Last night from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D), via Twitter:
Elizabeth Warren @ewarren
Attorney General Barr—release the Mueller report to the American public. Now.
4:21 PM – 22 Mar 2019
Last night from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D), via Twitter:
Elizabeth Warren @ewarren
Attorney General Barr—release the Mueller report to the American public. Now.
4:21 PM – 22 Mar 2019
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) has formed a 2020 presidential campaign exploratory committee.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D): In our country, if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love. That’s a fundamental promise of America – a promise that should be true for everyone.
Growing up in Oklahoma, that promise came through for me and my family. After my older brothers joined the military and I was still just a kid, my daddy had a heart attack and couldn’t work. My mom found a minimum wage job at Sears, and that job saved our house and our family. My daddy ended up as a janitor, but he raised a daughter who got to be a public school teacher, a law professor, and a Senator. We got a real opportunity to build something.
Working families today face a lot tougher path than my family did. And families of color face a path that is steeper and rockier, a path made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination.
I’ve spent my career getting to the bottom of why America’s promise works for some families, but others who work just as hard slip through the cracks into disaster. What I’ve found is terrifying: these aren’t cracks that families are falling into – they’re traps. America’s middle class is under attack.
How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice. They crippled unions so no one could stop them, [….] dismantled the financial rules meant to keep us safe after the Great Depression, and cut their own taxes so they paid less than their secretaries and janitors.
After Wall Street crashed our economy in 2008, I left the classroom to go to Washington and confront the broken system head on.
We created America’s first consumer watchdog to hold the big banks accountable.
I never thought I’d run for office – not in a million years. But when Republican Senators tried to sabotage the reforms and run me out of town, I went back to Massachusetts and ran against one of them – and I beat him.
Today, corruption is poisoning our democracy. Politicians look the other way while big insurance companies deny patients life-saving coverage, while big banks rip off consumers, and while big oil companies destroy this planet.
Our government’s supposed to work for all of us, but instead it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected. The whole scam is propped up by an echo chamber of fear and hate designed to distract and divide us. People who will do or say anything to hang on to power point the finger at anyone who looks or thinks or prays or loves differently than they do.
But this dark path doesn’t have to be our future. We can make our democracy work for all of us. We can make our economy work for all of us. We can rebuild America’s middle class – but this time, we gotta build it for everyone.
No matter where you live in America, and no matter where your family came from in the world, you deserve a path to opportunity. Because no matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing: to be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, and take care of the people we love.
That’s the America I’m fighting for, and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. But the outcome of this election will depend on you.
In the last two years, millions of people have done more than they ever thought they thought they would to protect the promise of America. And here’s what we learned: if we organize together, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win – we can and we will.
Julián Castro (D) – running for President in 2020 (December 12, 2018)
Wanna know what happened this evening in the confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions to be Trump’s Attorney General (note I don’t say our Attorney General)?:
Senate Republicans passed a party-line rebuke Tuesday night of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, striking down her words for impugning the Alabama senator’s character.
In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren’s speech, in a near-empty chamber as debate on Sessions’s nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the late Coretta Scott King.
The statements contained in Mrs. King’s letter and Senator Kennedy’s speech speak directly to the reason that Senator Sessions is unfit to hold this position. Silencing Warren means that the GOP is now a political organization dedicated to achieving power for themselves and their wealthy supporters and that in that ugly pursuit they do not scruple to openly support an authoritarian racist while ruthlessly suppressing any dissent. This is not the way a democracy works.
Let Blunt know that his party has overstepped the line and that if he voted to suppress these statements, his party will face a reckoning in 2018 – and that we will not forget the role he has played in facilitating the despicable Trump. Also ask him why Republicans are so afraid to have a truly open debate. Here a link to his email contact form; there are also links to his office with phone numbers.
Addendum: Here’s a link to Mrs. Kings letter, also checkout #LetLlizSPeak on Twitter.
Addendum 2: Interesting take on this incident and why it’s important:
But the other side of the coin is the prospect of a creeping normalization of what is happening to both the executive and legislative branches of our government – and potentially to the judicial if this administration survives. We’ve seen how the norms of what have kept these institutions functioning for decades are being slowly eroded in a way that too often goes unchallenged.
A perfect example was the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren last night on the Senate floor when she attempted to read Coretta Scott King’s letter in opposition to the nomination of Sessions to be the Attorney General. While those of us who follow these kinds of things closely were appalled, most Americans will either never know it happened or will simply assume that it is business as usual in a divided Senate. That is how this kind of thing gets normalized.
Addendum 3: Here’s what Elizbeth Warren has to say to say about how the unsavory incident could help mobilize the resistance that will be necessary to keep such events from becoming business as ususal:
“People all over this country need to see how Donald Trump is trying to transform America into a meaner, more hateful place,” Warren said. “Democracy is not a machine that runs itself. It requires people.”
Rep. Billy Long (R-7) is excited about the possibility that Congress will pass the 21st Century Cures Act by the end of this session, and he wants his constituents to know that he cosponsored the bill. Unfortunately, even though Billy seems to think that his support for this bill is a big deal that will will help wipe disease off the map, I’m afraid that, along with some funding for medical research, it contains poison pills in the way of corporate giveaways that may be too big to swallow.
