Tag Archives: Rep. Louise Slaughter

Facebook, High Speed Rail and You

10 Nov

Rep. Slaughter and Secretary LaHood

Last week, Rep. Louise Slaughter and NY Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo formally notified Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood that New York State would gladly take the High Speed Rail funding that tea party governors-elect in Ohio and Wisconsin would not be utilizing.

Governors-Elect John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin stood fast on their campaign pledges that they would not accept American Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies for High Speed Rail in their states.

As Founder and Chairwoman of the Upstate Congressional Caucus, I (Rep. Slaughter) spoke with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari on Thursday and told him that New York State would like to receive a portion of the $1.2 Billion in high-speed rail funding that was previously awarded to Wisconsin and Ohio.

Shortly thereafter, a Facebook campaign was initiated by various progressive political action groups across New York State to amplify Slaughter and Cuomo’s message.   Secretary LaHood has an answer for New Yorkers; message received.

If you’ve visited my Facebook page lately, then you’ve probably seen the explosion of notes from people urging Department of Transportation support for high-speed rail in New York State.

I don’t know who started it, but the Facebook campaign sure got my attention!

And I appreciate that many of the Facebook posts provided very good reasons for developing a high-speed rail network in New York State. Post after post echoed entrepreneur Monica Johns, who said a clean, reliable, and fast link to New York City will be a tremendous boost to businesses across the state.

The people of New York, like those in many other states, recognize the value high-speed rail offers.

Secretary LaHood has not made an official decision about the funding, but the power of social media and online activism is a force in the hands of citizens.  And they say Facebook is for Farmville addicts and narcissists!

If you support High Speed Rail in New York State, let Secretary LaHood know what you think.

Slaughter Today

25 Mar

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Terrorism (UPDATEDx2)

24 Mar

Whether directed at Louise Slaughter, Tom Pereillo (or his brother), or Steve Dreihaus.

Whether incited by Sarah Palin, or idiot teabloggers, the spate of death threats – and some actual affirmative violent acts – against Democratic lawmakers is an extraordinarily disturbing turn of events.

The frenzy into which the ignorant, hateful, malicious, and cowardly have been whipped by the teabaggers and their enabler-apologists in the Republican Party establishment, will undoubtedly result in someone’s injury or death at some point in the next several weeks.

As Ezra Klein noted today,

I remember listening to the debate the night the House passed the Senate bill and the reconciliation fixes. There are a lot of critiques I could imagine folks on the right making of the legislation. “Regulations to define a minimum insurance benefit will impede innovation in low-deductible plans.” “Congress doesn’t have the will to stick to the cost savings, and until they prove able to do so, we can’t pass a new health-care entitlement.” “The health-care system is broken, and adding a new benefit doesn’t make sense outside the context of radical reform, as it will just create a new set of stakeholders who will resist the necessary changes.”

But totalitarianism? Death panels? The end of America as we know it? These critiques aren’t just wrong in their description of a cautious, compromised reform that uses private insurers and spends only 4 percent of what we spend on health care in an average year. They’re shocking in terms of what the speakers believe their colleagues and representatives are willing to do to the American people. Nunes, for instance, has served with Democrats for decades. He might believe them too willing to tax society’s most-productive members to fund social benefits. But does he really believe them friends of totalitarianism?

And the stuff on talk radio, of course, was worse. So take the universe of people who really respect right-wing politicians and listen to right-wing media. Most of them will hear this stuff and turn against the bill. Some will hear this stuff and really be afraid of the bill. And then a small group will hear this stuff and believe it and wonder whether they need to do something more significant to stop this bill from becoming law. And then a couple will actually follow through. And one will cut the gas lines leading to house of Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother after seeing a tea partyer post the address online.

The Republicans ought to get their people under some fucking control. And it’s not even cretins like Sarah Palin, but even ostensibly smart people like Carl Paladino – arrest Sheldon Silver, send him to Attica and let people beat him up on the way? What the fuck kind of bullshit asshattery is that? I detest Silver as much as anyone, but I just want him away from government. I don’t need him beaten up on his way to jail. What kind of civilization is this, if supposed and wanna-be political leaders can say such irresponsible things?

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No matter what adjective you append to it, the violence and threats of violence happening to Democratic lawmakers is terrorism.

