Keeping In Touch with politics and other issues in Central Virginia .....The Virginia 22nd Senate District and The 6th Congressional District......Vote Democratic for a Better Future....Protect Your Benefits

Democratic Committee Meeting

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keeping Up with the House

Ever Wish There Was A Way?     There Is and Here It Is.

Here is an easy way for you to track the bills in Congress that affect the issues you care about. Politicians don't exactly go out of their way to keep you in the loop.     At election time the less you know the better for them so we at Amherst County Virginia Democratic News will offer you this simple way to keep up with all three of the circus rings known as the House of Representatives.     These bills have recently been introduced and with a few clicks of your mouse you can know in-depth information about any that interest you.     An informed population is the best defense against the silliness that passes for politics today.     Book mark this page and come back anytine you need information on a bill.

Who actually writes the bills that the members of congress sponsor and vote for?

If you want to know who actually puts pen to paper, it’s nonpartisan staff lawyers who work for Congress who know the exiting law they are affecting inside out.     Thats an answer for our young school age children.     Below this point the answer takes on tones of adulthood.

They do that under the direction of office staff for Members of Congress and congressional committees, who vet the bill with outside experts, big supporters and advocates.      Advocates is the nice term for lobbyists.     Sometimes those advocates propose changes in the form of legislative language.      But did the Sponsor write the bill?     No, probably not.       Did the Advocate or Outside Expert write the bill?      They may have suggested a large part of the language.      Big supporters may also be repaid for their support with favorable language.     The politician will claim complete lack of knowledge of anything in this paragraph and partisan members of his or her party will believe them.

Here's the hard core ACVDN Bottom Line.     When you look with an honest and critical eye at the people we vote for and elect you will understand why they are seldom the authors of anything other than a self serving book ghost written by a political alley.     Why waste time researching and writing a bill when a lobbyists will do it for you and fund your next campaign at the same time.     Welcome to 21st century American politics.    

These are the best politicians money can buy and most of them are owned by big business or other groups who don't give a hoot about you.     Were it not for their election to public office odds are they would be serving time in the grey bar hotel which by the way houses a large number of them even with the advantage of holding public office.

ACV Democratic News


H.R.397 - Reform Americans Can Afford Act of 2011

To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and
to take meaningful steps to lower health care costs and increase access to health insurance coverage without raising taxes, cutting Medicare benefits for seniors, adding to the national deficit, intervening in the doctor-patient relationship, or instituting a government takeover of health care.

Introduced Jan 24th 2011

Health Insurance Exchanges are part of the plan the Republicans want to destroy.      This bill, H.R. 397, is the wrecking ball.     The Senators and Congressmen already enjoy all the benefits they are seeking to curb for you.      Its ok for them just not for you and they will protect you from being covered by the health care their families rely on.      Sweet guys and gals these Republicans.     Surprise,  Robert Goodlatte [R-VA 6} who opposes everything that could possibly help normal people has not signed on as a co-sponsor.     I'm sure its just an oversight he will correct.    Birther Bob doesn't want you to have insurance coverage.

Exchanges are designed to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance, and are crucial to more efficiently managing health care costs, increasing price and quality transparency, and expanding access to health insurance for many of the nation’s uninsured, as well as small businesses struggling to afford health benefits.

They allow for greater choice and flexibility for not only the human resource decision-makers within small firms, but also for workers and their families.      By making a defined contribution toward employees’ health care benefits, employees who obtain their coverage through the exchange can choose from a variety of choices and enjoy greater flexibility when switching plans at year’s end.     The primary goal of health reform was, after all, to make it easier for consumers to purchase health insurance; in the end,
the Senate bill that became law included provisions requiring each exchange to standardize coverage options.

How do exchange plans work?

Each option will be included in one of four benefit tiers with different out-of-pocket limitations.     Bronze tier plans will cover at least 60 percent of costs;   silver plans 70 percent;   gold plans 80 percent; and finally,   rich platinum plans will cover at least 90 percent of costs.     Catastrophic plans will be available to individuals who are exempt from the individual mandate because no affordable plan is available to them or they are under the age of 30.     These plans should help stem the tide of uninsured, young adult “invincibles,” a population often stymied by the prohibitive cost of individual insurance.    To encourage health plans to participate fully in the exchange, each plan that wants to to become a qualified health plan must offer at least one plan in both the silver and gold benefit tiers.

While the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must provide guidance on how exchanges will be established, each state that chooses to institute an exchange must create two different exchanges that must both be operational by Jan. 1, 2014.     The American Health Benefit Exchange will serve individuals, including those receiving premium reduction and cost-sharing subsidies.     Small businesses will be able to purchase coverage through Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges.     At first, only firms with up to 50 employees will be eligible to purchase coverage through SHOP exchanges.     Beginning in 2016, they will be expanded to allow larger employers with up to 100 employees to participate.     In parts of the country with separate and distinct insurance markets, states will be allowed to form geographically distinct sub-exchanges, or even partner with neighboring states to structure regional exchanges.     States have also been granted the authority to merge their individual and small-group markets to enhance the size and formidability of their risk pools.

Republicans are hard at work to kill all this before it begins on Jan. 1, 2014.     Some of you actually think repeblicans are your friends.

