Five Reasons Debbie Wasserman Schultz Will Rock the DNC

Apr 7, 2011 by

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Guys have been running the Democratic National Committee for the past two and a half decades. The last time a woman was in charge of the nationwide Democratic show, we hadn't yet heard Bill Clinton deny that he'd had a relationship with "that woman."

Takes you back, doesn't it?

That's all about to change as Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stands ready to move into one of the most important roles in her party — the chair of the Democratic National Committee. So what can we expect from her? Business as usual or is she going to show the Dems a path to electoral victory in 2012 they haven't thought about yet? As she takes the helm as the Democrat's chief fundraiser and strategist, it's fair to ask, especially if you're not from her home state of Florida, why Debbie? Here are just five good reasons we can assume that Wasserman Schultz is the perfect woman for the job:

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The Right Priorities For Our Working Families by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Mar 30, 2011 by

Sen Gillibrand listens to women in NY

The 2010 election was a mandate for one thing: creating jobs and strengthening our economy for the long term. I heard that message loud and clear from New York families in every corner of our state, and I am working with my colleagues in Congress on solutions that will help create good-paying jobs and get the economy moving again for everyone.

But, instead of focusing on rebuilding the economy, House Republicans have unleashed an extreme ideological attack on America’s women and working families with HR 1, the first bill they introduced this Congress.

The House-passed bill slashed critical funding for prenatal care, including $750 million from nutrition programs for pregnant women and infant children.

It denies more than 5 million American women access to breast and cervical cancer screenings that could potentially save their lives.

Their budget cuts affect early childhood education deeply—cutting over $1 billion from Head Start, and nearly $40 million from child care, depriving nearly 370,000 children from the early learning needed to put them on a path to a bright future.

And despite the overwhelming demand from the American people for Democrats and Republicans to work together to invest in job creation policies, House Republicans slashed nearly $1.5 billion from the job training programs we need to prepare America’s workforce for the jobs of today and the high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

But, more than these dollar figures and the irresponsible budgeting and priorities from Republicans, this debate is about the working families who rely on these resources to make ends meet each day. From the single mother who will no longer be able to provide nutritious meals for her young children to the young woman in who will no longer have access to the early cancer screenings that could save her life to our children who will never walk through the doors of a university years from now because the doors to early education are being closed to them today. We cannot slash and burn our way to a healthy society and a thriving economy.

These are the wrong priorities for New York and the wrong policies for America.

Instead of marginalizing women, Congress must get to work on policies that can foster job creation and fuel economic growth. I have a range of proposals that can help get us there.

I have authored legislation that empowers more women and minority-owned businesses with the resources to help guide these budding entrepreneurs to be leaders of our economy, opening up access to the credit they desperately need to get their businesses off the ground.

I have also authored legislation to support the increase of young girls and minorities in the fields of math and science to generate the leaders we need in emerging high-tech industries that will be the future of our economy.

I’m fighting to make child care more affordable for working parents so they can continue working and advancing their careers, closing wage gaps that for too long have held women back from the fair economic opportunities they need.

And, as our troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and our women veterans become one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless veteran population, I’m partnering with businesses and working to provide them with tax credits in exchange for hiring recent veterans so our heroes have better access to good-paying jobs after serving our country.

These are the priorities that I am urging my Republican colleagues to join me on. And we can all do our part—because this debate isn’t just happening in the halls of Congress. It’s happening in each and every one of our communities, at kitchen tables and living rooms, in our schools and in our churches. It’s up to all of us to get off the sidelines and join the effort to protect our families and the resources that keep our communities safe, healthy and thriving.

We will not stand for this attack on America’s women and working families.

It’s time to focus on real solutions that will create jobs and build our economy for real strength and stability—not just for the fortunate few but for every American.

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Legislative Alert: H. R. 1 Funding Cuts to STEM Education, Special Education Scheduled to Take Effect March 18, 2011

Mar 2, 2011 by

UPDATED: as of 8:22 pm 3/1/11:

Education Week reports that today the House passed a two week extension for stopgap funding for all federal agencies. Given that the original deadline was March 4, 2011, it now appears final fiscal year budgeting must be approved by March 18, 2011.

Now $4 billion in education cuts were proposed on top of $5 billion in earlier cuts to education. Areas still on the chopping block:

The measure also includes significant cuts to education programs that would extend beyond the two-week period, including entirely scrapping the $250 million Striving Readers program, the $88 million Small Learning Communities Program, and the $66 million Even Start program. It also would get rid of the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships, or LEAP, program, financed at $64 million.

