Saturday, March 9, 2013

Versions of the Truth

I don't know about you, but I like for people to tell me the truth; the honest truth.  I don't want your version of the truth.  Ever since my last blog post about Representative John Culberson's voting record on some key spending bills called Just The Facts, Chicken!, my attention has been focused on him to see what he's going to do next; if he's going to reign in his spending habits, or continue to push us over the fiscal cliff.  Unfortunately, I don't have good news.

Earlier in the week, on Thursday, to be exact, there was a continuing resolution that was voted on by the House of Representatives called H.R. 933; a resolution that will fully fund Obamacare.  According to Yvonne Larsen, a contributing blogger for Big Jolly Politics, who states in her blog, All But One! that: "With the exception of Representative Louis Gohmert (TX-01), every single Republican from the Texas delegation of the U. S House of Representatives voted to fund Obamacare. They even broke their own rules to do it."  Huh.  Interesting.

So, I go to Representative Culberson's Facebook page and lo and behold there is a blog post by one of their staffers about that very CR, titled The Truth About Obamacare and Continuing Resolution.  They seemed to have been getting phone calls about why Congressman Culberson would have voted to fund Obamacare.  Heck, according to his legislative staffer, he'd already vote to repeal Obamacare something like thirty-four or thirty-five times!  So why not vote to fund it?  He'd kept one part of the promise to REPEAL it.  He never mentioned not funding it.

My next step in investigating this was to call his office directly.  I felt like there was something I was missing and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.  So here is in short the phone conversation I had with their staffer: She said that there were essentially 12 appropriations bills all combined into one bill. One of the agencies that was to be funded was the Labor and HHS which funds things like WIC and is the agency that funds Obamacare. They voted to fund all of these things together, so that's where the confusion comes in. She assured me that every year, these agencies have been funded at lower levels, therefore only leaving enough money to fund WIC and NOT Obamacare.  Okay, that may make sense, but this reason that they voted for it makes my blood boil.  They voted for it in part, from my understanding is  that if they had voted no that the bill wouldn't have gone anywhere in the Senate anyway.  SO WHAT?!?  Take a stand!  Vote 'no'!   

Yvonne Larsen raised another question after I shared this information with her.  Why were they in such a hurry to pass the bill?  They didn't even allow for the seventy-two hour wait time that they promised.  No, they were in such a hurry, they voted after the bill was only posted for forty-seven hours.  Sounds a little fishy to me.

On a side note, while having a conversation with this staffer, who was very helpful, by the way, I told her some things that I thought she needed to hear.  I let her know, nicely that Republicans are bad at messaging; that this information they posted about the CR was done in reaction to the response of the constituents, not as a proactive measure.  Then again, if we had known about it, we probably would have called and told him to vote no.  She assured me that they are very active on social media and do try to get their message out.  Culberson is known for his 'cut spending and reduce government waste' stance, so I asked her what have they eliminated.  She couldn't name any specific program or agency right off the top of her head.  Go figure.

Not to get preachy here, but the Bible says something about a person's word, ya know, when you give someone your 'word' that you are or aren't going to do something.  Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned-James 5:12.  Unfortunately, it doesn't say anything about the things you didn't mention that you might do or the things you didn't promise.  We usually just get some version of the truth.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just the Facts, Chicken!

Sometimes the truth is not a popular thing.  Sometimes exposing the truth can get you into trouble with the person whom you are exposing.  Suppose it has something to do with Congress?  Have I peaked your interest?  Good, now stay with me while I explain.

Would you believe me if I told you that Democratic representative Lloyd Doggett and Republican John Culberson have the same voting record?  Probably not, right?  Then let me follow that with this; would you believe that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is more conservative than Republican John Culberson?  Never, you say!  I can prove otherwise.

I am busy like the rest of us and I don't always check my representatives voting record, but the other day I had a few spare moments and decided to check up on Representative Culberson's voting record on the FreedomWorks Scorecard for the 2013 Congressional Session.  Never in a million years would I have imagined what I would find.  Yes, like a 'good' Republican, he's pro-life, pro-family, but lately, it seems, he's pro-spending.  FreedomWorks scored all of the Congressmen and Congresswomen on three key spending votes that have come down during this session and Congressman Culberson voted yes on every single one, thus earning himself a score of zero.

First, there is : Key Vote 1 On the Amendment: H.Amdt.5 - To add $33.677 billion in additional spending.
This amendment, sponsored by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), would add another $33 billion to the Disaster Relief Act, bringing the total spending in the bill to over $50 billion. Although the bill is supposedly to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the better portion of this amendment funds unrelated programs such as community development block grants. The "emergency" spending is also not offset, meaning that it will add to the federal deficit.
"Nay" votes scored.

Key Vote 2: On Passage: H.R. 152 - Disaster Relief Appropriations Act
This bill is an "emergency" appropriations bill that contains $50.1 billion in spending that is supposed to aid those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In reality, however, most of the spending will not provide acute disaster relief, and much of it is not even scheduled to be spent until 2014 or later. Thus, the bill functions more like a stimulus than true disaster relief and its spending should be appropriated through the budget process instead of as emergency spending that adds to the federal deficit.
"Nay" votes scored.

Key Vote 3: On Passage: H.R. 325 - To Increase the Debt Limit until May 19th, 2013

This bill raises the statutory limit on the public debt (the "debt ceiling") by whatever amount is necessary to reach May 19th, 2013. Although the bill theoretically contains a "no budget, no pay" provision conditional upon the Senate passing a budget resolution, in reality the provision has no teeth. FreedomWorks insists that further increases in the debt ceiling by accompanied by proportional decreases in federal spending in order to address the ever-increasing federal debt, which at the time of this bill stood at $16.4 trillion. Instead, this bill amounts to a "clean" debt ceiling hike, accompanied by the unenforceable promise of spending reforms at a later date.
"Nay" votes scored.
Oh, and FYI, Culberson isn't the only Republican representative who has some 'splaining to do.  Congressman Michael McCaul faired better, voting nay on vote 1 and vote 2, but yes on vote 3.  Pete Olson also voted nay on vote 1 and vote 2 but yes on vote 3.  Check this out, even Alan Grayson, the crazy democratic representative from Florida who accused Republicans of wanting Americans to "die and die quickly" because they opposed Obamacare.  Remember him?  Yeah, he voted no on vote 3.  Pelosi and Wasserman-Schultz BOTH voted nay on vote 3.  So, who are the tax and spend representatives again?

I checked Congressman Culberson's website for his voting record and the link doesn't yet show his votes for this year.  Maybe they haven't linked it up yet since it's still the new session, I'm not sure.  I did find something else interesting on his site, though.  A blog post by one of his staffers about a bill he and a few other representatives have introduced is called A Step Toward Fixing Our Spending Problem.  The last line of the blog post says, "Now is the time to take serious action to reduce our spending and national debt. This bill is a step in the right direction."  How about the other THREE that you voted for that INCREASED SPENDING? #headdesk