Sarah Palin’s “reload” Tweet is, as far as I’m concerned, only mildly different from a tape of Ayman al-Zawahiri that’s found its way onto al Jazeera. The only right thing for the right to do is to immediately clamp down on this and immediately denounce these actions. But they can’t. They’ve spent an entire year doubling down on this type of overheated rhetoric about Obama being the HitlerStalinAntiChrist, and they can’t turn back now and still keep their base.

And no, I’m not kidding.

UPDATE: Minority Whip Eric Cantor says a bullet was shot through his Richmond, VA office last night.  To violently attack any representative of any party for any reason whatsoever is indefensible and reprehensible.  The person(s) who committed this crime should be found, prosecuted, and punished.

(See, Ostrowski? It’s not as hard as it looks).

UPDATE 2:  About that bullet that went through a window at Cantor’s office? Bullet, yes.  Deliberately shot at his office? Not so much.

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Excremism and Terrorism

23 Mar

During the past few days, bricks have been thrown through the windows of the Monroe County Democratic Committee’s Headquarters, and that of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s Niagara Falls district office.

Vandalism in the name of teabaggery is just a bit of harmless fun, right? A misdemeanor, tops. Hardly worth the police effort.

But it turns out that these acts weren’t mere vandalism. They were homegrown, semi-literate acts of terrorism.

(Updated)*: The brick thrown through Slaughter’s office window was accompanied by a recorded phone message stating,

Assassinate is the word they used…toward the children of lawmakers who voted yes

The brick thrown through the Monroe Democratic Committee’s HQ window was accompanied by this note:

Apparently, the terrorist brick-throwing (what else do you call it when it’s accompanied by an assassination threat?) was prompted or otherwise egged on by an Alabama-based teabagging site called the “Sipsey Street Irregulars”. Get it? Like a militia. Its author explains his rationale behind calling for these acts:

Wake up and understand what is happening in this country. You need to start listening to people who you think you didn’t have to pay any attention to, because sooner or later they will get your attention,” he says.

The ultimate predictable irony of the whole story is that the author of the Sipsey Street blog is a chap who lives on Social Security Disability. We in the teabagging movement call that a “government handout”.

Nice movement, there.

*I originally wrote that the brick thrown through Slaughter’s office window in the Falls had a note attached to it. In fact, the assassination message was left on the office’s answering machine.

Slaughter on Health Care

25 Feb

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) at Thursday’s health care reform summit:

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I’ve been through this before. I was here when we had the Clinton debate. It was started, some of you will remember, by Lee Iacocca, who said, “We cannot export our automobiles, there is a $1,000 cost for health care in every one of them. My competitors are way ahead of me. They are eating my lunch.”

That was one of the main reasons, Mr. President, if you recall, that we decided we had to do something about that.

In the 13, 15 years since that’s happened we have done nothing about health care. We don’t export so much anymore. The automobile business is basically gone. We have done nothing to encourage entrepreneurs.

and

I think it would be really a good thing for us today, while we’re here in this room together, to really think about what’s absolutely important here. Not nitpick over little pieces of this and that, but think about all the people out there every single day, the number of people, excess deaths, because they have no health insurance.

I even have one constituent — you will not believe this, and I know you won’t, but it’s true — her sister died. This poor woman had no denture. She wore her dead sister’s teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit.

Do you ever believe that in America that that’s where we would be?

This is the last chance as far as I’m concerned, particularly on the export business. We have fallen behind. We’re no longer the biggest manufacturer in the world. We’ve lot our technological edge. We have an opportunity to do that, but a major part of the success of that is getting this health care bill passed.

Setting aside the fact that stories like this are all too common even in our “best system in the world”, the trade issue is an important one. In Canada, Ford, Honda, GM, Chrysler, and other automakers don’t have to worry about offering and paying for ridiculously expensive and crappy health insurance coverage for their employees. They get free comprehensive medical through the provincial government.

Maybe the Republicans are right. Maybe we should scrap the bill and start from scratch.

Since no serious politician is willing to badmouth or abolish Medicare, if it’s good enough for the over-65 set, it’s good enough for the under-65 set. Expand Medicare as an option available to all and be done with it.

