Tag Archives: Mike Honda

Rep. Honda Calls for an End to Cap on Social Security Tax

George Takei (Mr. Sulu from Star Trek) and meSouth Bay Congressman looks to shore up long-term viability of the system

By Brian Leubitz

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Rep. Mike Honda is in something of a dogfight to keep his seat in Congress. Ro Khanna is putting up a strong and well-funded challenge, and both are looking for ways to separate themselves. Not sure that calling for the end of the $113,700 payroll tax cap will actually divide the two, but it at least got some news coverage from the race

South Bay Rep. Mike Honda Wednesday called on Congress – and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna – to protect and expand Social Security benefits for seniors, saying it was time to “scrap the cap” on payroll taxes. …

“I have yet to hear a good explanation of why that cap should exist,” Honda said, adding that lifting the cap will not only ensure the program’s solvency, and help pay for expanded benefits but also maintain the safety net for seniors, the disabled, and children who rely on the program for financial security.(Carla Marinucci / SFGate)

Now, this has been a pretty consistent idea floating around in progressive circles, and has been included in many Democratic Social Security plans. It certainly isn’t new, but at the same time, it is an idea worth repeating. It would stabilize the Social Security trust fund for years to come, but Republicans have no intention of really considering it. But maybe with a bit of luck it could come up in the post-Boehner era.

Photo credit: Congressman Mike Honda with Star Trek’s George Takei. from Flickr

CA-17: Gavin Newsom Picks Ro Khanna over Mike Honda

Ro Khanna & Jeremy Bird EventLG breaks ranks with Democratic Leaders

by Brian Leubitz

In a move that boosts the campaign of CA-17 Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and simultaneously promotes his Citizenville book, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed Ro Khanna.

I’m proud to support Ro. I know he will govern from a place of courage and authenticity. He has many innovative ideas to grow California’s economy and to apply technology to make government better for all his constituents. (h/t Josh Richman)

Most of the Democratic establishment, including Khanna’s former boss, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and many members of the state Congressional delegation, has already endorsed Rep. Mike Honda. But this endorsement gets some attention for the former SF Mayor and may be able to push the former Commerce dept. official’s fledgling campaign off the ground.  

Epic Dem-on-Dem Battle in Silicon Valley: Ro Khanna to Challenge Mike Honda

Ro Khanna & Jeremy Bird EventFormer Obama official looks to challenge longtime Congressman

by Brian Leubitz

One of the positive aspects of term limits is that some of the more personal, intraparty battles are avoided. But you don’t have that with Congress, and Congress has been Ro Khanna’s target for a while now. Khanna, an intellectual property attorney, was a deputy assistant secretary of Commerce in the first Obama administration. Apparently he didn’t want to wait to take a crack at the 17th District.

Khanna will announce his candidacy Tuesday. The race offers the Bay Area — long known for glacial turnover among entrenched House Democrats — its second consecutive high-profile dogfight picked by a young upstart. This time, there’s the added dimension of two Asian-American Democrats facing off in the continental United States’ first Asian-American majority district.(Josh Richman/BANG)

Two big points here. First, this is a vastly different campaign because of Top-2. Top-2 opens the race up to Republicans, making their voice far more important in the heavily Democratic district. Khanna actually ran in a partisan primary in 2004 against Tom Lantos (and lost badly). The question is now how he hopes to play this new system. Now, both will be good on the major social issues, but Khanna must define himself

The other thing is that this race is really quite different than Eric Swalwell defeating Pete Stark last year. Sure, it was the same kind of challenge of a “young upstart” versus a long-time Congressman. But, while Stark had his share of supporters, he also had a few detractors. On the other hand, it is hard to find anybody who will say a bad thing about Mike Honda. He hasn’t created any enemies, and is still a pretty effective Congressman.