The bill does spend some money on limited types of medical research, and, no matter how inadequate, these days the situation is so dire that more is always good. But not when it comes at the cost of loosening important safety regulations, essentially giving the regulatory store away to pharmaceutical firms and medical device makers in order to solve problems that – guess what? – don’t really exist. Contributors to Health Affairs Blog, a Project Hope affiliated publication which “features posts from noted health policy experts and commentators from a wide variety of perspectives,” summarizes the problems with the bill:
Proponents of the proposed legislation—drug and device companies, and members of both parties in the House and Senate—argue that the FDA stifles innovation and advances in treatment by approving drugs and devices too slowly compared to other countries.
That premise is faulty. Nearly two-thirds of the novel drugs approved in 2015, for example—29 of 45, 64 percent — were approved in the United States before being approved in any other country. The proportion was even higher in 2012 and 2013. The majority of these drugs (60 percent) took advantage of existing FDA expedited review programs—fast track, breakthrough, priority review, and accelerated approval—and nearly half (47 percent) were approved to treat rare or orphan diseases.
As for devices, research shows that “it takes the same amount of time or less for patients to gain access to innovative, high-risk medical devices” in the U.S. as compared to Germany, France, Italy, and Britain.
The House and Senate bills ignore the above facts. They essentially seek to speed-up the approval process by relaxing FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards. And to make that more palatable, sponsors have attached the changes to increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health and the FDA.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) leveled a powerful attack on the paltry and likely ephemeral increase in research funding that is on offer:
For more than two years, Congress has been working on legislation to help advance medical innovation in the United States. Medical innovation is powerfully important, and I have spent as much time working it as any other issue during my time in the Senate.
From the beginning, I have emphasized one obvious fact. Medical breakthroughs come from increasing investments in basic research. Right now, Congress is choking off investments in the NIH. Adjusted for inflation, federal spending on medical research over the past dozen years has been cut by 20%. Those cuts take the legs out from under future medical innovation in America. We can name a piece of legislation the “cures” bill, but if it doesn’t include meaningful funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, it won’t cure anything.
That’s why months ago Senate Democrats said any so-called “cures” legislation must have a significant investment in medical research. And that’s why Senate Republicans publicly committed to doing exactly that. But now they have reneged on that promise and let Big Pharma hijack the Cures bill. This final deal has only a tiny fig leaf of funding, for NIH and for the opioid crisis.
And most of that fig leaf isn’t even real. Most of the money won’t really be there unless future Congresses passes future bills in future years to spend those dollars. …
Just in case, she hadn’t made her position clear, Warren added:
I support most of these proposals. I’ve worked on many of them for years. I even wrote several of them myself. If this bill becomes law, there is no question it will contain some real legislative accomplishments.
But I cannot vote for this bill. I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion.
Compromise is putting together common-sense health proposals supported by Democrats, by Republicans, and by most of the American people, and passing them into law. Extortion is holding those exact same proposals hostage unless everyone agrees to special favors for campaign donors and giveaways to the richest drug companies in the world.
Somehow, Billy Long neglected to tell us about the real focus of the bill; he wants us to believe that a poorly funded bill based on Big Pharma’s and medical device makers’ wish-list “could save millions of lives.”
When it comes down to it, if the choice is between Ozark Billy and Elizabeth Warren, I know who I believe.
Photos by Jerry Schmidt.
The post that made Blue Girl burst with pride and pass the baton (October 15, 2016)
Would you like to see the Elizabeth Warren speech for Jason Kander? (October 16, 2016)
My name is Zoe Anne, and I am 12 years old. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I am who you’re busting your butts for, because I’m going to inherit this mess.
I won’t be able to cast my first ballot until the 2022 midterms, but you can bet I will vote in every election that season, and every election thereafter. I always kinda-sorta knew I would be leftish. I’m being raised in a Redemptorist, Liberation Theology Catholic family, church, and school.
Yesterday I attended a rally for Jason Kander with Senator Elizabeth Warren at the College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center downtown. After yesterday, I’m a liberal in my own right, not just because of how I’m being raised.
When my grandma said she wanted to take me to a rally on my day off from school I wasn’t thrilled, I honestly thought it was going to be really boring. When the first state representative started talking about her time with Jason Kander I was actually really interested by what she was saying. All throughout I was listening and I actually learned a few things. The main thing that I remember was when Robin Smith, who is running for Secretary of State, started talking about how many real cases of voter impersonation there have been (31 out of a BILLION ballots cast) and all the other laws that are trying to be passed to strip certain people of their rights really made me think. How many hoops am I going to have to jump through to register to vote in a few years if these guys get their way and keep taking more and more rights away?
I didn’t know who Elizabeth Warren was until two days ago when my grandma told me about her and the CEO of Wells Fargo, but when I saw her I was so excited. Everything she said was really inspiring and sometimes very thought provoking. I’m actually quite hopeful for some of this year’s politicians and I hope that they live up to the expectations we have for them.
