Debate in Congress
If your readers need proof as to which political party cares more about economic security for the middle class look no more.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) called all 435 representatives back to Washington from their August recess for a “one day” emergency session on Aug. 10. They were to debate H.R. 1586 — state aid to Medicaid and jobs — a $26 billion bill. The following views were expressed during the house debate.
GOP views: “This is just another state bailout bill … a gift to the teachers union.” — Mike Pence (R-Ohio). “Promise of government utopia on borrowed money.” — Jack Kingston (R-Georgia). “Kick the can down the road. Another bailout shell game … more stimulus … I give it an “F” for effort.”— John Kline (R-Minnesota).
Democratic views: “Without this bill, 319,000 police, teachers and firefighters will lose their jobs.” — David Scott (D-Georgia). “Need funds for essential public services.” — Jared Polis (D-California). “End tax breaks for out-sourcing businesses.” —Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut).
The House vote on H.R. 1586 was 247 yes and 161 No. I’ll leave the mystery as to who voted yes and who voted no to your readers.
President Barack Obama signed the bill, which will not increase the national debt, into law within hours after final congressional approval. This achievement adds to the growing success of the Obama legislative agenda.
Re “Their trash, my fine,” Letters, Aug. 12:
Letters like these infuriate me. The scandal here is that the city needs money, and the SanitationPolice target property only on avenues and corners. Or property that can be easily seen from the comfort of their cars.
Walk the side streets of Richmond Hill, talk to any homeowner and they’ll say the patrol doesn’t come here, or they don’t even know it exists. Many sidestreets are filthy and are ignored.
I recently fought a ticket that was a complete lie. But I was at the front of my house when the so-called violation occurred. They don’t even notify the homeowner anymore at the time of the offense. In today’s economic situation, I'm afraid that someday soon, an angry property owner might lose his cool, unfortunately.
Weiner and lawmaking
Allow me to add to “Weiner’s 9/11 rant,” Lenny Rodin’s Aug. 12 letter to the editor.Sen. Schumer’s political protege, Congressman Anthony Weiner, is a whiner!Hisexplanation in “Darn right I was angry — you should be too” (Aug. 5, multiple editions) concerninghis immature behavior during a debate with Congressman Peter King over theHouse9/11 responder billwas clearly politically bias.
Weiner is correct in challenging Republicans tosupport a yes or no vote on proposed legislation which would have provided additional medical aid to 9/11 emergency responders.His diatribe on the House floor attacking lawmakers who deliberately complicate legislation by adding amendments whose content may have little todo with any basic bill makes sense.
This technique is sometimes used by those wanting to passunpopular legislation by attaching it to more popular legislation.Another form, commonly referred to as the “poison pill,”is employedto add language assuringlegislation proposed in the original bill will not pass.Amendments to bills are also frequently used as a back door vehicle to fund individual member item pork barrel projects by attaching them to another agency’s operating or funding bill.
Weiner neglected to mentionthat Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership used a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority for approval.This tactic would prevent any embarrassing Republican amendments to the proposed bill.Democrats didn’t want to go on record denying financial assistance to illegal aliens who may have also served as9/11 emergency responders.
All of these parliamentary tactics are commonly used by both Democrats and Republicans inthe House and Senate.Those in the majority can easily control the legislative process any way they choose.Normally outspoken, Weiner is strangely silent when Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Reid orPelosi practice the same tactics he criticized Republicans for.
Those who live in glass houses like Weiner shouldn’t throw stones at others. Following Weiner’s childish temper tantrumbefore his colleagues,will he practice what he preaches? He should not endorse Schumer for re-election, as Schumerfrequentlyinvokes the same tactics Weiner critiques.At the end of the day, Weiner needs to grow up or get out of Washington.Perhapsthat is why he is always talksabout runningfor New York City Mayor again in 2013.