Democratic Senators Tom Harkin (IA) and Patty Murray (WA) voiced dissatisfaction with the budget’s priorities. They’ve signalled they may try to reapportion or remove certain cuts in order to preserve early reading programs, for example.

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GOP Budget Wars on Reproductive Health

Feb 9, 2011 by

What's happened to the whole Republican "the economy and jobs are our first priority" mantra from the 2010 elections? Eric Cantor can say it all he wants, but that isn't making it true. Instead of jobs, conservatives are once again focused on our lady parts. While I am sort of getting used to the new TSA pat downs, I have to draw the line when it comes to the government getting its hands on my privates.

The GOP is focusing on the budget, but not for creating jobs — they are trying to impact substantive issues through bills that control spending, as they recently did in their (thankfully) failed attempt to redefine rape in the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." It initially called for limiting the availability of Medicaid funds for abortion only to women who had been "forcibly" raped.

Since the original passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, no federal taxpayer funds have been available to cover the cost of abortions through Medicaid except in instances of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in danger. The forcible rape exception, introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), didn't explicitly spell out in the bill what that meant, but a variety of organizations, including NOW and EMILY's List, believed it would exclude victims of statutory rape, date rape, rape victims who initially said "no" but weren't able to fend off their attackers, and women who feared for their lives unless they acquiesced to a rapist's demands.

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Ronald Reagan at 100: I Remember His Presidency…Well Enough to Skip the Hype

Feb 6, 2011 by

 

Grenada…does anyone even remember the tiny Caribbean island we invaded in the 1980s to keep Cuba from going all Communistic? The one that had a population of 100,000 at the time?

I didn't think so. The people at The Reagan Library are hoping that people born after 1980 don't remember either. Which is why they're so eager to push St. Ronnie. The man already has an airport that had a perfectly good name, Washington National, re-named after him instead, and TWO frickin' postage stamps in the past 6 years. Enough is enough.

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This is Where I Defend Michele Bachmann

Jan 26, 2011 by

Michele Bachmann is at it again, it appears.  And I’m not talking about her “unusual” alternate State of the Union rebuttal, nor am I talking about her nails-on-a-chalkboard partisan shriek during that rebuttal.  I’m talking about the fact that her presence alone has the effect of keeping women maligned in mainstream politics.

Let’s take a step back here.  Bachmann is the leader of the congressional Tea Party caucus and has apparently stepped into the vacuum left by the other darling of the hard right Sarah Palin.  But unlike Palin who is principally a media presence, Bachmann is an actual elected representative.  And the Tea Party is her natural constituency.  She’s ambitious and determined to make herself a national leader and has plenty of backers who believe she can do just that.

But despite her hard-right pedigree and her ambition both the mainstream media and the Republican leadership dismiss Bachmann as a “bobblehead” who makes “unusual” decisions.  She’s often referred to as “crazy” and “dumb” by the left.  But Michele Bachmann is not crazy.  And she’s not dumb.

Instead, she’s everything we want an elected official to be–to a certain degree.  She’s loyal to her constituents and eager to climb the ranks in Washington.  She shows a degree of media savvy that Speaker Boehner could sure use.  But for whatever reason we, the collective political public, seems unable or unwilling to applaud her for these efforts and instead attack her personally.

Why?  Because she’s a woman.  I’ll go ahead and duck while some of you throw tomatoes now.

Why not talk about the insanity of her positions as opposed to the insanity of her character?  Let’s talk about the factual misstatements she makes (and there are plenty) and demand she answer to them rather than dismiss her as “stupid.”  Hell, let’s start simple and just make sure Politico consistently spells her name correctly.  Let’s start with the basic assumption that the woman is smart enough to get elected and to stay there which means, at a fundamental level, even Michele Bachmann demands some respect.

Make no mistake about it, the positions this woman holds are dangerous and the policies she endorses are draconian.  But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with just how quickly Bachmann is dismissed and how disposable she’s been treated by her own party.  Would Boehner been so blase so “whatever” had Tom Tancredo delivered remarks in addition to Paul Ryan?  Would Chris Matthews call him a “balloon head despite the fact that Tancredo has made a pretty damn good living off of playing fast and loose with historical fact?”  I don’t think so.  And I’m not the only one.

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