Archive for the ‘local politics’ Category

Dick Morris Came to Columbiana County

August 15, 2010

And yet, we are told, its the members of the media on the Journolist listserv that are the only ones with weak ethics:

http://www.reviewonline.com/page/content.detail/id/534637/Morris-foresees-change-in-House–Senate.html?nav=5008

I wonder how much Morris was paid for his stop in Hanoverton?  And, for the record, I have read independent news stories that state the national GOP is not putting money into the Charlie Wilson or Zach Space defeat efforts even though those are districts McCain carried in ’08, for what that is worth.

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Argh!!!

December 30, 2009

Jim Traficant is running for Congress.  Somewhere.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/31066.html

I sincerely hope he doesn’t pick my district, the 6th, which does include the parts of Mahoning County south of Youngstown proper.  If he runs somewhere else I can treat it as entertaining.  If he runs here it’ll just annoy the crap out of me.  And, while you wouldn’t think a convicted felon could get elected to Congress, Jim Traficant is, um, well, he’s a unique person.

Letter From Congressman Wilson

December 12, 2009

Dear Friends,

Today I voted to protect American consumers and restore common sense rules that will ensure a financial crisis like the one we faced last year will not happen again. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 223-202.

Last year our nation was on the verge of financial collapse. Years of failed economic policies and risky practices by big banks have damaged our economy to the point of near disaster. Today I voted to ensure that we never reach that point again.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is the next critical step to create jobs and grow the economy. It will end taxpayer bailouts, police risky behavior by banks, protect consumers from predatory lending abuses, and inject much-needed transparency and accountability into the financial system.

For too long, we’ve given Wall Street a free pass. We need to protect consumers and the Main Street businesses that are the real economic force behind communities across our country.

Specifically, the legislation will:

– Protect families and small businesses by ensuring that bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair, affordable, understandable, and transparent by creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

– End predatory lending practices that occurred during the subprime lending crisis.

– End “too big to fail” financial firms before risky and irresponsible behavior threatens to bring down the entire economy.

– Prevent costly taxpayer bailouts with new procedures to unwind failing companies that pose the greatest risk. These procedures will be financed by fees collected from the financial industry, not from taxpayer money.

– Impose tough new rules on risky financial practices, like credit default swaps that doomed AIG, that gambled with Americans’ money and caused the financial crash. It will also create common sense regulation of derivatives and other complex financial products offered to consumers.

– Address outrageous executive compensation and bonuses.

I currently sit on the House Financial Services Committee, the committee responsible for drafting the majority of this legislation. During the drafting process, I was proud to add several additional amendments to the legislation. These amendments called for CFPA board members to be appointed in a bipartisan manner, and increased oversight on government dealings with financial institutions.

I’ve often said it’s hard to play a good fair game without a referee on the field. This legislation will help put the appropriate referee in place—and make sure the consumer is protected. Our work is a big step toward more oversight, transparency, and consumer protection in our financial system, and builds a strong foundation for our economic recovery and growth.

Sincerely,

Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

Letter From Congressman Wilson

October 23, 2009

Dear Friends,

This week my colleagues and I on the House Financial Services Committee took significant steps to further protect consumers when dealing with financial services companies. First, the Committee voted to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) that will protect consumers from predatory lending, deceptive mortgage lending and other abuses. In addition, the Committee voted to speed up the time line for implementation of credit card regulations designed to protect consumers from unfair practices like unannounced rate changes and excessive fees.

The creation of the CFPA is an important component of the broad financial reforms the Obama Administration recommended earlier this year. The Financial Services Committee voted to create the CFPA on a 39-29 vote. The full House of Representatives will consider this bill and other pieces of regulatory reform in the next several weeks.

