Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Three Amigos vote against HOPE

Coming soon to an upscale multiplex near you (no poor people allowed, other than those working there for minimum wage)...Jeff Flake, Trent Franks, and John Shadegg in "Three Amigos." Watch as these three soon-to-be out of work actors pretending to be public servants fight against public works projects that help the poor and middle classes...

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives considered and passed H.R. 3524, the HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2008. The Act authorizes grants to housing agencies to "revitalize severely distressed public housing developments." (CBO analysis)

Well, the House, except for Jeff Flake (R-AZ6), Trent Franks (R-AZ2), John Shadegg (R-AZ3), and 127 other Republicans.

Note - the final vote for passage was 271 - 130. All of the Democratic members of the AZ delegation and Rick Renzi voted in favor; the aforementioned Flake, Shadegg, and Franks voted against.

Before voting against HOPE, the three amigos supported four failed amendments that would have gutted or at least weakened the impact of the underlying bill. They voted for -

...the Neugebauer Amendment, which would have change the requirement that housing units demolished under a HOPE grant be replaced on a one for one basis to requiring the one-for-one match only if the units were occupied immediately prior to demolition. This is important in places like New Orleans where there are efforts to condemn public housing facilities and replace them with fewer, but larger, for-profit units. With a single stroke, this plan both inhibits the return to N.O. of poor black residents and generates greater profits for developer. (failed 181 - 227)

...the Sessions Amendment, which would have maintained HUD's authority to issue "demolition only" grants. Hmm..."demolition only"...that's an interesting concept for a bill that is supposed to be about renewing and revitalizing public housing. (Failed 186 - 221)

...the King Amendment, which would have barred using HOPE funds to pay for wages mandated by the Davis-Bacon Act (aka - prevailing wage.) I suppose this could be something of an improvement for Rep. King (R-IA). Normally, he spends his time railing about foreign immigrants. It seems that he is setting his sights a little higher now - the American skilled worker. (Failed 136 - 268)

Did I mention that King called the prevailing wage law "racist"?? What a schmuck.

...and the Capito Amendment, which would have removed the mandatory 'green' building standards and made them optional. (Failed 169 - 240)

It's obvious that these three have given up any pretense that they represent the interests of their constituents.

People don't matter to them as much as ideology does.

...OK, OK - Shadegg represents Paradise Valley, which doesn't need HOPE as much as it does clean drinking water. :)

Final note: to those of you who object to the appellation "Three Amigos" for Flake, Franks, and Shadegg, that perhaps that's a little to harshly partisan, keep this in mind -

I could very easily have nicknamed them the "Three Stooges."


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