Four Years Later, John Kline Still Fighting

2010, just like 2014, was an election year.

John Kline’s challenger in that November election had a 35-cent tour as a campaign theme … even engaging with the US Chamber of Commerce’s FasterBetterSafer campaign in calling for immediate action to repair America’s crumbling roads and bridges.

The Chamber’s campaign echoes the message promoted by my 35 Cent Tour, which I announced with my candidacy in January,” said Shelley Madore. “My 35 Cent Tour highlights the many unfunded transportation projects here in our district. These projects, identified by counties and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, have been languishing for years. John Kline has refused to request funding for transportation improvement projects and voted against the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, in spite of its support by the Chamber of Commerce.”

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, “Each dollar invested in highway construction generates $1.80 of GDP. According to the Department of Transportation, each $1 billion in federal highway investment supports 28,000 jobs. In order for the U.S. to remain a leader in a global economy the country’s policy-makers must make this national challenge a national priority.”

The Chamber’s website continues, “Businesses depend on a transportation network that is reliable, fast, safe and cost-effective. Unfortunately, increasing congestion due to crumbling transportation infrastructure disrupts these important connections and imposes additional costs on workers and employers alike. As congestion increases system-wide…the cost of doing business increases.”

John Kline for his part simply ignored Shelley Madore … refusing to participate in various debates and forums … supposedly to “focus on his work in Washington” which you may remember included the “August lights out sessions”.
The House did debate and approve some legislation … for example the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
The program has been around for about 30 years with only increases for inflation but this time there were new “requirements” ….
The law would require that all fluid milk served in schools is consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans and all schools participating in the school lunch program to make potable (drinking) water available, free of charge, during all meal services.
Talk about your Nanny-State … how dare the Government REQUIRE schools provide FREE WATER !
And also an increase in money … to provide for schools to purchase and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods.
Once again, the Nanny-State … as expressed best by Representative and a Physician, Paul Broun (R-GA) during the debate : “This bill is not about child nutrition. It’s not about healthy kids. It’s about an expansion of the federal government, more and more control from Washington, borrowing more money and putting our children in greater debt. The federal government has no business setting nutritional standards and telling families what they should and should not eat.”

Fast forward to 2014 … what’s the issue that John Kline is fighting … well, if you listened to Chad Hartman’s interview (click to the listen) yesterday, the first order of business was “food mandates” … (gosh, isn’t funny that even a bill is approved in a bi-partisan manner, it is not a properly “enacted law” but instead a “mandate” because John Kline voted against it). The discussion was predominately Chairman Kline portraying himself as just a Representative of the people who just want a “little flexibility” … until you get to the end of the segment, when the real Kline comes through … when he stakes claim that it is government intrusion that he objects to.
That’s the Kline we know … the one that voted to cut Food Stamps by $40 Billion even though many of the recipients were school children.
The John Kline that supports Path to Prosperity Blueprint which calls for less spending on education.
The John Kline that voted in April to cut $5.1 trillion in spending impacting education (as well as infrastructure.)

So, yes, John Kline is still fighting “food mandates” but not in a formal way of repealing the 2010 law, but instead by using the appropriations process to alter how the program works … essentially allowing schools to opt-out.
The delay seems to be supported by the School Nutrition Association … a powerful lobby group represents 55,000 district food service managers and cafeteria professionals in about 75% of schools. SNA receives funding from firms that supply foods to schools, such as Domino’s Pizza and Schwan Food Co, the largest supplier of school pizzas, and Con-Agra. There is another lobby group interested in the process advocated by Chairman Kline — the National Automatic Merchandising Association — that would be vending machines — NAMA Board of Directors includes representatives from Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey Company, Aramark Corporation, and Mars Chocolate.

Yeah, Chairman Kline is concerned about government intrusion … especially when it impacts campaign contributors and there is government spending involved.

Yet, John Kline still does not seem to be as interested infrastructure … the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money sometime in August. The trust fund’s highway account is expected to dip below the critical $4 billion level as early as July. If Congress doesn’t act and the fund is allowed to dwindle that low, the U.S. Department of Transportation says it would be forced to slow reimbursements to states—more than 117,000 road and transit projects could be delayed and as many as 700,000 construction jobs could be put at risk

The reason is pretty simple: Republicans in Congress do not want to raise gas taxes because of their perceived pushback from their voters come November … even though the gas tax was last increased in 1993 and vehicles get better gas mileage.

As a result, highway projects around the country are stalled, like much of the traffic.
The highway fund provides almost a quarter of the $216 billion annual total public spending on highway and mass-transit construction,” The Wall Street Journal reported this month. “That translates to roughly $1 billion a week funneled to states to pay contractors.”

Some Republican members of Congress recently have proposed measures that would either lower the gas tax and eliminate federal mandates on states or allow states to opt out of the federal highway program.

Yeah, “mandates” and “Opt out” … school nutrition or highways … the solution is the same … and the problem in John Kline’s view is government intrusion.

Yep, nothing has changed in four years … except the GOP Shutdown … ask yourself as you go into the voting booth this November, does John Kline represent you ?
If you fear school children eating fruits and vegetables instead Chick-Fil-A sandwiches (as has been done in Edmond, OK middle school) or as Niskayuna, NY, elementary-schoolers get slices of Pizza Hut, fresh from the deliveryman … and you do not want to pay one penny more for roads and bridges and instead advocate cuts in excess of $5 Trillion … well, John Kline is you man otherwise

Carlos Galindo

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