Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Murkowski Shows Some Backbone On Obamacaricide, At Least On Energy Bill

I need to give credit to one of my US Senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski, for calling out her colleagues for blocking legislation with amendments intended to kill or maim Obamacare. 

In this case Murkowski seems to be upset about amendments to kill the Affordable Care Act added onto an energy bill to require the government to be more energy efficient and require more energy efficient building codes.  I suspect some of this the Obama administration could and would do without legislation.

I don't want to make too big a deal about this because her voting record on the government funding bills appears to be less daring.  Looking at her voting record for the last week, it appears she voted the Republican Party line on the government shut down.  The key vote that was not split on party lines was the 79-19 vote to end Sen. Cruz's filibuster.    Murkowski voted with the 79 to end the filibuster.  That vote allowed the Democrats to pass an amendment to cut out the House attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act and then to pass the Senate  bill to keep the government running. (Which the House then rejected.)  Those last two votes were split on party lines too. (Does that mean that all but 19 Republicans really wanted the government funding to pass so they helped end the filibuster to give the Democrats the room to pass it, but they didn't want their constituents see a yes vote on the actual bill?)

From The Hill:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Wednesday called out Republicans who tried to pile ObamaCare amendments onto bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that recently stalled on the Senate floor.

“What we need to reckon with is the fact that you have got a process that is being used for political advantage and gain rather than to advance policy,” she said.
Of course, if they are willing to shut down the whole government to kill Obama's health reform, a little energy bill is no big deal to them.  
“Maybe we need to embarrass those in the leadership that it is high time that you focus on the policy side of this,” Murkowski said at an energy forum hosted by the group Center Forward.
She expressed hope that, if the bill returns to the floor, an agreement could be struck that only allowed energy-related amendments. .  .
While Murkowski criticized efforts to link the bill to ObamaCare, she predicted that if it hadn’t been for those amendments, there would have been others that Reid found “equally onerous” and given him “cause to pause.”

The underlying energy bill contains measures to encourage better building codes, train workers in energy efficient building technologies, help manufacturers become more efficient and bolster efficiency in federal buildings."
Here's a link to the whole piece, "Sen Murkowski Calls Out Her Party For Energy Riders."


  1. That’s precisely my criticism of her conduct over the years: Murkowski shows backbone, but never uses it. In other words, I haven’t yet seen a politician exhibit such amazing feats of empty pandering – it’s actually an admirable skill to constantly tack back and forth on issues to the extent that she does. The gymnastics always follow a predictable pattern of throwing just enough red meat to the left so as to burnish her independent cred and garner nods of approval from Alaskan “Democrats” whose consciences are salved enough to vote Republican. Then it’s right-winger all the way: Murkowski in not an Independent, she is a hard-core Republican, and by no means whatsoever a moderate. Case in point being her absence from any recent efforts by Republican centrists to end the shutdown:
    Another example was her bravery last year behind closed doors on the Violence Against Women Act:
    And voting against contraceptive coverage in last year’s Blunt Amendment, and then the Violence Against Women Re-authorization Act’s “Special Rule for the State of Alaska.” And so on.
    I mean, I understand the instinct to give credit where it’s due, as it was jaw-dropping to see for example Don Young oppose the Syrian war effort…

  2. Murkowski votes one way and publically states something else. She just voted in step w/Republicans and is one of the worst we have representing Alaska in Congress.

    She and Don Young represent Alaska and Don was recently named in the top ten as to being the most corrupt serving in Congress today. At least, Lisa didn't make that list!

    Lisa has announced publically that she does not approve of the Affordable Care Act. I'd say that it's very apparent she could care less about the thousands in Alaska that do need medical insurance. I am one due to having a preexisting is calming to know that I can now get coverage which will actually be effective (as to the policy) 1/1/14.

    Thank you, President Obama!.

    Alaskans - vote every Republican you can out of office in your state - especially Lisa and they do NOT represent you!

    Don't vote for her or Don Young! Alaska needs so badly to turn blue! It was once and can be so again.

  3. Jamie and Anon - I believe in positive reinforcement. BF Skinner's students once got him to lecture from the back of the room by using the same techniques Skinner used to get pigeons to play ping pong. Each time he moved in the right direction, they nodded, smiled, and otherwise rewarded his moves toward the back. All other movement was given blank faces or other non-responses. Eventually they got him lecturing from the back of the hall. Then they told him what they had done.

    So every time Murkowski takes a step in the right direction, we should smile and let her know we appreciate it. Unfortunately, the reinforcement she gets is not as consistent and unified as Skinner's was. She walks a fine line. She was already defeated in her primary last time. I suspect that freed her in some ways but will she have to run as a write-in next time too? More than half the 44 Republicans (25) joined the Democrats to stop Cruz's filibuster. They all knew that would mean the Democrats could then pass the funding bill without the Republicans. That's promising.


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