Is “liberal” Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushing Obama’s Grand Bargain cuts?

A fast one about Obama’s Grand Bargain while I work on a climate piece. I wrote about House Democrat Jan Schakowsky here, someone who is presented as a “liberal” in her frequent MSNBC appearances, yet has many below-the-radar “centrist” and corporatist leanings. I praised her — and still do — for moving to the left and adding her name to the co-sponsorship of HR 900, the Cancel the Sequester bill.

In many ways, Amy Klobuchar is Jan Schakowsky’s equivalent in the Senate. She appears frequently on MSNBC espousing “liberal” views, yet has many centrist and pro-corporate votes that go unrecognized. For example:

■ In the run-up to the 2012 lame duck session, Klobuchar was among the senators who wouldn’t sign the Sanders letter promising no support for benefit cuts.

■ In June 2012, she was among the Democrats who voted against restoring $4.5 billion in cuts to the food stamp program. Other “liberals” voting against restoring those cuts were Al Franken and Debbie Stabenow.

■ Also in June 2012, Klobuchar voted with other Monsanto senators to make it illegal for states to permit GMO labeling. Note — the bill wasn’t a “labeling” bill; it was an “allow states to decide about labeling” bill. The Monsanto-voting senators also included Al Franken and Debbie Stabenow (again), as well as Sherrod Brown.

■ Ms. Klobuchar likes “property rights” far more than the Internet. She proposed S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, still pending. Justin Bieber blew up publicly when he heard about it. But there’s gold in them there property rights, and money to be made serving those who own them.

■ So of course, she’s a PIPA co-sponsor — not just a supporter, a co-sponsor. Along with other good “liberals” like Al Franken and Sherrod Brown (again), this time joined by Sheldon Whitehouse.

■ Ms. Klobuchar was a Yes on the 2010 lame duck bill to extend the Bush Tax Cuts (now the Obama-Bush Tax Cuts). That bill also reinstated the Bush Estate Tax, so the 18 families most affected (pdf) could sleep well. The Obama-Bush tax bill passed the Senate 83-15, so there was plenty of room for 25 cosmetic No votes. Klobuchar voted a solid Yes.

■ Remember the 2010 Internet Blacklist Bill, S.3804, the one that would have given summary blacklist power to the DoJ? Yep, Ms. Klobuchar liked it enough to sponsor it. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse joined her on that as well.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what’s been hitting my radar. So what happened lately?

Amy Klobuchar appears to be promoting Obama’s Grand Bargain


Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

As you know, the Grand Cuts Bargain is stalled, thanks to your support for No Cuts and to Republican reluctance to raise taxes (among other reasons). Unfortunately for Dem electeds — and fortunately for us — Obama is being so insistent that said electeds are being force to take sides, to declare where they really stand.

House member Schakowsky appears to be standing with the No Cuts crowd, at least so far. Senator Klobuchar … well, the president seems to have her in his pocket. The Hill (my emphasis):

Klobuchar: Grand bargain on deficit still within reach 

There is still time for Republicans to find common ground with the White House and congressional Democrats for a grand bargain on the deficit, a top Senate Democrat said Sunday.

When asked point-blank on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” whether she believed a grand bargain could be reached, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) replied: “I do.”

“The American people will not stand for this anymore,” said of the fiscal stalemate that has blocked lawmakers from a deal. 

“There are [several] things we can do” to trim government spending, such as closing a number of corporate loopholes in the current tax code, while ensuring critical social welfare programs remain viable, she added.

“Viable” means “trimmed down” in the Obama formulation via Catfood CPI, with Medicare means testing as a chaser.

And like all Obama deals, there has to be a tax hike to take the onus off of the benefit cuts. Klobuchar carries that water as well:

However, House and Senate Republicans would have to acknowledge that tax increases must be part of that equation, she insisted.

Looks like surrogate work to me. Amy Klobuchar will be in the Senate until 2018, so we can’t hold her re-election over her head. But re-branding … that can start today.

Maybe someone would ask her if she likes his Chained CPI proposal — the one that reflects your change from Iams ProActive Health Pack (75¢ per tasty can) to Friskies Classic Paté (54¢ per less-tasty can) when the high-priced brand is just too much for your budget.

Your action

Today’s action is a simple one, something you can do easily.

Call Jan Schakowsky — 202-225-2111 — thank her for co-sponsoring HR 900, and ask her to sign the Grayson-Takano letter. That’s the one that says “I’ll vote No” to cuts.

Then call Amy Klobuchar — 202-224-3244 — and ask her if she supports Chained CPI. Please report back if you get an answer. (If she says yes, maybe we can break some news.)

And be happy. We’re winning this, so far. We have position — what Obama needs in the way camouflage, Repubicans can’t give him. We just have to keep pressing.

And besides the Internet is made of kittens.

Catfood choices for low-enders

How nice is that?


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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