Looks Like Harry’s Working Up Some Intestinal Fortitude for a Fight

We all hoped beyond hope that Senator Reid would fix the filibuster problem that has ground Washington to a halt.  Instead, he put his trust in yet one more handshake deal with a charlatan named Mitch McConnell who broke that deal shortly after making it.  As result, nominations have been held, filibustered and ground to a standstill.  Unable to be confirmed, nominee after nominee has withdrawn forcing the administration to have to start over from scratch.  Instead of confirming the best and brightest, rule-by-the-minority is forcing confirmation of the weakest possible progressive candidates possible.

But, good news may, and I say MAY, be on the horizon.  Harry seems to be getting a bit agitated and we finally might see him go for his “nuclear” option some time in July:

“Today, Senator McConnell defended the status quo of gridlock and obstruction in Washington, saying ‘there is no real problem here.’ I could not disagree more. Senator McConnell may choose to ignore it, but the problem of gridlock in Washington is real and it needs to be fixed.

Presidents — be they Republican or Democratic — deserve to have the people working for them that they choose. The Senate’s role is to advise and consent. But Republicans have corrupted the Founders’ intent, creating an unreasonable and unworkable standard whereby the weakest of rationales is often cited as sufficient basis for blocking major nominees. Due to Republican obstruction, the de facto threshold for too many nominees to be confirmed has risen from a simple majority to a super-majority of 60 votes. On judicial nominees, Republicans’ obstruction is equally unprecedented…There is no reason to delay qualified nominees for so long except delay itself, and it is little wonder we have a judicial vacancy crisis in this country.

Despite the agreement we reached in January, Republican obstruction on nominees continues unabated. I want to make the Senate work again – that is my commitment.”

Can We Please Have Filibuster Reform Now?

FillibusterReform_180It was a shameful day when Republican senators, joined by four Democrats, blocked an up-or-down vote on a gun reform supported by 90 percent of Americans and 87 percent of gun owners. It was our best chance to pass any real common sense gun reform in the wake of Newtown. And it was killed by a filibuster.

But it was also a painful reminder that the fate of even modest reform on guns, like expanding background checks, was largely sealed in late January when a rare opportunity to fix the filibuster was killed by Majority Leader Harry Reid and a handful of Democratic senators.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a passionate advocate for gun reform — including a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines — was one of those senators. So was Senator Joe Manchin, author of the compromise amendment that would have led to the historic Senate passage of expanded background checks for gun owners, had it been allowed an up-or-down vote on the floor.

Tell Majority Leader Reid and Sens. Feinstein and Manchin: You bear responsibility for the Senate’s shame in the wake of Newtown. Reconsider your position against reforming the filibuster and fixing our broken Senate.

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In late January, we faced our only chance until 2015 to fix the filibuster, but Senate Majority Leader Reid didn’t act boldly, as he did when he voted — despite his NRA rating — for gun reforms, including a ban on assault weapons. Neither did Sen. Feinstein, who represents the state of California where voters strongly support bills like immigration reform and gun violence legislation — that will live or die based on filibusters. Nor did Sen Manchin, who may not have imagined back in January that he would bravely lead a mini-revolt by a few moderate and conservative senators against corrupting influence of the NRA. Instead, these three senators helped consign the Senate to two more years of gridlock and ultimately to the demise of even the most modest of gun reforms in the wake of Newtown.

In the end of the fight to reform the filibuster, Sen. Reid agreed to a compromised bait-and-switch deal that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cynically called “filibuster reform,” but which we know did next to nothing to actually fix the filibuster.

It was an epic failure and was the second time in a row Sen. Reid has sold out the American electorate by striking a bad deal with Sen. McConnell instead of pushing for strong filibuster reform when he had the chance.

Had Sen. Reid showed leadership or had hold-out senators like Feinstein and Manchin joined the effort, we could have secured the votes to pass real filibuster reform.

Tell Majority Leader Reid and Sens. Feinstein and Manchin: You can prevent special interests like the NRA from overriding the will of 87 percent of the American people in the future by reconsidering your decision to kill filibuster reform.

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CREDO members helped lead the way in pushing the Senate to fix the filibuster with 212,000 signing petitions and over 14,600 reporting calls to the Senate. In addition to that pressure, dozens of CREDO members met with Senate staffers in 10 constituent meetings we organized on this issue.

When we reported back to our members after Senator Reid killed real reform we wrote:

It was George W. Bush who said, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

It looks like Sen. Reid got fooled again. But sadly it is the American people who are going to pay the price, so we must recommit ourselves to continuing this fight.

With the failure of the background checks bill it’s clear that it is the American people who are going to pay the price — and they will pay it with their lives.

Sen. Feinstein urged her fellow senators to “show some guts” when her ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines failed in the Senate.

