Debt ceiling passed, tidbits from the trail

SnowpacolypseFrustrated Americans may have learned the secret to motivating legislators to act quickly in Washington this week: Snow.

Eager to leave town ahead of a snowstorm, a “clean” debt ceiling bill was passed without any of the showmanship that stalled the debt ceiling hike last fall. It passed the House on Tuesday 221-201 and the Senate on Wednesday on a vote of 55-43.

The entire Nebraska delegation to Washington voted against extending the debt ceiling. The legislation, which is now headed for President Obama’s signature, suspends the debt ceiling until March 15, 2015, well past the November mid-term elections. The U.S. was expected to hit the current debt ceiling on Feb. 27.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that would repeal the 1 percent cut in military retirement pay for working-age retirees. Lengthy, expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have boosted military benefits to the point that they consume more than half of the American defense budget. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the Pentagon and Hill leaders are seeking ways to cut benefits, but heavy lobbying by veterans’ groups has stymied attempts at reform.

Bank executive and Nebraska Senate candidate Sid Dinsdale has opened a campaign office in Lincoln in the Candy Factory, 201 N. Eighth St. in the Haymarket. Dinsdale is an Elkhorn resident and chairman of Pinnacle Bancorp. His campaign website describes him as anti-Obamacare, anti-debt, pro-Keystone Pipeline and  secure-the-borders-first on immigration reform.

Republican wordmeister Frank Luntz would be proud of Republican Senate candidate Shane Osborn. In an interview with Brent Martin of the Nebraska Radio Network, Osborn remembered to use the word “bill” to describe Obamacare. Last year, with the launch of Obamacare looming, Republicans began referring to the Affordable Care Act as a bill, despite the fact that it had been law for nearly four years. Osborn also remembered to suggest that President Obama was a lawless dictator for delaying the employer mandate again.

3 thoughts on “Debt ceiling passed, tidbits from the trail

  1. I got a mailing from Adrian Smith yesterday.

    “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense”, was to Nebraskans on his mailing list as “Official Business” and, of course, as franked mail – postage paid by the taxpayers.

    “Addressing the health care crisis”, as it proclaimed on the address side, it was standard Republican talking points, repeating the standard lies and massaged “facts” about how the ACA is a failed law (“…a disaster”, as the mailing puts it).

    I see an opportunity to save money here: let Congress pay for propaganda mailings instead of the taxpayers.

    If they want to promulgate their propaganda, there are enough small newspapers in the state that are happy for handouts to fill blanks in their pages, and people like Smith can e-mail their propaganda directly to those papers at no significant cost to the taxpayers.


    • If Rep. Smith wants to keep his franking privileges, he needs to talk to his colleague, Rep. Darrell Issa, about Issa’ campaign to privatize the Post Office. And while he’s at it, maybe ask Issa what will take the place of the Post Office, especially in rural areas where the nearest FedEx drop box is a hundred miles away. I don’t see the problem as just franking, but the contents of franked material. I am an American, and I refuse to live in fear because there is a black man in the White House. Trying to scare me is not going to win my vote, but I’m it sure works for the Fox News/Limbaugh crowd.

      By the way, are you old enough to remember former state Sen. John DeCamp, who represented the district around Neligh for about 20 years? He started campaigning for the state senate while he was serving in Vietnam. At that time, service members could send unlimited free mail. DeCamp apparently spent all of his off-hours writing letters back home to his potential constituents. I’m not even sure he was officially discharged from the Army when he won election to his first term in the unicameral, but he was back in time for the start of his first session. That was creative campaigning, 1960s style.


      • I remember DeCamp, but forgot about that franking episode.

        Yeah, the contents of franked material is the issue for me, too. There was nothing in the mailing from Adrian that informed me about anything. It was straight party talking points, with all the standard slants and distortions.


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