Buffalo Hill Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.202 - EEOICPA Ombudsman Extension and Enhancement Act of 2011

To amend the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 to extend and increase the authority for the ombudsman under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

Introduced Jan 24th 2011

City Gomingo Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.108 - Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act of 2011

To protect voting rights and to improve the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 24th 2011

Colony Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.370 - Preventing Affinity Scams for Seniors Act of 2011

To require financial institutions to offer services to protect seniors from affinity scams, to report suspected affinity scams, and for other purposes

Introduced Jan 20th 2011

The Congress finds the following:

(1) Financial exploitation of the elderly is becoming an increasingly familiar problem.     Regular review of news headlines reveals that elders and vulnerable adults are victimized routinely by frauds and scams at the hands of strangers as well as loved ones.

(2) Older individuals may be targeted merely because they possess more assets, such as savings, annuities, and retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, insurance policies, and property than younger people.     People over 50 years of age control at least 70 percent of the net worth of the Nation's households.

(3) Those elders with cognitive impairments, mental health conditions, or physical disabilities may be dependent upon others (family members, friends, formal and informal caregivers, or court-appointed representatives) for assistance in making financial decisions or carrying out daily transactions, and therefore may be even more vulnerable to theft, exploitation, or undue influence.

(4) Affinity scams on seniors involve transactions in which a person trusted by the senior uses the relationship to defraud the senior.     Millions of elderly are scammed each year, losing at least $2,600,000,000 a year to thieves, many of whom are in their own families (conservative estimate given of the schemes left unreported).

(5) Elder financial abuse is commonly linked with other forms of abuse and neglect and threatens the health, dignity, and economic security of millions of older Americans.     Elder financial abuse has received limited attention because it is not regarded as visible, life-threatening, or newsworthy as is the physical or sexual abuse of elders.
(6) Financial exploitation can be devastating to the victim and is often traced to family members, trusted friends, or caregivers.     Financial abuse often occurs with the implied acknowledgment and consent of the elder person and can be more difficult to detect.

(7) Elder financial abuse affects elders and their families in significant and long-lasting ways by putting enormous emotional duress on the elders, increasing their risk of depression, decreasing their quality of life, and increasing unnecessary institutionalization.

(8) The financial services industry is often the first to detect a change in the pattern of customers with whom they have regular contact.      This puts institutions in a unique position to assist in protecting customers and upholding the inherent trust relationship with clients.

ACVDN Asks?     Who will oppose this Bill?     Which table are you eating from if you oppose the passage of this bill?

Fancy Hill Virginia News, Amherst County


Disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to "Approval and Promulgation of
Implementation Plans; Texas; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Flexible Permits; Final Rule".

Introduced Jan. 20th 2011

Five Forks Virginia News, Amherst County================================

H.R.302 - Preserve Land Freedom For Americans Act of 2011

To provide for State approval of national monuments, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 20, 2011

Lets look at this bills sponsor.    Virginia Foxx (born June 29, 1943) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 5th congressional district, serving since 2005.      She is a member of the Republican Party.      The district takes in much of the northwestern portion of the state and a portion of Winston-Salem.     Virginia Foxx specializes in hate, bigotry and diminished witt and in these areas is quite gifted tacking a back seat to nobody.     She is extreme even for the part of North Carolina she represents.     Virginia Foxx is to North Carolina what Robert Goodlatte is to Virginia.

In September 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against the $51 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Katrina.     She was also one of only 33 Republicans to vote against the extension of the Voting Rights Act in July 2006.

In April 2009, Foxx expressed opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act, claiming that the murder of Matthew Shepard was not a
hate crime.      While debating the act at the House of Representatives, which was attended by Matthew Shepard's mother, she called the incident a "very unfortunate incident" but also "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a
robbery.      It wasn't because he was gay."     She continued that "It's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crimes bills."

When commenting on the House version of the reform bill that funds counseling for end-of-life issues, Foxx said,  "Republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care,"  and  "(The plan) is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."     She later said that "we have more to fear from the potential of [the Affordable Health Care for America Act] passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."

Virginia Foxx is a member of Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans since 2005. Her son-in-law is a Turkish businessman, Mustafa Ă–zdemir.

Forks of Buffalo Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.284 - Veterans, Women, Families with Children, and Persons With Disabilities Housing Fairness Act of 2011

To authorize funds to prevent housing discrimination through the use of nationwide testing, to increase funds for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 18, 2011

Galts Mill Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.213 - Regulation Audit Revive Economy Act of 2011
To establish a moratorium on regulatory rulemaking actions, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 07, 2011

Alaskan Congressman Don Young has introduced two bills aimed at curbing the overregulation of the American people.     Both H.R. 213, the Regulation Audit Revive Economy Act of 2011 (RARE Act of 2011), and H.R. 214, the Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis Creation and Sunset and Review Act of 2011, intend to not only review existing regulations but limit future ones as well.

“Quite often contentious regulations are issued through agencies, thus bypassing Congress and the voice of the people,”  said Rep. Young.  “This legislative trick by the Executive Branch has contributed to our massive federal deficit and overall debt, while sometimes restricting small business growth."     Hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations are on the books, making the amount of red tape industry has to navigate almost paralyzing.     And more often than not, these regulations are written in convoluted legalese making them near impossible to understand.

