Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ask Congressman John Kline To Just Vote NO!

Please call John Kline and ask him not to vote for this immoral budget. Ask Kline to oppose the budget reconciliation bill.

From Sojo:
First, the bad news: This morning, the Senate passed a budget hurting low-income families just four days before Christmas. Now the good news: Because of your prophetic voices, the vote was so narrow that Vice President Cheney was forced to cut short a diplomatic trip to the Middle East to break a 50-50 tie. (Civics class flashback: He's the president of the Senate.) More importantly, your voices helped remove some harmful provisions of the bill, changes that will force the members of the House to fly back to Washington to vote on the amended bill.

Bottom line: Because of our hard work, we have one last chance to reject these harmful cuts to children and families struggling to work themselves out of poverty.

Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073!
After you connect to Representative Kline's office, tell the staffer you reach:

As a person of faith from Minnesota, I ask you to please vote "no" on the new budget bill that the Senate passed. Before you go home for the holidays, don't take away health care for low-income children and crucial work support for families trying to work themselves out of poverty.

This morning, the Senate approved the budget reconciliation conference report. Vice President Cheney, president of the Senate, cut short a diplomatic trip to the Middle East to break the 50-50 tie. All Democrats and Independent Jim Jeffords (Vt.) opposed the bill, as well as five Republicans: Chafee (R.I.), Smith (Ore.), Collins (Maine), Snowe (Maine), and DeWine (Ohio).

But, just prior to the vote, the Senate removed several provisions from the conference report that the House had passed at 6 a.m. Monday (212-206). Therefore, the House must now approve the Senate's version and could vote as early as Thursday or Friday, or as late as January or February.

What does this mean? We get another chance in the House. We must appeal TODAY to congressional hearts and minds, asking legislators to oppose a budget that hurts the poor. Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073.
Many in the religious community cannot believe that leaders could pass a federal budget cutting health care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing the deficit for our grandchildren. Making this decision just before Christmas does not proclaim goodwill toward all. Although the faith community played a strong role in preventing food stamps from being cut in this budget, we cannot ignore the many other cuts that could become a reality for many of the 36 million people living in poverty in the U.S. Despite clear messages from people of faith that the poor families and children with whom we work need better policies and support, our political leadership is missing the meaning of Christmas. Instead of filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty, this budget process will only fill the rich with good things and send the hungry away empty.

Bipartisan efforts to prevent severe budget cuts continue to provide hope. Congressional leadership may cast today's slight change to the budget bill as a way to delay the inevitable. That is not the case, and your voice can continue to have an impact. Please keep doing the great work you have been doing all year!

Make sure your member of Congress knows you are still watching and praying. Call Representative Kline now at 1-800-426-8073 and ask the Representative to oppose the budget reconciliation bill.

The political and organizing staff at Sojourners and Call to Renewal

Kline Cuts Minnesotans But Spares Big Business

On Monday, John Kline voted to approved a spending bill that would cut $39.7 billion over five years. The goal was $42 billion, but Republican leaders spared pharmaceutical companies and insurance firms.

While sparing big businesses John Kline voted cuts to programs that aid working families like Medicaid and Student Loans.

Also just today drilling supporters fell four votes short of getting the required 60 votes to avoid a threatened filibuster of the defense spending legislation. Senate leaders were expected to withdraw the legislation so it could be reworked without the refuge language. The vote was 56-44.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who has fought to allow oil exploration and development in the refuge’s coastal plain since 1980, angered many of his Senate colleagues by attaching the drilling measure to the must-pass defense spending bill. Senators determined to protect the refuge from development found it difficult to oppose the politically popular defense bill, which has money for troops in Iraq, relief for Katrina hurricane victims and help for low-income families to pay energy bills.

John Kline (R- MN) Votes The 'Double Whammy'

Republican leaders including our own John Kline hailed the new budget agreements as proof that they were finally getting a handle on the federal budget after a five-year binge of new spending with tax cuts for the wealthy that turned record budget surpluses into a stream of massive deficits. With such grand words you'd think they were really balancing the budget but the budget accord cuts less than one-half of 1 percent from a projected $14.3 trillion in federal spending over the next five years. Depending on the outcome of negotiations over as much as $60 billion in tax cuts, the savings in spending could vanish.

The bill also still allow states to impose significant new costs on health care for the poor, cut child support enforcement and foster care aid, and impose new work requirements on welfare recipients.

John Kline also voted for the defense bill where veteran GOP leaders maneuvered and engineered to add the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling. It was a procedural tactic that pushed the Artic Drilling 'add-on' that had repeatedly been voted down on it's own. Knowing that moderate Republicans and Democrats would be unwilling to hold up legislation that funds US troops, they added on with the Arctic Drilling. Obviously the GOP leadership don't care to use democratic means in deciding issues or reaching consensus.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Will John Kline (R) Vote For Minnesotans?

