Sen. Gillibrand Lays Out Lame Duck Agenda

Friday, December 03, 2010

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC. On today's Brian Lehrer Show, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talked about pending legislation in the lame duck session, including the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

With a Republican-run House just around the corner, Congressional Democrats are scrambling to act on their biggest wish-list items before losing a lot of clout in January. Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, passing the DREAM Act for immigrant naturalization—Democrats are trying to do it all in less than 30 days.

That's a daunting pile of legislation for a Congress that can't seem to agree on anything. However, Senator Gillibrand is confident that Democrats will be able to compromise with Republicans. That's "compromise with," not "concede to;" she said that while her party will have to do some bargaining, they're committed to getting what they want. On the issue of extending the Bush tax cuts, for example, there's talk of letting them expire for income over a million dollars. That's instead of letting them expire for all income over $250,000, as Democrats have long desired. Gillibrand said that raising the bar isn't ideal—she favors the $250,000 benchmark—but she'd support the compromise.

Men and women who have been very successful in our country and very successful in our state, they want to do their fair share. They want to come to the table and help during this very tough economic time and it's their generosity that will make the difference. Fighting for the middle class families and those small businesses is all our priority, because they need the tax relief.

There's less wiggle room on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). Following the release of a Pentagon study which determined that repealing the law would have little effect on military operations and troop efficacy, Gillibrand said that there's no reason to wait any longer.

What DADT fundamentally does is make those men and women who are gay lie about who they are, who they love, what's most important to them, what they do in their free time, and it's a corroding effect. Even Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in the first hearing that he believed DADT undermined the fundamental integrity of the entire armed services.

The issue remains polarizing in Congress, and Democrats can expect to face staunch opposition to repeal DADT from some Republicans. But even a less controversial bill, like the one that would provide health care cost assistance to September 11th first responders, faces an uphill battle. Republicans don't want to put another budget item on the federal government's tab unless Democrats can come up with a way to pay for it. Gillibrand said there's been progress on a compromise to close tax loopholes for companies doing business offshore.

What the pay-for is, it says you're a foreign company in a foreign country and if you don't have a tax treaty with the US, you can't just create a subsidiary in a country with a favorable tax treaty to not pay your fair share. These are foreign companies and they're getting an advantage over US companies, so if you want to protect US companies and help our economy grow, you want to make sure these foreign competitors are paying their fair share.

Finally, and perhaps the tallest order for Democrats in December, is passage of the DREAM Act, which would provide an opportunity for illegal immigrants who entered the US as children and young teens to become naturalized through military service or college education. The DREAM Act may be appropriately named, since getting Republicans to budge on citizenship for illegal residents could be something of a fantasy. However, Gillibrand remains undeterred, and she hopes her party will too.

I think it's an economic imperative, a national security imperative, and a moral imperative. This is something that is the right thing to do. These are young people who have come to this country with their parents through no fault of their own, and they want to be Americans. They want to go to college here, they want to serve in our military, and this creates that pathway for earned citizenship.

» Listen to the entire conversation on The Brian Lehrer Show.


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Comments [4]

VinceP1974 from Chicago, IL

Democrats had since 2006 to push these things through.

And I'm glad they didn't since I'm opposed to them all.

But look at how utterly disingenuous this "debate" is. The Democrats put these things off.. which I dare say are amoung the top of the list of the various victim groups.. and then once the voters massive reject them.. and they have but one calendar month left in majority do they finally decide to HURRY UP AND PASS EVERYTHING.

These votes have two purposes

1 - To fail and show how evil the GOP is
2 - Further entrap their victim groups into Democrat Dependency.

After all..if the Democrats passed these things when they had the chance.. what would their victim groups need them for in the future?

Dec. 05 2010 12:39 AM
Francis from Indianapolis, IN USA


A well known anti-open border columnist Michelle Malkin and Champion of Justice has hit the nail squarely on the head about the catering to illegal aliens and the ever widening of doors to let anyone into our nation. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER INCREMENTAL CHAIN MIGRATION, IF THE SENATE PASSES THE DREAM ACT. THIS IS A DECEIVING AGENDA OF THE LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS AND THE FAR LEFT WING PRESS. Secret or stealth Amnesties have been going on under our noses for years, specifically the laws of Chain Migration, which adds to our population when a legitimate immigrant sponsors family members. The reality is that there is neglect on behalf of our government, to assure the original guarantor doesn't renege on their obligation to keep financing the family members? What happens incessantly is that older sponsored family members become sick and the American taxpayers has to pay for their hospitalization or doctor visits. In addition, the original sponsor loses his job and can no longer support the father or mother, sister or brother.

Dec. 04 2010 03:26 PM
Francis from Indianapolis, IN

The government agencies do not have the personnel to enforce these laws and eventually the family members must rely on public social services. This is exactly the same situation if the Dream Act passes as the 2.1 million eligible students, can sponsor their immediate family once they gain permanent residency. Then after signing a affidavit of support, they can convey to America more mouths to feed, more sick and infirm that taxpayers must support by law, must educate the children, or any new born baby and must imprison convicted felons. This chain migration unfortunately in the majority of cases becomes a taxpayer’s lament, because the chain migration law is never ending.

Among the major acts of Congress providing mass pardons and citizenship benefits:

-- The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens, which finally became 5 million as the program was full of fraud.

-- 1994: The “Section 245(i)” temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens.

-- 1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty.

-- 1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America.

-- 1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti.

-- 2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act.

-- 2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens.

This is in addition to hundreds of “private relief bills” sponsored in Congress every year.

This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg that Liberal Democrats have failed to see, or just don't care about. Each year America takes into this country through the visa process over a million new legal immigrants. Those readers interested in the dream Act, should read the full implications of this commitment of the passage of this law:

Read more about the Dream Act at NumbersUSA and then you decide? Under current law (10 USC § 504), the Secretary of Defense can authorize the enlistment of illegal nationals. Once enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces, under 8 USC § 1440, these illegal aliens can become naturalized citizens through expedited processing, often obtaining U.S. citizenship in six months? Call your Three Members of Congress through the Capitol Hill switchboard: 202-224-3121to stops this immigration travesty. Liberal-Democrats do not want the Dream Act to be reviewed.

Dec. 04 2010 03:25 PM
StokeyBob from Fremont

Dream Act???

Why the special treatment?

Some of us once had dreams of our own. One of mine was to have three children.

The Unacknowledged Holocaust

Back in the 60’s the Federal Government came into the public schools and brainwashed us as little children with the message that the children we were about to have were unwanted because the population was rising so fast. They launched a program called, “Zero Population Growth”. They pushed Family Planning and birth control pills. Now they call the same programs, "Safe Sex" but the results are the same. I think you and I both know that you only have to trick people for their few child bearing years and there is no going back.

Many of us never had a say in the future of our unborn.

I am the result of two living cells. One from each of my parents. They are the result of two living cells, one from each of their parents. I wasn't just born. I am a continuation of life. I am a living thing that reaches back into time perhaps 400 million years and the result of billions of joining of pairs of cells. It is possible that if you were to follow my cells back to my parent’s cells and beyond that my family tree touches every living thing here on earth. That is if we limit ourselves to believing life was created here on earth. If it rained down from the immensity of the universe it could reach back into that immensity of time and space, and who knows what relationships and who knows what species.

My family line succeeded, at least until I came up against the Federal Government and their plan to control the population.

I have seen the Federal Government do little else to control the population.

The open border, United States laws only apply to some, is a serious slap in the face. No, not a slap in the face, it reaches well beyond that. Maybe back to the beginning of time and stretch to the bounds of the universe.

Dec. 04 2010 03:00 AM

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