“With the abundance of regulations already coming from legislation such as the health care bill and the inevitability of thousands more this year, it is incredibly important that we do this review sooner rather than later.    The excess of government has gotten out of hand, and with these bills I am calling on Congress to finally take a hard look at these overreaching rules that stifle American freedoms.”

• There are over 160,000 pages of regulations on the books right now

• In 2005, the Small Business Administration study found that enforcing all the regulations costs $1.1 trillion per year

• 3,500 new rules were adopted in 2009 alone at a cost of $13.6 billion, most of these new rules were a result of the outgoing Bush Administration

• For the last couple of decades, the federal government has issued on average 4,000 new rules each year in the Federal Register

• The Code of Federal Regulations in 2006 had 33 percent more pages than in 1980

• Three years into the George W. Bush Administration, the cost of new regulations hit $4 billion.

Gidsville Virginia News, Amherst County


Disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the National Emission Standards for
Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry and Standards of Performance for Portland Cement

Introduced Jan 12, 2011

Joshua Falls Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.22 - Pipeline Safety and Community Empowerment Act of 2011

To amend title 49, United States Code, to enhance pipeline safety, to provide communities with access to improved information concerning the equipment and operations of pipeline facilities, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 06, 2011

Monitor Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.81 - Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2011

To promote and encourage the valuable public service, disaster relief, and emergency communications provided on a volunteer basis by licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service, by undertaking a study of the uses of amateur radio for emergency and disaster relief communications, by identifying unnecessary or unreasonable impediments to the deployment of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief communications, and by making recommendations for relief of such unreasonable restrictions so as to expand the uses of amateur radio communications in Homeland Security planning and response.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Sandidges Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.153 - Ensuring Affordable Energy Act

To prohibit funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to be used to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for
greenhouse gases, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Ensuring Affordable Energy Act – Prohibits any funds appropriated or otherwise available for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from being used to implement or enforce:  (1) a cap-and-trade program;  or (2) any statutory or regulatory requirement pertaining to emissions of one or more greenhouse gases from stationary sources that is issued or becomes applicable or effective after January 1, 2011.     Defines: (1) “cap-and-trade program” as any regulatory program established after the date of enactment of this Act that provides for the sale, auction, or other distribution of a limited amount of allowances that permit the emission of one or more greenhouse gases;  and (2) “greenhouse gas” to include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or any other designated anthropogenic gas.

Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6] is a co-sponsor.

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

The global warming potential of SF6 is 23,900, making it the most potent greenhouse gas the IPCC has evaluated.     SF6 is a colorless, odorless, nontoxic, nonflammable gas with excellent dielectric properties.      SF6 is used for insulation and current interruption in electric power transmission and distribution equipment, in the magnesium industry to protext molten magnesium from oxidation and potentially violent burning, in semiconductor manufacturing to create circuitry patterns on silicon wafers, and as a tracer gas for leak detection.

Like the other high GWP gases, there are very few sinks for SF6, so all man-made sources contribute directly to its accumulation in the atmosphere.       Measurements of SF6 show that its global average concentration has increased by about 7% per year during the 1980s and 1990s, from less 1 ppt in 1980 to almost 4 ppt in the late 1990’s (IPCC, 2001).

Oronoco Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.192 - Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection

To expand the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and for other purposes

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Pera Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.96 - Internet Freedom Act

To prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Brandywine Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.25 - Fair Tax Act

To promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the
Internal Revenue Service, and for other purposes

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

At ACVDN we find this Bill fascinating and at the same time frightening.    There is a pig in a poke aspect to the Fair Tax Act and it changes so much so dramatically that even the experts are bewildered when predicting the direction it takes.

The Fair Tax Act is designed to replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum tax, corporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a national retail sales tax.     The legislation would remove the Internal Revenue Service (after three years), and establish an Excise Tax Bureau and a Sales Tax Bureau in the Department of the Treasury.

The FairTax is a proposed change to the federal government tax laws of the United States intended to replace all federal income taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales.

The plan was introduced into the United States Congress as the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25).     The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption.      The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or "prebate", of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.     The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation for the first year, is 23% of the total payment including the tax  ($23 of every $100 spent in total—calculated similar to income taxes).      This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax   ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total).       The rate would then be automatically adjusted annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.

With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption, but would also be regressive on

income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).      Opponents argue this would accordingly
decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase it on the middle class.     Supporters contend that the plan would decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base, effectively taxing wealth, and increasing purchasing power.      The plan's supporters also argue that a consumption tax would have a positive effect on savings and investment, that it would ease tax compliance, and that the tax would result in increased economic growth, incentives for international business to locate in the U.S., and increased U.S. competitiveness in international trade.      Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion.     They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.

During the transition, many or most of the employees of the IRS (105,978 in 2005) would face loss of employment.     The Beacon Hill Institute estimate is that the federal government would be able to cut $8 billion from the IRS budget of $11.01 billion (in 2007), reducing the size of federal tax administration by 73%.     

