Your tax dollars at work. The Vikings' stadium reportedly $50 million over budget. Boy, didn't see that one coming… pic.twitter.com/72tZ1BNiqO
— Jason Lewis (@Jason2CD) July 23, 2015
Speaking of Your tax dollars at work, last week was another costly week for the taxpayers wondering when the Republican-controlled Congress would start holding hearings and moving legislation.
For all practical purposes, the House was not in session … okay … Four minutes on Tuesday to gavel in and name Representative Joe Kennedy to the Kennedy Commission for the Performing Arts … and six minutes on Friday to assemble for the Trump inauguration ceremonies.
For that, Jason Lewis and the other Members all “earned” their basic weekly salary … $3,346.15 … every week regardless if the House is holding hearings and taking roll call votes or not … whether they sponsor any bills or not … whether they are golfing in some fundraising event or just calling up potential donors. Their paid is guaranteed.
For the record, the Clerk of the House reported that last week, Jason Lewis did not record any votes nor sponsor any bills (while there were no recorded votes, others did sponsor bills).
Meanwhile, President Trump had offered an interesting Inauguration Address … such as, “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost” … prompting the Strib to report that Jason Lewis called Friday’s festivities “a unique American experiment.”
Since there were no new bills sponsored last week, what was the last bill that Jason Lewis did sponsor ?
H.R. 534 The U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act which calls for the United States to rejoin the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international organization in charge of overseeing World Expos.
Yep, this bill that had died in the previous session … but is back this session with Tom Emmer in the lead and Jason Lewis as one of its original co-sponsors.
Surprised ? Talk about “a unique American experiment.”
Gosh, does anyone remember 2009 when Chicago bid for the Olympics ?
Does anyone remember what Jason Lewis said about that ?
It seemed that every conservative media figures celebrated when the International Olympic Committee’s eliminated Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and used the event to bash President Obama, Glenn Beck called the news that Chicago’s bid had failed “so sweet,” while Rush Limbaugh declared himself “happy” and “gleeful” with the decision.
Was the reaction because it was Chicago and President Obama … or was it because they feared that the taxpayers would eventually end up footing the bill … and holding Olympics were not a function of the federal government ?
It isn’t that America hasn’t hosted World Expos before … and hadn’t been a paying member of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) before.
While the United States helped found the BIE, it is no longer a member of the international organization.
Consider that Americans interest in world fairs waned after the underwhelming 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN, and the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair in New Orleans.
In 1995, a Washington think tank castigated the annual BIE dues of $25,000 as “pork-barrel spending” and in 2001, under the Bush administration, the United States defaulted on its membership by simply skipping its dues. Other countries, for example, Canada used the same budget constraints logic to withdraw from the BIE.
So, “Representatives” Emmer and Lewis are pushing to get back into the BIE … which is possible … just pay the back dues … but hey what’s $400,000 in Washington spending ? And H.R. 534 is necessary because Congress specifically forbade the U.S. State Department and the United States Information Agency (USIA) to budget expenditures on world’s fairs.
So why haven’t there been any World’s Expos in America since 1984 … well, consider this story from The New Orleans Advocate
The federal government, suddenly in the grip of Reaganomics, proved to be a stingy public partner.
The federal government under President Ronald Reagan slashed the expected U.S. participation in the New Orleans event to $10 million, less than half of its contribution to the Knoxville fair.
The $350 million enterprise was, in the short term, a public financial disaster so spectacular — the first world’s fair ever to go bankrupt — that no world’s fair has been attempted in the United States since then.
In April, a month before opening, it needed a $10 million loan from the Louisiana Legislature. Six weeks later, state officials consented to another $17.5 million bailout.
In November, a week before closing, the fair toppled into bankruptcy, declaring that it owed $98 million to 867 creditors.
It ruined or damaged hundreds of contractors and subcontractors who helped build it, as well as small vendors who invested in its shops and stands.
Somehow for the man whose radio persona was one of bashing politicians over stadiums … and now is pushing for a World’s Fair (which could be in Texas or California not just Minnesota) … well, “Boy, didn’t see that one coming“.
Ya gotta wonder why Jason Lewis would have sponsored this ?
Is it the pressure to appease his Minnesota colleague, Tom Emmer ?
Would either of them had sponsored this legislation if it was being brought by Members promoting other states ? (Although neither were in the House then, previous attempts by Members from Florida, California and Indiana have been floated before.)
Is it a recognition that some prominent Minnesotans are pushing EXPO2023 and his support might sway their campaign contributions ?
And Jason Lewis support may not mean much if the bill never gets a stand-alone vote … but since Jason Lewis sits on the Budget Committee, he could easily include provisions in the budget to allow the federal government to re-enter the BIE.
Yep, just a few weeks in Washington and Jason Lewis is already joining the Washington crowd … and leaving us to contemplate President Trump’s concern — “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost” … and realize that someone did not earn his $3,346.15 weekly paycheck.