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Reid’s comments on obstructionism draw fire from Steele

December 9, 2009

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The Republican Party’s national chairman renewed his demand yesterday that the top Senate Democrat apologize for comparing those obstructing health care reform to those who counseled a go-slow approach on freeing the slaves and giving women the right to vote.

But GOP chairman Michael Steele also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to put off the health care overhaul.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid scolded Republicans in a Senate floor speech on Monday. “Instead of joining us on the right side of history,’’ he said, the GOP was repeating the inglorious history of those who delayed emancipation and women’s suffrage.

On CBS’s “The Early Show’’ yesterday, Steele called the remarks “an ignorant moment for Harry Reid’’ and said that when Democrats get in trouble, “they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.’’

Reid stood by his comments, telling reporters yesterday, “Anyone who willingly distorts my comments is only proving my point.’’

Steele, the Republican National Committee’s first black chairman, has been among the loudest voices calling for a go-slow approach on health care, and echoed that call in the letter to the president.

“This is not the time to gamble a trillion dollars on a 2,000-page health care experiment Congress is stitching together by the seat of its pants,’’ Steele wrote.

Brad Woodhouse, Democratic National Committee communications director, slapped back at Steele. “Michael Steele and the GOP know full well that health care delayed is health care denied for the millions of Americans who lack insurance and live every day in fear of accident or illness,’’ Woodhouse said in a statement.

-- Globe Staff

Pushing financial overhaul, Democrats seek funds

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a fund-raising appeal yesterday to 4 million supporters from Representative Barney Frank, who is trying to push a financial regulation overhaul through the House past Republican roadblocks.

In the e-mail solicitation, the Massachusetts Democrat scolds the “extremists who control the Republican Party’’ for attempting “one of the most implausible masquerades in history by trying to identify themselves with the American Colonials who revolted against British rule.’’

“I confront a hostile, virtually unanimous Republican Party, which has a major characteristic in common with a different set of eighteenth century figures - the kings of France. When the French monarchy was restored to power in the 19th century, it was said that ‘The Bourbons have forgotten nothing because they learned nothing,’ ’’ Frank added. “Current House Republicans now oppose financial regulation because they have learned nothing from the current economic crisis.’’

But with their opposition, Republicans are reaping campaign contributions from institutions that want to remain unregulated, Frank said, then asking for contributions that will be matched by congressional Democrats seeking to preserve their majority in next year’s midterm election.

-- Globe Staff

US agencies told to make ‘high value’ data public

WASHINGTON - The White House yesterday instructed every federal agency to publish before the end of January at least three collections of “high value’’ government data on the Internet that have never been previously disclosed, an ambitious order to make the administration as transparent as President Obama had promised.

It was not immediately clear what types of information the government will make available.

Open government advocates praised the plan, and their wish list is extensive.

-- Associated Press

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