But perhaps the lesson to be learned from Swalwell’s win is that you can’t be patient. If you wrote up a list two years ago of potential replacements for Stark upon retirement, Swalwell would not have been very high. But by being proactive and using Top-2, he now has the power of incumbency over anybody else looking to take him on. (And there surely will be somebody to take him on.) Maybe Khanna thought this was actually his best shot, and that patience wasn’t really a virtue in this circumstance.

However you look at it, Khanna has built a pretty impressive campaign team, full of some big name strategists from the Obama campaign, including Obama 2008 field director Jeremy Bird and well-known California pollster David Binder. Bird already did an event for Khanna (the picture to the right came from that event’s Flickr set.)Honda, for his part, has a big list of endorsements including Democratic Leader Pelosi and President Obama.  

Looks like voters in the South Bay can expect a full blitz for their votes over the next eighteen months.

Thirteen CA Legislators Rewarded by Carrots, Not Sticks Initiative

A new initiative organized by Howie Klein, Jane Hamsher, fellow Calitician Dante Atkins and myself to verbally and financially reward Congressmembers who pledge to vote down any healthcare bill that does not include the public option is catching fire today.  The objective is to use carrots as well as sticks to achieve progressive goals.  As I said in the diary kicking off this intiative at DailyKos:

Human beings are psychologically predictable creatures, much like Pavlov’s famous canine.  We do respond well to punishment, but we respond just as well if not better to positive reinforcement.  Do nothing but beat a dog with a stick, and the dog is likelier to be aggressive than lovingly loyal.  Do nothing but scream at a child, and the child will eventually fail to respond to her abusive parent.  Senators and Representatives, no matter how elevated, are still just people: the rules of psychological conditioning still apply.  If all we can do is scream at people who don’t do what we want, eventually no one will listen to us at all.

Utilizing Jane Hamsher’s signatory list, Howie Klein set up an ActBlue page called They Took the Pledge.  Spurred on by Jane Hamsher’s post, my dkos diary, Dante’s dkos diary, and Howie Klein’s efforts at Blue America PAC, the online effort has raised over $60,000 since this morning, becoming ActBlue’s top fundraising page.  And the media has begun to take note, with stories on CBS Online, Politico, and The Plum Line.

On the list are 13 deserving CA Legislators who could use your dollars and/or words of encouragement:

Judy Chu (CA-32)

Sam Farr (CA-17)

Bob Filner (CA-51)

Mike Honda (CA-15)

Barbara Lee (CA-09)

Grace Napolitano (CA-38)

Laura Richardson (CA-37)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)

Linda Sanchez (CA-39)

Jackie Speier (CA-12)

Maxine Waters (CA-35)

Diane Watson (CA-33)

Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

If you have the resources, please consider donations to our excellent California legislators.  For those who can’t chip in, DFA has a thank you action item to thank our healthcare heroes.

With an approach that uses more carrots and less sticks, hopefully we can encourage others in California and across the country to join these brave progressive leaders.

California’s Democratic Congress Critters Tell Arnold to Give StimuBux to Education

Easy for them to say, I suppose, but Mike Honda and a bunch of California Congressional Dems want the stimulus money to go to education.  At least they’ve noticed that a ridiculous number of teachers are being laid off. All the while, President Obama is cheering on the Governator who is gobbling up every last dollar and slashing services.  Perhaps they can talk to the President about not enabling Herr Schwarzenegger.

Here’s the money quote:

   The purpose of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund is to help stabilize local government budgets and minimize or avoid harmful cuts to education programs and services, to keep teachers in the classroom, and to support modernization, renovation, and repair of school facilities. It is imperative that local educational agencies receive stimulus funds as soon as possible so they can appropriately adjust their budgets to address these challenges.

   Thousands of California teachers will be laid off in coming weeks without the infusion of ARRA funds. We implore you to provide for the immediate needs of the state’s already cash-strapped schools by taking all available steps to prevent these layoffs. It has been brought to our attention that there may be unresolved issues at the state level about the administration and allocation of the federal ARRA funds that could delay distribution. We encourage you to address these issues quickly. The U.S. Department of Education stands ready to provide technical assistance to you in these matters.

