Skip to main content

Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI) went onto the Senate floor yesterday and called out the GOP on the government shutdown and their dangerous threats to default:

I would like to emphasize a point that is not made often enough about the current crisis and that is this: there is simply nothing conservative about the behavior of the House Republicans. Conservatives traditionally have been characterized by holding a respect for institutions, a focus on the needs of the private sector, and a desire to not waste money.

Are these principles being upheld or subverted by the actions of House Republicans?

First, with respect to our democratic institutions, the procedural violence being done to the United States Congress is hard to overstate in this case.

The idea that a faction of a party is demanding concessions in exchange for ceasing their infliction of pain on America is unbelievable.

Why? Because we are all Americans here, and we all want to do right by our country. So the idea that one party is willing to inflict terrible pain on our country — or else — was so beyond the pale that there is no rule against it because no one ever contemplated that a major political party would ever behave in such a way.

The assumption has always been that elected leaders would find a better way to stand up for strongly held beliefs than by threatening to bring the American economy to its knees. Up until now, that has been a safe assumption.

This is the least conservative behavior imaginable because it throws us into permanent crisis, unable to solve major problems, for the foreseeable future.

Second, conservatives traditionally have wanted to protect the free marketplace. Some default deniers surmise that maybe the United States government can service its debt while delaying other payments — that we can simply “prioritize.” The United States of America cannot do that.

Even if operationally possible, which the Treasury Department assures us it is not, it would cause such severe harm to markets and undermine our credibility so terribly that even talking like that may be doing damage to our economy. - Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI), Hawaii 24/7, 10/13/13

Well said.  Schatz has long been speaking out against the GOP's hypocrisy and hostage-taking nonsense:

Mr. President, most people believe in compromise. Coming from Hawai‘i, I certainly believe in compromise. It is part of who we are.

When you live on an island — no matter how contentious issues may get — because of your geographic limitations, you will always see someone the following morning at the Safeway, at the coffee shop, at the bus stop or back at work. So I am deeply personally inclined toward compromise, and so are the people that I represent back in Hawai‘i.

The problem here is that the House Republicans’ supposed compromise is not a compromise at all. Absent from their press conferences and their photo ops is the truth. They are attempting to extort the end of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for doing the job that they were elected to do — a job that 800,000 Federal employees need them to do — which is to simply just pass a bill to fund the government.

Passing observers, people who were busy last week may be tempted to cast blame on both parties, but the reality is that there is no question, by any objective measure, of whose recklessness has forced our government to halt many of its most important services. This shutdown is on the Speaker and the tea party.

Meanwhile, my friends and neighbors back home are suffering. About 25,000 people in Hawai‘i are civilian Federal employees, and most of them are going without paychecks. More than 36,000 women and children in Hawai‘i depend on the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which makes sure that low-income mothers and infants are fed. Without funding, these families could actually go hungry. More than 3,000 children in Hawai‘i participate in Head Start programs. Head Start is a program that provides early education and related social services to children and their families. Without funding, these kids will have no place to go every day. - Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI), Hawaii 24/7, 10/7/13

Schatz and his colleague Senator Mazie Hirono (D. HI) have also been calling on Speaker John Boehner (R. OH) to vote on a clean CR:

Schatz, who demanded that Speaker John Boehner let the House vote on a “clean” resolution to reopen the government, cited several examples of Hawaii folks that are hurting, including:

One small business owner from Makawao, on the island of Maui, is suffering because her business relies on traffic to and from the Haleakala National Park, which has been closed since Monday.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono also urged Boehner to allow a vote and mentioned several Hawaii people harmed by the shutdown, including:

Steffany told me about her husband, a federal worker whose job is to guard the public against foodborne illnesses and contamination. As an essential employee, her husband still has to report to work, but is doing so without pay.

"The solution is in Speaker Boehner’s hands. It’s time for him to do the right thing," Hirono said. - Honolulu Civil Beat, 10/7/13

In other Schatz-related news, Schatz recently was the keynote speaker at the Stroock Energy Forum:

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D – HI), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, discussed the challenges of energy production and the opportunities for increased growth of renewables at a Stroock & Stroock & Lavan forum, "Emerging Energy Industry Developments," held on October 7, 2013 at the law firm's New York office.  

The event, introduced by Jeffrey W. Meyers, Chair of Stroock's Energy and Project Finance Practice, included sessions on recent developments in U.S. financial regulation and foreign investment; the outlook for natural gas; financing trends and innovations in the renewable energy sector; and developments in energy M&A transactions.

