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New majorities start with symbolic votes

Jan 19, 2011 8:28 pm
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="213" caption="Rep. Chris Gibson's swearing-in, from his Facebook page."][/caption]Acts of symbolism are often part of the legislative process, and new Republican majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the New York State Senate started their sessions Wednesday with such votes. Republicans running for Congressional seats, including our area's new representative, Chris Gibson, vowed that, if elected, they would vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act. Wednesday Gibson and 244 others (189 Democrats voted against the repeal) did just that. Gibson released this statement: “By voting to repeal the health care legislation passed last year, we’re one step closer to enacting health care reform that increases access to quality and affordable care in a way that does not result in a massive government takeover, harm small businesses, or step on our freedoms," he said. But Democrats still control the U.S. Senate and President Obama has vowed to veto any repeal, so Republicans will have to propose more specific measures and take the bill apart piece by piece to achieve their dismantling.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="245" caption="NY State Senator James Seward, from his website."][/caption]In Albany Wednesday, a similar kabuki was being acted out. Republicans there passed the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011, and other bills to make it tougher for legislators to raise taxes. Greene County's representative in the State Senate, James Seward, says the legislation, adopted today, "will encourage the creation of new private sector jobs and ensure fiscal responsibility through the enactment of a two percent state spending cap and requiring a two-thirds 'super-majority' vote to raise taxes." (He included an audio press release to listen to below.) Casey Seilor, in the Albany Times-Union's Capitol Confidential blog wrote, "All [of the measures passed Wednesday] are likely one-house bills, the first of several the restored GOP conference will be introducing in order to batter the Assembly’s Democratic majority and shore up their supporters as budget season approaches." With Democrats holding the State Assembly, and Gov. Cuomo only likely to agree with Republicans so many times, this is another show for the cameras.

Watch video of Rep. Chris Gibson speaking on House floor during vote to repeal health care bill. Click here to watch wmv video of C-Span clip of.

Listen to audio of State Senator James Seward press release about Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act. Click here to listen to audio.
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