High Speed FAIL

4 Feb

You might remember when last week, Rep. Louise Slaughter announced that $151MM of federal monies would be spent on a New York’s proposed High Speed Rail line.  You might also remember WNYMedia’s Brian Castner saying, WTF?

You wouldn’t know it from the grand-standing and glad-handing reported in today’s Buffalo News, but New York just got screwed.

$2.5 billion, a down payment on $45 billion, to Nancy Pelosi’s California.

$1.25 billion to connect  Tampa and  Orlando, 4.7 million people, in swing state Florida.

$1 billion to connect  Chicago and  St Louis, 12.5 million people, in the President’s home state of Illinois.

$400 million to connect Columbus and Cleveland, 4.6 million people, in swing state Ohio.

$151 million to connect 22 million people in New York.

Every once in a while, an article comes around that paints a full picture about everything that is wrong in New York State.  I’ve been working on for a week to answer Brian’s question, but Jerry Zremski of The Buffalo News wrote the story and beat me to it.  So, I’ll scrap mine and link to Jerry’s article.

“I think the money we gave New York reflects what we thought about their application,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told reporters Wednesday.

Here’s a video of California’s plan, for the sake of comparison:

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As they say in the world of politics, “oof”.  So, what was wrong with New York’s application?

LaHood said, “This is not complicated. If people get their act together, if they have a good plan, if people are working together, they’re going to benefit.”

Both Florida and California have completed environmental impact statements for their high-speed rail plans, while New York has not. In addition, California has set aside $10 billion in bond funding for its project.

In contrast, New York has lagged for years on comparatively minor projects such as building a second track between Albany and Schenectady, said Ross B. Capon, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. The state only now is undertaking such projects with its new high-speed rail money.

“They’ve been screwing around for years,” Capon said of New York State officials. “There was just not a level of action commensurate with the potential. Their plan was not equal to that of other states.”

Wait, it gets better!

New York did go a bit too far when it applied for nearly $12 billion in high-speed rail funding when only $8 billion was to be available under the stimulus bill

So, we didn’t have a coordinated plan, complete required environmental impact studies, line up bond financing or have ANY appreciable organized effort whatsoever, yet we had the frigging balls to ask for $4BN more than was to be allotted for the entire nation?  Incredible.

New York State is the Veruca Salt of national politics.

A petulant pre-teen ignorant of reality and real world costs, demanding their wishes be granted immediately.

Mommy – “Newyork, I have $100 to spend on new school clothes for the year, what would you like to buy?”

Newyork – “Mommy, I want $3,000 worth of iPods and a bag of smack and I WANT IT NOW!#!#!”

Louise Slaughter ends up looking like the co-dependent mother of her drug addled teenager.  Trying to tell all who will listen, that this time, he’s clean, he’s really clean.

Oy vey, what a FAILtrain.

Louise Slaughter on the Public Option

20 Aug

Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28) discusses her support for a strong public option for health insurance reform:

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Who is Lilly Ledbetter, and Why Does She Get an Act?

27 Jan

In 2007, a woman named Lilly Ledbetter saw a lawsuit of hers go to the Supreme Court. According to Congressman Brian Higgins,

Lilly Ledbetter worked for nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. She sued the company after learning that she was paid less then her male counterparts at the facility, despite having more experience than several of them. A jury found that her employer had unlawfully discriminated against her on the basis of sex.

However, the Supreme Court said that Ledbetter had waited too long to sue for pay discrimination, despite the fact that she filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as she received an anonymous note alerting her to pay discrimination.

While Ledbetter filed her charge within 180 days of receiving discriminatory pay, the court ruled that, since Ledbetter did not raise a claim within 180 days of the employer’s decision to pay her less, she could not receive any relief. Under this Supreme Court decision, employees in Ledbetter’s position would be forced to live with discriminatory paychecks for the rest of their careers.

The Lilly Ledbetter Act would reverse the SCOTUS’s decision, and permit aggrieved, discriminated-against plaintiffs to bring an action such as this within 180 days of any improper paycheck.

Higgins explains,

“This decision merely encouraged employers with discriminatory pay practices to continue such practices and keep them hidden from their workers, thereby running out the clock on a worker’s opportunity to challenge them. What we accomplished today was simply returning to the commonsense rule accepted for decades, that every discriminatory paycheck is a violation of the law that restarts the clock for filing a claim.”