In addition, income tax preparers (many seasonal), tax lawyers, tax compliance staff in medium-to-large businesses, and software companies which sell tax preparation software could face significant drops, changes, or loss of employment.     The bill would maintain the IRS for three years after implementation before completely decommissioning the agency, providing employees time to find other employment.

There are concerns regarding the proposed repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use, and the loss of tax advantages to state and local bonds.

If the FairTax bill were passed, permanent elimination of income taxation would not be guaranteed; the FairTax bill would repeal much of the existing tax code, but the Sixteenth Amendment would remain in place.     Preventing new legislation from reintroducing income taxation would require a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution with a separate provision expressly prohibiting a federal income tax.

ACVDN Bottom Line
Before you jump on he Republican bandwagon take the time to study this issue.     As you think and study what it would change and how I'm sure you can add to the topics discussed here.     The Congress needs to have an open discussion of all the issues on the topic of the Fair Tax.     Both sides need to work together to come up with something that works first time, right out of the box.     Both sides need to deal honestly and openly with each other.     Then everybody needs to accept responsibility for the joint decision.     Getting this right has nothing to do with politics.     This does not affect the State Tax only Federal

Edgewood Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.116 - Robo COP Act

To direct the Federal Trade Commission to revise the regulations regarding the Do-not-call registry to prohibit politically oriented recorded message telephone calls to telephone numbers listed on that registry.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Glenwood Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.97 - Free Industry Act

To amend the Clean Air Act to provide that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Republicans live in the pocket of big industry and big business and are doing all they can to do away with any enviromental regulation or restriction.      There are many bills that weaken the EPA.     H.R. 97 would declare various gasses not to be ‘air pollutants’ so EPA couldn’t regulate them.

Introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R-TN7]

Free Industry Act – Amends the Clean Air Act to:   (1) exclude from the definition of the term “air pollutant” carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, or sulfur hexafluoride;   and (2) declare that nothing in the Act shall be treated as authorizing or requiring the regulation of climate change or global warming.

H.R. 97 is just one of several bills designed to limit the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency.     The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act is another ( H.R. 153).    It was Introduced by Rep. Ted Poe [R-TX2] and is co-sponsored by Robert Goodlatte [R-VA 6].      It is listed seperately on this page and represents another attempt by hard right wing republicans to hog tie the EPA.

Great Oaks Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.166 - Internet Investment, Innovation, and Competition Preservation Act

To prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating information services or Internet access services absent
a market failure, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Holiday Acres Virginia News, Amherst County

H.R.61 - Controlling Our Air-travel Costs at Home Act of 2011

To amend title 5, United States Code, to require Federal employees to use coach-class air travel in the United States except in limited circumstances, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

Ivanhoe Forest Virginia News, Amherst County===============================

H.R.190 - Protecting America's Workers Act

Sponsor: Woolsey (D - CA)

To amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to expand coverage under the Act, to increase protections for
whistleblowers, to increase penalties for high gravity violations, to adjust penalties for inflation, to provide rights for victims or their family members, and for other purposes.

Introduced Jan 05, 2011

This bill seeks to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to broaden the scope of the legislation, increase the protections for individuals deemed to be “whistleblowers,” and increase the civil and criminal penalties for OSHA violations.

Specifically, H.R. 190 revises the language of Section 17 of OSHA (29 U.S.C. Section 666) to provide greater criminal penalties for employers who knowingly violate any standard, rule, or order promulgated under OSHA, or any regulation prescribed under OSHA.      This lowers the level of criminal intent required for criminal sanction under OSHA from its current “willfully” standard.

For violations causing or significantly contributing to the death of an employee, the bill would provide for criminal sanctions of up to 20 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both.

This compares to the six months imprisonment currently authorized under section 666 of Title 29, U.S. Code.      For violations causing or significantly contributing to the serious bodily harm of an employee, the bill would provide for criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. code, or both.

This would be a new avenue for criminal liability under section 666 of Title 29, U.S.Code. H.R. 190 would also increase the criminal penalty for knowingly impeding or interfering with an OSHA inspection through the provision of advance notice to an employer. A violation previously punishable by up to six months imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, would now be subject to up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Recent studies have shown that the greater the knowledge base of the individual the less likely they are to cast a republican ballot.       ACVDN Bottom Line       The more you know about the issues the more likely you are to vote Democrat.
Lakeview Virginia News, Amherst County

Friday, January 28, 2011

Be Aware of What The Republicans Are Doing

Hello Republicans of Amherst County.     You are 60% of the voters and You elected these lunatic Republicans and sent them to Washington to represent You.    

Are the things they are doing things You approve of?      Check Amherst County Virginia Democratic News on a regular basis and I will keep you up to date on what Your vote stands for and means.     I will give you the nasty lowdown facts on what Republicans stand for, the kind of real truth the newspapers and tv stations ignore.     Today we look at how right wing conservative Republicans are trying to redefine rape.    How the people You elected are representing You.

Lets look at the Republicans' bill to limit access to abortions, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and finds an especially odious provision:
                         Your Republican CHRIS SMITH

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.),  Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape."      This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible.     For example:    If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.

(Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)
                                 Blame The 13 Year Old

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents wouldn’t be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure.      They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.