In his remarks, Senator Schatz said, "Climate change is real.  It is caused by humans and it should be addressed."

He noted that Hawaii, whose energy costs are three times the national average, has a clean energy initiative that is set to reach an 18 percent renewable portfolio standard in 2013.  

"Energy challenges are regional, and states have the best chance of making significant progress in solving them," and they can do it in a non-political way.

At the conclusion of his remarks, Senator Schatz addressed the current halt in Congress.  "The Senate is supposed to solve problems.  We absolutely have to get back to governing." - PR Newswire, 10/8/13

Stroock represents buyers and sellers of electric generating facilities of all kinds located across the country, in projects involving construction, development and operation, including transactions with distressed power companies and entities in bankruptcy.  Panelists included representatives from Charles River Associates, Environmental Defense Fund, Hess Energy Trading Company, LLC, Highstar Capital, J.P. Morgan, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., National Futures Association, PIRA Energy Group, RBC Capital Markets, Rockland Capital, LLC, The Carlyle Group, Triad Energy Corporation and Whitehall & Co, LLC.  Stroock lawyers E. Gail Suchman, Scott Le Bouef, Andrea N. Satty, Richard Madris, Robert Abrams, Chris Griner and Micah W. Bloomfield participated.  Here's something else Schatz has been working on:

Rhode Island will soon host the East Coast regional office for a major ocean and renewable energy technology firm, executives from Navatek, Ltd. announced Friday.

The Hawaii-based company will initially employ 16 people at its new offices in the Palisades Mill complex in Peace Dale. The 20,000-square-foot offices, expected to open by the end of the year, will support Navatek’s research in developing technology systems for the U.S. military that focuses on energy efficiency. The company is bringing $4 million in federal Research and Development contracts to the State.

According to Navatek officials, the alternative energy research is being made possible by various champions of clean energy, including Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Jack Reed (D-RI), in cooperation with the Office of Naval Research.

Navatek executives said they selected Rhode Island for its expertise in ocean and alternative energy research, and access to the University of Rhode Island and its engineering programs. The company recently hired eight URI engineering graduates to staff its Rhode Island office, and in September finalized an agreement with the University to establish a paid summer internship program for engineering students. - Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch, 10/8/13

And Schatz also co-sponsored this:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has joined his Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2013 (STORAGE).

This bipartisan bill promotes the deployment of energy storage technologies, which will accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.

The STORAGE 2013 Act offers investment tax credits of up to 30 percent for energy storage facilities installed by utilities, businesses, and homes.

The bill is designed to be technology-neutral, with qualifying equipment that includes batteries, flywheels, thermal systems, and even smart-grid enabled plug-in electric vehicles. - Hawaii 24/7, 10/5/13

And Schatz also received some good news recently for his campaign:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has expanded his fundraising edge over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in their Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, as Hanabusa struggled through a subpar quarter.

Schatz raised more than $677,900 from July through September, according to a draft of his campaign finance report, and has brought in $2.7 million overall. Hanabusa raised more than $440,800 for the quarter and has brought in $1.1 million, her campaign announced, including money transferred from her House account.

The third quarter in a non-election year often presents a fundraising challenge for Hawaii political candidates, who have to compete for donors during summer months when politics is not top-of-mind and the primary is a year away. Neither Schatz nor Hanabusa has ever had to raise the $3 million to $5 million necessary for a premier statewide campaign, so they are not accustomed to the constant pressure to raise money and meet expectations every quarter.

Schatz's mark was down significantly from the $911,000 the appointed senator posted in July and the $1 million he opened with in April.

But Hanabusa is in a more complicated position. Her campaign advisers said earlier this year that there was a pent-up demand of financial support for the congresswoman that would be revealed once she formally announced her campaign. In July, after raising $500,000, campaign advisers said Hanabusa did not really have a full quarter since she had only declared in May.

In September, the Hanabusa campaign warned supporters that if the congresswoman did not meet her fundraising target the campaign may have to scale back field operations, a message campaign insiders acknowledge was a public-relations mistake.

Her underwhelming fundraising numbers will likely have little influence on the average primary voter, who rarely pays much attention to the quarterly money chase. But the relatively low mark could be damaging to the Hanabusa campaign in national and local political circles, where metrics such as fundraising and endorsements are critical measures of viability. - Star Advertiser, 10/13/13

Schatz is the true blue progressive in this race and he needs to be elected next year.  If you would like to donate or get involved with Schatz's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Climate Hawks, Social Security Defenders, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site