I am very proud of the work the Financial Services Committee completed this week. It is critically important that we make sure consumers are treated fairly any time they deal with financial companies. The CFPA will not only protect American consumers from fraudulent or unreasonable practices, but it will also restore common sense rules to help keep a crisis like the one we faced last year from happening again. I’ve often said it’s hard to play a good, fair game without a referee on the field. The CFPA will help put the appropriate referees in place—and make sure consumers are protected. Our work in the Financial Services Committee is a big step toward more oversight, transparency and consumer protection in our financial system.

During consideration of the CFPA, I offered a common sense amendment that enjoyed unanimous support. My amendment ensures that the CFPA consumer advisory board is appointed in a bipartisan manner. The advisory board that makes recommendations to the CFPA Director should be bipartisan; consumer protections should not be subject to political winds.

Additionally, the House Financial Services Committee took action against credit card companies reported to be increasing fees and raising interest rates prior to the implementation of the credit card bill signed into law earlier this year. We marked up legislation that will move up the effective date for credit card reforms from February 22, 2010 to December 1, 2009.

It is unfortunate that a few credit card companies have chosen to raise their rates ahead of the original target date, and I felt it was very important to send a message that those kinds of practices will no longer be tolerated.

This legislation will now move to the full House for floor consideration.

Sincerely,

Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

Jim Traficant Is Out of Prison

September 7, 2009

And just as ornery as ever:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/06/AR2009090602006.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Let the fun begin!

New Email From Congressman Wilson WRT Healthcare

August 19, 2009

Dear Friends,

Congress wanted more time to study the health care bill, so we held off on voting until after August. This issue affects every American and is key to putting our country on the path to long-term economic stability. I’m pleased that we have more time.

However, a lot of groups are using this time to spend millions of dollars to spread harmful myths designed to confuse and frighten you. I’d like to set the record straight on a few of the myths I hear the most.

1. Reforming health care will not lead to out of control deficit spending. The bill will be paid for; half through health care sector savings and the other half through a new surcharge on the richest 1% of Americans. If we do nothing to rein in healthcare costs, this country will continue to accumulate bigger and bigger deficits that eat at our fiscal stability.

2. This legislation will not insure illegal aliens. Here is the exact language in the bill: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

3. This legislation will not create a government-run health care system. If you have employer-based private health care, and you like it, keep it. It will remain private and you will keep your doctors. If you are a senior on Medicare, or are lower-income and currently receive your health care through Medicaid, your coverage will also stay the same. However, if you do not work or if your employer does not offer health care coverage, you will be eligible for the health insurance exchange. The exchange will include several private options and a public option.

Current Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates project that more than 80-percent of participants in the exchange will choose one of the private options. However, the presence of a public option will be good for competition. It will establish minimum coverage standards and prevent private insurers from excluding those with pre-existing conditions or dropping the sick from their rolls.

4. There is nothing in the bill that will lead to rationing health care. Currently, insurance companies make many major health decisions. This bill puts that important power in your hands and your doctors’ hands. In other words, insurance companies will no longer be able to ration care by retroactively canceling policies when patients become sick or refuse to cover important services.

5. Offering a public insurance option, as just one of the choices available to consumers, will not crowd out employer-based coverage. However, if we do nothing and costs continue to rise, more employers will be forced to drop coverage. If we reform the system and contain costs, we will in fact help employers and they will continue to offer coverage in order to compete in the labor market.

6. This reform will not cost jobs even though it requires employers to offer health insurance or pay to opt out. Under our current system there is no requirement for employers to offer insurance, yet 99-percent of large firms do and nearly 65-percent of small firms do. For the firms already offering coverage, health reform will bring much needed competition and affordability to the insurance market. In addition, the smallest firms will be exempt. Finally, a 50-percent credit to help pay for premiums will be available for small businesses. In Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District, over 11,000 small businesses could receive tax credits to help cover their employees.

7. Seniors’ coverage under Medicare will actually benefit, not be cut. 9,200 seniors in my district, who currently get caught by the Medicare Part D donut hole in their prescription coverage, will avoid that pitfall because we are closing the hole. In addition, any cost savings by reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare will be reinvested right back into Medicare. These reforms will help modernize the Medicare program and strengthen its financial health, protecting both Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers. In addition, this bill will eliminate the 21% scheduled reduction in physician payments, which was planned for 2011, ensuring that seniors have access to the doctors they need and deserve.

