On the first day of the new Congressional session, the House of Representatives adopted rules to govern the session. Included in those rules was a provision to prevent a clean reallocation of Social Security, thus endangering Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The routine rebalancing between Disability Insurance and Retirement Insurance can no longer be done unless the House also passes a Social Security "reform" bill. A failure to rebalance will result in an unnecessary and completely avoidable cut in benefits paid to workers who have serious and permanent disabilities and to their families. This is an effort by the GOP to make people believe that reallocation helps the disabled at the expense of the old, and is part of GOP efforts to dismantle Social Security brick by brick. Collin Peterson was one of a few Democrats to join with Republicans to pass this rules bill.
On February 4th, The House GOP passed the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015. This bill undermines consumer protections and places new financial burdens on independent regulatory agencies. The majority of additional costs of the bill to agencies and businesses, the Congressional Budget Office found, would be shouldered by the cash-strapped Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This bill, like most bills passed out of the Republican Congress, is designed to hobble federal regulators and increase industry power over the regulatory process. Regulators would have to follow stringent guidelines, submit additional reviews of proposed regulations, give industries a heads up and solicit feedback, and adopt a new definition of “direct costs”. The bill would also open up every aspect of cost analyses to judicial review, leading to an inevitable barrage of lawsuits from those affected by the pending rules. Collin Peterson joined the GOP in their continuing efforts to undermine the CFPB, which is the keystone of Dodd-Frank financial reform.
On Feb 5, the House voted on another bill to do the same thing, calling this bill the "Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015". It expands the use of advocacy review panels, creates needless grounds for judicial review and judicial remedies, and imposes unrealistic analytic requirements on federal agencies. Collin Peterson again joined the GOP in this attempt at de facto deregulation. Peterson also voted against an amendment exempting the FDA's consumer safety regulations.
This session, Collin Peterson has also voted for the Keystone XL pipeline (Canadian tar sands to southern refineries, with the final product being exported off-shore). He voted with Republicans for the Save American Workers Act of 2015, which would change the ACA’s definition of full-time work from 30 to 40 hours per week. Peterson also voted for the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. This act, aimed at weakening Dodd-Frank, combines 11 different bills into one big package, including provisions to weaken the Volcker Rule, weaken derivatives provisions, and undermine investor protections.
In summary, Collin Peterson's votes are against the interests of the people of his district as well as 99 percent of the American public. The only reason he retains a Democratic seat is because of his position on the House Agricultural committee. It is long past time for the Minnesota DFL to recognize Peterson for what he is: a radical Republican.
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