You can catch the full letter here (PDF).

Progressive Punch: Jerry McNerney ranks 195th of 232

Woohoo! Jerry did it! Jerry McNerney has managed to become the most un-progressive Democrat of the entire California congressional delegation. For those keeping score at home, Jerry’s 82.45 was about a half point lower than the next CA Dem, Jim Costa, that progressive stalwart, at 82.97. And for all the talk of Harman changing her ways, she’s still worse than even Joe Baca, almost 7 points worse from a very safe Dem seat.

For all of you CA-45 fans, “moderate” Mary Bono came in with a stellar 4.42 Chips are Down score. So, for all the bluster of the SCHIP vote, she’s still dancing the same jig as the rest of her party.

On thing must be said, the Speaker has done an excellent job at preserving unity amongst the caucus. Whether that means she’s being too incremental and/or ineffective, or just laying down the law is the big question. The reason her approval rating, and the Congress in general, is down has a whole lot to do with the fact that little has changed on the Iraq front. So, would it be better to have a speaker who is more willing to take risks? Perhaps, but the impediment of the president always lingers over her head, veto pen in hand. So, whether the unity is really there, is an open question. Full data over the flip.

Rank Name 07-08 All-time ChipsAreDown Party State
1 Pelosi, Nancy 100.00 93.58 100.00 D CA
3 Sánchez, Linda T. 98.97 96.45 98.43 D CA
6 Lee, Barbara 98.45 96.99 97.18 D CA
9 Capps, Lois 98.28 88.95 97.49 D CA
13 Solis, Hilda L. 97.94 95.77 96.24 D CA
18 Richardson, Laura 97.83 97.83 96.43 D CA
23 Woolsey, Lynn C. 97.57 94.69 95.92 D CA
24 Filner, Bob 97.55 94.02 95.91 D CA
25 Matsui, Doris O. 97.42 94.46 95.30 D CA
26 Becerra, Xavier 97.33 92.41 95.19 D CA
37 Farr, Sam 96.72 90.66 94.98 D CA
39 Honda, Michael M. 96.63 94.39 94.67 D CA
51 Roybal-Allard, Lucille 96.39 92.79 94.03 D CA
55 Lofgren, Zoe 96.34 87.42 94.65 D CA
56 Tauscher, Ellen O. 96.23 83.14 93.10 D CA
58 Napolitano, Grace F. 96.17 90.68 93.42 D CA
63 Schiff, Adam B. 95.88 86.79 92.45 D CA
68 Waters, Maxine 95.77 93.38 93.31 D CA
71 Miller, George 95.72 93.67 93.20 D CA
73 Davis, Susan A. 95.70 87.53 93.10 D CA
77 Eshoo, Anna G. 95.64 88.63 93.38 D CA
82 Sherman, Brad 95.52 84.99 92.79 D CA
88 Berman, Howard L. 95.28 87.56 92.38 D CA
88 Watson, Diane E. 95.28 92.71 91.80 D CA
97 Thompson, Mike 95.01 85.33 93.42 D CA
102 Lantos, Tom 94.74 87.73 90.51 D CA
104 Sanchez, Loretta 94.49 84.58 90.19 D CA
114 Baca, Joe 94.16 82.91 90.28 D CA
127 Waxman, Henry A. 93.63 91.96 89.49 D CA
153 Stark, Fortney Pete 92.02 93.12 87.74 D CA
178 Cardoza, Dennis A. 90.09 77.80 84.86 D CA
179 Harman, Jane 89.82 76.91 83.86 D CA
187 Costa, Jim 89.22 78.46 82.97 D CA
195 McNerney, Jerry 87.63 87.63 82.45 D CA
274 Lewis, Jerry 18.40 10.68 4.73 R CA
283 Bono, Mary 16.01 11.32 4.42 R CA
295 Doolittle, John T. 12.72 4.44 1.57 R CA
313 Calvert, Ken 10.39 5.41 0.95 R CA
322 Hunter, Duncan 8.85 5.38 1.32 R CA
330 Gallegly, Elton 7.60 5.89 1.89 R CA
342 Rohrabacher, Dana 6.67 7.73 4.08 R CA
346 Dreier, David 6.38 5.19 2.51 R CA
352 Bilbray, Brian P. 6.07 13.85 3.77 R CA
356 McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” 5.91 3.87 1.27 R CA
370 Herger, Wally 4.92 3.30 0.95 R CA
373 Lungren, Daniel E. 4.81 4.43 1.25 R CA
376 Radanovich, George 4.60 3.65 1.27 R CA
378 Issa, Darrell E. 4.36 4.52 1.27 R CA
380 Miller, Gary G. 4.18 2.45 1.25 R CA
384 Nunes, Devin 4.01 3.30 0.31 R CA
385 McCarthy, Kevin 3.97 3.97 0.63 R CA
388 Royce, Edward R. 3.49 6.55 1.26 R CA
394 Campbell, John 3.12 3.77 2.85 R CA

