Which Erik Paulsen will Third District voters get next ?
For years, it was Erik “The Fiscal Conservative” Paulsen who tell his kids the water was safe to drink.
But today, it is Erik “The Environmentalist” Paulsen willing to take on President Trump.
Who will he be on Election Day ?
Obviously, there is an image makeover going on … so maybe rather than watching the commercials, let’s look at last week’s votes.
(BTW did you hear that Norm Coleman has raised a record $51 million in the second quarter — including $30 million from one donor ? Coleman has already established an office in Minnesota’s Third District to help Erik.)
So what did the House address last week ?
Yep, they approved renaming a Post Office after Harmon Killebrew … but they must have done something more … right ?
Oh, yeah, they took two votes to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Buried within H. R. 6147 (the FY19 appropriations package to fund the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Treasury Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission) were two amendments addressing ObamaCare.
Amendment : Prohibits Federal Funds from being used by the Office of Personnel Management to administer the Multi-State Plan program.
Multi-state plans were intended to drive competition on the health care exchanges with the idea that every State should have at least two plans for consumers to choose.
The vote was passed on essentially a party line vote although eight Republicans broke from party leadership to vote NO, Congressman Paulsen was not one of them.
Amendment : Prohibit the use of funds for District of Columbia’s Health Insurance Requirement.
The District had enacted a law requiring, beginning in 2019, that D.C. residents maintain individual health insurance coverage or else face a local tax penalty. The law was passed in response to Congress repealing the Obamacare individual mandate in the PaulsenTaxCut law. Remember that Congress essentially has veto power over anything the District’s citizens wish to do … so they can just say NO to a healthcare insurance mandate.
The vote was a partyline vote although four Republicans broke from party leadership to vote NO, Congressman Paulsen was not one of them.
No image rebranding here … Congressman Paulsen firmly opposes the Affordable Care Act … no matter how many people depend on it.
The real crux of the bill was funding for the Interior Department and EPA … something that voters may be able to test the validity of the Erik “The Environmentalist” Paulsen rebranding.
First, the bill presented for final debate was a disappointment to the League of Conservation Voters who advocated a NO vote :
H.R. 6147, which includes the House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, slashes or inadequately funds our nation’s critical environmental safeguards and investments.
The bill deeply cuts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as many of the agency’s civil servants and public health safeguards, thus weakening the agency’s ability to protect our air, water, and climate.
H.R. 6147 also includes harmful cuts to essential conservation efforts carried out by the Department of the Interior, including a $65 million cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), our nation’s best parks program.
H.R. 6147 would also slash funding for protecting our nation’s most imperiled wildlife nearly in half.
Additionally, H.R. 6147 contains numerous anti-environmental policy riders that have no place in a spending bill. These poison pill riders include provisions repealing the Clean Water Rule that protects the drinking water of one in three people in this country and attacking protections for wildlife such as the greater sage-grouse. These riders ultimately prevent efforts to implement core laws and policies that protect public health, undermine environmental review and public input, and protect our nation’s lands and waters.
Another group weighing in was the National Resources Defense Council
Once again the Republican leadership, especially in the House, is advancing a Big Polluter Agenda to undermine just about every basic environmental protection current law provides to the American people. It appears no environmental law is safe from the demands of corporate polluters and their cheerleaders in the Republican Party.
So clearly, the newly branded Erik “The Environmentalist” Paulsen would be a sure NO vote … right ?
Well, there were some amendments before the final vote.
For example, to prevents funds from being used to carry out any rule-making on the status of the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
[FYI The Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a species in the grouse family, is slightly smaller and paler than the Greater Prairie Chicken … and if you haven’t followed the “political debate” that has dragged the Pentagon, veterans groups and Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead against the Republican House, it is pretty sad (more here and here.)]
OK … this should be a simple one … after all, we know that Congressman Paulsen has sponsored legislation related to sharks, puppies and kittens … and this was not the first time the issue of the Lesser Prairie Chicken has been debated in the House.
Yep, on a funding bill (May 15, 2015), the House voted to prohibit the further listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened or endangered species until 2021. The vote was 229 to 190 with 10 Republicans voting NO (meaning that the Lesser Prairie Chicken should be considered an endangered species.)
One of the ten was Congressman Paulsen.
So, how did last week’s vote turn out ? It was approved 216 to 199.
Hmmm …. sorta surprising that the margin shrunk especially when a number of Republicans who voted NO in 2015 had no retired.
In fact, the number of Republicans opposing this amendment rose to 15 … BUT that number did not include Erik “The Environmentalist” Paulsen … yep, he voted along with a majority of his Trump-lovin brethren.
OK … we get it … YES to sharks, puppies and kittens but now, three years later, NO to endangered chickens.
Another amendment would prohibit the use of funds for the implementation of the State of Washington’s preempted water quality standard.
Turns out the folks in Washington (that is the State … not DC) are concerned about certain chemicals such as PCBs and mercury … and fish … and clean water … and cancer.
So much like the District of Columbia wanting a healthcare mandate, the State of Washington is concerned about their citizen’s health.
The vote was passed on essentially a party line vote although seven Republicans broke from party leadership to vote NO, Congressman Paulsen was not one of them.
Gosh, whatever happened to the concept that the States would be incubators of government innovation because they were closest to their citizens ?
After all the amendments were voted on, it was time for the final vote.
217 Republicans said YES … 15 Republicans and 184 Democrats said NO.
Erik Paulsen was a YES vote … hardly “The Environmentalist” portrayed in his campaign commercial.
Hmmm … but the bill does have another provision that would appeal to Erik “The Fiscal Conservative” Paulsen.
It creates a new program … “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids”
There is established in the Treasury a fund to be known as the “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids” (the “Fund”): Provided, That in addition to amounts otherwise made available by this Act, there is appropriated to the Fund $585,000,000 for the sole purpose of government efficiencies:
Provided further, That amounts in the Fund may not be obligated until after the date that the Secretary of the Treasury certifies in the annual Financial Report of the United States Government that the Federal budget deficit equals $0 or that there is a budget surplus:
Provided further, That no amounts may be transferred from the Fund.
Hmmm … $585 Million that essentially is going into a slush fund that “can” never be spent until the Federal budget deficit equals $0.
So, when do you think that we will have a federal budget without a deficit ???
The good news … Tom Price and Scott Pruitt are gone.
The bad news … there is still the PaulsenTaxCut which reduces revenue … add to that the Trump administration will set new records of defense spending — it is estimated to reach $874.4 billion in FY 2018 and $886 billion in FY 2019. And there is the #TrumpParade and #TrumpBorderWall.
Maybe it should be called “Fund for America’s Grandkids Grandkids Grandkids” … or what it really is designed to be — the next Republican campaign commercial promoting that they are addressing the deficit.
Enjoy the campaign commercials … the most recent “Re-Elect Erik Paulsen” is void from reality but the earlier one tells us what Erik Paulsen really believes — even if his votes don’t match his quotes.
Yeah, that’s the hashtag … #VotesNotQuotes.