Kline Dissents as GOP House Approves Fire Aid

John Kline (R-MN-02) rarely issues statements explaining his votes as most of the time, Mr. Kline is simply following Party leader orders.

But there are some issues where the party does not vote in lockstep … and that’s when voters can really see the “real John Kline”.

Disaster relief funding has become controversial. In the end it seems that enough people can agree to help out the affected areas … but there are those that surprise you. John Kline’s opposition to funding after the I-35 bridge collapse still amazes … as was the case recently Virginia’s Eric Cantor and Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn wanted offsets after disasters hit their states.

But what if offsets are provided, would you still vote against funding ?

Well, John Kline did.

It was a simple switch to move monies within the Homeland Security appropriation :

Mr. BEN RAY LUJÁN of New Mexico :
Madam Chair, in what has been one of the worst drought years in the recorded history of my home State of New Mexico, we’re already feeling the effects of another severe fire season. Already, more than 18,000 acres of forest have burned as a result of two fires caused by downed power lines, and those numbers are growing as we speak. Hundreds of homes have been threatened and families have been evacuated. In 2011, during the Las Conchas fire, we lost 150,000 acres of forest to wildfire, again caused by a downed power line.
The importance of disaster preparedness is key to saving human lives and property. My amendment today would make available an additional $10 million for State and local grant programs to ensure local towns and communities can be prepared for catastrophic wildfires before they hit. This amendment is cost neutral.
While there may be concerns by some of my colleagues and even opposition, I would ask, Madam Chair, that we work together to understand that when there are communities burning that we reach out and we try to do what we can to help these innocent individuals.
My amendment would also allow local utilities to take preventive measures for the causes and impacts of wildfires. We must do all we can to ensure that communities have the resources they need to address the dangers and damages of wildfire before and after catastrophic events occur.

The only opposing voice to the amendment was that the Administration should make the funding decisions — to “examine the intelligence and risk and puts scarce dollars where they are needed most–whether it’s a port, rail, surveillance or access in hardened projects, or whether it is to high-risk urban areas or to States” … which seems kinda odd after Congress just went through rejecting decisions made by the Secretary of Transportation regarding sequester funding.

The Luján amendment embraces the Power of Congress as established in Article One of the Constitution.

The House overwhelmingly voted in favor Representative Luján’s amendment … but John Kline said NO.

Why would John Kline object ?

It’s about being prepared … it was funding for next fiscal year … Wildfires are a problem … for many of us they are just a highlight on the television news of some faraway place like California, New Mexico or Texas, but to those that experienced the 50 acres burned in the Boundary Waters near Cummings Lake in 2012 or the more than 150 acres that burned in the BWCA in 2011, they know it is real.
And they must wonder who John Kline represents.