8. There is a terrible myth being spread that health care reform promotes euthanasia. Not true. If a doctor and a patient choose to have a conversation about end-of-life care and advance care planning, this legislation simply provides Medicare the ability to pay for the doctors’ time. This type of counseling is already going on, and doctors should be the ones providing it to patients and families who wish to have it as they face a terminal illness and have to make decisions about pain management and resuscitation. Under the legislation, Medicare will reimburse for the doctor’s time once every five years or more often if the patient becomes significantly sicker. However, this legislation does not require that this conversation take place.

9. Finally, staying the course with our current health care system is not an option. Last year in my district alone, nearly 1,300 families had to declare bankruptcy because of health related expenses. Hospitals and doctors in my district provided $89 million to care for the uninsured. That cost was then passed on to those who had insurance, driving up rates. Without reform, the average cost for a family insurance policy increases by $1,800 each year. That means every year it becomes more unaffordable for small businesses to insure their employees and more unaffordable for families to go it alone.

Doing nothing will more than double all of our health costs over the next ten years. That skyrocketing cost will strip millions more Americans of their coverage and it will send our deficit spending through the roof. That is the health care plan we choose by doing nothing.

If you would like to learn more about healthcare reform, please visit my website at www.charliewilson.house.gov where you will find the latest news and a special “healthcare reform” section. I hope you will also consider signing up for my e-newsletter to receive periodic updates on important issues, like health care reform, and services for your family.

Sincerely,


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

Letter from Congressman Wilson

August 15, 2009

Dear Friends,

Our current health care system isn’t working for women. Last week, the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of the House and Senate released a new report about the drastic number of women who have lost their health care coverage in the current economic crisis.

This report underscores the urgent need to reform our health care system. Every day that we focus on disruptive town hall meetings or the gross misinformation being generated in this debate is a day crucial facts are not heard.

The facts are staggering: over a million American women have lost insurance during this recession because their husband lost his job; three out of four women between age 55 and 64 report delaying health care because their own coverage was jeopardized by a spouse’s transition onto Medicare; and a full 28% of women under age 25 have no insurance at all – in the richest country in the world.

The JEC report, titled “Comprehensive Health Reform: An Essential Prescription for Women,” includes original analysis showing that over 1.4 million women have lost their health insurance benefits during the current economic crisis because of their own, or their spouse’s job loss. The report shows a spike in the number of children losing health care coverage when their single mothers face unemployment, estimating that hundreds of thousands of children lost their health care in this recession. It also details that younger and older women face unique risks when it comes to coverage and access to affordable, quality care.

No woman in our country should fear losing her coverage because she lost her job, changed jobs or decided to start her own business. We must reform health care to give every single American the peace of mind that their family’s health care coverage will be there when they need it, and at an affordable price.

We are working on a way to do just that and not add to our deficit. This is a crucial part of our long-term economic recovery. Currently, health care is the largest drag on our federal deficit and Americans spend twice as much on health care as any other nation. By reforming our system now, we will rein in the soaring costs of premiums for families and American businesses, put our country back on the road to fiscal responsibility, and rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation.

Recently, Sarah Wildman told us about her terrible experience with discriminatory health insurance practices. A self-employed woman with health insurance, Wildman was shocked to receive a bill for $22,000 in hospital expenses for having a baby. She explained how she learned that the insurance policy she’d bought through the individual market—her only option for coverage—capped her birth-related expenses at $3,000, covering a mere fraction of her maternity costs.

In Columbiana, Dawn, a small business owner, has struggled to find health care for her family for years. Due to a doctor’s mistake when he was 23 days old, Dawn’s son was left with brain damage and permanent cognitive disabilities. For years no insurance company would cover her son. He is now covered under Ohio Medicaid’s Healthy Start program, but her family must maintain a low income to qualify for the program.

