Gillibrand on the Democrats' Future

Friday, January 22, 2010

After Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts, the future of health care reform and the larger Democratic agenda is in question. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand discusses the next step for her party; what she's doing for Haitian immigrants here in New York; and the looming election this Fall.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Comments [39]

Mike from Inwood

Gillibrand claims the recent Supreme Court decision to allow unfettered corporate money in political campaigning will undermine people's faith in the government. She forgot to add: It also undermines confidence in the Supreme Court.

Jan. 23 2010 12:20 AM
hjs from 11211

Sorry if i was confusing but i was doing too many things at once. u know? Never would i claim to be perfect. As for the rest we’ll just have to see what happens i guess, but i've already given up hope.

Jan. 22 2010 11:52 PM
Neil from Brooklyn

The biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity-most people don’t understand it, allowing the GOP to misinform & confuse the public.

Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
•Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that members of Congress have.
•I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals that has a lot of people scared. So, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. If you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
•Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy-too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
•Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 000 (indexed for inflation) & a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
•Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

The GOP will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

Jan. 22 2010 10:44 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

I think you meant to type “the Dems gave up after…”
What was there to give up that they didn’t already acquiesce on to the Republican “NO” machine, credit card issuing companies, and the insurance lobby?
President Barak Obama (nee Senator Barak Obama (nee professor and Constitutional scholar Barak Obama)) said illegal wiretapping was “a ok” to him, so what’s your beef?
Your last sentence makes no sense, but if you’re asking will I vote Democratic after 8 years of oppressive Republican control, rampant spending, war mongering, deregulation, dept making, bubble creating, and civil rights erosion… I already did.

Jan. 22 2010 02:01 PM
hjs from 11211

i expect them to do their best with what they have. looks like the dems gave after the MA election.

i don't expect this:
would BHO? after scott brown is president for 8 years will u think it over again at that point?

Jan. 22 2010 01:28 PM
Voter from Brooklyn


At least I expect more that the status quo.
What, if anything, do you expect of your representatives?

Jan. 22 2010 12:48 PM
hjs from 11211

nothing, stay home

Jan. 22 2010 12:38 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

hjs @ 31,
That’s so 2009. My question @ 28 was, after we’ve seen how Democrats with a popular president and congressional supermajority have performed in 2009, what is there to vote for in 2010?

Jan. 22 2010 12:24 PM
hjs from 11211

sonia sotomayor; mccain would have put john yoo or worse up there !
but it's up to u, enjoy the cake

Jan. 22 2010 11:57 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Ayanna @ #29
I was waiting for someone to say just that and the question I have is this: Warts and all will show at some point, Republicans are fantastic at defining their opponents and controlling the message. Don’t you think it’s time Democrats not only get ahead of that but also stop acting like they have something to hide?
If Republicans can paint Kerry as an unpatriotic traitor and Bush as a warrior and Obama as a racists Nazi and McCain/Palin as inclusive populists then you tell me.

Jan. 22 2010 11:46 AM
Ayanna from Brooklyn, NY

The reason the Democrats do not want a tough, drawn-out primary for her seat is that it drains massive amounts of money and enthusiasm from the campaign that is better used in the upcoming fight against the Republican. This is why they changed the rules governing superdelegates - to avoid drawn-out primaries that show up all the warts of the winning candidate, and squander tons of money.

Jan. 22 2010 11:06 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

MC and HJS,
My whole point is that I for one am a little sick of having to hold my nose and vote for Democrats when they offer little to nothing germane to my existence once in office. I’m all for the greater good, but I haven’t seen a single reason over the last calendar year to vote for any Democrat. (And except on extremely rare occasion, I have absolutely no reason to vote for a Republican)
A watered down tax cut heavy infrastructure lax stimulus package that has performed positively, but still underperformed.
A Jim Crow preaching president who says separate but equal is the way to go, when not comparing me to being in an incestuous relationship.
A healthcare package that will force Americans to continue to be beholden to their employer for healthcare and force the self insured to be beholden to investors on Wall Street.
And the Senate that, even with a supermajority, acquiesced to the minority party at every turn.
Please tell me, what is there to vote for?

