Just before they broke for the Thanksgiving holiday Congress took another vote on extending Unemployment benefits for the nearly 2 million Americans still looking for work. The GOP voted overwhelmingly NOT to extend the benefits. Now they’re comfortably at home or on vacation somewhere ready to enjoy their lavish Thanksgiving holiday.
Before Congress adjourned for their Thanksgiving break, House Republicans blocked a bill that would have reauthorized the programs for three months, insisting that its $12 billion cost be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. Many expect Democrats to cut a deal by Christmas, preserving the benefits perhaps by attaching them to a reauthorization of expiring tax cuts for the rich.
Next we’ll see them try to use this as leverage to force the President into extending tax cuts for the wealthy. They will try to hold Democrats and The President responsible for THEIR NO VOTES while lobbying behind the scenes for their wealthy friends, donors and benefactors.
For all the complaining and lies they’ve thrown at the President over the economy they have had a good years. Their personal wealth went up over 16% from 2008 to 2009. Guess it hasn’t been a bad year for the fat cats in D.C. and those filling their coffers. Never mind the struggles of unemployment, lost homes, lost retirements, lost insurance for the millions of Americans now feeling the pain of George W. Bush’s dismal handling of the economy. Anyone think it’s not a coincidence we didn’t start to see and feel the full effects of his failures until he walked out of office free and clear.
In the House, the study found, median wealth grew to $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008. In the Senate, median wealth grew from $2.27 million in 2008 to $2.38 million in 2009.
The new data comes as lawmakers consider whether to extend tax cuts for couples making $250,000 or more – a move that apparently would benefit many members of Congress. The Obama administration wants to confine the tax breaks to earnings under $250,000, although it has signaled it might be open to a compromise with Republicans over the issue.
Researchers at CRP also identified 251 millionaires in Congress, including eight lawmakers worth $10 million or more.
The top three on the list were Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with holdings exceeding $303.5 million; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), with $293.4 million; and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at $238.8 million.
The CRP numbers are somewhat rough estimates – lawmakers are required to report their financial information in broad ranges of figures, so it’s impossible to pin down their dollars with precision. The CRP uses the mid-point in the ranges to build its estimates.
Senators’ estimated median reportable worth sunk to about $1.79 million from $2.27 million in 2007. The House’s median income was significantly lower and also sank, bottoming out at $622,254 from $724,258 in 2007.
But CRP’s analysis suggests that some lawmakers did well for themselves between 2007 and 2008, even as many Americans lost jobs and saw their savings and their home values plummet.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gained about $9.2 million. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gained about $3 million, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had an estimated $2.6 million gain, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gained about $2.8 million.
Some lawmakers have profited from investments in companies that have received federal bailouts; dozens of lawmakers are invested in Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
Did you catch the part in bold? Read it again if you need to. Read it slowly. We are supposed to trust that these very millionaires go to work every day in D.C. reminded of the pain and struggles of regular Americans? It’s very doubtful that any of these folks have ever experienced a complete wipe out of their savings or lost a home, had to tell a child there is no chance of college, or spend months sometimes years trying to find a job.