Gosh, does anyone remember when John Kline (R-MN-02) ranted on about “Dereliction of Duty” ?
Congress Guilty of Dereliction of Duty
May 26, 2010
This week, I delivered remarks to my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Congress’ failure to produce a federal budget. Formulating a budget is the first step for any family or small business trying to right its fiscal ship. If Congress is to make the type of tough but necessary decisions to get its fiscal house in order, a budget should be first and foremost on the agenda
That was when the Democrats had the majority in the House … but John Boehner promised things would be different under his “Pillars of a New Majority” … yep, no earmarks, strong committee-produced bills and a return to getting things done on time.
Speaker Paul Ryan promoted “regular order” meaning that spending is to be kept on budget and that bills move forward through in a timely manner.
Today, we don’t hear John Kline ranting on that the Republican-controlled House is “Guilty of Dereliction of Duty” … even though they have not passed a BUDGET … that was due April 15th.
No, the GOP-led House is passing appropriations first … like last week, when it approved H.R. 5293 : Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017.
Why would they do that ?
After all, “Formulating a budget is the first step for any family” … but if you first approve buying the tickets for next winter’s Caribbean cruise, it makes it easier to tell your college-age child why they have to take out a student loan.
So it is in the House … approve the Defense spending first so that when cuts have to be made the only things left are Pell Grants, funding for special education and related services to children with disabilities, infrastructure spending, Zika funding, etc.
So, let’s look at H.R. 5293 : Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017.
There should be some concern … In order to make Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding available for base programs, the bill only provides enough funding to fully support the warfighter until the end of April 2017 … sending our military men and women into some of the most dangerous places on earth–Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria–without ensuring that we provide mission support, or to pay their salaries for a full year, is irresponsible.
WHY isn’t John Kline ranting that the Republican-controlled House is “Guilty of Dereliction of Duty” ?
But enough about John Kline … he is retiring … instead the focus must go to Erik Paulsen, the next senior Republican who should be able to offer direction to the Republican-controlled House.
After all, Erik Paulsen is the #MathGuy … constantly reminding potential voters that Washington must spend LESS
Well … first thing that the #MathGuy has to know is that the bill will spend MORE than the previous year – an increase of $3 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level … including increased weapon program funding and authorized billions of “unfunded priorities.”
Hmmm … in the old days, “unfunded priorities” would be known as “earmarks” … you know, something a Member of Congress would insert into a bill that benefited a particular company or industry.
Yep, the committee had approved a bill that increased spending … next, it was up to the full House now to consider amendments before voting.
Surely, someone would step up and offer an amendment to reduce spending ?
Well, up stepped Erik Paulsen with an amendment … to INCREASE funding by $25 million for Strategic Radiation Hardened Microelectronics Trusted Foundry Sustainment.
Hmmm … probably something that you are not familiar with, but it is something that Honeywell knows a lot about … and guess who just made a visit to Honeywell ?
Toured the Coon Rapids Honeywell Aerospace facility where they make a lot of the "black boxes" that go in airplanes pic.twitter.com/PnvTZsVPam
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) June 17, 2016
#MathGuy Paulsen’s amendment was approved by a voice vote … gosh, how could the House Armed Service Committee have missed this funding need ???? Good thing that “Representative” Paulsen was able to step forward.
But heck, what’s $25 million when the bill also authorized $2.3 billion more than the administration requested ?
Oh sure, there were other amendments that could have helped offset some of those increases … like a decrease funding for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon program by $75.8 million … finding funds to purchase Long-Range Standoff weapons will be challenging with the Budget Control Act in place, but the Republican-led House doesn’t seem to be too concerned about that. The first Long-Range Standoff weapon will likely reach completion in 2026 … and was the subject of an OpEd “Kill the new cruise missile” written by former Defense officials. The House took their vote and #MathGuy Paulsen joined all but five of his Republican colleagues to say, “NO, we gotta fund it”.
Oh, there were also some non-spending amendments … like whether the military services should be allowed “to recruit certain legal immigrants whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest.” Erik Paulsen voted NO … but enough Republicans disagreed, so the military will be allowed to pursue the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program.
Yet, surely, if they couldn’t cut a specific program … maybe they could just consider a “general cut” … after all, the Republican-controlled House was pursuing an overall spending increase.
How about to reducing the total amount appropriated by 1% excluding military personnel and the Defense Health Program account (which is getting a $109 million increase). That’s right, the military which will get a 2.1% salary increase would not be affected … nor would their health care … but other programs would have to get a “haircut” … a meager 1%. That amendment garnered the support of only fifteen Republicans … and that did not include #MathGuy Paulsen.
So after voting to reject cutting his own legislative office budget by 1% (instead voting an increase of $73 million for Capitol operations), Erik Paulsen votes for more military spending … yet he will continue to push the message that “Washington” spends too much (failing to acknowledge that he is Washington) … all setting up that the only cuts that will be left to “balance” the budget will have to come from the other programs … you know, the ones we need.
Third District voters have been sold a strong marketing message from Erik Paulsen … his votes prove that he will protect the status quo … and reward his corporate benefactors.
Meanwhile, Second District voters have heard the complaints that Congress is guilty of Dereliction of Duty … well, until the Republicans assumed the Speaker’s gavel where they maintain the status quo and protect their corporate benefactors.
This November, voters will have a chance to reset Congress … the election will be dominated by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, yet Congress has the power of the purse … focus must be directed at who you want in Congress — someone who works for their corporate benefactors or someone who will work for the people ?
Do you side with Erik #MathGuy Paulsen or Terri Bonoff ?
Do you want Angie Craig or Matt Erickson / John Howe / Jason Lewis or Darlene Miller ?
Elections Matter !