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Jeff Flake roundup

March 4th, 2009
  • Urges Obama to veto omnibus spending package. Putting an end to earmarks for private companies, which essentially constitute no-bid contracts, would be a step in the right direction, at least in terms of eliminating the corrupting nature of earmarks. [house.gov]
  • Got stuck in an elevator with a dozen friendly Samoans. [Politico]
  • The Anti-Limbaugh? If conservatives want to be taken seriously again, we must look to a new generation of leaders who understand the movements present vacuity and have the intellectual seriousness, capacity and honesty to redefine it energetic reformers like Wisconsins Paul Ryan and Arizonas Jeff Flake. [bizTimes.com]
  • Joins Fife Symington to oppose a state sales tax to solve budget problems, invoking the dreaded C word (California). [Phoenix Business Journal]
  • “With the omnibus last week, I thought it was completely devastating immediately everybody says ‘same old, same old,’ and they are right.” [The Hill]
  • On Obama: I can tell you the Congress is in desperate need of adult supervision, and I wish that he would provide more of it He shouldnt be able to dictate whatever he wants, but he comes in with more political capital than just about any president weve seen. [AzCentral]
  • In an interview with Sean Hannity: Believe me, some of — some of my colleagues and myself have been arguing this for years. It was devastating today when the Democrats were able to come out and say, Well, Republicans have 40 percent of these earmarks, and it was true. And we really cant separate ourselves from the Democrats as long as we continue to do this. So Im with you there. We just cant get our colleagues to do it. [Hawaii Reporter]

Raul Grijalva roundup

March 4th, 2009
  • House panel takes up Grijalvas bill to save wild horses from slaughter, based on a proposal from wife of T. Boone Pickens. [KOLD]
  • Grijalva calls $1.6 million to refurbish Yuma airport a shot in the arm and the airport a great economic engine for the community. [Yuma Sun]
  • Pushed for passage of H Res 132 recognizing the life and memory of Geronimo on the 100 year anniversary of his death. [Indian Country Today]
  • Tells state officials to take the damned stimulus package. This recovery money is not the savior. It is the underpinnings to keep the house from falling on us. [Tucson Citizen]

Gabrielle Giffords roundup

March 4th, 2009
  • Giffords joined a quiet revolt in the House that could slow some of President Obamas fast-moving priorities [CQ]
  • Entered a tribute to Lute Olsen in the Congressional Record, saying he transformed the University of Arizona and the Tucson desert into a college basketball oasis. [Scarpinato]
  • Will make streetcar funding a top priority for Tucson, citing the success of Phoenix light rail. [Fox11]
  • Republic Editorial Board says that Giffords has shown a lot of hustle. [AzCentral]
  • Calls Arizonas solar potential a God-given opportunity. [Tucson Citizen]

Omnibus Appropriations Bill of 2009

February 26th, 2009

H R 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act for 2009, passed the House 245 178. $410 billion, read Republican and Blue Dog responses in posts below.

Yea: Kirkpatrick, Pastor, Grijalva
Nay: Franks, Shadegg, Mitchell, Flake, Giffords

Flake introduced priority resolution for ethics investigation

February 26th, 2009

CQ Politics:

As lawmakers prepare to consider a $410 billion spending bill carrying pet projects for clients of a lobbying firm under FBI investigation, the House will vote as early as Tuesday on whether to start an ethics investigation into the relationship between earmarks and campaign contributions.

The vote could put majority Democrats and at least a few Republicans in an uncomfortable spot. They will have to choose between authorizing the House ethics committee to investigate the most delicate of political relationships or publicly voting against such a probe.

The action comes as House Democrats are trying to pass a massive fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill (HR 1105) that carries thousands of earmarks, including several for clients of The PMA Group, a lobbying firm that is disbanding in the wake of an FBI raid of its offices and an investigation into whether it used straw donors to circumvent campaign finance laws.

The pitcher of this political curveball is Rep. Jeff Flake , who introduced a resolution late Monday that calls for an ethics investigation into “the relationship between earmark requests already made by members and the source and timing of past campaign contributions.” Flake’s resolution qualifies as “privileged,” meaning it has priority status for floor consideration.

Flake, an Arizona Republican who has become the scourge of congressional earmarkers, cited numerous recent news stories about PMA’s campaign contributions, its ability to secure earmarks for clients and the FBI probe into whether it complied with the law in making donations.

The resolution, which the House must dispose of by Wednesday, would instruct the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, as the ethics panel is known, to report its findings within two months.

Often when a privileged resolution involves a politically thorny issue, the majority party will move to table — or kill — the measure. The roll call vote probably will be on the motion to table Flake’s resolution rather than the measure itself.