But what will truly fix the senate is if senators like Feinstein and Manchin, and Majority Leader Reid, show bold leadership and finally pass the reforms needed to end the 60-vote supermajority required to pass any bill and get the Senate working again.

Gun Violence Double-Speak

I’m always fascinated how folks in Washington are always saying they need a comprehensive bill for this or for that.  Then, when presented with a comprehensive bill, they claim they need to fix that issue not with a massive bill, but in a step by step process.  What they’re really saying is give it to me piece by piece so I can kill what my Corporate sponsors don’t like … and I can vote for what they love.  Gun violence legislation is the most current example of the comprehensive vs. step-by-step dilemma we all to frequently face.

I recently sent an email to Sen. Harry Reid regarding “comprehensive” gun violence legislation purportedly being considered.  My email was in support of not just background checks, but restricting clip sizes as well as the ability to buy assault rifles.  Senator Reid’s response back to me is shown below and it appears to be saying two different things about the exact same thing — background checks.  It’s supposedly IN the bill, but it’s also apparently still being negotiated.  And, IF a compromise can be reached, then he’ll include it.  HUH?  I’ve highlighted the differences with two different colors of text:

“Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation to prevent gun violence. I appreciate hearing from you.

I took note of your support for Congressional action to combat senseless violence in our schools and communities. In the wake of the tragic shootings that have occurred across our nation, we must do more to safeguard all Americans from such incomprehensible violence. As a former police officer, I understand the importance of protecting our families and communities from gun violence.

On March 21, 2013, I started the process of bringing a bill to reduce gun violence to the Senate floor. The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S.649) includes the provisions on background checks, school safety, and gun trafficking recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. I hope negotiations to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks will continue over the coming weeks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed. If a compromise is reached, I am open to including it in the base bill. I believe that in order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks. (emphasis added as to ambiguity)

The bill I have advanced will serve as the basis for opening debate. Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do.

I have noted your support for the inclusion of these provisions in the Senate’s bill. As the 113th Congress works to prevent and reduce gun violence, please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind. “

Absent from the bill cited in Sen. Reid’s response (S.649) is any mention of assault rifles and clip-size, something that has seriously incensed Sen. Diane Feinstein and others. Also missing (and cut completely from Rep. Ryan’s Path to Poverty budget that passed the House, and that went down in flames in the Senate) was any mention of anything to address mental health issues.

Sen. Reid has clearly stated that he won’t bring anything related to assault weapons and clip sizes to the floor because “HE” doesn’t believe “HE” has enough votes to pass the bill. Personally, I don’t care if “HE” has enough votes one way or the other.   WE DESERVE A VOTE!  The families who lost their children in Sandy Hook deserve a vote.  People in Colorado who lost family members and friends in a theater one night deserve a vote.

Sen. Reid later relented that he would allow them to bring it up as an amendment to a “later bill.”   What bill might that be?

I’m not sure about you, but as a voter, I want to know WHO is for and WHO is against this as well as other issues. But Congress makes it a bit of a challenge for us to keep up with what’s taking place, or more importantly NOT taking place.  Too many people have a hard time paying attention to bills passed or not passed, or bills proposed as a stand-alone bill and then later incorporated in some other bill or added to another bill as an amendment to some unrelated bill all together.  This is a very important issue, and it WILL affect for whom many of us will cast a vote at the polls.  Whether the bill is passed or goes down in flames,  WE deserve a vote!

Sen. Reid did introduce S649 today (3/21/2013).  Text of the bill is not yet available on THOMAS, but hopefully, will be available early next week:

S. 649: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 

A bill to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes.

Democratic Community Calendar: Week of Feb 28, 2013

— by Marla Turner, NSDP Secretary

Tomorrow is President’s Day, also known as Washington’s Day. This holiday, originally established in 1885, honors the life and work of President George Washington. It also commemorates past U.S. presidents and is often referred to as President’s Day. Many businesses are open as usual but there is no mail delivery.

In other news……

State of the Union Address
Last Tuesday, President Obama outlined a visionary plan for America during his State of the Union address. Based on citizen and media response, his most powerful statements had to do with comprehensive immigration reform and getting to a vote on gun violence. In case you missed it, you can watch the President’s address here and read the transcript.

Senator Reid to Address Nevada Legislature This Week
Senator Harry Reid is to address the Nevada Legislature this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. The Senator will make his remarks in the Assembly Chambers.

Building a Better Nevada
Two weeks ago, the NV Democratic Assembly and Senate launched “Building a Better Nevada” website. Here, Nevadans can be a part of the discussion on how to build a better Nevada and keep up to date on important issues during session.

Legislative Reports

  • The Interim Study Report of the Legislative Committee for the Review and Oversight of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Marlette Lake Water System is now available via Legislative Counsel Bulletin No. 13-13.

