Last week's open rule debate on the House of Representatives' plan to fund the federal budget for the remainder of the fiscal year was a fascinating exercise. With hundreds of amendments offered and more than 100 recorded votes held, party leaders and Congressional Reps. had plenty of opportunities to define themselves and their priorities. For those who were paying attention, that's precisely what they did.
On all those marquee issues that are central to the Republican Party's agenda, Nebraska Congressmen Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith proved happy to vote the party line. This included many (redundant) votes to defund the health care reform bill and block its implementation. They also marched in-line to block regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, to cut federal funds for family planning, and to prevent implementation of the FCC's net neutrality order.
No surprises there. However, there were votes of consequence on which our Congressmen did distinguish themselves - rarely in a very flattering light. In fact, under scrutiny, it becomes clear just how often Terry, Fortenberry, and Smith align with their party's far-right fringe.
Undermining any claims they might make to fiscal responsibility right off the bat, Terry, Fortenberry, and Smith all voted AGAINST a successful amendment that would eliminate $450 million in funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's alternative engine program. This is an engine that Congressmen like our own have insisted upon shoving down the military's throat even though no one in the Pentagon wants it.
Terry, Fortenberry, and Smith were also on the losing side SUPPORTING an extremist effort to eliminate the Davis-Bacon Act's requirement that the federal government pay prevailing wages on public works projects. This anti-worker amendment was introduced by Iowa Congressman Steve King and was designated a high priority by right-wing groups such as the Club For Growth and the National Taxpayers Union. Although this effort failed, it was sad to see that our own Congressmen would place winning these groups' support before defending fair wages for Nebraska workers.
...This is not responsible leadership. Following in their party's footsteps, our Republican Congressmen have each put fulfilling a right-wing agenda before good public policy and doing what's right for the U.S. economy. It's shameful that they've allowed debate over the federal budget to deteriorate into nothing more than a special interest smorgasbord with no chance of being signed into law - nor even the intent that it would...
Friday, February 25, 2011
Kyle Michaelis: More right-wing extremism by Terry, Fortenberry & Smith
Gay readers of this blog already know why Nebraska's Congressional troika isn't deserving of their support, given its uniformly miserable record on LBGT issues. Over at NewNebraskaNetwork, Kyle Michaelis reminds Nebraskans that the Terry-Fortenberry-Smith bloc isn't much better on non-LGBT matters either.
Posted by Enzo Labels: Lee Terry