House Republicans Defeat Elizabeth Warren's Bill In Committee--

 Give the $tudents the same deal as the banks

Senator Warren Needs More Allies In Congress Who Want To Help Students, Not Prey On Them

By now you've probably heard about Elizabeth Warren's fantastic first piece of legislation, the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. Her goal is to lower student loan interest rates for next year from 3.4% to 0.75% -- the same rate the government loans money to the banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. As of now, unless Congress takes action-- other than drumming up faux scandals to deny President Obama a third term-- student loan interest rates will double to 6.8% on July 1st.

Boehner and Cantor, the Republicans as a party, and the Wall Street bankers who fund them, have declared Senator Warren's proposal a non-starter and have vowed to kill it. Last week Boehner shuffled it into John Kline's Education and Workforce Committee, and Kline did exactly what he was told. The proposal was defeated 23-14, all the Republicans voting NO and all but one Democrat voting YES.

All the Blue America-endorsed candidates support Elizabeth Warren's way of dealing with this problem and all of them would like to get into Congress and make sure her proposal eventually passes.

State Rep. Carl Sciortino is one of Senator Warren's Massachusetts constituents and he's running for the  House seat being vacated by Ed Markey, a seat that includes towns like Cambridge, Waltham, Medford, and Framingham, all filled with college students. Carl is 34 and has been an enthusiastic proponent of Senator Warren's approach. He knows that the future of the country lies with people going through school today.

"Our country has always taught its young people that hard work and education are keys to achieving the American dream," he told us. "But for too many families the cost of higher education has become the subject of their nightmares. While Republicans in Washington try to weaken Wall Street regulations, progressive Democrats are working to give our students the same low interest rates as our banks. We have to get serious as a nation about ensuring that our younger generation has the same opportunities to succeed as our parents and grandparents. Senator Warren has put forward a smart and creative solution, and I look forward to supporting her efforts in Congress later this year."

That's right... later this year. There will be a special election in the fall to fill Ed Markey's seat. So, like Nick Ruiz, Daylin Leach, Andy Hounshell and, of course, Alan Grayson, Carl can use some support to make sure a progressive agenda has the strongest possible allies.

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, Amato and the Blue America Team



We Won-- Thanks!

Blue America Progressive Ed Markey will face Gabriel Gomez (R) in MA Senate Runoff

Tuesday in Massachusetts progressives made their voices heard. Liberal icon Ed Markey, the Blue America-endorsed candidate beat ConservaDem Stephen Lynch 58- 42% in the primary for the Democratic nomination to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate.

Ed Markey would make the PERFECT partner for Elizabeth Warren
Ed Markey would make the PERFECT partner for Elizabeth Warren

Now Ed will face off against Republican Gabriel Gomez, an anti-Choice fanatic and typical lockstep Republican.

It's likely Ed will beat him June 25th. But it's never safe to assume anything. Remember Senator Scott Brown! The good news is that all three Republicans in the primary got fewer votes than Stephen Lynch. But Ed will still need contributions for the big money Republicans are expected to put into this race. You can donate to Ed's campaign on the special page Blue America has for Senate candidates</a>.

Thanks again!

We are all in this together,

Howie, for Digby, Amato and the Blue America Team



Heroes And Villains: Massachusetts Senate Race

Massachusetts will pick a replacement for Senator John Kerry on June 25, although it's likely that the winner of the Democratic primary on April 30 will pretty much have it locked up. All of the top tier Republicans who looked at the race-- ex-Senator Scott Brown, ex-Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, ex-Lt. Governor Jane Swift, ex-Governor William Weld, ex-state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei and a bunch of Romneys-- quickly declined to run. If enough of the petition signatures they turned in are deemed valid, the 3 Republicans who will be on the primary ballot-- ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez. ex-U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Michael Sullivan and the one non-ex, state Rep. Daniel Winslow-- don't really offer a serious challenge to either Democrat running, Ed Markey or Stephen Lynch.

So it comes down to a battle between Congress' sharpest and most stalwart fighter for a sane Climate Change policy, progressive Ed Markey and a run of the mill conservative Democrat, Stephen Lynch, who's made a name for himself as an anti-Choice fanatic and GOP kiss-up in their culture wars. Example: on Palm Sunday, 2005, when Tom DeLay called Congress, back for a special session to exploit Terry Schiavo's tragedy, almost all the Democrats in the House ignored him and refused to take part in his circus. 102 Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, stayed away, including Ed Markey. Lynch could barely wait to get back to Washington to cast his vote with DeLay and the Republican necrophiliacs.

More recently, we watched Congress tackle the issue of Sequestration. Markey, along with virtually all the progressives in the House, voted against the policy. There was tremendous pressure from the White House-- exerted by pro-Sequestration party leaders Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- for Democrats to toe the line. Markey refused. No one needed to twist Lynch's arm. He was one of the 95 Democrats who went along with Boehner and Cantor and voted for this disastrous policy. That vote tells you a lot about who Stephen Lynch is and who Ed Markey is.

Yesterday we looked at how Sequestration is part of an orchestrated plan to nudge panic reluctant Americans into accepting a Simpson-Bowles version of the failed European Austerity agenda and how progressives are fighting back against that potentially disastrous outcome. The Grayson-Takano letter ("we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits-- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need") sends a clear message to Obama and the House Democratic leadership that not all Democrats will sell out working families to pursue a conservative vision of deficit reduction at a time when the deficits are already shrinking and at a time when working families are being pushed to the brink, even as the stock market and the wealth of the one percent soars. 

Markey, of course, stands with Alan Grayson and Mark Takano and the two dozen other progressives who are leading the way. Stephen Lynch refuses to sign the letter or anything like it. He's waiting-- as usual-- to be told what to do by his Establishment backers. Stephen Lynch is the last kind of politician a state like Massachusetts needs in the Senate-- which probably has a lot to do with why polling shows Markey substantially ahead and why both outgoing Senator John Kerry and newly elected Senator Elizabeth Warren have enthusiastically endorsed Markey. And so has Blue America. This week we set up a special Profiles in Courage page around the Grayson-Takano letter. Our first profile is Ed Markey. Please consider helping him win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE: Lynch Raises The White Flag, Signs The Letter!

Today 3 more progressives and a conservative signed on to the Grayson-Takano letter. The progressives were Lacy Clay (D-MO), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and their signatures are really non-stories, since they tend to support progressive initiatives anyway. The conservative is much bigger news: Stephen Lynch, who is freaking out that Ed Markey is ahead of him by double digits in another poll that came out today!




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