Jason Kander said several times his generation would fix things. I hope those weren’t just words, because my generation is counting on them.
This post was written by my 12-year-old granddaughter after her first rally. Apples, trees, yadda yadda… Blue Girl
Over the weekend Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill got some attention for a comment she made in a New York Times article which implied that when it came to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was some kind of outsize ego who was vocally fighting the treaty only for the attention:
“She has sought the spotlight the most,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri. “I’m as confused as you are,” she added, when asked why Ms. Warren had emerged as a central player on the trade issue. For example, she said: “No one has worked harder on these issues over the years than Sherrod Brown. But I remember what my father told me when I got into politics: ‘Remember what you’re doing is not always fair.’ “
McCaskill probably made more news when she made a backhanded attempt to distance herself from the remarks, tweeting:
We all seek attention (including me!) in Washington. Elizabeth Warren deserves it. She is strong, smart, and focused,
8:07 AM – 16 May 2015
You’ve probably noticed that this much-publicized “backtracking” carefully avoided an actual apology, but instead subtly doubled down on the original insult with an airy “we all do it.” It’s not surprising that the Times chose McCaskill’s comment to underline its article which seems to have been designed to undercut Warren’s opposition to the TPP. The subtext of the article was that Warren was resorting to what the Times reporter, Jennifer Steinhauer, represented as Warren’s reliance on opportunistic media-mongering in an effort to horn in and steal the glory from more legitimate foes of the treaty:
Yet away from the Capitol, it is all Elizabeth Warren. Her public relations strategy has been textbook Warren: near exclusive use of liberal news media outlets like Rachel Maddow of MSNBC as receptive sounding boards for her ideas, appearances at academic forums and liberal think tanks, and a narrow focus on her favorite targets – in this case, her concerns that the bill would fray signature financial regulations.
Echoes of President Obama, perhaps, who doesn’t want us to forget that Senator Warren is, after all, a “politician like everybody else.” Add in the Times article and Senator McCaskill’s ironic effort to get in on the show, and it all begins to sound like a put-up job, an effort by proponents of the TPP to undermine one of the most effective spokesmen against it – not to mention one of the best advocates of the progressive vision that so scares cautious politicians like Claire McCaskill. The article also implies that the meticulous Warren is more noise than substance and compares her to the worst of Republican ideologues.
Steinhauer, in a nodd to “fair” journalism, does admit, sotto voce, that Warren does actually have a dog in the fight, given her fears that the TPP could work against hard-won advances in financial regulation. Steinhauer, however, attempts to cast this concern as somehow self-interested, a “narrow focus on her favorite targets,” an implication that is demonstrably incorrect. Just today, for example, Warren’s staff released a report that exhaustively documents the consistent failure to enforce provisions in past treaties designed to protect workers and environment.
We know, politics is a nasty game – or so we are assured by folks who are busy cleaning the slime off their hands – and McCaskill is one of the fourteen Senators who are supporting the TPP. That explains why she might be willing to undermine Warren. But how to explain the mean girl tone? Why is she so willing to cooperate with folks who rather clearly hope to undermine Warren as a progressive spokesman, “a thorn” in the president’s side?
Is McCaskill just helping with the President’s dirty work? Or could it have something to do with the fact that probably nobody in the Democratic party would ever try to draft McCaskill to run for President – an honor accorded to Warren in her first term? McCaskill has charted a careful course, taken few risks. Do you think she expects to be rewarded for surviving Missouri’s admittedly hellacious political climate by turning her back on some of the most important progressive issues? Do you think maybe she resents just a little the adulation that the brilliant, charismatic Warren has garnered in so short a time? If so, I’ve got some news for McCaskill: leaders take risks, lesser people take pot-shots.
Steve Benen at Maddow Blog writes today about the efforts of President Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to do something about the issue of college affordability for middle and working class families, specifically about college loan debt. It’s a big problem for a country that desperately needs to educate its children:
The numbers are staggering. As Ayan Chatterjee recently reported, “Student marketing company Edvisors calculates that the average student in the class of 2014 is expected to graduate with nearly $33,000 in debt, with nearly 60 percent of all college students having taken out a student loan. And because the debt burden has risen significantly faster than inflation, up a whopping 361.3% since 2003 according to the New York Federal Reserve, the total pile of student debt in the United States now sits at almost $1.2 trillion dollars.”
The President is proposing mechanisms to make it easier to pay back loans while, Warren is sponsoring a new, lower-interest loan structure – one which would allow students with existing loans to refinance them at a lower rate, making college something other than a life sentence of debt servitude.
Republican legislators, who are mostly responsible for the student loan interest rates currently in place – which only benefits private lenders to the detriment of college students – are, as might be expected, mostly opposed to Warren’s legislation. Thirty-nine Democrats have, however, jumped in to co-sponsor the bill.
Which leads to my question. Why is Claire McCaskill’s name missing from the list of these co-sponsors? She was present and accounted for last time Warren tried to do something about student debt. Is she just late in signing up or does she think it’s enough to vote “yea” when the times come. Or does she have a problem with this year’s version? Why don’t you ask McCaskill why she’s AWOL on this bill? I’m planning to do so.