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  1. #1
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
    Piggybank Cop is offline Nobody important.
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    War bill includes tempting projects

    Democrats’ tactic poses dilemma for some lawmakers
    By Jonathan Weisman
    The Washington Post
    Updated: 9:45 a.m. ET March 20, 2007

    House Democratic leaders are offering billions in federal funds for lawmakers' pet projects large and small to secure enough votes this week to pass an Iraq funding bill that would end the war next year.

    So far, the projects -- which range from the reconstruction of New Orleans levees to the building of peanut storehouses in Georgia -- have had little impact on the tally. For a funding bill that establishes tough new readiness standards for deploying combat forces and sets an Aug. 31, 2008, deadline to bring the troops home, votes do not come cheap.

    But at least a few Republicans and conservative Democrats who otherwise would vote "no" remain undecided, as they ponder whether they can leave on the table millions of dollars for constituents by opposing the $124 billion war funding bill due for a vote on Thursday.

    "She hates the games the Democrats are playing," said Guy Short, chief of staff to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), a staunch conservative who remains undecided, thanks to billions of dollars in the bill for drought relief and agriculture assistance. "But Representative Musgrave was just down in southeastern Colorado, talking to ranchers and farmers, and they desperately need this assistance."

    Democratic leaders say the domestic spending in the bill reflects the pent-up demand from lawmakers who last year could not win funding for programs that had bipartisan support such as disaster assistance.

    But in a formal veto statement last night, the White House denounced what it called "excessive and extraneous non-emergency spending." With unusually caustic and combative language, the statement dismissed provisions of the bill as "unconscionable," and said it "would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk" and "embolden our enemies."

    As the opposition heats up, the Democrats have had some successes in their furious search for support. Yesterday, MoveOn.org announced that with 85 percent of its members backing the bill, the liberal activist group will begin working for its passage. That could prove to be a major boost for Democratic leaders struggling to keep in line the most liberal wing of the party, which wants to cut off funds for the war by the end of this year.

    A few Republicans are at least considering a vote for the bill, including Reps. Wayne T. Gilchrest and Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland. Some conservative Democrats who had been expected to vote no on Thursday are wavering.

    Hurricane recovery, peanut storage
    To get them off the fence and on the bill, Democrats have a key weapon at their disposal: cold, hard cash. The bill contains billions for agriculture and drought relief, children's health care and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery.

    For Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), there is $25 million for spinach growers hurt by last year's E. coli scare. For three conservative Democrats in Georgia, there is $75 million for peanut storage. For lawmakers from the bone-dry West, there is $500 million for wildfire suppression. An additional $120 million is earmarked for shrimp and Atlantic menhaden fishermen.

    So far, at least in public pronouncements, the $21 billion in funding beyond President Bush's request has earned Democrats nothing but scorn.

    For more than a year, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R) has tried unsuccessfully to secure federal funds to prevent salt water from intruding on rice fields in his lowland Louisiana district. So it came as a surprise last week when Boustany found $15 million in the House's huge war spending bill for his rice farmers. He hadn't even asked that the bill include it.


    "It gives me no satisfaction to vote against measures that I have been working for since even before [Hurricane] Katrina, but I cannot in good conscience vote for a bill that does this to our troops," Boustany said yesterday, decrying what he called the "cheap politics" of using disaster aid to win votes on a measure this controversial.


    House GOP leaders have accused Democratic leaders of flagrant vote-buying.

    "The war supplemental legislation voted out of the Appropriations Committee last week was an exercise in arrogance that demonstrated the utter contempt the majority has for the American people and their hard-earned tax dollars," fumed Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.). "We are at war with a ruthless global terrorist network, yet the appropriators allocated hundreds of millions in funds to gratuitous pork projects."

    Even some Democrats say the issue of Iraq has become far too heated to be conducive to vote-buying.

    "The profile and urgency of this Iraq vote really doesn't lend itself to these kinds of side deals," said Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), who has pushed drought relief for more than a year.

    But the success of adding the spending measures will not really be known until the votes are tallied. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), who is running for his state's governorship, has conspicuously refused to say whether he can vote against $2.9 billion for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery, including $1.3 billion for New Orleans levee repairs.

    Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), usually a reliable vote for the Republican leadership, is undecided as he ponders how he can vote against drought relief he has worked for months to secure. The same goes for Musgrave, whose district has been devastated by drought.

    Democrats who may well have turned solidly against the bill are still weighing their options. Last year, Rep. John Barrow (Ga.) circulated a petition trying to get Republican House leaders to schedule a vote on drought relief. This year, Barrow's advocacy has yielded $3.7 billion worth of agricultural disaster assistance in the war spending bill, which he bragged about last week in a statement to constituents. The conservative Democrat, who narrowly escaped defeat in November, is now undecided on the Iraq bill.

