A friend and former student who had served under Congressman Tim Walz in the Minnesota National Guard once said that she never wanted to hear his reprimands again after he had chastized her unit for bad behavior.
As she explained it, he didn't really yell at the soldiers, but the tone in his voice made her and the rest to try to be better.
Let's hope that enough of Walz's Republican colleagues share that sense of honor after listening to Walz speak today in Congress. The Hill reports in House Democrats file petition to force vote on Senate tax bill:
House Democrats on Tuesday filed a discharge petition that would force the House to vote on the Senate's bill to extend the Bush-era tax levels for the middle class, but allow rates to rise for the wealthy.
Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) filed the petition at noon, and it will need 218 signatures to take it out of committee and bring it to the House floor for a vote. Democrats won't reach that majority without help from a few dozen Republicans; despite this hurdle, several Democrats called on members of both parties to support it in order to avoid a tax hike on the middle class.
"Today, let's show the American people the politics of the possible," Walz said. "Let's focus on what we agree on, not what disagree on. Let's find common ground."
Minnesota Public Radio adds in Walz pushes petition to force tax cut vote:
Republican leaders in the House have blocked the Senate bill until now, but with tax hikes for all Americans looming, Walz believed some Republicans might be tempted to sign on.
Such petitions are the only way for the minority party in the House to get their bills onto the floor without the consent of the majority party's leadership but require at least 218 signatures to work. Democrats currently hold 190 House seats.
Past discharge petitions have rarely succeeded, though Walz was able to use the threat of a petition earlier this year to get a floor vote on a congressional ethics measure he supported. That bill, the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act, was later signed into law by President Obama.
Here's video of Walz's speech from the floor:
Walz's congressional office released this statement that included a transcript of the remarks:Today, Congressman Tim Walz filed a discharge petition to bring forward a bill that would give certainty to millions of Americans by extending the middle class tax cuts immediately. While the President and Congress broker a big, balanced deal that will grow our economy, reduce the deficit, and create jobs, Walz urged Republicans and Democrats to come together to do what they already agree on—extending tax cuts for the middle class. A transcript of his speech announcing the discharge petition is below.
“Today let’s show the American people the politics of the possible. Let’s focus on what we agree on, not what we disagree on. Let’s find common ground. We can accomplish this by extending the middle class tax cuts immediately. Let’s have the people’s House break this ridiculous stalemate. Let families all across the nation go into the holiday season with certainly.
“Everyone here agrees taxes should not go up on middle class families. Democrats and Republicans can come together to make that happen. By extending the tax cuts, every American will get a tax break on their first $250,000 of income. Let me repeat that: one hundred percent of Americans will receive a tax break on $250,000 of income. It also extends the child tax credit, makes it easier for small businesses to expand, makes it affordable to go to college, and fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax.
“If we fail to act in the next 10 days, middle class families will see their income taxes go up by $2,000 dollars. No one wants it, the economy doesn’t need it. The Senate’s already passed a bill. The President said he would sign it today. It can be done now.
“Please, stand up, sign the discharge petition, and make a difference for the American public.”
A discharge petition requires the House to consider the legislation once a majority (218) Members of Congress have signed it. This process was successful in forcing action to get campaign finance and disabled veterans benefits enacted in 2001 and 2003.
Photo: Tim Walz.
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