Over thirty people attended a vigil outside Kline's office in Burnsville last night. They came out on a cold and snowy night to ask John Kline to vote for a moral budget that reflects Minnesota's working family values. They came because they've seen first hand how Minnesota has fallen from being the leading advocate for working families and for children.
Minnesota's state and local rankings are going down in both taxes and spending. Total state and local taxes ranked 8th in 200 and 10th in 2002 (most recent data available). Total state and local spending ranked 19th in 200 and 22nd in 2002*+

Minnesota now ranks among the low-spending states (below 25th) for:
K-12 Education (27th)
Higher Education (35th)
Total Education (29th)
Health and Hospitals (43rd)

Key Public Safety Areas:

Police (36th)
Fire (47th) and
Corrections (49th).*+

State and local tax burdens heading downward by more than 12% from 1996 to 2007:

-In 1996, Minnesotans paid 12.7% of their income in state and local taxes.
-In 1998, state and local burden went down to 11.8% .
The Projected burden in 2007 is 11.1%+

* Governing magazine Sourcebook — ranking derived directly from the U.S. Census Bureau

*+ Minnesota Taxpayers Association — rankings derived from U.S. Department of Commerce

** Tax Foundation in Washington, DC

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Demand Rep. John Kline (R-MN) Vote For A Moral Budget!

This holiday season, Congress will face a decision about whether or not to cut vital services like food stamps and child care from low income, working familes. We must make sure they do what is right.

Representative John Kline has already been busy this month voting himself a raise, voting tax cuts to the wealthy and then voting to pay for it with cuts to healthcare for working families and elderly. Let's see if we can't get him to vote Minnesota values instead of Bu$hism.

Join others with others for a Candle Light Vigil outside John Kline's Office (101 W. Burnsville Parkway in Burnsville) on Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00 - 7:00 PM. It's time we demand a budget that will be fair and just. Budgets are moral documents! They are about priorities and choices.

In the wake of the recent hurricanes, Congress has the chance to reassess its plans and set a new course—one that places a priority on meeting the needs of vulnerable families, including those directly impacted by the hurricanes, rather than cutting vital programs or dispensing unnecessary tax breaks to the wealthy that pile more debt on future generations. Congress can and should choose to do the right thing this fall.

To sign up or for more info: Sojourners

Budgets are moral documents!

How John Kline (R MN) Votes Against Minnesota Values!

In the last several weeks John Kline votes to give himself a raise, votes for the richest among us to continue to receive tax breaks, and then votes to pay for both by cutting services from the working poor.

Kline says he stands for families, but his voting tells another tale. In the next few weeks the Senate and House will have to hammer out a budget agreement. To date both versions are fundamentally flawed because the tax cuts are being paid for by cutting necessary services like daycare, student aid and health services to the working poor. Before that happens let Kline know that tax breaks to the rich while cutting services to the poor is just not Minnesota Values.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Kline Mantra: Bush Over Minnesotans

Kline, voting in line with the Bush administation, voted to cut billions from the poor, elderly and disabled right before Thanksgiving break. Is this an example of Minnesotan values?

Kline's fellow MN Republican Ramstad doesn't think so:

"We should cut the massive pork barrel spending instead of cutting health care for the poorest of the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities,"(Star Tribune)

Instead Kline while voting to cut $50 billion in services from healthcare, the elderly, education, government college grants and medicare, votes to give $70 billion in tax breaks/cuts to the wealthy.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Replace Kline with Coleen Rowley!

Sean Paul at The Aggonist had this to say about Coleen Rowley (CD2 DFL Congressional Candidate...aka Kline's replacement. BTW I couldn't agree more and opened my wallet. Getting rid of Kline will take more than just blogging!

Rarely do we do activism here at The Agonist. In 2006 we may adopt 1 or 2 candidates, tops. Coleen Rowley will be one of them so I ought to explain why. Anyone who stood up to the President, John Ashcroft and the Director of the FBI for reasons of pure, unadulturated patriotism, deserves my support and yours. Coleen is not a politician. She doesn't talk like one, she doesn't act like one but, there is no question in my mind that if she is elected (and she'll probably be running against a Tom DeLay crony, from Texas to boot!) she will become the conscience of the Congress. We need that.

So, if you have a few shekels, will you please toss them her way. Her campaign is a worthy cause so please donate HERE. This won't be the last pitch on her behalf you hear from me but I promise you I will keep them to a minimum. Sometimes we have to support those who exemplify our ideals. And Coleen does that, she's Agonist approved.