A story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer highlighted a recent DCCC attack on Minority Leader and Ohio Republican John Boehner for congratulating the Piqua Fire Department on landing a federal grant.
Sending congratulations to winners of grants within your district is a common practice on both sides of the aisle.
But strangely, the DCCC found it necessary to attack Boehner for doing what so many others do. Why? Because he voted against the $410 billion Omnibus spending bill that contained the grant.
This is silly.
Because under the logic Democrats use in their attack, opponents of any massive spending bill cannot be for any small fraction of that bill.
In this case, the funding for the Piqua fire department grant accounted for %0.0000295 of the Omnibus spending bill.
The fact is this. Omnibus bills are massive. There are going to be parts of them that people agree with and parts that people disagree with. The question is whether the bill contains enough disagreements that make it impossible for a congressman to vote for the bill.
In this case, there were. Boehner’s staff highlighted just a few of their disagreements…
- DC Opportunity Scholarships: The bill contains language that effectively terminates the Washington Opportunity Scholars program. It prohibits any students from participating in the program after the 2009-2010 school year unless Congress reauthorizes and the D.C. Council approves the program.
- Fairness Doctrine: The omnibus fails to include a provision prohibiting funds from being used to implement the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” The “Fairness Doctrine” refers to a 1940’s-era government regulation that required public broadcasters to present contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance due to a scarcity of media outlets. The guideline was so vague that most broadcasters avoided controversial topics altogether. The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987.
- Green House Gas Emissions Regulation: The bill authorizes the Department of Interior to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Specifically, it allows Interior to withdraw two Endangered Species Act rules within 60 days of enactment and circumvent public notice and comment on the Administration’s rule changes. The two rules pertain to “Section 7 consultation” and polar bears. The practical effect would be that any action that increases carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions would be subject to a lawsuit stating that the action did not first include consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on mitigation against the potential impacts of warming the planet and harming the polar bear. Actions could include energy production, construction projects, or agricultural practices.
- Housing: The omnibus provides $246 million for “housing counseling” programs overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Reinvestment Corporation. ACORN has been a recipient of these funds and is the same organization that has been accused countless times of perpetrating voter registration fraud.
- National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities: The bill provides $310 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This is an increase of $21 million over FY 08 and is on top of the $50 million included in the recent “stimulus” bill.
- New House Office Building: The omnibus contains $15 million for a new House Office Building. The expenditure is unnecessary, especially in light of the recent completion of the Capitol Visitor’s Center. This 580,000 square foot facility, constructed at a cost of $621 million, contains substantial additional office space for House employees.
- Nominal Drug Pricing: The bill permits non-federally funded family planning clinics, such as Planned Parenthood and university health clinics, to purchase drugs at discounted, or “nominal,” prices. In turn, this makes it cheaper for these organizations to distribute controversial drugs like contraceptives and “morning-after-pills.”
And that’s just a small sampling.
It’s congress. People are going to disagree. There’s enough ammo out there for both sides to attack based on perceived legitimate reasons.
This is far from a legitimate reason.
It’s a shame the Cleveland Plain Dealer bought into it and let this become a story.