State Senate hypocrisy

Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013
State Senate hypocrisy story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It took a full year for the State Senate to finally eke out a contentious victory for Medicaid expansion late Tuesday night.

It was good news for nearly a half-million working poor people.

But the good news was tarnished by what the Republican-dominated Senate failed to do only moments later.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says West Michigan Senators should be ashamed of themselves.

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Before we get to the newest definition of hypocrisy, lets do a minute of history.

A year ago the state Republican party leader, Gov. Rick Snyder, began urging the House and the Senate to extend Medicaid coverage to nearly a half-million, mostly working Michigan residents who, through no fault of their own, have no health insurance—the ones who live just above the poverty line and end up using costly emergency rooms as doctors offices.

Taxpayers and those who have insurance—in one way or another—have long been picking up the tab.

Medicaid expansion is a part of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—which was passed four years ago by the U.S. Congress and made the law of the land a year ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But it left Medicaid extension up to the states themselves.

The House almost immediately voted yes. But, when the matter came up for a vote in the Senate three months ago, rather than actually vote, the Senate spewed lots of  rhetoric about health care for the poor being too expensive, stuck its  collective head in the sand, and took a vacation instead.

On Tuesday, with so many people watching, and no way to kick the can down the road again, they did take a vote. Not without more warnings about the perils of another dreaded entitlement cost, and more denunciations of Obamacare, but they took a vote.

And rather than see it end in a tie—19 to 19—with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley casting the deciding vote, as it needed 20 votes for passage, a tea party senator from the east side of state abstained. There, no tie. No Calley vote. And the bill failed.

Then a motion to reconsider. High drama. Hours of back room arguing and arm-twisting. The governor accusing his party of dragging its feet. Then another vote. A Republican senator from the U.P. changed his mind.

A coalition of all 12 democrats and eight of 26 republicans carried the day.

One last thing remained. To make it effective immediately—effective January 1st—when enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins, or let it slide until April.

The Republicans, apparently hoping in the meantime for the  impossible repeal of Obamacare, let it slide.

They let it slide at a cost to the state of $7 million a day in lost federal money.

A total of $600 million over 90 days. More than a half-billion dollars lost in the bizarre, tea-party-world name of frugality.

In the name of protecting our children from another entitlement cost.

All  this  from the same bunch who two years ago voted themselves life-long health care at state expense after just years on the job. Lifetime medical benefits. If that doesn't raise hypocrisy to a new level, I don't know what does.

With pressure from you, the Senate can revisit this. They can take another vote and correct their mind-numbing infatuation with themselves. But they've got to do it soon.

If you live in West Michigan, your senator is a Republican. Their names are Jones, Kowall, Proos, Meekhof, Nofs, Schuitmaker, Hildenbrand, Booher, and Jansen. Call them. Write them, text them. Tell them you think wasting seven million dollars a day is unacceptable.

Let them know that this level of hypocrisy is beyond your level of tolerance.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on September 01, 2015 07:34 GMT

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG (AP) -- An official index of Chinese manufacturing contracted last month, falling to a three-year low and raising fears of slower-than expected growth in the world's No. 2 economy.

The manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers fell to 49.7 in August from 50.0 in July.

The index released Tuesday and compiled by the Chinese Federation for Logistics and Purchasing is based on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate an expansion.

It's the lowest level for the index since August 2012.

Other recent economic indicators such as export data have also shown larger-than-expected weakness.

In their latest attempt to shore up flagging economic growth, China's communist leaders cut interest rates last week, the fifth time they have done so in nine months.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market has closed out its worst month in more than three years on a down note.

Stocks fell broadly in Monday trading, with the exception of energy shares, which reversed an early slump after the price of crude oil surged.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended August down 6.3 percent, its worst showing since May 2012. Investors have been worried about slowing growth in China and elsewhere and looming interest rate hikes in the U.S.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 114 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,528.

The S&P 500 fell 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,972. The Nasdaq composite slid 52 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,776.

Oil surged 9 percent on news that U.S. production has been lower than estimated.

OBAMA

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- President Barack Obama says submerged countries, abandoned cities and floods of refugees await the world unless it takes urgent action on climate change.