Jan. 22 2010 11:06 AM
hjs from 11211

25 Voter

good points, it is your right

Jan. 22 2010 11:03 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I understand and respect the actual words you’re saying, but the implication is that she’s so weak she would not survive a primary, no? If she is the best candidate, she shouldn’t have anything to fear in a primary against other Democrats. Why is everyone trying to shield her from that?

Jan. 22 2010 10:56 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

The only reason I'm registered as a Democrat in New York State is because of the importance of voting in primaries. Otherwise I'd be one of the disenfranchised Independents even though I vote for the Democratic candidate the vast majority of the time (albeit sometimes under a different party line.)
If the Senator wants to keep her seat, let her demonstrate in the open why she deserves it.
For nearly 100 years-with the adoption of the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1913-US citizens have has the right for vote for their senators and not just take what other elected officials think is best. I expect that right this November.
I’ve been giving away my vote to the Democratic party for too long with absolutely nothing in return other than Jim Crow legislation and a failing healthcare system which will cost me more for less if this bill passes. If she wants me to vote, she will have to work for it.

Jan. 22 2010 10:47 AM
john from the office

Brian I understand why you removed my comments. It is just sooooo frustrating to hear you interview black guests. You need to man up and confront ignorance, black or white.

Jan. 22 2010 10:43 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Voter: I'm just sayin' speak for yourself. "We" may or may not be in favor of a "real"primary. Certainly, in the view of this New Yorker, it depends greatly on who the other candidates are in the primary.

Jan. 22 2010 10:38 AM
hjs from 11211

i see you know when to jump from a sinking ship to save yourself, thanks

Jan. 22 2010 10:35 AM
hjs from 11211

the dems never stood up to the GOP agenda. they thought it was play nice time. even with the super majority they let the GOP delay for 1 year now. the leadership in congress is losted

Jan. 22 2010 10:31 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I’ve said it before on here and I’ll say it again. The only two things on which Gillibrand has been consistent pre and post appointment are her face. Any Republican could easily exploit that and, quite frankly, I don’t buy her new found enlightenment on LGBTQ issues. So, in the state of Giuliani, Pataki, and decades of Republican control in the state senate—in conjunction with the new corporate dollars which will flood into republican coffers—her seat will go Republican in 2010.

Jan. 22 2010 10:29 AM

Jack is correct! I would love to go cross country skiing but don't know if my terrible plan would cover possible injuries.

When every other 1st world industrialize country has some form of socialized or single payer system (or heavy regulations of private insurers), why do Republicans think their "solution" is superior?

Jan. 22 2010 10:24 AM
Leo in NYC from Staten Island

The narrative the GOP is counting on in 2010 runs:

"I needed help and I thought Obama might do it, but I'm still unemployed and he only seems to care about bailing out rich bankers. Fixing healthcare seemed like a good idea but then all I ever heard about was new taxes and the government was gonna takeover the whole thing. And I still don't even understand what the plan was. And they did that for like, a year and they couldn't even pass a bill. These numbskulls are gonna run the whole healthcare system? So (classic disappointment, right?) obviously I can't rely on the government -- I can only rely on myself and I'm gonna vote for the guy who gets that and wants to at least lower my taxes and stop all this bullshit."

The Republicans know how to play the fear game, and play it well. The question is: can Obama and Democrats in embattled seats around the country play the "hope" game in the absence of actual, you know, legislation?

Jan. 22 2010 10:21 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Voter #12: Speak for yourself.

Jan. 22 2010 10:19 AM
Elizabeth from Monmouth County NJ

Hey Senator -- when the Republicans were running around the country all summer lying about what the health care plan was about, where were you? Where was every Democrat? It makes me furious to listen to our so called leaders talk about the nefarious efforts of the GOP without ever once owning the fact that they handed over the narrative to these lying liars and now cry the blues over the outcome without ever once accepting that by cowering to these bullies, they gave away their spine -- and ensured a catastrophic loss for us all.

Jan. 22 2010 10:19 AM

And thank you for the astute observation on the corporate donation decision! I cannot fathom why anyone would think this is a good idea.

