Tag Archive: nj-5

“Compassionate Conservatism” – Garrett-style

Scott Garrett issued the following statement regarding the humanitarian disaster in Haiti:

“I am gravely concerned about the situation in Haiti. I am saddened over the tragic loss of life and I am remaining in close contact with the State Department regarding the state of the constituents from my district who were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake. My prayers are with their families and I will do everything I can to ensure their safe return home.”

Now, I’m not going to compare quotes or statements from others, but there is so much wrong with this statement, starting with the utter lack of compassion for the magnitude of this disaster.  This “situation” in Haiti is something along the lines of 200,000 – 500,000 dead and a disaster “like no other in UN memory”.

Usually, one can tell a lot about someone by their initial thoughts or statements, or how they react to tragedy.  In this case, I remember how Garrett was the only NJ Representative to vote AGAINST Katrina relief.  Here, he makes no mention of the citizens of Haiti, the families of those who live in Haiti or anyone other than the people in his district who happened to be visiting at the time the earthquake struck.

What a guy.  

“Wall Street Hero” Scott Garrett tries to fool his District

Someone recently told me that Scott Garrett spends more on mailers to his district than any other Congressman or Congresswoman.  And while I’d love to find out if that is actually true, I tend to ignore (probably foolishly) his 3 or 4 page glossy “newsletter” that I receive a few times each year.  My reasoning is that I know his schtick – he routinely votes against bills that 400 other members of the House vote for because of some “technicality” and then tells his constituents that he is really in favor of the bill but couldn’t have it 100% his way so he has to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

So when I got his latest mailer, I tossed it in with the rest of my recyclables (of course), but then had the fortune to come across this post by a former Goldwater conservative who hits fat cat CEO’s favorite Congressman right between the eyes with a brilliant takedown of the fluff, misdirection and outright twisting of the facts contained in Garrett’s latest mailer.

I won’t repeat all of Michael Fremer’s arguments, especially since we have made them here and at Retire Garrett issue by issue, and there really is nothing new.  He rails against the stimulus (which presumably would include the vote he cast against the largest middle class tax cut in history and scary teabagger talk about healthcare.  That being said, it is refreshing to see someone say it so plainly when it comes to Garrett’s hypocrisy regarding unemployment:

“You offer no job creation plans in your email other than more tax cuts.

“A job creation engine” was the supposed purpose of the Bush tax cuts for the rich back in 2001 that produced the weakest job growth out of a mild recession in recent history. All it produced was a deficit from what had been a projected surplus.

Had we allowed G.M. and other businesses to fail, the unemployment rate would now be catastrophic, yet that would have been your “solution.”

So I find your carping about unemployment churlish and dishonest.

Lest we forget that Garrett’s proposed solutions include his very own stimulus bill that he introduced consisting entirely of corporate tax breaks.  When Wall Street needs more tax breaks, they call on their “Hero” to champion a bill for them.  And when AIG executives want to keep the bonuses they paid out from Government money, they call on “Wall Street Hero” Scott Garrett.  But when families in his district are struggling, they get smacked in the face by his votes and his disingenuous rhetoric.  

Scott Garrett – working class enemy, embarrassment to his District

The mid-term congressional elections are 361 days from today – promoted from the diaries by Rosi.

With unemployment still rising, and the unemployment rate well over 8% in each of the 4 counties represented by Scott Garrett (including over 11% in Passaic), you would think that for once, Garrett wouldn’t spit in the faces of his constituents.

But if you think that, you would be wrong.  Again.

After the Senate voted 98-0 to extend unemployment benefits, the House voted yesterday by a margin of 403-12 to extend unemployment benefits to those workers who (1) lost their jobs, (2) still can’t find another job and (3) have been out of work for so long that their unemployment benefits have run out.

As usual, Scott Garrett was one of the 12 heartless Reps who would rather see tax cuts to corporations than help keep food on the plates of those who he claims to represent.  This is far from the first time Garrett has done this – this year alone, he voted against the largest middle class tax cut in history as well as expanding unemployment benefits to a larger pool of people who are in need.  