Obama is speaking to a State Department-sponsored summit on climate change and the Arctic in Anchorage. It's the opening speech of his three-day visit to Alaska.

The president says the science about climate change gets clearer every day and proves it's no longer a distant threat. He says it's now a crisis for the present.

Obama is warning that thawing permafrost and warmer waters threaten Alaskans' homes and livelihoods. He says some villages are in imminent danger and must relocate entirely.

Obama's tour of Alaska is aimed at showcasing its melting glaciers and rising sea levels in an attempt to demonstrate damage from global warming.

SHELL-ARCTIC OFFSHORE DRILLING

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC has resumed operations after high winds and rough seas north of Alaska's northern coast put a temporary stop to exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

But Shell spokesman Curtis Smith says in a Monday email to The Associated Press that full operations, including drilling, will start again once a systems check is complete and the company is satisfied it's safe to start drilling again.

He says there's no timeline for that to be completed.

Shell has resumed drilling in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012.

Bad weather has postponed previous drilling operations, and Shell has said it plans for it. Bad weather affected previous drilling in both the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

EGYPT-ECONOMY

CAIRO (AP) -- Experts say the discovery of a huge natural gas field off the Egyptian coast is a major boon for the country that will help alleviate energy shortages and boost the economy.

They say that the new "supergiant" offshore field revealed a day earlier by Italy's Eni SpA and billed as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea could alleviate the Arab world's most populous nation's need for gas imports.

Egypt is making a gradual economic recovery from the years of chaos since a 2011 uprising toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Rolling power cuts have been a regular feature of life as the country has been ruled by the military, an Islamist president and then a military-backed government.

This summer, however, Cairo has been largely spared the power cuts.

WAL-MART-WORKERS HOURS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart says it is asking some stores to schedule workers for fewer hours, although it says the directive is only being given to stores that are assigning more hours than they were expected to.

The world's largest retailer said the instructions apply only to a small number of its 4,500 U.S. locations that are scheduling workers for more hours than expected.

Wal-Mart said Monday it spoke to store managers about controlling costs earlier this month at a holiday-season planning meeting. Managers who have been scheduling workers for too many hours were reminded to schedule closer to their allotted hours.

A spokeswoman with United Food & Commercial Workers International Union says Wal-Mart is moving to "pad its bottom line" at the expense of its employees.

JEEP CHEROKEE-RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- Fiat Chrysler is recalling 206,668 Jeep Cherokee SUVs because the windshield wipers can stop working unexpectedly.

Cherokees from the 2014 model year are affected. There are 158,671 in the U.S., 18,366 in Canada and 3,582 in Mexico. The rest were sold outside North America.

Fiat Chrysler says static buildup may occur if the wipers are used when it's dry. Static buildup can affect the module that powers the wipers and potentially disable them.

The company says it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.

Customers will be notified and dealers will repair the vehicles for free.

TRIUMPH-RECALL-FINE

DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. government has fined Triumph Motorcycles up to $2.9 million for violating safety reporting requirements.

Under an order issued to United Kingdom-based Triumph, the company must pay a $1.4 million cash penalty and spend at least $500,000 to improve safety practices. An additional $1 million in penalties could be levied if additional violations emerge.

Triumph recalled more than 1,300 motorcycles in September 2014 because of a defect that could reduce steering capability and increase the risk of a crash.

An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the company failed to report the defect for more than a year. The company also failed to submit required documents, including injury claims and progress reports on recall repairs.

A telephone message seeking comment was left Monday with Triumph.

GOOGLE-INDIA INVESTIGATION

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An investigation into whether Google has been abusing its dominance of Internet search to stifle competition in India is moving into its next phase.

The preliminary findings of the three-year-old probe have been submitted to the Competition Commission of India and to Google.

The inquiry revolved around complaints filed by several websites contending that Google has been unfairly highlighting its own services in its influential search results at the expense of its rivals.

The allegations are similar to other accusations of illegal self-promotion in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.

Google has until Sept. 10 to respond to the preliminary findings in India, although that deadline could be extended.

Google says it's confident it will be cleared of wrongdoing. The company is facing allegations of misconduct in Europe.

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