Upcoming Grassroots Lobby Days

  • March 3-4: Nevada Women’s Lobby Annual Grassroots Lobby Days.
  • April 25: The Nevada Conservation League will host an environmental community grassroots lobby day on April 25, 2013. More information will be forthcoming soon.

Stay Up to Date on Environmental Legislation
The Nevada Conservation League has created The Conservation Voter, a weekly legislative newsletter to help keep us updated on legislative actions we should know about. Sign up for the newsletter and view their environmental priorities this legislative session.

Legislative Profile FAQ Sheet
Here’s a great legislative membership profile report on the current session.

Congratulations to New Democratic Club Officers!
Elections were recently held in various clubs/caucuses. Congratulations to the new officers and thank you for stepping up!

  • North Las Vegas Democratic Club: Deb Lewis – President, Derek Washington- Vice President, Elaine Cology – Secretary and Danielle Monroe Moreno – Treasurer.
  • Paradise Democratic Club: John Ponticello – President, no change in officers

Carson City Seeks Professional for Historic Resources Commission
The Carson City Board of Supervisors is seeking applications from persons interested in serving on the Historic Resources Commission, specifically filling the position of Architect, Residential Designer or Design Professional. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please call 775-887-2100 for specific information on this commission or visit www.carson-city.nv.us.

Applications for Grant Applications for Non-Profits Now Being Accepted
The Dr. Scholl Foundation welcomes grant applications from 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations committed to improving our world. Applications for grants of $5,000 to $25,000 are considered in the following areas: Education, Social Service, Healthcare, Environmental, and Civic and Cultural. The application deadline is March 1. For an application and more information, click here.

Monday, Feb. 18

Legislative Meetings

Washington’s Birthday (Presidents Day)

 

Thurs., Feb. 21

Legislative Meetings

Friday, Feb. 22

Legislative Meetings

Saturday, Feb. 23

Tuesday, Feb. 19

Legislative Meetings

Sunday, Feb. 24

Monday, Feb. 25

Today is Nevada Education Awareness Day at the Legislature in Carson City

 

Wed., Feb. 20

Legislative Meetings

Today is Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature in Carson City

 

 Upcoming Events

Heller, Reid Reintroduce Lyon Co. Lands Bill

Yesterday, Nevada Senators Dean Heller and Harry Reid jointly re-introduced the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act of 2012. The two senators formally re-introduced the legislation to ensure its consideration by the Senate in the 113 th Congress. The Lyon County lands bill will allow the City of Yerington to work with Nevada Copper to expand its mining operation and create jobs while also providing the City with new infrastructure, job creation, and recreational opportunities. This bi-partisan legislation was a collaborative effort that resulted from countless meetings, discussions, and site visits with and between Lyon County officials and local residents.

“I am encouraged that officials on all levels were able to come together on a measure that will create hundreds of jobs in one of Nevada’s most distressed counties. This legislation will allow Nevadans to utilize resources in our own backyard that can be used to create jobs and grow our local economy. Considering that mining is the backbone of Nevada’s rural economy, measures such as these are critical to ensuring economic recovery in our state. I look forward to working with the entire Nevada delegation to pass this legislation out of Congress as soon as possible,” said Senator Dean Heller.

“My father was a miner. I’ve worked in the mines. I know how important mining has always been for the state of Nevada, and I look forward to working with the Nevada congressional delegation to pass this important bill,” said Senator Harry Reid. “I am very happy to be part of this legislation which will create lots of jobs in Lyon county, which are so desperately needed. This bill also designates the Wovoka wilderness area, a place with special cultural and natural resources that are worthy of a high level of protection so future generations can continue enjoying them. It’s a bill that’s going to meet the needs of modern day Nevada.”

About the Lyon County Conservation and Economic Development Act of 2013

The legislation will allow the City of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to develop roughly 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow project site, which is already creating jobs in Nevada.  The Pumpkin Hollow project is estimated to create 800 mining jobs and 500 construction jobs.  The lands conveyed by this bill will also be used for industrial, recreation, and infrastructure purposes that will create sorely needed jobs and economic development for Yerington.

It will also designate an important wilderness area, known as the Wovoka Wilderness, while protecting the rights and interests of ranchers and miners who earn their living on the land in the area.  Wovoka is named in honor of the Native American spiritual leader and father of the Ghostdance who was born and raised in the area.

The proposed Wovoka Wilderness is approximately 48,000 acres and withdraws from mining and development additional land with sensitive cultural resources.  Wovoka has invaluable prehistoric cultural and natural resources that are worthy of protection so future generations can continue enjoying them. Wovoka contains landscapes and wildlife habitat that have been enjoyed by hunters, outdoors enthusiasts, and explorers since John C. Fremont camped along the nearby East Walker River in 1844.