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Green Party LogoGreen Party calls 2015 "CRomnibus" budget deal the "shameful result of corporate-money two-party rule"

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Monday, December 22, 2014

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

Greens blast budget language overturning D.C. marijuana initiative, urge local D.C. government, police, and juries not to comply

Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on economic justice, taxation, budget policy http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-economic-justice.php



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders called the 2015 budget bill a message from the Democratic and Republican leadership to the public: "Our primary responsibility is to Wall Street and our wealthy corporate contributors, not to the American people."

"The quest for bipartisanship and desire to hold off a confrontation with GOP extremists has empowered conservative Democrats and slightly less extreme Republicans -- the politicians who are most responsive to the demands of corporate lobbies. The 'CRomnibus' budget passed by Congress is a blatant exercise in redistribution of wealth to the top One Percent," said Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and a Virginia Green.

"The deal shows that we desperately need Senators and Representatives from a party that accepts no corporate funding," said Ms. Clement.

Green Party leaders pointed to several provisions in the budget bill that will have serious consequences: $300 million cut from housing assistance for the homeless; $300 million cut from grants to low-income students, transferred to loan collectors; $5 billion for banks that avoid paying taxes; weakening of campaign finance limits by allowing political parties to accept ten-times larger individual contributions; more U.S. government funding for overseas coal plants by blocking the Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation from using funds in the bill to enforce new restrictions on coal projects.

The $1.1 trillion spending bill repeals part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act of 2010 known as the Lincoln Amendment, which prohibited big financial firms from gambling on complex securities with federally insured bank assets like consumer deposits.

"Using taxpayers' money to insure high-risk derivatives trading against loss encourages some of the same high-risk Wall Street practices that caused the 2008 economic meltdown. It proves that corporate lobbies and the politicians who serve them don't really care about the free market. Their real goal is to transfer more money and power to top corporations," said Howard Switzer of the Green Party of Tennessee.

"That provision was pushed just as oil plunged by $50 a barrel, evidently an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia," notes Ellen Brown, former Green candidate for California State Treasurer. "The result could be trillions of dollars in derivatives losses for which taxpayers are now on the hook." (See Ms. Brown's article "Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives," Dec. 19 (http://ellenbrown.com/2014/12/19/russian-roulette-taxpayers-could-be-on-the-hook-for-trillions-in-oil-derivatives/).

Greens also sharply criticized Congress for inserting budget language that effectively overturns a local voters' initiative to overturn marijuana prohibition in the District of Columbia, which passed with a 65% majority, and said that statehood for D.C. is necessary to end Congress's anti-democratic control over the District's laws, policies, and finances. The Green Party endorses D.C. statehood in its national platform; the Democratic and Republican parties do not.

"We urge D.C.'s government, prosecutors, and police force to honor the initiative by not complying with Congress's bullying decree. They can do so by refusing to arrest and prosecute people for marijuana offenses. Juries can also refuse to convict on marijuana charges, by invoking the right of jury nullification," said Darryl! L.C. Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and member of the D.C. Statehood Green Party.

Greens called for rapid legislative reversal of the bill's damaging provisions, repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and a sharp reduction in military spending.

"The budget bill is an inevitable and shameful result of rule by two parties that are sliding steadily to the right, towards greater plutocracy and less concern for working people and the poor," said Green Party co-chair Tamar Yager. "While Democrats compete with Republicans for campaign checks from the wealthy, they assume they can take the votes of progressives and working Americans for granted. Until this dynamic changes, the erosion of financial security for middle- and low-income people will continue. This is why we call the Green Party an imperative."

Greens said that the U.S. political establishment is in danger of moving even further to the right given the most prominent names among possible frontrunners for the major-party nominations in 2016: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie.

See also:

Everything you need to know about the government spending deal
Vox, December 19, 2014
http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7376517/cromnibus

Tax extenders bill a tale of corporate influence
By Robert McIntyre, The Hill, December 15, 2014
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/226973-tax-extenders-bill-a-tale-of-corporate-influence

Congress Stuffed Some Coal In Its Omnibus Package
Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post, December 10, 2014
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/omnibus-coal-financing_n_6304622.html


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