“This bill takes us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough to qualify as rape,” says Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center.     Laurie Levenson, a former assistant US attorney and expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, notes that the new bill’s authors are “using language that’s not particularly clear, and some people are going to lose protection.”     Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes.      “There are a lot of aspects of rape that are not included,” Levenson says.

Let’s take a look at the legislative text. Sec. 309 contains the new stipulation:


‘The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion–
‘(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or

‘(2) in the case where the pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

This bill is titled "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" and is "H.R. 3".        We will track its progress

As Attorney Sterling notes, this isn’t clear at all.      What in the world is non-forcible rape?     When a women is drugged?     When she has had too much to drink and is unable to defend herself? When she doesn’t fight back hard enough because she is in shock?

On the incest exception, note the inclusion of the language, “if a minor.”      That means that a woman who is 18 and the victim of incest would no longer be eligible for abortion services under Medicare.      In fact, under the bill she wouldn’t be able to use any health plan bought on the soon-to-be-created insurance exchange, even if she were paying for the abortion section of the coverage with her own funds.      That’s how the bill works.

Slick Eric

The bill already has 173 co-sponsors, including Majority Leader
Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7], and Speaker Rep. John Boehner
[R, OH-8] recently called it  “one of [the Republicans’] highest legislative priorities.”      You can expect it to move through
the committee process and onto the House floor for passage soon.

Obviously, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV]
isn’t going to be calling this bill up for a vote in the Senate any time soon;    Reid and the Democrats want to preserve the status quo (i.e. the 1976 Hyde Amendment)
that already bans the use of federal funding for abortion services.  
Still, the Republicans can use the same procedure they did for the health care repeal to bypass committee and put it directly on the
legislative calendar.      That allows them to call for the bill to be considered and could force a test vote on redefining rape, expanding the Hyde restrictions, and making it permanent law.
                                   Hard Core Birther Bob

Now back to You, the Republican voter of Amherst County.     How insane are you going to allow the GOP to become?     Call Bob Goodlatte and request he and the hard core conservative lawmakers plot a path back to sanity.     It is time for You to stand up and correct the madness You have unleashed.

If you think You are innocent explain why in your comments which will be added to the comment section below this article.     Please be warned that ignorance is no excuse and does not equell innocence.

Feed and keep mad dogs and you are responsible for their actions.

Feb. 3 by Donny Shaw

Republicans Agree to Drop 'Forcible Rape' Language From Abortion Bill

House Republicans are backing away from controversial language in their No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act that would change a long-standing exemption in abortion laws that allows federal funds to be used for abortions in the case of rape or incest by requiring that a rape be “forcible” to qualify.      According to Politico, the bill’s author, Rep. Chris Smith [R, NJ-4], has agreed to amend the bill and remove the language after pro-choice groups and political commentators of all stripes expressed outrage.

“The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment,” a spokesman for Rep. Smith told Politico.

The Hyde Amendment is a federal law banning the use of federal funds for elective abortions that is renewed annually as a rider on the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill.      It applies primarily to Medicaid, but it will also be applied to all elements of the new health care reform law as it comes into effect over the next couple years.       The No Taxpayers Funding for Abortions Act would make the Hyde Amendment permanent law so that it doesn’t have to be renewed every year.

More importantly, however, the bill would expand the Hyde Amendment to make it more difficult for businesses and individuals from using their own money to purchase health insurance that covers abortion services.      The guiding theory behind the bill is that money is fungible, so no matter how carefully federal money is segregated from private money, the mere presence of federal money still frees up private money to be spent on abortions.      It would, for example, block companies that offer their employees health plans that cover abortions from receiving tax credits.     And individuals who buy their own policies would no longer be able to claim a deduction for the cost of their insurance policy if the policy covers abortions.

The dominant theory in the liberal blogosphere is that the rape-redefining language in the bill was never actually meant to become law.      It was put in the bill to distract the pro-choice community from all the other stuff they wouldn’t like and would eventually be dropped to give the illusion of compromise, when in fact the Republicans are still getting everything they wanted.      Sure enough, they’re dropping the rape language.

House Speaker John Boehner [R, OH] has said that this bill is one of his top priorities for the year.      Expect action on it soon, and don’t be surprised if this, or some version of it, attracts a bit of Democratic support in the Senate as well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paul Ryan, GOP WILL Destroy Your Benefits

If you are dumb enough to support this nutjob republican your life will get very hard unless your income is above $633,000 per year.    
                                                                                                                                   ACV Democratic News
Since I am talking to republicans who live in Amherst County it is safe to guess your income is lower.     Republicans make up about 60% of the voters in the county so it is within your power to access and stop this madness at the county level.     How can we reach out and educate you to what the GOP has in mind for you.     What delusional world have the words of tea party, republican and GOP dreamers taken you to?    Wake up please, once you loose the benefits Eisnhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan fought hard for you to enjoy, you will be out of luck.     Todays GOP is Ultra Right Hard Core Conservative and they do not represent normal people.      They do not represent you, they pose a great danger to your lifestyle.     Where our country goes from here is up to you.     Use your mind.     It is not impossible to see the GOP Plan and lets hope it can be stoped.      The GOP is not talking about taking things from people in other states, You Are Included in the Benefit Losses.

