Wednesday Jolt: Patty Murray On Plan B and Taxes
Erica's already made it clear who today's losers are---women and girls who want to avoid unplanned pregnancy---but US Sen. Patty Murray came to Jolt's attention today as well for her statement on the bad news for women. In case you missied it (and Erica's cranky column): The Obama Administration took the unprecedented step of overturning an FDA recommendation, keeping Plan B emergency contraception unavailable to teens without a prescription.
Murray, who has led the fight in Congress to expand access to emergency contraception (which prevents pregnancy by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries) responded today:
I’m very disappointed that [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Katleen] Sebelius has chosen to override the careful scientific analysis of the FDA by blocking further access to emergency contraception. When it comes to the reproductive health of women, I’ve consistently said that we need to put science and medical evidence first. In this case, both the FDA and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research did careful analysis and determined that Plan B is safe and effective for over-the-counter use by more women. That analysis included a thorough review of whether young women understood usage restrictions.
And while we're taking note of Murray's Jolt worthiness, she also issued a defiant speech on the Senate floor on another timely subject today, arguing for a tax on millionaires and billionaires to finance expansion and extension of the payroll tax exemption for the middle and lower classes. Senate Republicans filibustered that proposal to death last week.
Mr. President, Republicans seem to be operating under the backwards economic principle that only tax cuts for the richest Americans and biggest corporations are worth fighting for.
In fact, they have a name for this group of people: they call them ‘job creators.’
They believe the only ones who create jobs in America are the rich—and they claim the tax cuts and loopholes they fight for that benefit the wealthy will somehow trickle down to ordinary families.
Mr. President, we know this is wrong. We know this Republican economic policy has failed us.
It was this kind of thinking that turned a surplus in into a deficit, that brought the economy to its knees, that failed the middle class—and that allowed the wealthiest Americans to amass record fortunes paying the lowest tax rates in decades.
In her speech, Murray name-checked Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, whose piece for Businessweek arguing for a tax on wealthy folks like him, has gone viral in the past week.
Liberal Democrats in Washington State would probably love to see Gov. Chris Gregoire follow Murray's example and support an income tax, rather than the regressive sales-tax increase she has proposed. She could also follow the lead of her fellow Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo of New York, who just reached a deal with legislators to raise income taxes for the state's highest income bracket---and reducing them for the middle class.