Chips are down scorecard

(I was working on a similar post, but I’ll still post my own, with all CA data and some other miscellany. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

The problem with most scorecards is that they are written by lobbyists concerned with always getting the votes of potential supporters. Thus, there is an equal weighting while in the real world not all votes are equal. In fact, regardless of everything else, some votes are dealbreakers and when they show up on scorecards as one of 12 votes or something, it looks silly. However, Progressive Punch has a new “when the chips are down” scorecard. After the flip is the ratings of CA’s congressional delegation, in descending order.


92.86 Boxer, Barbara
90.45 Feinstein, Dianne


100.00 Pelosi, Nancy
98.43 Sánchez, Linda T.
97.49 Capps, Lois
97.18 Lee, Barbara
96.43 Richardson, Laura
96.24 Solis, Hilda L.
95.92 Woolsey, Lynn C.
95.91 Filner, Bob
95.30 Matsui, Doris O.
95.19 Becerra, Xavier
94.98 Farr, Sam
94.67 Honda, Michael M.
94.65 Lofgren, Zoe
94.03 Roybal-Allard, Lucille
93.42 Napolitano, Grace F.
93.42 Thompson, Mike
93.38 Eshoo, Anna G.
93.31 Waters, Maxine
93.20 Miller, George
93.10 Davis, Susan A.
93.10 Tauscher, Ellen O.
92.79 Sherman, Brad
92.45 Schiff, Adam B.
92.38 Berman, Howard L.
91.80 Watson, Diane E.
90.51 Lantos, Tom
90.28 Baca, Joe
90.19 Sanchez, Loretta
89.49 Waxman, Henry A.
87.74 Stark, Fortney Pete
84.86 Cardoza, Dennis A.
83.86 Harman, Jane
82.97 Costa, Jim
82.45 McNerney, Jerry

Vote to Condemn MoveOn Splits California’s DC Democrats in Half

I’m guessing that at tonight’s Calitics’ Actblue Celebrations there will be a lot of discussion about the votes to condemn MoveOn. The CA delegation split 50-50 in the senate and 16 yea and 17 nay in the house — wedged successfully by the GOP in half. After the flip is the scorecard.

