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Newsletter 012 - 12 December 2010

House passes "Nightmare Act"; Senate is last hope

On Wednesday night, the House narrowly passed its version of the DREAM Act. The Senate was ready to vote on its version of the bill, but Majority Leader Harry Reid used a procedural trick to put off the Senate vote so it could consider the House-passed version instead.

We now hear that the Senate will bring the House version up for a vote sometime next week, and we have plenty of actions you can take between now and then. The pro-DREAM advocates say they've put in more than 40,000 phone calls this week to Congress, and their goal is to hit 100,000. We need to beat their efforts every step of the way!

Visit your Action Board and make sure you send newly posted faxes, urging your two U.S. Senators to oppose the DREAM act. Remember, the bill is already through the House so all attention must be focused on your Senators.

Then, call both your Senators and urge them to vote NO!

The number for the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also call your Senators' D.C. office directly or their state office.. For a list of phone numbers you can use, click here.

We know this DREAM Act battle has been a long, tough fight, but we can't let up now! The pro-DREAM supporters know this may be their last chance!

THANKS,
Chris Chmielenski

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Posted on Thu, Dec. 09, 2010

U.S. to pay balance of $300 million for Orlando-Tampa bullet train

BY ALFONSO CHARDY

In a surprise announcement, the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced it will give Florida more than $300 million -- the balance of the money needed by the state to start building the bullet train between Orlando and Tampa.

The news was first relayed to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in a phone call from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

``Florida is getting one heck of an early Christmas present,'' a Nelson statement said. ``Some $342 million for building the bullet train from Tampa to Orlando. More specifically, the U.S. Department of Transportation has agreed to send Florida the money to complete construction of the planned high-speed rail link between the two Central Florida hubs now rather later.''

© 2010 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Read more

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Why Constitutional Conservatism Is Ascending

By Mark J. Fitzgibbons
December 10, 2010

If 2009 was the year of birth of the Tea Party movement, 2010 was the year of ascendancy of constitutional conservatism. In many ways, the movements are the same -- except, perhaps, that the Tea Party is a movement of political activism by people who weren't traditionally activists, and constitutional conservatism represents an awakening about the way back to American exceptionalism.

For conservatives to emphasize constitutionalism is nothing new. The greater emphasis, however, is a bit of branding that helps distinguish them from establishment Republicans who stole the brand "conservative," or those whose policies are constitutionally limited only some of the time.

You know constitutional conservatism is on the right track when the liberal literati (Lincoln Caplan) and dimwiterati (Randi Rhodes) criticize it.

Read the entire article.

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Climate Change Confab Report from Cancun

From Cathie Adams

December 9, 2010

ZERO Carbon Emissions Produces Abject Poverty, Sabotages Hope

The industrialized world needs to realize that the radical environmentalists’ demand for a ZERO carbon economy by 2050 is a cruel hoax being perpetrated upon the poor. Succumbing to the unproven theory that burning fossil fuels is warming the climate robs the poor of the hope to improve their lives. Instead of feeling guilty for enjoying their energy-produced modern lifestyles, developed nations should encourage the undeveloped world with the knowledge to produce their own energy.

On Wednesday, I left Cancun’s paradise, where tourists enjoy running water and electricity, to visit a small village called La Libertad that has none of those amenities. It was like visiting an alternate universe, an extreme contrast to what is being taken for granted by delegates to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of the Parties 16 in Mexico.

Read entire post.

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Voting in Congress

How your Treasure Coast legislators voted last week

[Note: These descriptions are from Scripps, not the M912TC.]

U.S. House of Representatives

DREAM ACT

Members voted, 216-198, to enable as many as 1.8 million children of illegal aliens, all of whom are now in the U.S., to gain a path to citizenship by first serving in the military or finishing two years of college.

A yes vote was to pass a bill known as the DREAM Act. (HR 5281)

Rep. Bill Posey, R-15: No
Rep. Tom Rooney, R-16: No
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-23: Yes

$250 FOR SENIORS

Voting 254-153, the House failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill providing Social Security recipients and disabled veterans with onetime payments of $250 as compensation for their not getting cost-of-living increases in 2010 or 2011. (HR 5987)

Posey: Yes
Rooney: No
Hastings: Yes

MINE SAFETY

Voting 214-193, the House failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill cracking down on underground mines with poor safety records. A yes vote was to pass a bill that, in part, increases penalties on errant owners and protects those who report violations. (HR 6495)

Posey: No
Rooney: No
Hastings: Yes

STOPGAP 2011 BUDGET

Voting 212-206, members sent the Senate a $1.1 trillion discretionary-spending bill to fund the government at fiscal 2010 levels for the remainder of fiscal 2011. A yes vote backed a bill that implements President Obama’s freeze on federal workers’ pay levels. (HR 3082)

Posey: No
Rooney: No
Hastings: Yes

MEDICARE DOCTOR PAYMENTS

The House sent President Obama, 409-2, a bill to avert a 25 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors next year. The $15 billion cost is to be offset by cutting certain subsidies for insurance purchases in the new health law. A yes vote was to pass HR 4994.

