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View Full Version : U.S. Issues Oil spill visits get partisan


petegz28
06-30-2010, 03:44 PM
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to fly 10 lawmakers down to the Gulf of Mexico to see the damage caused by BP’s gigantic oil spill first hand.


House Democrats said no.


Scalise’s trip was rejected for a variety of bureaucratic and logistical reasons, but it has also opened a new vein of partisan squabbling over who should be allowed to arrange a trip to view the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Republicans want to be able to take trips using their office spending allowance. But Democrats have heard from the Department of Homeland Security, which has asked that Congress organize trips through committees of jurisdiction, to avoid having to cater to a ton of individual lawmakers in a disaster zone, Democratic aides say. GOP leaders say they’ve heard nothing of this.


The squabbling over who gets to travel to the Gulf on whose dime is the latest sign that congressional oversight of the oil spill oversight from Capitol Hill has been bogged down by partisanship. Congress has held upwards of 20 hearings on the disaster, often duplicative ones each week, as lawmakers struggle to grasp and fully realize the scope of BP’s giant oil spill.


Scalise, who has already been to the Gulf on another codel, wants to organize a trip so lawmakers can fully grasp the impact before they vote on oil drilling regulations. And he doesn't want to do it through a committee, because the members don't fit neatly into specific panels — they stretch across committee, and even partisan, lines.


About two weeks ago, Scalise requested to be able to use his Members Representational Allowance – a fund typically reserved for office expenses and travel back to the district – to go to the Gulf with a group of about 10 other lawmakers.


He sought permission from the House Administration committee, which regulates office account spending and would have to approve the trip. After a few weeks, Scalise was ping-ponged between several committees. Eventually, John Lawrence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) chief of staff, told Scalise’s chief that “it was unlikely that the request would be granted” by the House Administration Committee.


Republicans, however, say Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), who chairs the committee, has approved at least a dozen such trips in 2009 alone – something Democrats don’t deny.


“Unless there is some extraordinary reason to prohibit this trip – which has yet to be communicated to us – this is an unacceptable departure from past practices,” said Rep, Dan Lungren of California, the top Republican on the administration committee. “This is an educational trip for members using their own representational budgets to see, first-hand, the devastating impact of the Gulf spill. Our travel regulations permit this type of travel in support of our official representational duties, and unfortunately, this disaster is already having environmental and economical implications for the entire country – not just those districts represented by Members sitting on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”


Republicans say that Democrats are just trying to shield lawmakers from going to see the damage in the Gulf.


“Every Member should see the result of eight years of failed Bush-Cheney energy policies that have done nothing to secure our energy future,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.


So for now, the Scalise visit remains unscheduled.



Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/39225.html#ixzz0sNKE0zdj

orange
06-30-2010, 03:54 PM
Straight from Drudge's mouth to your ear.

What's the matter - no stomach for posting Molly's picture?


On a serious note - why doesn't Boehner simply sponsor the trip?

alpha_omega
06-30-2010, 03:54 PM
“Every Member should see the result of eight years of failed Bush-Cheney energy policies that have done nothing to secure our energy future,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

And....there it is. No surprise here.

petegz28
06-30-2010, 04:17 PM
Straight from Drudge's mouth to your ear.

What's the matter - no stomach for posting Molly's picture?


On a serious note - why doesn't Boehner simply sponsor the trip?

Seriously? You think Boehner should sponsor the trip as opposed to it being paid for out of the budgets of the individuals???

orange
06-30-2010, 04:23 PM
Seriously? You think Boehner should sponsor the trip as opposed to it being paid for out of the budgets of the individuals???

Yes. Exactly. That's why it's set up that way - individual reps don't get to pick their own junkets to reduce the amount of bribery influence from outside interests, lobbyists, etc.

That really is the whole point.

And as I asked, why doesn't Boehner simply sponsor it? Actually, I think I know the answer - he WILL but not until milking it for a while.

petegz28
06-30-2010, 04:26 PM
Yes. Exactly. That's why it's set up that way - individual reps don't get to pick their own junkets to reduce the amount of bribery influence from outside interests, lobbyists, etc.

That really is the whole point.

And as I asked, why doesn't Boehner simply sponsor it? Actually, I think I know the answer - he WILL but not until milking it for a while.

Unfortunately that was not the reason given.

orange
06-30-2010, 04:28 PM
Unfortunately that was not the reason given.

Yes it was. Not in the article you quoted, perhaps, but more generally:

But House Democratic staffers said the decision to deny reimbursement for the trip has nothing to do with hostility toward Scalise, but because site visits are under the jurisdiction of individual committees that control fact-finding trips.

