The election was over three weeks ago, and most of our focus was on Barack Obama and John McCain. But, I thought it would be good to take a look at the results for the House of Representatives. It was widely publicized that Congress had very low approval ratings coming into the election. According to these polls, it has been hovering between 15% and 20%.
House of Representatives
Congressmen Bachus and Neugebauer discuss runaway spending and pending reprecussions.
Based on a preliminary inquiry, I conclude that “Bachass,” as I hear some call him, is a Representative truly worthy of a special level of contempt. Unfortunately, he will not be held to it in this year’s election, as he is running unopposed. Nevertheless, he deserves a quality opponent in 2010 to send him into a well-deserved retirement.
The Lawson for Congress team is hard at work, making sure that B J Lawson , aka “Ron Paul, Jr.”, gives incumbent Democrat, David Price, a run for his money.
You know it’s getting close when a 20-year incumbent needs to attack his opponent, and his political ideology, head on. Anyone who’s in office for that long should be able to stand on the merits of his own record, rather than launching attacks. Here is an excerpt from a letter that he recently sent out to his supporters.
The discussion between Dr. Lawson and Congressman Price at the TROSA forum on October 13 was an interesting one, to say the least. The Durham Herald Sun wrote an particularly fascinating report on the discussion between the two candidates on drug-related issues:
Lawson and Price sparred over issues including health care and law enforcement, especially enforcement of drug laws.
You know that I don’t mince words and I don’t back down in fighting a federal government that has far exceeded the confines of our Constitution. I could use some help in the House, and that’s why I’m asking you to support my friend Tom McClintock.
You may remember when he stood up to the liberal Republican establishment in California and took on Arnold Schwarzenegger during the recall election in 2003. This guy will stand and fight, and we need him in the Congress. Tom has said that he expects our federal government to protect our borders and to preserve our individual freedoms as Americans. And beyond that, he wants it out of our pockets, away from our families and out of our faces. That’s my kind of candidate.
He’s facing the Daily Kos and DCCC fundraising machine, and he’ll need our financial help on his side.
So, much to my chagrin the House of Representatives voted to pass the bailout bill yesterday, after it was made into a mashup of the proposed bailout, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, and the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008. In addition to the EIEA to woo Democrats, and the TEAMTRA to woo Republicans, many specifically targeted pork projects were added to entice lawmakers to vote for it. The sections and their “enticements” are listed below:
Sec. 101. Extension of alternative minimum tax relief for nonrefundable personal credits.
Sec. 102. Extension of increased alternative minimum tax exemption amount.
Sec. 103. Increase of AMT refundable credit amount for individuals with longterm unused
credits for prior year minimum tax liability, etc.
Sec. 201. Deduction for State and local sales taxes.
Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee quietly changes lobbyist-paid travel reporting requirements for lawmakers
The Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee has removed a requirement that lawmakers report trips paid for by lobbyists on their annual financial disclosures, according to National Journal, making it easier for them to hide which special interest groups are paying for them to travel:
The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.
“This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”
Free trips paid for by private groups must still be reported separately to the House’s Office of the Clerk and disclosed there. But they will now be absent from the chief document that reporters, watchdogs, and members of the public have used for decades to scrutinize lawmakers’ finances.
“The more you can hide, the less accountable you can be,” Sloan said of lawmakers. “It’s clear these forms are useful for reporters and watchdogs, and obviously a little too useful.”
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash took to Facebook after last year’s vote for Speaker of the House to explain why he picked little-known Idaho sophomore Congressman Raúl Labrador:
I voted for Raúl R. Labrador to be Speaker of the House for the 113th Congress of the United States of America. As I said at the time, Raúl would defend liberty and work honestly with Democrats on debt reduction. He would make a great Speaker.
Rep. Labrador abstained from voting for Speaker at the time.
Gracy Olmstead, writing in the American Conservative, details Labrador’s background and appeal as a leader within the conservative ranks of the Republican caucus. Of Labrador and the other recently-elected independent-minded conservatives, she notes:
Today Labrador sees himself as one of a “core group of conservatives” who are bringing change to Congress. He describes them as young and independent, “conservative-leaning-libertarian types,” all willing to defy the establishment in an effort to get things done. One might reasonably assume that Sen. Mike Lee, Congressman Amash, and many from the Liberty Caucus fit within this cohort.