Yet, time and time again, he talks nonsense about “letting people keep more of their hard earned money” as he votes against pretty much every single bill that is supposed to help families in his district actually earn money or just get by.  What Garrett fails to realize, or even worse – he does realize but just doesn’t care – is that when people have no job and no unemployment benefits, there is no money for them to keep more of.

It is votes like this that make me outraged and ashamed that someone this heartless or clueless is “representing” me.

Garrett gets more time talking healthcare on CNBC

Another h/t to rmfretz over at Blog the Fifth for catching Scott Garrett’s latest TV appearance on CNBC with Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz on Squawk Box. Garrett said the healthcare bill is being rushed through no matter what people think and in the process, they are insulting constituents. Schwartz said she’s hearing questions on legislation, but that she shouldn’t let the arguing distract us from the real debate of how to contain costs and get healthcare coverage.

They talked about areas for potential compromises, but Schwartz said that excluding pre-existing conditions is unacceptable. She said as the plan comes to the floor of Congress, they’ll see additional changes. Garrett went after the bill talking about the failures of Medicare and said there hasn’t been bi-partisan with Republicans giving no input. Garrett said he can’t even support co-operatives, so he will oppose anything because he says it’s moving toward a single payer and will squeeze out the private sector. Schwartz said she would not support a plan that has co-ops rather than a public option, because we can’t leave it to the private insurance sector with new rules. She said the public option will help drive down costs for the whole system.

Garrett talks healthcare on WNYC

Congressman Scott Garrett appeared on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC for an interview talking about the healthcare legislation in Congress and why he says he opposes it.  Here’s a sampling of what he had to say:

But Congressman Scott Garrett, a Republican from northern New Jersey, says the government-backed medical coverage for the elderly is doing a bad job. He says it should not be a model for broader coverage, in part, because it pays providers too little.

GARRETT: A lot of doctors who have been in the business and who?re getting out of the business say, “I can’t make any money on this. I’m not gonna shift any more. I’m gonna get out of the business.”

Garrett told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that private insurers have much higher administrative costs than Medicare, because they provide much more helpful consumer information than the government does.

I particularly like the part of his answer where he says the private insurers provide more consumer info and that’s why their administrative costs are higher, while at the same time the GOP rails against how ineffective the government program is. Here’s what the House Energy and Commerce committee says the healthcare bill Garrett opposes would mean to his district:

America?s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 5th Congressional District of New Jersey: up to 20,400 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 9,400 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 900 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $51 million in uncompensated care each year; and 33,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. Congressman Scott Garrett represents the district.

Here’s the interview, which is over 20 minutes:

“Free market” Garrett decries free market.

Herb Jackson’s Capital Games column today has an interesting snippet about Representative Scott Garrett:

Rep. Garrett opposed an auto industry bailout when it was proposed by the Bush administration in late 2008, and signed a letter suggesting the companies go through bankruptcy reorganization rather than receive government support.

But after hearing from constituents, he is not happy with the closure of car dealerships in his district.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and presidential adviser Lawrence Summers, Garrett said the closures “represent the direct loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to local economies.”

He demanded to know the reasoning used by a White House task force in pressing for Chrysler and General Motors to shed dealerships.

Garrett has this point on his side: When the Obama administration took an active hand in managing the car companies, it inherited the heat that comes with the disruptive changes the companies have to make to stay in business.

But worth noting: At a hearing in December, Garrett criticized the restructuring plans submitted by Ford, Chrysler and GM for putting that disruption off.

“The question is, do we close dealerships in 2012 or restructure union obligations in 2011? None of that’s going to help us right now: Things have to be done sooner,” Garrett said.

This is the same Garrett who votes against anything that has anything to do with the federal government spending money – if it isn’t on Iraq.  and this is the same Garrett who said recently that TOO MUCH REGULATION was to blame for the financial crisis, and that the free markets should sort themselves out.

And yes, this is the same Garrett who voted against the stimulus bill (the largest middle class tax cut in history) that also was to bring thousands of jobs to his district, spoke out against the auto bailout and wanted the auto companies to go through bankruptcy – just as the “free market” would have it.