Republicans have chosen Rep. Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, to respond to the president's State of the Union address tonight.      In the civility intermission that has followed the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabby Giffords just outside Tucson, Ryan will no doubt be respectful, and sorrowful that he must dissent from the president's course.      Don't be fooled.
                                                                                                               Amherst VA Democrats
Ryan is an Ayn Rand-quoting zealot, one of the Republican Party's self-styled "Young Guns."      He's spent his adult life inside the Beltway, on the political right, with no experience in the world of business, labor, the executive branch or the private sector. Incubated in a right-wing think tank, writing speeches for Jack Kemp and William Bennett, he was elected to Congress at age 28. Ryan became the most loyal of loyal foot soldiers in the Congress presided over by Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert, a fact Ryan now glosses over as he describes those Congresses as "corrupt."
                                                                                               Lamont AcresVirginia News, Amherst County
Ryan has been dubbed a Republican "thinker"  by national reporters desperate to find someone they can praise in a party that was extreme before the Tea Partyers came to town.     But, in fact, his rhetoric is a barely varnished echo of the ravings of Glenn Beck.     
                                                                                        Magruder Virginia News, Amherst County
He accuses Obama of a "treacherous plan," saying that Democrats have a "hardcore-left agenda,"   and claims that Democrats are steering the country "very far left, very fast"  - a direction he describes as "completely antithetical to what this country is about."
                                                                                                                    Amherst County VA Democrats
This sort of rhetoric, once scorned as sophomoric at best, is now common currency on the Republican right.     While Ryan will be careful to avoid such language in the GOP response to the State of the Union, he'll reveal his ideological zealotry in the policies he will propose.
                                                                                          Martins Shop Virginia News, Amherst County
Most of those policies will come from Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future," a budget manifesto published last year that The Post's Ezra Klein aptly described as "nothing short of violent."

In a nation where the top 1 percent already captures 25 percent of the nation's income and possesses more wealth than the bottom 90 percent, the roadmap would give the richest households a new round of staggering tax cuts.     It would reduce tax rates, eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest, and abolish the corporate tax, the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.

The respected Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, drawing on estimates of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, concluded that the average tax cut for the top 1 percent of the population (with incomes over $633,000) would be $280,000.

The richest one-tenth of one percent, who had incomes over $2.9 million in 2009, would pocket a handsome $1.7 million a year in tax breaks.     Some of this revenue would be replaced by a value-added tax that would raise the cost of every good Americans buy,
ensuring that middle-income people would pay far more in taxes than they do now.      Some would be made up by drastic cuts in health-care spending.      Ryan's giveaway to the rich would also drive up federal deficits and debt.

Understanding the purpose of the "roadmap" is key to understanding Ryan.      When he speaks of "fiscal responsibility,"
what he really means is that middle-class and working Americans will shoulder the responsibility of tackling debts and deficits, while multinational corporations and financial institutions will reap the benefits of favorable government policies and taxpayer-funded bailouts.

His plan would unravel employer-based health care by ending the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance.      It would eliminate traditional Medicare, eviscerate Medicaid, and terminate the Children's Health Insurance Program.

These would be replaced by a voucher system designed to lose value over time.      Ryan would also use "price indexing" to
slash average Social Security benefits by 16 percent for those retiring in 2050 and 28 percent in 2080.

As head of the House Budget Committee - accorded what House Speaker John Boehner calls "stunning and unprecedented" power

to shape the budget - Ryan is leading the GOP's charge to cut $100 billion out of "non-security discretionary spending"  this year - requiring cuts of 20 percent in everything from the FBI to cancer research, Pell grants for students, Head Start and grants to public school districts.     

This is a recipe, given the country's faltering growth, for increasing unemployment and misery.     Mitch McConnell sees this as the way to destroy Obama and for the Republicans to win the 2012 Preasidental election.

Ryan, of course, refuses to identify which programs would be cut, or how deep the damage would be.     "I'm a budgeteer," Ryan says. "I just bring down the cap"   - an utterly irresponsible description of budgeting, which is entirely a question of choosing priorities.

As a career politician steeped in the art of "framing" a poll-tested, focus-grouped message to make it palatable, Ryan will no doubt sound reasonable, invoking basic American values, promising that jobs, growth and opportunity will result if only we adopt his priorities.     But don't just listen to State of the Union platitudes. Consider the record and the proposed policies.     Beneath that shock of unruly hair is an ideologue with extreme notions that, if adopted, would endanger our future, and leave most Americans far worse off.
Martins Store Virginia, Amherst County

            ACVDN thanks Katrina vanden Heuvel for this story. 

Katrina vanden Heuvel has been The Nation's editor since 1995 and its publisher since 2005.     She is the co-editor of Taking Back America—And Taking Down the Radical Right and editor of The Dictionary of Republicanisms.

She is also co-editor of Voices of Glasnost:   Interviews with Gorbachev's Reformers and editor of The Nation:   1865-1990, and the collection  A Just Response:   The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001.

