Continuing the theme of my earlier post, the hypocrisy of the Republicans' claims about their 'fiscal conservatism', of how their 'vaunted' regard for the interests of the taxpayer are more smoke than substance...
One thing I've noticed about the Republicans (and its been noticed by many before me!), their drive for fiscal conservatism usually involves driving right over programs that educate, benefit society as a whole, or even simply benefit America's living rooms more than its boardrooms.
For example, look at the amendments voted on today on HR3043, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008.
Graves (R-MO) - An amendment to reduce appropriations for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases by $125 million and redirect it to special education. [Failed 203 -224]
Hensarling (R-TX) - An amendment to reduce appropriations for Children and Families Services Programs by $8 million. [Failed 58 - 370]
Hensarling (R-TX) - An amendment to reduce appropriations for Children and Families Services Programs by $5 million. [Failed 80 - 347]
Hensarling (R-TX) (Good ol' Jeb was a busy boy today!) - An amendment to reduce appropriations for Aging Services Programs by $21.4 million. (Failed by voice vote)
Price (R-GA) - An amendment to reduce appropriations for School Improvement Programs (by transfer), and redirect $21 million to ESEA. [Note: ESEA is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, something of a precursor to No Child Left Behind (NCLB)] [Failed 149 - 274]
Garrett (R-NJ) - An amendment to reduce appropriations on Page 80, line 2, by $33,907,000. [Failed 74 - 352, 1 present]
Foxx (R-NC) - An amendment to reduce (by transfer) the Innovation and Improvement account by $10 million. [Failed 186 - 241]
Shadegg (R-AZ) - An amendment to reduce the Innovation and Improvement account by $10,695,000.
Westmoreland (R-GA) - An amendment to reduce the Innovation and Improvement account by $23,533,000.
Brady (R-TX) - An amendment to reduce the Safe Schools and Citizenship Education account by $72,674,000. [Failed by voice vote]
Garrett (R-NJ) - An amendment to reduce Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research account by $2,279,000.
Price (R-GA) - An amendment to reduce funding for the Student Financial Assistance account by $64,987,000.
Shadegg (R-AZ) - An amendment reduce to appropriations for the Corporation for National and Community Service. [Failed...]
Lamborn (R-CO) - An amendment to strike line 7 and all that follows through the comma on page 104, line 12.
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to be used for the Exploratorium, San Francisco, California, for its Bay Area Science Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Improvement Initiative.
Barton (R-TX) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for activities under section 241(a) of the Public Health Service Act. [Note: Sec. 241a of the Public Health Service Act concerns "...research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and impairments of man, including water purification, sewage treatment, and pollution of lakes and streams."]
Hensarling (R-TX) (He's a persistent one, isn't he?) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds be used for the Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, MN. [Failed by voice vote]
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the Burpee Museum, Rockford, Illinois, for educational programming and exhibits. [Failed by voice vote]
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for Rhode Island College, Providence, Rhode Island, for development of a Portuguese and Lusophone Studies Program. [Failed by voice vote]
Hensarling (R-TX) (Yup, him again) - An amendment prohibit the use of funds for the On Location Entertainment Industry Craft and Technician Training project, West Los Angeles College, Culver City, CA.
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the American Ballet Theatre, New York, New York, for educational activities.
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, South Carolina, for exhibits and curriculum.
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum, Lansing, Kansas, for educational and outreach programs.
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, for exhibits and community outreach. [Failed by voice vote]
Flake (R-AZ) - An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for the Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest, Forest, Virginia, for expansion of exhibits and outreach.
More were offered, and I'd go on, but they all failed, and the roll call votes weren't taken in the order that the amendments were offered. Linking up the amendments to the actual votes is getting confusing. :)
And the point is made.
Every one of their amendments went after an educational programs, enviromental research, or something else that definitely did NOT help a large corporate campaign contributor. One, proposed by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), even went after unions. His amendment would have barred "use of funds in the bill by the NLRB to recognize as the exclusive bargaining representative of employees any labor organization that has not been certified as such by the NLRB." It failed on a voice vote, but a roll call vote was demanded; that vote was not taken today.
Is it possible that the target of one of these amendments targeted some actual wasteful spending? Of course it is. I'd be shocked if there *wasn't* some wasteful spending in the largest appropriations bill; still, the Republicans are rather consistent about what they consider to be wasteful, and what they take a pass on.
I know that no Republican politicians read this blog, but if one did, I would say this to him/her:
If you want some real 'fiscal conservative' cred, try proposing amendments that would bar 'no-bid' contracts or giving contracts to companies that are run by large campaign contributors, or similarly fiscally responsible language.
Until then, they're just small-minded crooks soullessly undermining the future of American society while shilling for corporate interests.
BTW - It's not over. The Daily Leader, an email of the floor schedule from the office of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Majority Leader, contains the following tidbits:
Hensarling is going after the CDC and education for Native Hawaiians;
Pence (R-IN) is going after Planned Parenthood;
Westmoreland is trying to prevent "funds for the publication of certain student loan applications";
King (R-IA) is going after immigrants and the Sundance Film Festival;
Ryan (R-WI) is going after the CDC, too.
Maybe, just maybe, they'll let an actual vote on the underlying bill take place tomorrow.
Or maybe not.
They could just say that "the show must go on," and propose more amendments.