We had a victory with the caps bill. This is the manifestation of it, but they insist on poison pills and the rest. Hopefully they’ll get serious and we can get this done before the 23rd of March. We can’t possibly have another continuing resolution.

So, a lot of stuff. I didn’t even go into the Russia stuff with all the statements that are coming out, identifying who the offenders were in undermining our election. I did mention that the President still refuses to enforce the law that was sent to him, with his input, to have sanctions on Russia.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

It was a good week for the donor class – and a bad week for ordinary Americans who don’t have off-shore accounts to cushion the blow from financial meltdowns and Wall Street risking their retirement money.

Pelosi Statement on Senate Passage of Bill to Roll Back Dodd-Frank Protections

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Senate passed a harmful anti-consumer bill that rolls back many key safeguards included in the landmark Dodd-Frank legislation:

“Today, the Republican Senate took a giant leap backward towards the freewheeling days of the financial crisis. Republicans are handing Wall Street a free pass to set aside key consumer protections that protect our financial system from predatory lending and other financial marketplace abuses. In their haste to help out those who need the government’s help the least, the GOP is recklessly risking another historic meltdown that could wipe out millions of families’ jobs, savings and financial security.

“Republicans also rolled back vital safeguards that prevent lenders from perpetrating redlining and other abuses. Communities of color who have historically faced discrimination would lose the Dodd-Frank protections that remove barriers to chasing economic opportunity and the American Dream.

“Just months after passing their GOP Tax Scam, Republicans in Congress yet again put Wall Street and the 1 percent first with this special interest bill. Democrats will continue to fight to give the American people A Better Deal, with Better Jobs, Better Wages and Better Futures, and will fight to strengthen vital consumer protections and hold big banks accountable for fraud and abuse.”

There is still a chance this gift to the donor class can be blocked after the House gets finished adding their poison pills.

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Pelosi Statement on Court Ruling on the Fiduciary Rule

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement in response to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning the Obama-era Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule:

“Today’s court ruling strikes a stunning blow to millions of Americans saving for the dignity of a good retirement. Allowing unscrupulous financial advisors to once again put their own financial interests ahead of hard-working Americans saving for retirement will result in billions of lost savings.

“This decision hands big special interests their latest massive handout at the expense of working Americans. Republicans in Congress have given Wall Street every benefit and break they can think of with their GOP Tax Scam and disastrous votes to roll back key Dodd-Frank consumer financial protections. At every opportunity, Republicans have undermined the financial strength of American families and put big corporations above the economic security of everyone else.

“While Republicans abandon seniors and workers, Democrats will fight with all of our strength to uphold the retirement security of the American people against Republicans’ relentless Wall Street First agenda.”

More bad news for those who rely on investments for their retirement income. We need a Congress that will pass laws to codify the good government rules that President Obama could only put in place by executive order.

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  1 comment for “Fighting Back: “We need real, direct investment in infrastructure, not more gifts to the donor class”

  1. JanF
    March 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

    From Thursday’s presser, Nancy Pelosi answers her critics:

    Q: Conor Lamb ran an ad straight at the camera saying: ‘I do not support Nancy Pelosi.’ He ran against you the entire time. Do you think your other candidates should do the same thing? Does that pose a problem for you if you take back the House?

    Leader Pelosi. I don’t think that he ran against me the entire time. I think he ran on his positive agenda protecting Medicare, preeminently that, being there for working families. He had strong support from labor. On the one hand, Republicans are saying: ‘See, he ran like a conservative.’ And on the other hand, I guess that identifies that they want to support Medicare, which they don’t, and the rest.

    So it was, I think it was a very issues-oriented campaign.

    As a part of it was tens of millions of dollars of ads coming in from the Koch brothers and that will happen all over the country, demonizing me as the leader of the Democratic Party.

    I just wanted him to win. I don’t think that that really had that much impact on the race. He won. If we hadn’t won, you might have a question, but we won. We won the race. The people – the D next to his name was very significant in those blue parts. […]

    I don’t think your opponent should choose your party’s leaders. I think that we have an important case to make. They are coming after me because of my city, and they are against LGBT, and they’re against poor children. That’s been my mantra, the poor children in America that I’m here to support.

    Yes, I am a liberal. But I don’t think it’s the misrepresentations that are, the demonization that are put out against any leader, you know, on the Democratic side, whoever the leader is will be the target. Tip O’Neill was the target. That’s just the way it is. Tom Foley was the target. That’s the way it is.

    But, no, I feel pretty confident that we’re going to win. We’re going to win big. We’re going to win a lot of seats. And that’s going to be good for the American people.

    Yes, sir?

    Q: Just to follow up on that, since you expect these attacks against you in many of these races, what is your message to incumbents and challengers?

    Leader Pelosi. Well, the fact is that one candidate in Texas came out and said he would not be for me, and he came in fourth. He came in fourth. So let’s not read too much into this.

    This is part of the bankruptcy of the Republican Party. They are devoid of ideas about how they are going to meet the needs of the American people. So it’s an ad hominem. They can’t win on the issues, so they go after a person.

    And I feel pretty confident about my ability to do, first and foremost, be a master legislator for the good of the American people, that I have proven that. But what you’ve done is not why you should go forward. Why you should go forward is, what are you going to do next?

    And we have a very positive agenda about how we take back the Congress for the Democrats. I have a strong following in the country, and I don’t think that the Koch brothers should decide who the leader of the Democratic Party is in the House.

    Bolding added.

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