George Voinovich

An Historic Day In The US Senate: Repeal Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Finally Accomplished! :)

A seventeen year injustice toward military personnel has finally ended today with the vote of the US Senate just completed at 330 pm this afternoon.

The adoption of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on the subject of sexual orientation in 1993 was discriminatory from its inception, and has led to approximately 13,000 top notch, talented military personnel being dismissed.

After a long struggle initiated with the full backing of President Obama, finally the United States military meets the same standards as most European countries, Canada and Israel.

This is a major civil rights victory, and continues the difficult struggle for gay rights that has been going on for a long time.

On the vote to end the filibuster, six Republicans courageously joined 57 Democrats, so that the vote was 63-33. Those Republicans were Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

It is interesting that Voinovich, a retiring Senator, and Kirk, a newly sworn in Senator, both voted in a way not expected.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut must be commended for leading the fight to accomplish this repeal, although he failed to budge his good friend and colleague, Senator John McCain of Arizona, who stubbornly refused to reconsider his hard line attitude on the subject, despite earlier having stated that if the military leaders and the Defense Secretary advocated lifting the ban on gays in the military, that he would go along with them. So this is not one of John McCain’s better moments in the Senate. One can compare it to his predecessor in his seat, Barry Goldwater, who stated that you don’t have to be straight to know how to shoot straight!

The final vote has just occurred and is 65-31, including some Republicans who voted “no” on ending the filibuster, but have now voted for the legislation–Richard Burr of North Carolina and  John Ensign of Nevada.  So this makes a total of eight Republicans who backed the final passage.

This is a pleasant surprise, and makes for eight Republicans joining all Democrats who voted “aye”.

Overall, this is a great day for the United States and its military! 🙂

Using The Power Of The Majority: Finally, The Democrats Are Taking Action On Important Legislation!

With less than seven weeks to the midterm elections, the Obama Administration is coming out swinging, ready to assert the power of the majority, something the Republicans know how to do when they are the majority!

With the threat that the Republicans might regain the majority, the Democrats are finally moving to take action that may not succeed, but will at least show their intentions!

A small business bill has made it through the Senate, with the help of two “Georges” who are not seeking reelection, and have broken with the Republican filibuster. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio and Senator George LeMieux of Florida broke the filibuster on the legislation, making it a 61-38 vote to pass the bill.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon appropriations bill next week will be the moment where the Democrats in the Senate try to push through the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, and also push through the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants who are in the US through no action of their own, but arrived before age 16, have lived here for at least five years, have graduated high school, and have been in college for two years or served two years in the military, to become American citizens!

It is possible that the GOP will block passasge, but if so, it can be used as a campaign issue against them! It is long overdue for the Democrats to play hardball, and not worry about bipartisanship and cooperation since the Republican Party clearly declared war on the Obama Administration on Day One!

It is time for action on gay rights and immigration, and even though the Democrats have a low rating on their Congressional performance in Gallup polls, the GOP has an even lower score, so let them continue to bottleneck and blockade, and they will, hopefully, suffer at the polls on November 2!

Four Moderate Republicans And Unemployment Compensation Extension Support!

The Republican Party has been extremely negative on anything Barack Obama wants to do, and the multiple delays in extension of unemployment compensation, held up by the infamous Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, and now Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, is finally over!

We are in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and these senators, and others, who had no problem funding the two wars we are in, and the Medicare prescription Part D plan of George W. Bush, without figuring out how to pay for it, have now been overcome by cooperation of four colleagues, all of whom should have backed the Health Care reform legislation, but failed to do that!

But at least now there are signs of cooperation by these four moderates–Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and George Voinovich of Ohio.

The extension of unemployment benefits was won by a 60-34 vote, enough to stop any further attempt at a filibuster.

It is also encouraging to see Scott Brown, who accepted Tea Party support during his campaign to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, now fail to find time to go to a Tea Party event in Boston starring Sarah Palin. It seems that Brown is trying to separate himself from any association with Palin, certainly a smart move if he hopes to win reelection in 2012 when he will likely have to face a Kennedy family member challenging him for a full Senate term.

The hope is that these four senators, and a few others in the Republican party, will now back the Obama Administration on climate change and financial reform legislation coming up for consideration soon.

The best way to get things done is to promote bipartisanship, so let us applaud these four moderates for finally acting statesmanlike, instead of just territorially staying loyal to their party when it makes no sense!