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would apply to workers who file claims of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, or disability.

In a country such as this, with a constitution such as ours, the principle of equal pay for equal work by those with equal qualifications and experience is a pretty fundamental one. The Act passed 250-177. Higgins, Hinchey, Massa, and Slaughter voted in favor. Chris Lee voted against. (In 2007, it had passed 225 – 199).

Buffalo News Endorsements So Far [UPDATED]

29 Oct

President:

Barack Obama (D) (article here)

If Americans want a future where our leaders respond to challenges with judgment and principle, rather than panic and rashness, they will elect Barack Obama president. We recommend they do so.

Our preference for Obama is not based only on matters of character, intelligence and calm. It also flows from his superior positions on such basic issues as war and peace, energy and environment, the economy and taxation, health care and justice.

Fundamentally, Obama does not want us to fear the future, the ever smaller, ever more complicated world, the problems we face and the choices we must make. He most certainly does not want us to be afraid of one another. And Obama does not even want us to be afraid of his rival candidate.

Congress:

NY-26: Alice Kryzan (D) (article here)

Kryzan is having no more of the Bush administration’s nonsense about the solution to every problem being another tax cut for the rich. And she resists the lure of cheap, and environmentally damaging, oil, turning instead to a new, green economy that will not only battle the trends toward climate change but also promise economic benefits to previously troubled areas such as Buffalo and the Great Lakes.

NY-27: Brian Higgins (D)

Higgins is vitally important on those local needs, and he is on the right side of the big issues. He is tired of the United States being played by all sides in the Iraq conflict and upset by what the conduct of the war on terror has done to American values. He favors reasonable regulation for the shattered financial markets and will not be a vote to continue the ruinous Bush tax cuts.

NY-28: Louise Slaughter (D)

As chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, she is in a good spot to see to the needs of all of Western New York. But, more than that, her position on the important issues facing the nation recommend her to the voters.

Slaughter is a strong voice for facing the threat of climate change through limits on greenhouse emissions, alternative energy sources and efficient autos and power plants. She supports a carefully managed withdrawal from Iraq and a restoration of the constitutional balances that have been upset by the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror. She seeks an end to the Bush tax code, which she rightly labels as a blatant redistribution of wealth — from the poor to the rich.

NY-29: Eric Massa (D)

Massa, a Democrat from Corning, favors a tax code that reserves its breaks for those who need them the most, has detailed ideas for a new regulatory system for the financial industry and regrets deeply the damage that has been done to the American military, American security, the American Constitution and American prestige by the misbegotten war in Iraq.

The News really honed in on the Bush-era’s tax cuts for the rich, and how that has practically become the Republican Party’s answer to everything.

State Assembly Continue reading

Louise Slaughter (NY-28) on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station

21 Feb

Last week, during a meeting with the Air Force, I received news from Major General Charles Stenner, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs for the Air Force, that 12 C-130H2 aircraft will be delivered to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) by July 2008. This is truly great news for a base that is vital not only to the security of our nation, but to the economies of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Frankly, it is quite an extraordinary achievement given that only three years ago the Pentagon recommended the Base be shut down.

In early 2005, NFARS was included on the list of recommended base closures put forth by the Department of Defense as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. As a major source of employment, closing the Base would have resulted in a catastrophic blow to the Western New York economy. Additionally, it would have negatively affected our national security due to its strategic location along a highly-trafficked border.

I, along with several of my fellow New York colleagues worked tirelessly to ensure that the Pentagon’s ill-advised proposal would never come to fruition. Our work to preserve NFARS paid off and the Base has remained open.

Now, in demonstration of the important contribution to national security that NFARS provides, the Air Force has guaranteed that the 12 C-130H2 aircraft necessary to sustain the Base will be delivered by this July. To put this achievement into perspective, we must consider that the cargo planes were initially not scheduled to arrive until the summer of 2010. By pushing up the delivery date by two years, the Pentagon is exhibiting a renewed dedication to the Niagara Air Base.

Securing the C-130H2 planes two years ahead of schedule is very encouraging news for Western New York. I will continue to ensure that the Base remains both an engine of economic growth for the region and an asset to the nation’s defense structure for generations to come.