Women all over America need to understand their stake in this health insurance reform debate. We must not let the insurance industry or any other voice drown out the voices of American women in this debate about health insurance reform.

Sincerely,


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

Also, here are some factoids contained in the same e-mail:

Health Care Reform By the Numbers in Ohio’s Sixth District

– 81,000 people who currently do not have health insurance in our district will receive coverage. (This does not include illegal immigrants.)

– 11,300 small businesses in our district will qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance.

– 9,200 seniors in our district, currently caught in the Medicare Part D donut hole, will receive immediate relief.

– In 2008, 1,270 families in our district had to declare health care-related bankruptcy, primarily due to health care costs not covered by insurance.

– In 2008, health care providers in our district provided $89 million worth of uncompensated care to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills.

– 99.6% of taxpayers in our district would not see their tax rate change. Only 1,100 households in the entire Sixth District would be affected by the slight surcharge.

Congressman Wilson on Cash for Clunkers

August 1, 2009

Dear Friends,

Today I voted to increase funding for the “cash for clunkers” program. The initial launch has been so successful in encouraging Americans to trade in their old gas guzzlers for new fuel-efficient cars, that funding ran out and Congress is acting quickly to extend it. The House passed the increase today and the Senate is expected to vote next week.

The program allows consumers to trade in their old, gas-guzzling cars for vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Almost 200,000 cars have already been bought through the program, and it is expected to spur the sale of up to 800,000 more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, while stimulating the ailing auto industry and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

This is a smart program that’s working and we want to solidify it. This is a strong part of the Recovery program that’s stabilizing our auto industry, growing a clean energy economy, and helping working families save money at the pump.

The legislation provides rebates for cars and trucks in the following four categories:

Passenger Cars: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 4 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 10 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.

Light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 5 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.

Large light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 15 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 1 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher or trade-in of a “work truck.” New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.

Work Trucks: The old vehicle must be a pre-2002 model. New vehicles in the same or smaller weight class will get a $3,500 voucher.

The initial bipartisan legislation was supported by a broad coalition that includes the AFL-CIO, UAW, car dealers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

This is a strong bipartisan effort that helps everyone win. We’re saving jobs, and saving millions of gallons of gas by taking old cars off the road and helping working families afford fuel efficient vehicles.

Sincerely,


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

And some quick facts also included in the e-mail:

Cash for Clunkers Stats

Statistics from carmakers and cashforclunkers.org:

– 79% of clunkers being traded in so far are SUVs, trucks and vans with over 100,000 miles.

– 84% of the new vehicles purchased are passenger cars.

– Clunker consumers are getting an average 69% MPG improvement, which will result in an average savings of $750 in gas bills per year.

– During the week that the Cash for Clunkers program was launched, GM’s small car sales increased 54.8 percent over the preceding week.

– The leading Ford vehicle being purchased under the program is the 28 mpg Ford Focus at nearly 30 percent of all Ford sales.

Congressman Wilson on Healthcare Reform

July 24, 2009

Seems to be moving towards supporting Obamacare:

Dear Friends,

After decades of political wrangling, we now have an opportunity to implement a uniquely American health care solution. This year alone, the Congress has held 79 hearings in Washington and hundreds of town hall meetings across the country. I have talked to many of you around the district and on my recent telephone town hall. While we are still waiting to see the final details of the bill, I already know of significant benefits for the people of Ohio’s Sixth District and I would like share them with you.

81,000 people who currently do not have health insurance in our district will receive coverage. Many ask why we can not cover everyone and the answer is that some of those not covered are not legal citizens and illegal immigrants will not be covered by this reform program.

Contrary to the belief that health care reform will hurt small businesses, I believe this bill will help small businesses. Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 11,300 small businesses in the district that would qualify for these credits.

For our seniors on Medicare, there will be big improvements as well. Each year, 9,200 seniors in the district get caught by the Part D donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The health care reform legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminating the donut hole.