    High-stakes showdown
    For the undecided, these days running up to the vote will be difficult. The vote has become a high-stakes showdown between a Democratic leadership that has staked considerable political capital on the bill and a Republican leadership demanding that its members stay united in opposition.

    But votes against home-state interests will not go unnoticed. When Appropriations Committee member Rodney Alexander (R-La.) voted against the bill in committee last week, Democratic Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.) shot off a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune declaring, "When [Gulf Coast] assistance is on the fast track, Rep. Alexander chose to stand with his party rather than with the people of his region."

    North Dakota's Republican lieutenant governor, Jack Dalrymple, was in Washington last week, lobbying for agriculture disaster assistance. "What it's about is the impact on the economy of an entire region," he told the Associated Press. "When you come down to the human level, there is no question that there are farmers meeting with their bankers right now, and whether or not they can farm this year is dependent on whether this program is approved."


    © 2007 The Washington Post Company
    URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17696092/


    Goddamn politicians should be tried for High Treason and shot.


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  2. #2
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Especially any Republicans who vote for the bill - You expect that behavior from the damn Democrats. That's why they're Democrats.

    At the very least, the Republican Party should totally lock the cross-voters out of any positions of influence on committees and such - And the RNC should not help fund their campaigns.

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  3. #3
    countybear's Avatar
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    This is coming from the same party which rants about the National Debt... perhaps that is just at issue when money isn't spent to buy off other crooks to their way of thinking.

    They should all just leave Washington, and go back to their law practices of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe.

    Last edited by countybear; 03-20-07 at 12:36 PM.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  4. #4
    dadyswat's Avatar
    dadyswat is offline Officer First Class
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    Well where the ecomomy is concerned, watched a program Saturday morning that discussed the Democrat idea of a new direction. Basically they said the only way from UP is DOWN. Get ready for the tax man.

  5. #5
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Yeah, if you make over $40,000 per year, you're considered "rich", so they take half of it away to buy votes for themselves (it's about half if you consider all the hidden taxes built into the prices on stuff you buy).

    All those pork-barrel programs DO buy votes - People who never thought about voting in their life turn out at the polls in droves when they think there's a buck to be had for themselves!!!

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  6. #6
    Jackalope's Avatar
    Jackalope is offline Yell O
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    If we had term limits, this would be less of an issue. There'd be no need to buy any votes if you can't run again. We also need the give the President a Line Item Veto, so he doesn't have any excuse to sign bills that are 48% bad.
    "I'm not a coward,
    I've just never been tested
    I'd like to think that if I was,
    I would pass"
    ~Mighty Mighty Bosstones~

  7. #7
    BEB
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    I'm for rewriting the House and Senate rules to ban earmarks. One item per bill. I'm also for the Read the Bills Act which would require lawmakers to actually read the laws they're voting on. Heck, they don't even have to read, it would be read to them.

    http://www.downsizedc.org/read_the_laws.shtml

    The highlights :
    * Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.

    * Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

    * Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

    * Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

    * Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.

    * Congress cannot waive these requirements.

  8. #8
    dadyswat's Avatar
    dadyswat is offline Officer First Class
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    I thought they changed that from $40,000.00 per year to "You have a job".

  9. #9
    Doc_Holliday's Avatar
    Doc_Holliday is offline California Dreaming...
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    oh come now dadyswat...havent you been listening to pelosi...we have no jobs, we are in the worst economy in 100 years, we cant win in Iraq, and she is about to put forth a bill announcing that it has been determined only REPUBLICAN autos are responsible for global warming, and if you dont sign it she will..errr, I mean YOU will be killing your grandkids kids.
    500 fights, that's the number I figured when I was a kid. 500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point. You get past the silliness of it all. But then, after, you realize that's what you are.


  10. #10
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadyswat View Post
    I thought they changed that from $40,000.00 per year to "You have a job".
    I stand corrected

    PS - Rich people are not liked in Democrat political circles because it takes more to buy their vote. Interesting that most of those law makers who hate rich people are rich themselves, however

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  11. #11
    dadyswat's Avatar
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    Ok, Doc I stand corrected but she got here minimum wage bill through (I guess her goal is have us all at minimum wage and anything above that the tax man should get, unless you work for one the companies she has interests in then they can pay below minimum wage) that way we can have universal health care and pay more social security to the immigrants who haven't paid anything.

    Oops I forgot, retired cops don't get social security if you have your pension, Clinton took care of that. Windfall Elimination Provision. That's so all the social secuirty taxes that I've paid are there to give Congress the fully funded pension.

    OK, enough rant!

 

 

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