Posey: Yes
Rooney: Yes
Hastings: Yes

U.S. Senate

$250 FOR SENIORS

Voting 53-45, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to end Republican blockage of a bill that would grant onetime payments of $250 to Social Security recipients and disabled veterans at a cost of $14 billion in deficit spending. A yes vote was to advance S 3985.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D: Yes
Sen. George LeMieux, R: No

POLICE, FIREFIGHTER UNIONS

Senators failed, 55-43, to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill granting collective- bargaining rights — but not the right to strike — to police, firefighters, and other safety workers in all states. A yes vote was to start debating the bill (S 3991).

Nelson: Yes
LeMieux: No

“DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL”

The Senate failed, 57-40, to reach 60 votes needed to end Republicans’ blockage of the fiscal 2011 defense budget.

Their opposition centered on the bill’s repeal of the 17-year old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bars gays from serving openly in the military. (S 3454)

Nelson: Yes
LeMieux: No

9/11 RESPONDERS

Senators failed, 57-42, to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill establishing a fund to benefit thousands of individuals who developed ailments after working at the World Trade Center site after 9/11. A yes vote was to establish the deficit-neutral fund. (HR 847)

Nelson: Yes
LeMieux: No

JUDICIAL IMPEACHMENT

Senators approved, 90-6, an article of impeachment against federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Overall, the Senate approved four articles adding up to a pattern of corrupt judicial conduct and removed him from office.

Nelson: Yes
LeMieux: Yes

Copyright © 2010 Scripps Media Inc. 12/12/2010

Want to contact one of these representatives or senators?

Rep. Bill Posey
132 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515.
(202) 225-3671
Website

Rep. Tom Rooney
1529 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515.
(202) 225-5792
Website

Rep. Alcee Hastings
2353 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-1313
Website

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Sen. George LeMieux
356 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3041
Website

Sen. Bill Nelson
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-5274
Website

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Committee leaders make Florida a powerhouse in Congress

By Alex Leary
St. Petersburg Times

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Mica started to pull out his cell phone but was suddenly struck with modesty, pushing it back in his pocket. A second later, he could not contain himself. The phone log showed a flurry of conversations with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

So goes life at the top.

When the 112th Congress convenes in January, Mica will be chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, one of the most powerful perches on Capitol Hill.

Two other Florida lawmakers will take the helm of committees: Rep. Jeff Miller over Veterans’ Affairs and Rep. Ileana RosLehtinen over Foreign Affairs.

Add to the mix the likely return of Pinellas County Rep. C.W. Bill Young as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee and Florida has significant clout in Washington — power that has been surprisingly elusive despite being the fourth-largest state and a critical battleground in presidential elections.

“This is big. Florida is certainly going to be recognized as one of the powers,” said former Rep. Clay Shaw, a Republican from South Florida who saw his 26-year career end with the Democratic wave of 2006. Now Republicans are retaking control of the House, sweeping out dozens of incumbent Democrats nationwide. Bad news for the four Democratic losers from Florida — Republicans will outnumber Democrats 19-6 in the state delegation — but reason to celebrate for Mica, Miller, Ros-Lehtinen, and perhaps all of Florida.

No other state will have more committee leaders. And not since the early ‘80s has Florida had three chairmen at the same time, when Democrats Dante Fascell, Don Fuqua and Claude Pepper oversaw foreign affairs, science and technology, and rules.

Florida today is much bigger and has more pressing needs.

Though federal dollars are scarce and incoming House Speaker John Boehner is demanding efficiencies, having Floridians in powerful spots could help. Mica, of Winter Park, is especially well-positioned and has already played a role in securing funding for a high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa.

“I have new standing, but I’m not going to misuse that,” he said. “I have to look at the whole country. I’ve got projects in New York, Chicago, California.” Florida has long felt slighted with transportation funding, in part because of formulas that favored states with road and bridge networks that were established before the Sunshine State boomed.

“We haven’t gotten our fair share. I don’t think having Mr. Mica in this position will hurt at all,” said Bob Burleson, president of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association.

Miller, who represents the Panhandle, will have considerable influence over veterans issues, and Florida has the nation’s second largest population of veterans, with 1.7 million. (Only California has more.) “We’ll do everything we can to make sure the limited resources that may be available are spent appropriately,” Miller said.

His chief concern will be to provide “vigorous” oversight of the second largest federal agency and he thinks savings can be achieved in reforming contract procurement procedures.

Ros-Lehtinen’s position will give her broad oversight over U.S. foreign policy, and she plans to challenge President Barack Obama’s more open stance toward Cuba, where she was born, and press for tougher sanctions on Iran and North Korea. She has already signaled her desire to cut foreign aid.

Copyright © 2010 Scripps Media Inc. 12/12/2010

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Next meeting will be schedule in January.

Have a Blessed Christmas.

Keep visiting the WEBSITE.

For the Committee:

Cindy
Jim
Shona

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