At Representative Pete Stark's town meeting today, Pete Stark was notably absent. On the day he was supposed to fly back to the Bay Area, he was ill with the flu or something caught from his children. Jo Cazenave, his District Director, reported that the next town meeting would be held April 17.
As news of his absence spread, some people left, but there were still enough people to fill the 70+ seats that had been set up and Stark's staff and interns hurriedly brought in more chairs.
Ms. Cazenave gave a brief report on Congressman Stark's behalf and urged those with questions or comments to complete the provided comment cards and mail them in. Stark expects most of March to be focused on the budget. He reports that the Republicans are fighting against the administration for cost controls and neither the House nor Senate appear likely to extend all of Bush's tax cuts.
On the economy, 21,000 new jobs were created in February 2004, all credited to new government jobs. Ms. Cazenave noted (as have numerous others) that Bush in on track to be the first president since Hoover to preside over a new job loss while in office. Stark is a co-sponsor of the Defending American Jobs Act of 2004, which would reduce or eliminate corporate welfare for companies that lay off a greater percentage of workers in the US than other countries.
Ms. Cazenave noted that most of the medicare reform bill will not take effect until 2006 but that we may soon see commercials from the administration touting its benefits. A prescription drug discount card will soon be available, but it will benefit those medicare participants with an income just over the poverty level and that benefit will be about $600. She recommended that people with questions about the prescription drug discount card call Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) at 839-0393.
Next week, the House of Representatives will likely sponsor a resolution on the anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq. While nobody has yet seen the text of the resolution, it is expected to state how the world is much safer since we started the war. Stark will vote against the resolution.
As for Bush's well-publicized immigration plan, it appears dead in Congress. Stark characterizes it as creating a new underclass and calls it no solution at all.
Stark opposes a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, but notes that the Republicans are acting with caution on an amendment, suggesting that a constitutional amendment may not be passed by Congress.Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at March 13, 2004 12:05 PM | TrackBack