A weekly columnist for, she is a frequent commentator on American and international politics on MSNBC, CNN, ABC and PBS and public radio.     Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Boston Globe and now in the Amherst County Virginia Democratic News.   Her blog for the is  Editors Cut  .
Meadowview Hills Virginia News, Amherst County

Hey its up to you.     These politicians have more money than God and they have sold heir souls to big business but your vote still belongs to you.     All I'm asking is that you use your mind before you give your vote away.      That is not a lot for one person to ask of another.       If you will do that I will return the kindness by scrutinizing the bull crap on the Democrat side.       Together we can make our country strong and great again.      If we continue to play the GOP's say No to everything game there is no hope.
Amherst County Virginia Democratic News


Monday, January 24, 2011

Bob Goodlatte....Leadership....My Mistake

Bob Goodlatte is into his 10th term as 6th CD Congressman.

                                                                             Melwood Manor Virginia News, Amherst Virginia
I got mail from a reader who chewed me out for giving Bob Goodlatte credit he did not deserve.    The reader was correct.

My Mistake.     Goodlatte is only a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503 (the birther bill).      Earlier I had given him credit for writing the bill, I should have known, Goodlatte is too lazy to take the lead on anything.       Bill Posey was the sparkey nutjob who wrote the legislation and Bob Goodlatte just the embarrising, lazy, free loader who signed on as co-sponsor.
                                                                              Merry Moor Virginia News, Amherst County
If Bob Goodlatte thinks any of us in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia have the slightest interest in the Birther Bill (H.R. 1503) then he is more addle brained than even I think he is.     The Bill has been laying around for over two years and only 11 names are attached.      Most of the folks that get elected to go to Washington are proud of their positions and the people they serve and wouldn't associate themselves with a piece of crap like H.R. 1503.     It is the ultimate embarrisment that Bob Goodlatte sucked onto it like a catfish on rotten cabbage.

You can have quite a bit of fun if you choose to indulge in the easy kind of conspiratorial thinking used by people who believe that Barack Obama is concealing that he was secretly born in Kenya, or in Communist Russia, or on the Moon.     Among these people are eleven members of Congress who have signed their names to H.R. 1503 – a bill that would require all presidential candidates to provide copies of their birth certificates to prove that they are eligible to run for President.

The insinuation is that any politicians who have not provided a copy of their birth certificates to be viewed publicly can be rightly suspected of being secret foreigners, come to the United States to infiltrate our government.     That is, after all, the contention of the “birther” movement, the group that H.R. 1503 was written for.     The legislation is a political attack against Barack Obama, who is alleged by conspiracy theorists to be a secret Muslim spy whose Hawaiian birth certificate was faked years ago, because somehow, Obama’s handlers just knew he would be elected President.

U.S. Representative Bill Posey wrote the legislation, and has been joined by the following ten cosponsors and tea party nutjobs:

Marsha Blackburn

Dan Burton

John Campbell

John Carter

John Culberson

Louie Gohmert

Bob Goodlatte

Kenny Marchant

Randy Neugebauer

Ted Poe
If these 11 members of Congress applied their conspiratorial standards of suspicion to themselves, they wouldn’t fare very well. After all, none of these members of Congress supplied their own birth certificates before running for public office.     Furthermore, the legislation supported by these politicians only applies to presidential candidates, and not to congressional candidates?     Why?     What are they trying to hide?      Are they all perhaps part of a secret Argentinian spy network, having been born in Tierra del Fuego and sent here secretly to conduct terrorist operations?

Of course, I don’t think that any of that is true as far as I know and I don't know for sure,  but the loose standards of logic employed by the birthers, and their enablers in Congress, could lead to the creation of such a conspiracy theory,  if I were inclined to idle speculation.

Louie Gohmert, the goofball from Texas with the French first name wants to strap on a pistol and stroll around the halls of Congress.     Louie's sanity cannot be asertained from observing him or listening to him speak.      He may be sane but some specialized test would have to be done to say for sure.     Tom Delay, with a wink and a laugh, says he's "willing to bet 1 to 3 and 10 years probation that Louie is sorta normal."     Tom added quickly "don't hold me to that its just a guess, everyone knows Louie's a couple of cans short of a six pack".
                                                                           Montrose Heights Virginia News, Amherst County
Anyway these are the people Goodlatte pals around with and looks up to.     It has long been known that Goodlatte is a major supporter of the tea party.     What isn't known is What Goodlatte did for his first 18 years in Washington?      His first 9 terms of drawing a Congressmans salary?      Recently we know he wanted to read the constitution or most parts of it on opening day for the 112th Congress.      Starting his 10th term and still willing to do anything to get out of working, thats Bob Goodlatte.
                                                                            Old Stage Run Virginia News, Amherst County
We need to do the hard work required to replace Bob with a Congressman who represents the 6th District.

Amherst County Virginia  Democratic News

Bob Pretends To Want To Balance The Budget

Goodlatte wants to impose on the Congress a rule that certain votes (raising taxes, increasing the debt ceiling) must have a 60 percent majority.     Does Goodlatte misunderstand what a majority is?     Does Goodlatte not grasp that the very FIRST power given Congress in Article I, Section 8 is the power to tax?     Does he not understand, historically, why that power was conferred?     The answer to all three questions is yes.     Goodlatte does not understand, and the tip of the iceberg is Goodlatte's misunderstanding of the needs of the people in his district.