Health care reform will also mean financial security for families hit by illness. In 2008 1,270 families in our district had to declare health care-related bankruptcy, primarily due to health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.

In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $89 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. In the end, much of that uncompensated care gets passed to those who have insurance and we all watch our rates continue to go up and up. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated, which will help stabilize all of our costs.

I will make every effort to ensure that this legislation is deficit neutral. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for: half through making the Medicare and Medicaid program more efficient and half through a surcharge on the income of the wealthiest, those with annual family incomes above $350,000. This surcharge would affect only 1,100 households in the entire 6th district – that means 99.6% of taxpayers in the district would not see their tax rate change.

The bill is currently being revised. While I am eager to see the final version of the bill before committing to a final vote, I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far. This legislation could do a lot of good for the people of Ohio’s Sixth District.

Sincerely,


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

Letter From Congressman Wilson on Healthcare Reform

July 11, 2009

He is making head-fakes in the direction of supporting Obama’s plan.  But he also speaks of having an open mind:

It is Time for Health Care Reform
by Congressman Charlie Wilson

Over the next several weeks, you will hear a lot about our nation’s health care system. After months of meetings and round table discussions with area health professionals, patients and working families, I want to tell you why I think reforming our system is crucial to the wellbeing of our citizens and to the long term health of our economy. I know you’re interested in reform too; when I held a telephone town hall on health care reform earlier this spring, 4,700 residents of Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District participated. We’ve never had more people on the line at one time who wanted to discuss a single issue.

The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world. We spend almost 50% more per person on health care than the next nation and we are no healthier for it. We have more than 46 million uninsured Americans who either do without care or who rely on emergency room visits. This type of care drives up already skyrocketing costs. In fact, insured families pay an additional $100 billion annually through higher premiums to cover the uninsured.

If we do nothing, the fiscal health of our country and the health care coverage that families currently have is at risk. Given current trends, the cost of an employer-sponsored family health plan will reach $24,000 by 2016 – an 84% increase. Because of rising costs, it is estimated that one in five employers will likely stop offering health benefits in the next three to five years.

In sum, this is about insuring the uninsured, protecting those who have current coverage, and ultimately reducing health care costs for everyone. I hope you’ll agree with me that it is a much better idea to tackle this issue now.

I support a plan that lowers costs, offers greater choice and ensures quality care for all. What we are looking at in Congress is not socialized medicine and it will not be a carbon copy of Canada’s system. This will be a uniquely American plan that builds on what we have while fixing what is broken.

I want more choices for you and your family. If you have health insurance and like it, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, stay with them. And if you are among those without coverage or are under-insured, you should get the coverage you need at a reasonable price. In addition, that coverage will be available if you have a pre-existing condition or if you lose or change your job.

Reforming a severely broken system will not be cheap, and I know people are worried about what this new healthcare system will cost. In Congress, we are examining dozens of ways to pay for a better system. We are looking to our friends across the healthcare industry to do away with costly duplication, to implement health IT and to come up with other ways to cut costs. House Democrats are working toward making this plan “budget-neutral” so we don’t add to our debt.

We will face tough decisions on how to pay for reform. However, doing nothing will not save us money; doing nothing will ultimately cost all of us more. In the last ten years under the current system, premiums have doubled while associated out of pocket expenses have continued to rise.

In the end, I would like to find a way to pay for health care reform that will lead to lower premiums and better coverage. That is something I think we can all agree upon.

I pledge to keep an open mind as we work through the debate that will shape our health care future. I also urge you to keep an open mind and remember that I will vote for your interests. I will vote to protect the heath care we have and to improve what isn’t working so that we do not bankrupt this country and our grandchildren in the future.

My guess is he will vote for something that looks like the current Democratic proposals.  But if he starts feeling heat from the insurance lobbies and constituents and needs to find an out to say something changed and this is hideous and I can’t support this, he will.  He’s hedging his bets.