Rand Paul blocks funding bill for 9/11 victims over hypocritical budget concerns

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked an attempt by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Wednesday to fast-track a bill that would extend compensation for victims of the September 11th attacks.

Paul expressed concerns that Gillibrand’s attempt to pass the measure using unanimous consent — meaning a bill is approved so long as no senator objects — did not take into consideration the need to offset that funding elsewhere.

In short, he argued, funding shouldn’t be distributed to 9/11 first responders without a discussion about where the money was coming from — concerns that didn’t stop him from voting for President Donald Trump’s massive tax cuts for the rich back in 2017.

“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in this country,” Paul said in voicing his objection on Wednesday. “Any new spending that we are approaching — any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years — should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate.”

He promised to add an amendment when the House version of the bill was brought up for a vote. But Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) also placed a procedural hold on the bill, blocking it from coming up for a vote.

Gillibrand noted in response that, not only had the bill passed the House by “over 400 votes,” it already had 73 co-sponsors in the Senate.

The measure was guaranteed to pass, she said, adding, “Enough of the political games.”

Back in 2017, Paul supported Trump’s tax bill, which cut taxes drastically for the ultra-wealthy and mega-corporations.

At the time, Paul did voice some reservations, such as his preference for an even bigger tax cut, but eventually agreed to the final version, which has since massively exploded the deficit.

Those tax cuts have had an even bigger impact than analysts expected initially: The deficit ballooned from $225 billion in 2017 to $319 billion in 2018.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) openly admitted after the tax cuts passed that having less money in government coffers would provide Republican leadership with leeway to slash social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.

***

Reposted from ThinkProgress

Zack Ford is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, hailing from the small town of Newport, PA. Prior to joining ThinkProgress, Zack blogged for two years at ZackFordBlogs.com with occasional cross-posts at Pam’s House Blend. He also co-hosts a popular LGBT-issues podcast called Queer and Queerer with activist and performance artist Peterson Toscano. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. Music Education) and Iowa State University (M.Ed. Higher Education), Zack is an accomplished pianist with a passion for social justice education. Follow him on Twitter at @ZackFord.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work