Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lat Call For Shutdown Countdown, Con't

With only hours to spare on the last day of the fiscal year, Congress approved a temporary spending measure to avert a shutdown and keep the federal government operating through Dec. 11.

In the House, the measure was approved only because of strong support by Democrats — a sign of just how angry rank-and-file Republicans remain over their powerlessness to force policy changes on the Obama administration.

In one last display of their fury, House Republicans on Tuesday adopted another resolution to cut off government financing to Planned Parenthood. The resolution was to be sent to the Senate, where Democrats were certain to block it.

Ultimately, the internal Republican fight over the bill and how strongly to confront the White House cost John A. Boehner his job as speaker. Mr. Boehner’s resignation announcement last week essentially assured Democratic support for the measure. But the temporary spending bill does nothing to resolve the core disputes between Republicans and the White House, setting up even bigger battles in the months ahead.

Congressional Democrats and Obama administration officials said they were eager to begin negotiations with Republicans on a longer-term spending measure. It is far from clear, however, that any deal can be reached soon, given the upheaval in the House.

So for now a shutdown has been avoided.  How much will get done between now and December 11th, who knows. Kevin McCarthy will be under big pressure to prove he's not John Boehner and if he can't, the GOP mob will run him out of town on a rail too.  Will than mean a shutdown right before Christmas?

I'm still very much betting on it.

Dirty Red Ed Is Out

John Boehner isn't the only tri-state area Republican retiring from the House when the GOP has the largest margin of control in 90 years.  KY-01 Republican Ed Whitfield is packing it in too, and facing a major ethics scandal to boot.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2016. 
Whitfield is the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation regarding allegations that he improperly used his office to help his wife lobby Congress for the Humane Society. 
But the Kentucky Republican made no mention of the ethics investigation while announcing his retirement.

“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor,” Whitfield said in a statement. “While many Americans are frustrated with the institution of Congress, I still believe that politics is a worthy vocation and I know many men and women of character will always be willing to serve.” 
House rules prohibit lawmakers’ spouses from lobbying their offices. Whitfield’s wife, Constance, is a registered lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. 
The House Ethics Committee announced in March that it had opened an investigation following a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging that Whitfield’s wife lobbied for multiple bills her husband supported regarding animal welfare. Whitfield has denied the allegations, maintaining that he introduced the legislation of his own volition.

I mean granted, there are a lot worse ethics violations than "my wife lobbied for the Humane Society" but Ed's been running his Paducah/Murray district since he was swept into power during the Contract With America election in 1994.

More importantly, Ed Whitfield runs the House Energy Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which means he's been a one-man wrecking crew against global warming legislation and of course denies climate change is even a problem.

Frankly that's one less jackass Republican in the House to muck things up.  We'll see who the Kentucky Democrats can get to run against him.

Fahrveg-Nuked, Con't

It's hard to overstate just how much trouble Volkwagen is in right now over their diesel emissions cheating scandal, and Germany has now put the automaker on the clock in a big, big way.

Germany is coming down hard on its biggest carmaker over the diesel-emissions crisis, giving Volkswagen just over a week to come up with a fix to a problem eight years in the making. 
Yesterday, VW received a letter from Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, signed by transport minister Alexander Dobrindt, demanding that it deliver a binding plan and schedule to fix the 11 million “cheat code” diesel cars by October 7. 
If Volkswagen can’t present a viable solution by then, according to Dobrindt, the German government would have no choice but to ban the 2.8 million affected cars from driving on that country’s roads. Switzerland has already banned affected cars from being sold, new or used, and other countries continue to investigate their options; the U.S. arm of VW issued a stop-sale order on new diesel VWs last week. 
Volkswagen plans to present its solution within days to repair the affected cars, a spokesman said, and will notify customers and regulatory authorities around the world in writing. That’s not the only issue for VW, though, with German prosecutors opening up a criminal investigation of former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn over his role in what it is calling a “fraud scandal” that has shattered public confidence in the world’s biggest carmaker. The U.S. Department of Justice also has opened a criminal investigation.

So Volkswagen has a week to present a plan to come clean on millions of diesel cars, or they're sunk. They still might be sunk, frankly.  It will take a long time for the world's largest automaker to recover from this, and they won't be number one for much longer.

We'll see where this goes.  I only wish the US was as serious as Germany when it came to punishing bad corporate actors like this.  And again, who knows which other diesel engine manufacturers are guilty?  I don't think Volkswagen is alone in this, do you?
Related Posts with Thumbnails