Sure enough, thats what happened, though 17 Democrats crossed over to stand with Flake, including Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords seeks balanced export controls

February 26th, 2009

SpaceRef.com:

Our nations export controls were supposed to help strengthen our national security, by protecting Americas sensitive technologies from falling into the wrong hands, said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). However, in recent years there has been a growing chorus of concern that the current system of export controls is undermining our nations competitiveness in the global economy, undermining our science and technology enterprise, and weakening our national securitynot strengthening it.

Export control is not a subject that Americans discuss around the dinner table, but it does affect every one of us, said Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). It is essential that we develop balanced policies that will not unduly constrain American companies in the global marketplace, but still protect our most sensitive technologies from falling into the hands of potential enemies.

Mitchell opposes royalties from radio stations

February 26th, 2009

Radio Business Report:

The musicFirst Coalition trotted out a posse of nationally-known musicians to kick off the latest attempt to extract performance royalties out of radio stations. The two chairs of the Congressional Judiciary Committees Committees – Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Conyers (D-MI) are on board, along with supporters from both parties.

The musicians coming out in support of the move included will.i.am, Sheryl Crow, Herbie Hancock, Emmylou Harris, Patti LaBelle, Matt Maher, Los Tigres del Norte, Rob Thomas Dionne Warwick.

Meanwhile, 16 members of Congress added their names to the list of those opposing such a move, including Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Charles Boustany (R-LA), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Al Green (D-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), Tom Petri (R-WI), Todd Platts (R-PA), Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), Peter Roskam (R-IL), David Scott (D-GA), John Shimkus (R-IL), and Greg Walden (R-OR).

Giffords, Mitchell join Blue Dog energy task force

February 26th, 2009

Hotline blog reports that Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell, both part of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, are joining an energy policy task force that aims to drive viable, comprehensive policy solutions and alternatives with national and economic security as the foremost goals.

Shadegg: Everyone is cutting back except Congress

February 26th, 2009

The Business Journal reports that John Shadegg was not happy with the Dems omnibus spending package:

“Everyone across the country is cutting back. They are saving every dime they can, doing with less, and prioritizing their budgets. Everyone, that is, except Congress. On the heels of the largest spending bill in our history, House Democrats are now supporting a $410 billion dollar appropriations bill – a nearly 10 percent increase over 2008,” said Shadegg who represents Anthem, Paradise Valley and north Phoenix.

And in TIME magazine:

There are 9,000 reasons to vote against this spending bill — 9,000 earmarks slipped and crammed into this pork-stuffed nightmare, Representative John Shadegg, an Arizona Republican, said on Wednesday in a statement. Last night, President Obama bragged about this claim that there were no earmarks in his stimulus bill — and yet hes silent today as he prepares to put his signature on 9,000 earmarks.

Kirkpatrick meets with N. Arizona leaders on infrastructure needs

February 26th, 2009

White Mountain Independent:

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick met with elected officials and staff from Navajo County, City of Holbrook and City of Winslow to discuss major concerns including the Winslow Levee, Holbrook railroad crossing, Obed Bridge, rural school bus routes and the Pinon and Dilkon road yards at a meeting on Feb. 19.

Since arriving in Washington, D.C., we immediately started working on the economy and the recovery package, Kirkpatrick said. My big concern is making sure we get our fair share of the money thats allocated for Arizona. I want to make sure its creating and saving jobs here in Navajo County, in Holbrook and in Winslow. I want common-sense adjustments that really help the communities, and thats where you come in.

Navajo County elected officials and staff discussed the major financial needs facing Navajo County: Winslow Levee, Obed Bridge and the Pinon and Dilkon road yards, among others.

The need for infrastructure is significant here, it makes sense to me to put infrastructure in place first, Kirkpatrick said.

Mitchell votes with GOP on Dem spending bill

February 26th, 2009

From a statement:

Citing concerns about unnecessary spending, U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell cast a vote on Wednesday against the Democratic-backed appropriations package for the current fiscal year.

Despite Mitchell’s nay vote, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, H.R. 1105, passed 245-178. Mitchell was one of 20 Democrats who voted against the measure.

Mitchell said he could not support the entire spending plan, particularly double-digit increases to the budgets of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Capitol Complex.

“I believe fiscal discipline starts at home, said Mitchell. “If we expect other parts of the federal government to control spending, I think we, in Congress, need to control our own. Spending more on Congress more on ourselves will not help get the economy back on track. While I agree with much of what’s in the omnibus bill, it contains too much unnecessary spending, and we were not given an opportunity to amend the bill to take the unnecessary spending measures out.”

Gabrielle Giffords also voted against the spending bill.