Great Neck, LI
Our lovely Park City
AnnMarie Costella’s writing is very picturesque, and I’m happy to see some good news about our Rego Park community and our terrific swim club (“Park City Swim Club makes a big splash in Rego Park,” Aug. 12, Central Queens edition). However, her effort to evoke the mood of “tall, gloomy buildings casting their shade” is inaccurate. Park City’s six buildings are surrounded by very large areas of well maintained grass, trees, flowers and play areas. Not gloomy at all, believe me. Those of us who live here applaud the efforts of our management and maintenance staff in maintaining these grounds.
Why I back the mosque
As an openly gay man and progressive elected official, I am leery of anything that smacks of fundamentalism or other form of extremism. That is why I thought carefully about the reasons I support the Islamic Center.
I did not find anything in the building of the Islamic Center or the people behind it that indicated extremism or even insensitivity. New York City has a wonderful opportunity to lead the world on interfaith understanding. From the Flushing Remonstrance to one of the first woman-led Islamic prayer services in modern times, New York has been the site of many milestones in the history of religious freedom.
Muslims died that terrible day in 2001. Their families suffer just as much as every other. We mourn with Muslims. We remember with Muslims. We work with Muslims to make sure this never happens again. That is why I welcome the Islamic Center and any other effort to strengthen the freedoms that make our country great.
With the historical memory of nations ripped apart by religious strife, the Founding Fathers drafted the First Amendment protection of religion. The proof of their wisdom is the myriad of religions that have coexisted here with a harmony barely imaginable over 200 years ago. We can never deny the right to worship.
A transformative moment happened as I was running for City Council. A young Muslim woman wearing a hijab attended a candidates’ night in our local synagogue. She enthusiastically greeted my responses to questions. While I appreciated her support, I thought about how proud I was to be a New Yorker. Here I was, the founder of Queens LGBT Pride, being cheered on by a hijab-wearing Muslim woman in a Jewish place of worship!
The dialogue that will move all of us forward begins in such moments. The healing begins in such moments. For me “healing” after 9/11 means celebrating differences but also drawing together around a common humanity. Would this not irk the Taliban and al Qaeda more than anything? Such “healing” is necessary to reduce the very real threat that radicalization poses. Muslim places of worship that reach out to the wider community are not the threat. Quite the opposite, they are critical to the healing that can begin here and spread to the corners of the globe where it is so desperately needed.
Chairman, Immigration Committee
New York City Council
Serving gay seniors
Thank you for thoughtfully addressing the issues that GLBT seniors face in this month’s Prime Times section (“Gay seniors face many unique challenges,” Aug. 5).SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment)/Queens is a program of Queens Community House, a nonprofit organization that engages youth, families and older adults at 21 sites in 11 Queens neighborhoods.For over 35 years, QCH has offered a continuum of services for older adults including senior centers, transportation, social adult day care, and case management for the homebound.
In 1996, QCH opened SAGE/Queens in order to provide a space where GLBT seniors would feel safe and comfortable and services could be structured to cater to the unique challenges that this population encounters.Today’s seniors came of age at a time when GLBT people were perceived as mentally ill.Those who dared to come out of the closet were frequently rejected by their own families.After experiencing a lifetime of discrimination, many GLBT seniors are ashamed to let social service providers know that they have a same-sex partner, which makes them reluctant to ask for assistance.Oftentimes, senior center directors are not aware that they have GLBT members and are unprepared to help them address issues that particularly pertain to GLBT older adults.QCH’s SAGE/Queens is the only senior center in the borough that offers a welcoming community as well as social services geared towards this population on a fulltime basis.
By integrating GLBT people into an organization that is not primarily GLBT-focused, QCH builds on its culture of diversity that values social equality for all.SAGE/Queens participants enjoy joint programming with older adults from QCH’s Kew Gardens Community Center and can obtain access to all of the services that QCH provides.To find out more about SAGE/Queens, visit queenscommunityhouse.org or call (718) 553-6459.
Director of SAGE/Queens