Thursday, February 2


They knew it was wrong, they knew it wasn't the will of the public, but they did it anyway.

The most revealing part of the story of how the Republicans pushed through $39.5 billion in cuts to student loans, Medicare and Medicaid while advocating permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% is how cynically it was done.

Republican leaders counted their votes, realized they had more than they needed for passage, and allowed 13 of their members who face tough re-election races to vote against it so they'd score points with their constituents.

In other words, they KNEW it wasn't the popular will, but they don't answer to the voters -- they answer to their masters and cronies, special interests and the richest among us. And with their jerrymandering redistricting they figure they have enough safe seats that they don't need to respond to real people.

With the Senate taking up a tax-cutting measure at the same time, Democrats used debate on the measure to sound what will be a major election-year theme: that Republicans are cutting taxes for the rich at the expense of services for the poor.

"A vote for this bill is a vote, literally, to take away from health care from our children so we can give more money to the super-rich," Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, said.

At a time Congress is consumed by a lobbying scandal, Democrats complained bitterly that the measure had been written without them, with the help of paid representatives from the drug and insurance industries, and then presented for a vote before they had a chance to review it.

"This is a product of special interest lobbying," said Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, "and the stench of special interests hangs over the chamber as we consider it today."

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