Members of Congress get awards all the time … but which award should voters value more ?
A.) Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) “Hero of the Taxpayer” award
B.) Council for Citizens Against Government Waste “Taxpayer Hero Award”
C.) National Tax Limitation Committee “Tax Fighter Award”
D.) The Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award
“Politics in Washington is a continuing battle between taxpayers and the special interest spending lobbies on Capitol Hill who want to steal more of the taxpayers’ money to spend on their projects,” said taxpayer advocate and president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), Grover Norquist. “Congressman Kline has chosen wisely to side with the American Taxpayers.”
After the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), an organization whose mission is to advocate for the elimination of waste and inefficiency in government named Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) ‘Taxpayer Hero,’ Minnesota’s Third District Congressman reacted : “It’s critical that the federal government cut wasteful spending, stop bailouts and operate under a balanced budget. I look forward to continuing to stand up for American taxpayers and working with my colleagues in Congress to restore fiscal discipline in Washington.”
NTLC President Lewis K. Uhler presented the National Tax Limitation Committee “Tax Fighter Award” to Minnesota’s Sixth District Congresswoman Bachmann, saying “Congresswoman Bachmann’s” votes on tax and spending issues in the 111th Congress earned her an ‘A’ grade and the Tax Fighter Award
Congresswoman Bachmann has been a major asset to taxpayers across America during her congressional service, having earned the Tax fighter Award consistently in every session of Congress. She has had the courage to challenge the orthodoxy of Washington spending and earmarks.” concluded Uhler.
If fighting for lower taxes is the goal, then Representatives Kline, Paulsen and Bachmann should just be called “Hero” instead of “Representative” … but as Winston Churchill stated, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” … thus, question should be : is our deficit headed in the right direction ?
The “strategy” is echoed in press releases, awards and extreme partisanship – all that do nothing to address the serious fiscal problems that America faces … this is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem, it is an American problem.
Obviously, American has plenty of self-promoting “Heroes” … but not enough Patriots.
And if it going to be resolved by Democrats and Republicans, well, they would be known as Economic Patriots … well at least the Concord Coalition recognizes that when they named their 2012 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award winners.
“We are honoring Republican and Democratic House members who this year put the national interest above political partisanship,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Instead of pursuing narrow agendas, they put everything on the table, made tough choices and called for shared sacrifice. Their plan could rein in projected deficits and put the United States on a more responsible and sustainable course – one that would protect our nation’s strength and shield future generations of Americans from crippling national debt.”
“This is what responsible budgeting is all about,” Bixby continued. “It is also what political leadership is all about. We salute the courage it took for these 38 members of Congress to vote for this plan in the face of strong opposition from many congressional colleagues and a wide range of powerful special interests. We will need more such courage and leadership in the months and years ahead.”
The good news is that a Member of the Minnesota delegation has been named an Economic Patriot along with 37 other Members of the House.
And maybe that’s the problem … only one Minnesotan …
Funny thing is that I cannot find a press release from the named Minnesotan … so here are the honorees :
Rob Andrews (D-NJ-01)
Charlie Bass (R-NH-02)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA-03)
Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY-25)
John Carney (D-DE- At Large)
James Clyburn (D-SC-06)
Jim Cooper (D-TN-05)
Jim Costa (D-CA-20)
Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)
Charlie Dent (R-PA-15)
Bob Dold (R-IL-10)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02)
Chris Gibson (R-NY-20)
Jim Himes (D-CT-04)
Tim Johnson (R-IL-15)
Ron Kind (D-WI-03)
Rick Larson (D-WA-02)
Steven LaTourette (R-OH-14)
Dan Lipinski (D-IL-15)
Cynthia Marie Lummis (R-WY-At Large)
Pat Meehan (R-PA-07)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-07)
Collin Peterson (D-MN-07)
Tom Petri (R-WI-06)
Todd Platts (R-PA-19)
Jared Polis (D-CO-02)
Mike Quigley (D-IL-05)
Tom Reed (R-NY-29)
Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05)
Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13)
John Shimkus (R-IL-19)
Heath Shuler (D-NC-11)
Mike Simpson (R-ID-02)
Pete Visclosky (D-IN-01)
Mel Watt (D-NC- 12)
Frank Wolf (R-VA-10)
Don Young (R-AL-At Large)
And if you want an example of what some of these Members feel about the current state of gridlock in Congress, then last Thursday provides the answers.
The debate … the farm bill.
LEONARD BOSWELL :
Since July 11, I have expressed my support for a farm bill every chance I have had. I hope for a conference the same way I hope for rain. However, the Republican leadership has taken every chance they get to block debate on the 5-year farm bill.
It is clear this is not a perfect bill; but these happen to be imperfect times, and I believe we must respond to the drought that is impacting more than half of our Nation, as was depicted by the chairman a few moments ago.
I have reservations regarding the cuts to conservation, particularly since conservation programs have been one option to help feed the cattle under our current drought. Furthermore, if we could bring the farm bill to the floor, we could respond to drought issues, we could debate issues that are critical to all Americans, and we could advance a bill that saves tens of billions of dollars.
