Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kerry to Vote No on Iraq Bill: ‘An Iraq Bill Without a Deadline is Meaningless’

The new Iraq spending bill is making waves and Chris Bowers on MYDD has the new video from Chris Dodd up that explains why Dodd is voting "NO" on the bill. Bowers said, "It will be interesting to see if there is a chorus of Democrats who start to join him on this." Meteor Blades on DKos reports that "nearly a two-thirds majority, will vote against the egregious Iraq funding "compromise" put together by the Senate-House conference committee."

Here's one Senator who will be joining Dodd with a "NO" vote. Personally, I had no reason to think that Kerry would support the new plan...

Sen. John Kerry issued the following statement today on his plan to vote “no” on a military spending bill that no longer contains any binding deadline for the redeployment of troops from Iraq. He reiterated that a "timeframe for redeployment of the troops is the Only Way Forward."
"We support the troops by getting the policy right and this bill allows the President to keep getting the policy wrong. We need a deadline to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, not watered down benchmarks and blank check waivers for this President. We support the troops by funding the right mission, not with a White House that opposes a pay raise for our brave men and women in uniform,” Kerry said. “The original Senate legislation offered a roadmap to change course in Iraq. This new version enables the Administration and Iraqi politicians to deliver more of the same. I am determined to continue pressing this issue until President Bush changes course. We owe our troops nothing less than a strategy that is worthy of their sacrifice.”

Keep the pressure on... Chime in here: Tell Congress - No Blank Check For Iraq.

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Kerry Warns White House: If you Expect Senate Confirmation, Send us a Nominee Who will Protect Consumers

The White House agreed to Wednesday to withdraw the name of Michael Baroody as the new chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Baroody had faced "strong opposition from some Senate Democrats because of his career as a manufacturers' lobbyist."
Baroody is a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers, and his critics on Capitol Hill said he would not provide the leadership the agency needed in order to protect consumers.

Democrats also had raised questions about a $150,000 payment that Baroody would have received from the manufacturers' lobbying group when he left.

Given his poor record on issues of consumer protection, John Kerry had announced that he was likely to vote against Baroody if his nomination ever came before the Commerce Committee.
“I hope the White House now knows that on an issue as important as consumer safety we won’t allow them to put a fox in charge of guarding the henhouse. This agency matters too much to parents and children to be a gift to someone without even a vague interest in consumer protection. The White House now needs to send us a nominee who will fight for consumers, not one who will fight against their interests.”

Another Bush nominee bites the dust...

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Kerry Amendment Protects Children, Families Caught In Immigration Raids

With the immigration reform debate heating up in Congress once again, a new Rasmussen Reports Poll shows that "just 26% of American voters favor passage of the legislation." Senator John Kerry introduced an amendment today to that would offer protections for immigrant families and children who are caught in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace raids – like last month’s jarring roundup in New Bedford, Mass.

Kerry said that his amendment was aimed at putting a little “humanity” into ICE. His amendment will be offered to the broader, bi-partisan immigration bill, which Kerry praised as a welcome start toward repairing a broken system.
“We need safe borders and we need a sensible immigration policy,” Senator Kerry said. “But there is no place in our country for families being torn apart by reckless ICE workplace raids that separate parents from children and coerce immigrants into waiving their rights. The raid in New Bedford was inhumane. It left young children confused and alone. We need a law that is enforceable and sensible but that also deals humanely with the millions of hard-working immigrant families that contribute to our country each day.”

Kerry’s amendment would:
o Require ICE to afford access to state social service agencies to screen and interview detainees. A majority of the problems in these raids arose from the fact that the people were too scared or intimidated to provide information to ICE agents. Social service agencies are also better equipped to handle child and family needs.

o ICE must also give sufficient notice to these state agencies so they can arrange for representatives who speak the detainees’ first language fluently and for any other services that may be needed.

o To the extent that space is available aliens that are being detained should be to be placed in detention within the jurisdiction of the local ICE field office. Previously detainees, many of them mothers, have been shipped off to facilities hundreds of miles away from their families to await a determination of their status.

