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News Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Dennis Rehberg On Medicare

Rehberg Claimed House “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Bill Would “Explicitly Protect Spending for Social Security, Medicare and Veterans.” According to the Missoulian, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) criticized Rehberg’s vote for the House “cut, cap and balance” bill, saying the legislation would “lead to severe cuts in important programs, like infrastructure, education and Medicare.” Rehberg “dismissed the criticism as ‘scare tactics and divisiveness,’ and noted that the House plan explicitly protects spending for Social Security, Medicare and veterans.” [Missoulian, 7/20/11]

News Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Dennis Rehberg On Wall Street Reform

Rehberg Voted to Limit the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Power. On July 21, 2011 Rehberg voted for the bill that would replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s director with a five-member commission. It also would lower the vote threshold required for the Financial Stability Oversight Council to override Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules from two-thirds to a simple majority and allow the council to override regulations that threaten the stability of individual institutions. According to the Washington Post, the bill would “make it easier to block the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s regulation of banking and other sectors of the financial-services industry. Under the bill, the Financial Stability Oversight Council in the Treasury Department could stay or veto the bureau’s proposed regulations by simple majority vote rather than the two-thirds majority now required.” [Roll Call 621, H 1315, 07/21/2011]

News Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Scott Brown On Wall Street Reform

Brown Sought Provisions, Pushed By Banking Industry Lobbyists, to “Undercut a Central Pillar” of Wall Street Reform. While Wall Street Reform was in conference committee, Brown, other lawmakers, and banking industry lobbyists pushed for “provisions to undercut a central pillar of the legislation, known as the Volcker Rule, which would forbid banks from using their own money to make risky wagers on the market and would force them to sell off hedge funds and private equity units.” The changes would “benefit Boston-based money management giants like Fidelity Investments and State Street Corp. The biggest Wall Street firms would be helped as well.” [Boston Globe, 6/21/10]

News Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Scott Brown On The Budget

Brown Said He Would Support Ryan Budget That Would End Medicare As We Know It And Double Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Seniors. In a speech, Brown said “The leaders will bring forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail.” The GOP budget included proposals to convert the federal share of Medicaid to a block grant to states. It also called for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported, “The Ryan budget plan would cut federal spending on Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and begin distributing money by block grant to states. The plan would do away with Medicare’s direct payment for health care for seniors, replacing it with a voucher system in which recipients choose private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office found that part of the plan, which would take effect in 2022, could nearly double out-of-pocket costs for seniors.” In an April 7th, 2011 editorial, the Newark Star-Ledger warned that Paul Ryan’s plan would “end Medicare as we know it.” [Newburyport News, 5/14/11; Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 4/16/2011; Newark Star-Ledger Editorial, 4/7/2011]

News Climate Change Environment Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Scott Brown On The Environment

Brown Questioned Climate Change. During a discussion on WBZ Radio with Dan Rea, Coakley and Brown debated climate change. Coakley said, “Scott acts as if there is no climate change problem. If you believe there is a climate change issue, then you have to take action.” Brown responded, “I [have] said the climate is always changing. The question I have is, is it man-made, or does it just happen naturally?” [Boston Globe, 12/22/09]

News Economy Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Scott Brown On The Economy

Brown Opposed Small Business Tax Breaks Bill, Which Passed Without His Support. In September 2010, Brown opposed and attempted to filibuster a bill to provide small businesses with tax breaks and other benefits. “The measure…would create a $30 billion government fund to encourage lending and would eliminate capital gains taxes for long-term investors in some small businesses.” In explaining his opposition, Brown said that the bill included a provision “just like TARP”. The bill included the extension of some Small Business Administration lending programs and fee waivers, which some 2,270 Massachusetts small businesses had already taken advantage of according to the SBA. The measure passed without Brown’s support. [Boston Globe, 9/15/10]

Josh Mandel Voting Rights Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Josh Mandel On Voting Rights

2009: Mandel Voted Against Online Voter Registration And Other Voting Reform Measures. In 2009, Mandel voted against HB 260. The bill would allow online voter registration and absentee ballot requests, eliminate the requirement that a voter’s identification show the voter’s current address, expand from one to four the number of locations early voting can take place in a county, and automatically register people to vote upon graduating high school, updating information at certain agencies or updating driver’s license information. It would also create a formula for boards of elections to determine distribution of voting machines, eliminate the requirement that a person must reside in the precinct in which the person votes, require changes of address made to driver’s licenses to serve as notification of change of address for voter registration, and allow people who have moved within a county to cast a regular (not a provisional) ballot. It would require notification be sent if a board of elections does not accept a person’s voter registration or absentee ballot application and allow that person up to 15 days before an election to correct the voter registration application, allow people to request absentee ballots once for the entire calendar year, allow certain county-wide elections by mail, reform financing of elections and revise language on ballots and voter registration forms. The bill passed 52-46. [H.B. 260, 11/18/09]

Josh Mandel Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Josh Mandel On Housing

Mandel 1 Of Only 5 To Vote Against Expanding Homestead Property Tax Exemption. In 2008, Mandel voted against S.B. 306. The bill would expand eligibility for the homestead property tax exemption, the 2.5% “rollback,” for residents of housing cooperatives by reducing the number of units a housing complex must contain to qualify as an eligible housing cooperative from 250 to 2. The bill passed the House 90-5. [S.B. 206, 12/17/08]

Josh Mandel Health Care Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Josh Mandel On Health Care

Mandel Voted Against $209,035,021 For Medical And Health Programs, Including $10,020,403 For Hospitals. In 2010, Josh Mandel was one of only 18 legislators in both the House and the Senate (out of 129 legislators) to vote against House Bill 462, the capital re-appropriations bill. The bill included $209,035,021 for medical and health programs, including $10,020,403 for hospitals. [H.B. 462, 3/16/10]

Josh Mandel Environment Saturday, Jan 1 2011

Josh Mandel On The Environment

2009: Mandel Voted Against Requiring Buildings Constructed With State Money To Adhere To Energy Efficiency Standards. In 2009, Mandel voted against HB 7, “to require a building or structure constructed using state capital budget moneys to adhere to certain energy efficiency and building standards.” The bill passed 55-43. [H.B. 7, 12/16/09]

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