JIM COSTA :
If we were serious about helping agriculture make it through this drought, we would have brought up the bipartisan farm bill, which came out of the United States Senate, passed the House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 35-11, and followed regular order.
The fact is that instead of working on a conference committee, as we should be doing at this time because we certainly have had enough time to do that, we are voting on a patchwork measure that, in my opinion, is more about politics than policy and, more likely than not, will go nowhere in the United States Senate.
COLIN PETERSON :
Today is the last session before the August recess, and once again the House will adjourn without finishing its work. It’s no wonder nobody likes Congress anymore. Members will now have to explain to their constituents why the House did not even try to consider a new 5-year farm bill. Frankly, we’re in this position because the House leadership has refused to bring the 5-year farm bill to the floor.
Working in a bipartisan tradition on the Agriculture Committee, Chairman Lucas and I have crafted a new 5-year farm bill making many important and needed reforms. I appreciate the efforts of the chairman in trying to enact a long-term policy, and I know that if he had his way, as he just said, we would have already passed a farm bill. The chairman and I were ready to mark up our bill at the end of June, but the Republican leadership stepped in and said that they wanted us to consider the ag approps bill. So we held off for a couple of weeks, and then they didn’t even bring the ag approps bill to the floor. The committee completed their work then on July 11, passing a new bill, a 5-year bill, 35-11 in a bipartisan vote. But rather than bring this bill to the floor, the House instead focused on messaging bills that are going nowhere.
I understand that this is an election year and the majority wants to promote their message, and I’ve even voted for some of these bills. You would think that after delaying us for 2 weeks, the leadership could have found 2 days on the House calendar to consider the committee’s farm bill before the August recess.
Instead of bringing up the 5-year farm bill, the Republican leadership last week put forth a 1-year farm bill extension hoping to delay action until the next Congress, with hopes, for some people, that they’re going to dismantle the farm and food safety nets. Fortunately, under intense opposition from those in agriculture and others, the leadership had to pull the bill. This brings us to today’s consideration of H.R. 6233. This measure will provide some assistance to a few livestock producers affected by drought conditions across the country. Providing assistance to livestock producers, primarily cattle and sheep, is necessary and important, but this is not a comprehensive disaster package. Dairy and specialty crop producers are going to be left hurting, and there’s no assistance for pork and poultry producers.
The Ag Committee’s farm bill not only includes the livestock provision we’re considering today, it also strengthens the farm safety net on a wide-ranging list of commodities. The 5-year farm bill will do a better job of providing certainty for American agriculture and assistance during this period of drought.
Additionally, I have concerns about the conservation cuts that are used to pay for this assistance. I don’t think cutting conservation programs to offset the cost of disaster is the right approach. If there was more time, maybe we could find a better way to do this. But in the rush of putting this bill together, it didn’t give us the necessary time to explore all of the options. This is yet another reason that I think bringing up a 5-year bill makes more sense.
It’s just mystifying to me why House leaders can’t take “yes” for an answer. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from the other side complaints about the Senate not being able to get our bills passed. We passed a lot of bills, most of which I supported, that are over in the Senate and they never took them up. Now the Senate has passed a bill, and this may be the only time that we will ever be able to get a farm bill through the Senate. They passed it on a bipartisan basis. We passed it on a bipartisan basis. Now the leadership doesn’t want to bring it up. I don’t understand it.
The farm economy is the one part of the economy that is actually working, doing well, has been solid for the last few years. This is due in part, I believe, to the strong farm bill that we passed in ’08. Weathering a natural disaster without the certainty of a 5-year bill could jeopardize one of the bright spots we have in this economy.
With all that said, I do recognize the effects the drought is having on our farmers, and I will vote in favor of H.R. 6233. However, this bill is a sad substitute for what is really needed–a long-term farm policy. So I’ll continue to urge my colleagues to bring up the House agriculture 5-year farm bill and to ensure that all producers will have necessary assistance during these times of disaster.
Mr. Speaker, I’m going to support this bill. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not what we should be doing.
People need to understand that this is not going to solve any problems for anybody over August, other than the political problem that they have where they go home and can’t point to anything that got done, so they’ll be able to say they voted for a bill.
This bill is not going anyplace in the other body. They have passed through the other body a bipartisan bill that has a better disaster provision in it than what we’re considering here today. Their position is my position, and that is that we should be moving this bill and getting it enacted into law.
So, out of my friendship and respect for the chairman, I am supporting this bill. But I think he’ll probably agree with me that we need to get this bill to conference. We need to get it moved. We need to get it done so we can get it in place by September 30, so producers can get what they really need out of this bill, and that is a long-term policy they know they can count on.
Minnesota needs more Patriots and less self-promoting Heroes that keep pushing to satisfy their Party Managers wishes … sadly, too many of the Patriots who will be honored have already decided not to return next term.