Diane Feinstein

Barbara Boxer

Joe Baca (CA-43)
Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
Jim Costa (CA-20)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Anna Eshoo (CA-14)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Jane Harman (CA-36)
Tom Lantos (CA-12)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Grace Napolitano (CA-38)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
Adam Schiff (CA-29)
Ellen Tauscher (CA-10)
Mike Thompson (CA-1)

Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Howard Berman (CA-28)
Lois Capps (CA-23)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Mike Honda (CA-15)
Barbara Lee (CA-9)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-16)
Doris Matsui (CA-5)
George Miller (CA-7)
Linda Sanchez (CA-39)
Brad Sherman (CA-27)
Hilda Solis (CA-32)
Pete Stark (CA-13)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Diane Watson (CA-33)
Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-6)

Thanks to 12 California House Democrats

…who just signed on to a letter to the President vowing not to appropriate any more money to the Iraq debacle for anything other than a fully funded withdrawal.  Kudos to these 12:

Lynn Woolsey
Barbara Lee
Maxine Waters
Ellen Tauscher
Diane Watson
Bob Filner
Hilda Solis
Grace Napolitano
Linda Sanchez
Mike Honda
Pete Stark
Lois Capps

Reward good behavior.  Letter on the flip.

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.

We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come.


Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA); Rep. Rush Holt (NJ); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Diane Watson (CA); Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ); Rep. Barney Frank (MA); Rep. Danny Davis (IL); Rep. John Conyers (MI); Rep. John Hall (NY); Rep. Bob Filner (CA); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY); Rep. Bobby Rush (IL); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); Rep. Ed Towns (NY); Rep. Paul Hodes (NH); Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR); Rep. Albert Wynn (MD); Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC); Rep. Hilda Solis (CA); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY); Rep. Michael Honda (CA); Rep. Steve Cohen (TN); Rep. Phil Hare (IL); Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA); Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Julia Carson (IN); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ); Rep. John Olver (MA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. Ed Markey (MA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA); Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ); Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX); Rep. Pete Stark (CA); Rep. Bobby Scott (VA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Betty McCollum (MN); Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN); Rep. Diana DeGette (CO); Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA); Rep. Artur Davis (AL); Rep. Hank Johnson (GA); Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO); Rep. John Lewis (GA); Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI); Rep. Gwen Moore (WI); Rep. Keith Ellison (MN); Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI); Rep. David Scott (GA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL); Lois Capps (CA); Steve Rothman (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Cheers for Rep. Mike Honda re: Watada

Here’s why I’m determined to find a candidate to beat Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) in 2008’s primary. His name is Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15). A man that spent his early years in an American Concentration camp, he steps up for Lt. Eheren Watada in a published OP-ED. No weasle words.

Lt. Watada has taken a solemn oath of allegiance as a military officer. With the order to deploy to Iraq, he found himself with a dilemma: Either follow this oath or risk the severe consequences of disobedience. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, this young man searched his soul and found himself unable to suppress his conscience and opposition to what he views as an immoral, illegal war.

There’s not much more, but there’s more.

Thanks for following me down. The dead-trees media that published his opinion disagrees with him.

His arguments are appealing, but unconvincing. As an officer, he’s in no position to refuse orders to go to Iraq. His change of mind and claims of conscience don’t excuse him duty.

Some folks have emailed me about how Tauscher isn’t so bad, after all, she’s a Democrat, yada, yada, yada. My point is that her district isn’t as conservative as Mike Honda’s, and Honda speaks out. (San Jose is like the Bay Area’s little slice of Orange county) Not to mention

I voted against giving President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq, and do not believe his justifications for taking us into war were even minimally adequate. As a duly elected member of Congress, I express my admiration for a young American who, in the same spirit, has heeded his conscience at tremendous risk to livelihood, reputation and personal freedom in order to right what he and the vast majority of his compatriots see as a tremendous wrong.

And the CA-10 deserves a Representative in the US House that will say out loud (or rather, in print)

At best, our president misled the nation on the rationale for going into Iraq. He has embroiled this great country in a cycle of brutality there that has grievously tarnished America’s international reputation, has further destabilized an already precarious Middle East and has taken the lives of more than 3,000 American fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

Follow the links to read the whole story. Anyone living in the CA-10, who do you know that’s electable?
Cross-posted on kos and my blog. See kos for the poll, I want a kinda-real sample