by Bob Geary
If he were a fighting liberal, I guess we'd love him: Sen. Richard Burr, who's no sure thing for re-election this year any way you slice it, nonetheless refuses every opportunity to re-present himself as a thinking person's moderate. Instead, he's a down-the-line conservative/partisan Republican, against everything the Obama Administration proposes no matter what.
The latest examples:
1) Burr is out with a statement that he'll vote no on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Remember when Republicans said President Bush had a right to have his right-wing judicial nominees approved because, well, he just did? That was so then, and this is now with a Democratic president who wasn't even born in the continental U.S.
2) And this morning, even as Senate Democrats managed to break the Republicans' filibuster of legislation to provide additional aid to the states for teachers jobs and Medicaid funds — $26 billion that the states, including North Carolina — desperately need, Burr voted no again. The vote on cloture (ending the filibuster) was 61-38, with Republicans Sens. Snowe and Collins, both from Maine, breaking from the GOP ranks to join the 58 Democrats and Joe Lieberman, whatever he is. (Pay no attention to the title of the bill; the operative phrase in the bill summary is "and other purposes."
Burr could've grabbed the opportunity to look reasonable by also breaking ranks on this bill that he might've said was too important for his home state to cast yet another partisan vote of NAY. But he didn't.
The vote on the $26 billion itself hasn't occurred yet. When it does, will Burr switch sides and try to claim the political middle? Not likely.
From Sen. Hagan:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — United States Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) today supported a bipartisan bill that will send approximately $600 million to North Carolina. The bill does not add to the federal deficit and was fully paid for with a number of spending rescissions. The legislation extends increased Medicaid funding, also known as FMAP, to states through June 30, 2011. The bill passed a key procedural vote in the Senate with 61-38 votes, and is likely to be approved by the Senate in the near future.
The legislation means as much as $343 million in increased Medicaid funding for North Carolina. It also will provide nearly $300 million to NC for teachers, which is expected to save approximately 4,500 educator jobs.
“This funding will come to North Carolina at a crucial time for our state,” Hagan said. “In this tough economy, our state government’s budget is down to levels not seen since 1996-1997. The FMAP and education funding will give our state $600 million to maintain critical services and save approximately 4,500 educator jobs just before the school year starts. I have been working with my colleagues to ensure we pass this funding, and I was proud to support this bipartisan bill today.”
This year, Senator Hagan has signed two letters to Majority Leader Harry Reid asking for the FMAP extension.