But when the inevitable happened and dealerships in his (and my) district closed – he wonders how the free market would allow that and feigns outrage.

Interesting.

Clean water Bill passes House 413 – 10. Guess who was one of the 10.

Last week, we noted that Scott Garrett was yet again the lone NJ Representative to vote against the COPS bill.  And while (putting on my Scott Garrett “government and spending is bad” hat) I can see how he could conceivably make an argument that “even the ACLU” sees a better way to use the funding to accomplish the goal of crime reduction, I’m sure he voted against it for reasons different from the ACLU, but let’s leave those assumptions aside for now.

There was another bill passed last week, HR 1145, the National Water Research and Development Initiative of 2009, which passed the House by a stunning 403 vote margin, leaving Garrett as one of only 10 Congressmen/Congresswomen to vote against assuring that the US has adequate water supplies and clean drinking water, and to streamline the 20+ agencies responsible for US water policy.  Even for someone that claims to be against government spending (notwithstanding his consistent votes for hundreds of billions to Iraq with no oversight, despite widespread reports of waste and fraud), this Bill would actually reduce duplicate activities, efforts and resources, and therefore save money.

When this country has been faced with natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, tornadoes across the Midwest, droughts in the south and west, wildfires in California and toxic spills contaminating our water supply around the region and country, it is absolutely baffling why this would be something to vote against.  At a time when our food and water supplies are at risk – when there are shortages around the country and when we hear of chemicals infiltrating the water supply what does this say about the priorities of someone who doesn’t think protecting our nation’s water supply from contamination is important?

Consider the following:

I may not see eye to eye with Garrett on most issues.  But there are times where I can understand why he is voting the way he votes.

When it comes to protecting our water – a homeland security issue, I am at a loss for words.

Scott Garrett continues his assault on the middle class

The Drum Major Institute (“DMI”) and TheMiddleClass.org just released their annual rankings and grades on how each Senator and Representative voted on issues important to the middle class.  And since “middle class” is a very broad and vague term, this is how DMI describes it as it relates to a slew of votes and issues:

The middle class is more than an income bracket. Over the past fifty years, a middle-class standard of living in the United States has come to mean having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, illness and the birth or adoption of a child, opportunities to save for the future and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one’s children. When these middle-class fundamentals are within the reach of most Americans, the nation is stronger economically, culturally and democratically.

Most Americans identify themselves as middle class. Yet DMI is concerned not only with those who currently enjoy a middle-class standard of living, but also with expanding the middle class by increasing the ability and opportunities of poor people to enter the middle class. The middle class is strengthened when more poor people are able to work their way into its ranks. In a nation that is increasingly polarized between the very wealthy and everyone else, DMI sees the poor and middle class as sharing many of the same interests. Simply put: what strengthens and expands the middle class is good for America.

Now, readers may think that this is a progressive organization and the votes will be skewed towards Democrats.  However, in the latest scorecard, Rep. Chris Smith got an A and Frank LoBiondo got a B for last year.  In fact, 65% of ALL Congressional officials (House and Senate) received passing grades, with another 15% receiving an incomplete.  That leaves only 20% who received failing grades – and, not surprisingly, only one in New Jersey – Scott Garrett, who also has the honor of a 0% rating for 2009 so far.

Only 5 Senators received 0% grades for 2009, and of the House members with a 0% grade, Garrett is the only one north of PA (there are 2 Reps in PA) with such a disastrous score.  In fact, Garrett has received an F for every year since 2003 (here is a link to all of his applicable votes over the seven year period).

This is truly stunning – even for those who follow Garrett’s record and stances.  There is no bigger enemy to the middle class in the entire Northeast.  From his very first year in Congress through his 2009 votes against the biggest middle class tax cut in history and to preserve the AIG bonuses (where he was once again the only NJ Representative to vote in this way) -he is NOT voting in the interest of his constitutents.

It’s time to Retire Garrett.  The good people of his District deserve someone who will represent them, especially in an economy as bad as this.