o If it is determined that an alien has humanitarian grounds for release including but not limited to those with medical conditions that require special attention, pregnant women, nursing mothers, parents who are the sole caretakers of their minor children or elderly relatives, parents who function as the primary contact between the family and those outside the home due to language barriers, parents who are needed to support their spouses in caring for sick or special needs children, parents whose spouses are ill or otherwise unable to be sole caretaker, and minors, within 72 hours of their apprehension, if they are not subject to mandatory detention or pose an immediate flight risk, they shall be released on their own recognizance, on minimum bond or placed in the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP). This gives ICE the ability to track the alien but also allows families to be reunited and aliens to receive medical and social services.

o ICE must also provide a toll free number for families to use after a raid, to report their relationship to a detainee or for more information about the status of their loved one.

o In cases of raids with the apprehension of 50 or more aliens ICE must also allow the aliens access to legal orientation presentations provided by independent, non-governmental agencies through the Legal Orientation program. This program cuts down on confusion and allows the detainees to fully appreciate their rights.


  • Where Has Our Sense of Decency Gone?

  • Is ICE Out of Control Under BushCo? Kerry Vows Investigation into Raid
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    Monday, May 21, 2007

    John Kerry Asks Bush Not To Cut Military Pay Raise

    On Saturday, I reported here that the "Bush Administration won’t approve a pay raise for our military." The simple reasoning is of course, Republicans don't really support the troops.

    The piece I quoted Saturday from the Boston Globe noted that Kerry had sent a letter to Bush on Friday, saying that "he was “extremely disappointed” by the White House position on the pay raise, saying it stands “in direct contrast to the will of the American people who support all the efforts to support our troops.”"

    Today, Senator Kerry asked Bush to back off his plan to cut a proposed military pay raise. Kerry also asked Bush not to cut a proposed benefit for surviving spouses, which Congress and veterans groups say would help grieving families with a $40 month benefit to help cover expenses when a loved one is killed in action. Last week, the White House opposed both of those provisions in the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Bill.
    “It’s unacceptable that this White House continues to choose more tax breaks for the richest Americans and less pay and fewer benefits for our military families,” Senator Kerry said. “Our Democratic Congress has put forth a plan to give our troops a raise at a time of war, and no White House opposition will stand in the way of our commitment to our military. Our troops make incredible sacrifices for our country and we owe them a pay raise and benefits that make it clear we honor their sacrifice. We will fight for this pay raise for our troops until it becomes a reality.”

    The Office of Management and Budget said that the House bill’s moves to increase military pay by .5 percent (from 3.0 to 3.5 percent) and give a $40 monthly benefit for surviving spouses and military families were unnecessary. On the same day, the White House expressed opposition to the FY 2008 Budget Resolution Conference Report because it failed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

    Last year’s pay increase for members of the uniformed services was just 2.2 percent, the lowest since 1993. Congress has made a commitment to keep pay raises for the military ahead of private sector pay raises.

    Kerry is the author of the Military Family Bill of Rights, which has become law. Kerry’s Bill increased the death benefit for surviving spouses and families of troops who die in action to $250,000 and extended the amount of time they can remain in military housing to one full year, along with increasing TRICARE benefits and promoting better care for those suffering from PTSD and other mental illness.

    Below is text of the letter Kerry sent Friday:
    May 18, 2007

    The President
    The White House
    Washington, D.C. 20007

    Dear Mr. President:

    We are all proud of our men and women in the American military who continue to perform magnificently in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. They represent the best that this country has to offer, and America owes them and their families a special debt of honor and gratitude. In light of their sacrifice, I ask you to change your position and support a 3.5 percent increase in military pay and an increase in the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance to help American military families.

    On May 16, the Office of Management and Budget’s Statement of Administration Policy for the House FY 2008 National Defense Authorization bill opposes Section 644 of the bill, which would pay a monthly Special survivor indemnity allowance of $40 from the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund, calling the existing benefits “sufficient”. The Statement of Administration Policy also “strongly opposes” Sections 601 and 606 of the House bill, which provide a 0.5 percent increase in military pay above the President’s proposed 3.0 percent across-the-board pay increase, calling it “unnecessary”.

    I am extremely disappointed in these decisions. This position fails to honor our military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It also stands in direct contrast to the will of the American people who support all efforts to support our troops.