Also, yes on credit unions!

Jan. 22 2010 10:18 AM
RLewis from bowery

A coporation is not a person. A dollar is not speech. How is this not strict constitutional originalist and contructionist?

Jan. 22 2010 10:18 AM

And thank you for the astute observation on the corporate donation decision! I cannot fathom why anyone would think this is a good idea.

Jan. 22 2010 10:17 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Actually Senator, what the people of New York really want is a real Democratic primary for your seat. If we are denied, your seat will be Republican. We will not vote.
You’re the next “Brown”. (And your loss will be a referendum on Washington’s meddling in New York State politics.)

Jan. 22 2010 10:14 AM

Ed: I value my freedom to choose, and am grateful Gillibrand feels the same. Perhaps she will consider her position on this issue if we can require compulsory organ donation for save lives of course!

Jan. 22 2010 10:13 AM
Michael from Rockville Centre,

Brian:ask Ms.Gillibrand why she dosn't answer
her constituents mail.I sent her three Emails about differnt subjects.I cant support her if she dosn't answer my concerns.

Jan. 22 2010 10:10 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

Please ask Sen Gillibrand if she will support a constitutional amendment to remove the onus of corporate "personhood" from our democracy.

It's a simple and legitimate question, please ask it. Thank you.

Is she says no, then the follow up is what DOES she propose to reverse the SCOTUS decision????

Jan. 22 2010 10:09 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Please ask Senator Gillibrand if she will refuse any and ALL corporate dollars in her (in my opinion sure to fail) bid to keep the seat to which she was appointed.
This would include companies and interest she pandered to prior to her appointment and her new found and opposing masters since becoming a member of the US Congress.

Jan. 22 2010 10:08 AM
BL Show from WNYC Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: We've removed a few comments this morning - please remember the WNYC posting guidelines, which asks you to keep your comments civil, brief, and on topic.

Remember, you can always contact listener services at 646.829.4000 with programming comments or suggestion.

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Jan. 22 2010 10:07 AM
Johnny S from Cranford, NJ

Will this mean an end to PACs?

Jan. 22 2010 10:03 AM

PLEASE explain this:

why is it when the republicans are in power with a NON super majority they get to implement every terrible idea they can think of....but when the democrats get into power and have anything LESS than a super majority they get nothing and can barely get what they want even when they DID have a super majority?

what the heck is the deal?

Jan. 22 2010 09:58 AM
Brooklyn Jim In Brooklyn from Brooklyn

It would be great, Brian, if you could push the Senator to do a bit more than repeat the standard Village wisdom. If she tries to use Brown's election as an excuse for doing nothing on healthcare, Brian, it would be great if you didn't just accept her assertions at face value.

I love the show, but lately it seems a lot of guests have done nothing more than mouth their party-line talking points on a particular topic.

Jan. 22 2010 09:32 AM
Lance from Miami

Senator Gillibrand,

Why can't the Democrats in Congress pass the healthcare reform legislation they campaigned on when, as John Stewart recently observed, the Democrats still, even with the loss of a seat in Massachusetts, have much larger majorities than Bush's Republicans EVER had "when [Bush] did whatever the f*** he wanted to"?

Jan. 22 2010 09:31 AM
Merrill Clark from NY, NY

Ask Senator Gilibrand about the "Slam Piece" the NYT did on her on 3/27/09, which link is below.

The NYT pointed out that as a young associate, not a partner, at Davis, Polk, a very large law firm, that Senator Gilibrand participated in tobacco litigation some 20 years ago. Thus by a very, very shaky implication, Senator Gilibrand must be against tobacco litigation. It was a very unfair piece. I lost alot of respect for the NYT that day.

Jan. 22 2010 09:20 AM
Ed H. from Larchmont, NY

Senator Gillibrand is pro-choice, of course, but today is the 37th March for Life in Washington, D.C. Last year there were over 300,000 people at the March, but the media didn't mention it. The Million Man March a few years ago had 400,000 marchers, and it was a one-time event. Will she reconsider her pro-choice position?

Jan. 22 2010 08:16 AM

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