Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Response: Dems vs. GOP

Democratic lawmakers response to Katrina:
In the next few days, we will introduce the “Hurricane Katrina Accelerated Tax Refund Act.” This bill would immediately accelerate the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and applicable education incentives. By taking these steps, we can deliver resources on a fast-track basis to families that have worked hard, paid taxes and earned these tax benefits, all the while stimulating local economies. These Americans who have lost so much should receive their refunds now rather than later.

Republican lawmakers response to Katrina:
WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday he had no intention of reopening a sweeping bankruptcy law passed by Congress earlier this year, despite proposals to exempt Hurricane Katrina victims from some of its provisions.

The new, more stringent bankruptcy law will not harm people left "down and out" by the storm, Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner said.

He said he would not hold a hearing in his committee on a bill by the panel's ranking Democrat, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, and 31 other Democrats who want to exempt Hurricane Katrina victims from parts of the new bankruptcy law. A chairman's decision not to hold a hearing usually prevents a House bill form advancing.

Congress last spring passed the new bankruptcy law, which makes it harder for heavily indebted Americans to wipe out their obligations. It goes into effect on Oct. 17.

More Republican response to Katrina:
Only after considerable pressure to respond to Hurricane Katrina and observe Chief Justice William Rehnquist's funeral did Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist back off from his determination to begin the estate tax debate immediately after Labor Day.

It will be fascinating to watch how the senators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama explain to their constituents why a $1 trillion tax break for multimillionaires and billionaires, few of whom live in their states, ranks as a timely national priority.

Even more Republican response to Katrina:
“SEPARATE BUT EQUAL” EDUCATION: The Wall Street Journal reports that Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will ask Congress to waive a federal law that bans educational segregation for homeless children. The Bush administration is arguing, along with states like Utah and Texas, that providing schooling for evacuees – who, in this case, are likened to homeless children — will be disruptive to public school systems, so they want to have sound legal backing for creating separate educational facilities for the 372,000 schoolchildren displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Democratic Party Priorities:
- Easing the burden of those stricken by a national disaster

Republican Party Priorities:
- Easing the burden of credit and banking interests
- Easing the burden of billionaires
- Separate but equal education

Why is this so hard for 51% of Americans to see?