    Most disappointing, on the same day your position on a military pay increase was announced, the Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman expressed opposition to the FY 2008 Budget Resolution Conference Report because it failed to extend tax cuts to provide billions for the wealthiest in our country.

    Those who have stood for us should know that we stand with them, today and always. These provisions can do something to ease their burden--but truly supporting our troops requires that we act not just as individuals, but as a nation.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.


    John F. Kerry

    Tomorrow, Senator John Kerry and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel will hold a press conference to respond to President Bush’s opposition to a 3.5 percent military pay increase for American troops. The press conference will be held in the Senate T.V. and Radio Press Gallery at 11:30 am est.

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    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Kerry Plan Would Save Bristol Bay from Oil Drilling

    John Kerry introduced the Bristol Bay Protection Act on Monday, which will permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is north of the Alaskan peninsula.

    The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area in Bristol Bay has been banned from drilling under the Congressional Moratorium, but last week, the Bush Administration announced plans to lift the ban and begin drilling there starting in July. Kerry’s bill would ban all drilling in Bristol Bay.

    “We can’t depend on drilling just because some refuse to take on our energy challenge in a meaningful way,” Senator Kerry said. “Bristol Bay contains some of our nation’s best remaining fish and wildlife habitat. This legislation will permanently prohibit drilling in Bristol Bay and uphold an important mandate that protects our coastlines from drilling.”

    Kerry’s legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 1957, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Inslee (D-Wash.), Rep Gilchrest (R – Md.), and Rep. Hinchey (D – N.Y.) Kerry’s legislation would take effect immediately after passage.

    “As gas prices soar and the threat of global warming looms, we need bold new ideas to become energy independent,” Kerry added. “This administration looks at every unspoiled landscape in America and wonders how much oil is buried beneath it. We can’t sell off Alaska’s coastline to the big oil companies. I will work with my colleagues in the House and here in the Senate and fight this dangerous proposal.”

    Ed Schultz mentioned this on his show today, noting that Kerry is a guy who is "way ahead of the curve" when it comes to the issue of becoming energy independent. With gas prices soaring under the Bush Administration it's time to make a change and break from from Bush's dangerous addiction to oil.

    The oil industry is none too happy about Kerry's plan.

    Cross posted on The Democratic Daily.

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    Kerry in Florida... 'We Can Stop a Catastrophe'

    John Kerry was in Coral Gables, Florida on Sunday afternoon to promote his book about the environment -- "This Moment on Earth."

    Kerry co-wrote "This Moment On Earth," with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

    It talks about the environmental movement and the need for solutions to pressing environmental problems.

    "It's about how we can deal with environmental issues effectively, make money, create new jobs, be more secure and ultimately make America stronger," Kerry said.

    The Kerry's also had an OP/ED published on the environment, in the Miami Herald on Monday. Read it here: Read more »

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    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    John Kerry and what he did for me

    I got to thinking, and wondered about how I got to where I am now. I have quite a few people to thank for it, but among them, is Senator John F. Kerry. Many have taken Kerry for granted, but I never lost sight of how he was part of me turning into what I am now. I was not, and am still not used to eating your own. I could never understand it! When I first showed up at The Democratic Daily, it was not a very nice scene I started with. I came out with much hatred and spew. Pamela talked to me via email, and stated the purpose of the blog. I responded, and it started there. I was a confessed republican, and they took me in after Katrina. They let me post, knowing I was a republican! They did not turn me away, because of that, but let me have a voice for that reason. Now I'm not going to say that the transformation was right away, not by a long shot! For less than a month, I posted there and got to knowing the people, and got to knowing who JK really was. I really got impressed when I found out the truth about him. The more I learned, the more I liked.

    During all this, Rita came along, and the last of the blinders came off. I rebuked the Party, and declared myself to be done with them. The name Katrinacrat came to be in one of the comments, and just stuck after. I became a part of the Kerry community after that. Senator John Kerry was a part of making a former Marine and a republican, a new member of the democratic fold. I will be forever in the debt of Senator Kerry and The Democratic Daily.

    In honor of the Senator, I would like to introduce you to the man I have come to know and trust. I give you Senator John F. Kerry, the man that Went Upriver! Please watch the whole thing, and you will know why I admire this man.

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