Goodlatte wants a balanced budget amendment.     Where was he during the Bush administration when he supported unfunded tax cuts directed primarily for the wealth and corporations?     Why did Goodlatte support all the Bush policies that more than doubled the national debt and nearly broke the economy?

In 1993, Goodlatte had the opportunity to actually vote FOR a balance budget, but he did not do so.     The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, pushed by Bill Clinton and passed in the Congress WITHOUT a single Republican vote of support, raised tax rates on the wealthiest Americans and provided for some spending reductions.      That bill led to several balanced budgets, and helped to create a robust economy that created more than 22 million jobs.

But Goodlatte was opposed. Goodlatte voted against it.

Bob Goodlatte is a master of deception and subterfuge.     He votes for policies that allow the rich to gorge from the public treasury, and that saddle the nation with debt, then he professes to be shocked by the outcome.     He will, by golly, submit a bill to propose a balanced budget.

But when he had the chance to actually put his vote where his rhetoric was, Goodlatte defaulted.     He voted no.     Goodlatte is a bad Congressman, Goodlatte is a scam artist but a typical conservative.     Goodlatte also votes against seniors and retired people and would balance the budget on their backs if he gets his way.

H.R. 1259 was named the Lockbox Bill and it would require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.      The ‘Lockbox Bill’ aims to protect the future Social Security surplus by removing it from the control of federal budget makers.      The vote in Congress was 416-12 in favor of the bill.      It would require a ‘super-majority’ vote on any bill that would add to the budget deficit, which implies borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Who would vote against this?      Among the 12 in opposition was Bob Goodlatte.      Bob is Rated 10% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)

What is the ARA and who do they represent?      The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security.      The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

When it comes to looking out for senior citizens and retired people Bob Goodlatte gets a 10% rating based on his anti-senior voting record.

If you're a senior or retired person living in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia please be aware that Bob Goodlatte votes against your interest.       If voting for Bob is a second nature habit with you consider giving your vote to a candidate who supports your interests.     Say NO to Bob Goodlatte.

Bob Goodlatte is a Hard-Core, Far Right Wing, Conservative and YOU deserve better.

Democratic News of Amherst Virginia

Senate Dems Abandon Filibuster Reform

January 25, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The Democrats’ cave-in on reforming the filibuster in the Senate appears to be complete.     According to reports, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] is bringing a proposal to his fellow Democrats this afternoon that would do nothing to address the recent explosion in senators using procedural rules to kill bills just by threatening to filibuster.      It apparently includes three minor changes in the Senate rules and is accompanied by a gentlemen’s agreement to start behaving more reasonably, sometimes.      Here’s what’s in it.

Rules changes that will probably be codified in the rules —

Ending secret holds — The Democrats tried banning secret holds in 2007 when they took over power from the Republicans by requiring disclosure of the holding senator’s name within six days of the hold being isued, but it didn’t work because senators dodged the rule by teamimg up and trading holds back-and-forth every five days.      Schumer’s proposal is expected to require disclosure of the holding senator within one day of the hold being placed.

Removing some presidential appointees from advice and consent consideration — In the past two years, Republicans have severally limited the Democrats’ ability to confirm presidential nominees by using their constitutional advice and consent powers to require hearings and cloture votes, even when the nominees in question are completely non-controversial.      Schumer’s proposal would make some presidentially-appointed positions immune to this kind of dilatory action.       Dave Dayen says it will be for about 100 nominees of the 1,400 that are pending.

End ability to force full readings of bills as a way to delay — Under current rules, each senator has the right to require a full reading of all amendments and bills when they are offered on the Senate floor.      Since a lot of major legislation ends up getting done in the form of a substitute amendment to an unrelated bill, senators can use this power to basically shut down the chamber for several days when the majority party tries to bring it up something important (and lengthy).

Informal agreements accompanying the rules —

Less auto-filibustering — In the past four years that the Republicans have been in the minority, the threat to filibuster has become standard operating procedure for everything, even on the question of beginning debate.      The effect has been that it takes much longer to take care of non-controversial business and bills that have a clear majority support are unable to pass because it takes a 3/5ths majority to overcome a filibuster threat.      According to Schumer, as a supplement to the rules changes, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY] will agree off-the-record to issue fewer filibuster threats.

Less amendment-tree filling — As a result of the auto-filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] has been

blocking the minority’s ability to introduce dilatory and poison-pill amendments by filing the total number of allowable amendments himself and then not calling them up for votes.      The unfortunate side effect is that senators who have serious amendments are unable to offer them and get a vote.      In exchange for fewer filibuster threats from the Republicans, Schumer says that Reid is prepared to leave room for more amendments to be voted on.
And that’s it.      This is really worlds away from the original idea that kicked off this whole effort — that a clear majority of senators should be able to legislate without stooping to the will of a clear minority at every step.      According to Reid, this mild derivative will be complete within the next 24 to 48 hours.     The 60-vote Senate lives on!
Amherst Democratic News

Here's some good news.

H.R.204 - Congressional Pay Cut Act Sponsored by Representative Gabrielle Giffords D-AZ.     To provide for a 5 percentreduction in the rates of basic pay for Members of Congress.
Pedlar Virginia News, Amherst County

Blog Archive