They said House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, could lead the trip, if he wants, because the three top House leaders are allowed to lead trips eligible for reimbursement under House accounts without approval from the House Administration Committee.

http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1277880727315560.xml&coll=1

or:

The House Administration Committee, chaired by Robert Brady, D-Pa., kiboshed the use of member accounts for the trip because it came under the ambit of “general oversight,” which means it falls in the same category as junkets to Vegas or Boca Raton. To qualify for public funding, such a trip would have to be sponsored by individual House committees – all of which are run by Pelosi’s Democrat minions - or the House GOP leadership.

http://thehayride.com/2010/06/nancy-pelosi-doesnt-want-gop-congressmen-seeing-gulf-oil-spill/

Don't know why Politico left that out. Why wouldn't you want to present both sides of a controversy? Well, unless you wanted people to buy your own spin without question.

HonestChieffan
06-30-2010, 04:35 PM
http://weaselzippers.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/obama-beach.jpg

(The Hill)- A majority of voters think President Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill is the same or worse than President George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, according to a new Marist poll.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the response to the BP spill was at least as bad as Katrina. That includes 34 percent who said it was the same, and 23 percent who said it was worse.

Marist also found that for the first time since Obama took office, more voters think Obama has fallen short of their expectations than surpassed them:

Half of voters — 50% — believe Mr. Obama has fallen short. 44%, on the other hand, report Mr. Obama has met or exceeded their expectations. 6% are unsure.

Public opinion has turned on this question. In March, a slim majority — 51% — said the president either reached their level of expectation or went above and beyond it. 45%, however, reported he missed the mark. 4% were unsure.

While there has been little change among Democrats and Republicans here, dissatisfaction has grown among independent voters. Nearly six in ten — 58% — report the president has disappointed them, and 34% view the president as meeting their expectations or going above and beyond them. 8% are unsure.

In Marist’s March survey, 48% within this key voting block thought the president was not living up to their standards while 45% reported he either met or surpassed them.

irishjayhawk
06-30-2010, 04:42 PM
Curious question: why would you post this when flying 10 lawmakers to the spill site would be otherwise considered, by your standards, as wasteful spending?

orange
06-30-2010, 04:45 PM
Curious question: why would you post this when flying 10 lawmakers to the spill site would be otherwise considered, by your standards, as wasteful spending?

Go to DrudgeReport. Check out the Gore link.

You will see why he chose to post this one, instead.

petegz28
06-30-2010, 09:10 PM
Go to DrudgeReport. Check out the Gore link.

You will see why he chose to post this one, instead.

I haven't even read the Gore link. You should not make such stupid assumptions, Orange.

petegz28
06-30-2010, 09:12 PM
Curious question: why would you post this when flying 10 lawmakers to the spill site would be otherwise considered, by your standards, as wasteful spending?

I would be more comfortable if it came out of their direct budgets as opposed to additional spending. And I would not consider this wasteful spending if it included people from both parties. I would be much more approving of this than I would their little jaunts to Copenhagen and Europe all the damn time.

fan4ever
06-30-2010, 10:25 PM
I remember Washington sending Democrats down to Katrina for months and months after the hurricane on the tax payers dime...and I'm sure it wasn't at all for political posturing. It's just not cool now that the devastation can be blamed on the good guys.

The Mad Crapper
07-01-2010, 05:42 AM
I don't know why B.O. just didn't order that the pipe be completely ripped out of the ground 74 days ago.

patteeu
07-01-2010, 07:48 AM
I don't know why B.O. just didn't order that the pipe be completely ripped out of the ground 74 days ago.

All he has to do is lower the ocean so that someone can drive some heavy equipment down there to cap that sucker. WTH is he waiting for?

Velvet_Jones
07-01-2010, 12:29 PM
All he has to do is lower the ocean so that someone can drive some heavy equipment down there to cap that sucker. WTH is he waiting for?

He's not done milking the political jizm from the staff of truth. And Republicans are mean and unsavory. I think that answers all outstanding questions.

DJ's left nut
07-01-2010, 12:43 PM
We should totally give these guys more power.

Remember folks - They're all full of shit.

Small government FTMFW...

FishingRod
07-01-2010, 03:09 PM
http://weaselzippers.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/obama-beach.jpg

(The Hill)- A majority of voters think President Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill is the same or worse than President George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, according to a new Marist poll.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the response to the BP spill was at least as bad as Katrina. That includes 34 percent who said it was the same, and 23 percent who said it was worse.

Marist also found that for the first time since Obama took office, more voters think Obama has fallen short of their expectations than surpassed them:

Half of voters — 50% — believe Mr. Obama has fallen short. 44%, on the other hand, report Mr. Obama has met or exceeded their expectations. 6% are unsure.

Public opinion has turned on this question. In March, a slim majority — 51% — said the president either reached their level of expectation or went above and beyond it. 45%, however, reported he missed the mark. 4% were unsure.


You know polls are kind of interesting. I expected this administration (along with congress) to expand the size and reach of the Federal Government. I expected them to take many shots at big business and to promote envy of the rich. I expected them to be as divisive and possibly more divisive to the people of this country as the previous administration was. If I had to answer this poll honestly they have exceeded my expectations.