Franks reacts to Obama speech

February 26th, 2009
  • Franks panned Obamas speech on the grounds that it did not address jihadist terrorism: For the commander in chief to leave out the first purpose of government, to protect its citizens against one of the most eminent threats facing us in the world, was a pretty serious hole in his speech. [CSM]
  • And: Essentially [Obama] had us all bouncing our heads off of both sides of the canyon walls of philosophical reality when he went from on the one hand saying that we need to privatize personal Social Security accounts for everyone, which is essentially what George Bush said, and then on the other hand we need to nationalize the banks. [Human Events]
  • Co-authors letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in protest of cramdowns: Although allowing for this type of modification in bankruptcy may have the short-term effect of lowering bankruptcy petitioners monthly payments, it is certain to yield negative long-term consequences for taxpayers and the federal government that will dwarf any benefit to the economy that cramdowns might create. [LA Times]
  • Criticizes Obamas plans to raise taxes on the super-wealthy: The top one percent of this country already pay. They pay over 50 percent of the taxes now. [CBN]

Flake disappointed by Obama budget

February 26th, 2009

From Jeff Flakes website:

Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today expressed disappointment over the $3.55 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2010 offered by President Obama.

“For all of President Obama’s talk of fiscal responsibility, there’s not a lot to point to in this budget,” said Flake.

“I give the Administration credit for eliminating budget gimmicks used by previous administrations, but this level of federal spending simply isn’t sustainable.”

“We can’t spend our way out of this recession, but that apparently won’t stop us from trying.”

While there isn’t much in President Obama’s budget proposal to please fiscal conservatives, Congressman Flake did praise the Administration for proposing cuts to farm subsidy programs. However, Congressman Flake favors using the savings for deficit reduction, rather than additional funding for nutrition programs, as the Administration has proposed.

Today in the House: Angry Chimp Act

February 24th, 2009

H R 80, the Captive Primate Safety Act, seeks to treat nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species. Passed the House 323 95.

Aye: Kirkpatrick, Pastor, Mitchell, Grijalva, Giffords
No: Franks, Shadegg, Flake

Today in the House: Teens, Guam and Utah land

February 23rd, 2009

H R 911, Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act. Seeks to require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs. Passed the House 295 102.

Yea: Kirkpatrick, Pastor, Mitchell, Grijalva, Giffords
Nay: Franks, Shadegg, Flake


H R 44, Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. Seeks to implement the recomm endations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission. Passed the House 299 99.

Yea: Kirkpatrick, Pastor, Mitchell, Grijalva, Giffords
Nay: Franks, Shadegg, Flake


H R 601, the Box Elder Utah Land Conveyance Act, passed 396 1, and the 1 was some Democrat from Florida that we dont know.

Giffords: Why I voted for stimulus

February 23rd, 2009

Gabrielle Giffords writes an editorial for the Arizona Republic:

It is equally important to remember that the recession that now has our economy in its grip was not a lightning strike out of the blue. It is the result of years of flawed economic policies and reckless decisions. Dealing with the recession and a record national debt will test the leadership skills of every federal elected representative. This is not a time for partisan politics or sitting on the sidelines.

Grijalva joins environmental group board

February 23rd, 2009

emagazine:

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a groundbreaking nonprofit activist group working to save endangered species, launched the Climate Law Institute. The institute is dedicated to extending the reach of current environmental and human health laws to encompass global warming, pass new climate legislation and help protect endangered species and public lands. CBD raised $17 million to fund the new initiative over the next five years, mostly from foundation sources.

The new institute’s board consists of experts from across the legal and environmental worlds, including Luke Cole, Raul Grijalva, Sean Hecht, Cara Horowitz, Pamela Martin, Patrick Parenteau, Cymie Payne and Deborah Sivas. Funding for the initiative has come from the California Community Foundation, The Sandler Foundation and The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, among others.

Mitchell, Giffords still on vulnerable list

February 23rd, 2009

The Hill:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Monday 40 of its most vulnerable junior members who would be added to the partys Frontline program, designed to protect the most at-risk incumbents.

More senior members who still represent districts President Bush or Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won find themselves on the list as a precaution as well. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), who has never been a strong fundraiser but has won big in recent years, joins Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) and Baron Hill (D-Ind.), all of whom won by comfortable margins in 2008.

Kyl sponsoring controversial film

February 23rd, 2009

AP:

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona is hosting a film screening at the Capitol on Thursday for a far-right Dutch lawmaker who claims that Islam inspires terrorism.

Kyl is sponsoring the event for Geert Wilders, who was denied entry to London earlier this month because British officials said he posed a threat to public order.

Wilders 15-minute film juxtaposes verses from the Quran with images of violence by Muslims. Wilders has called the Quran a fascist book and said it should be banned.

Kyl agreed to facilitate the event because all too often, people who have the courage to point out the dangers of militant Islamists find themselves vilified and endangered, said spokesman Ryan Patmintra.

Uh-oh, someone read the stimulus

February 23rd, 2009

Jeff Flakes website:

Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today found at least eight earmarks in the omnibus spending bill for clients of the PMA Group, an earmark lobbying firm reportedly under federal investigation.

“If clients of a lobbying firm currently under federal investigation are receiving earmarks in it, this bill has not received adequate scrutiny,” said Flake.

Congressman Flake’s staff has not yet finished searching the list of approximately 8,000 earmarks, but eight earmarks for PMA Group clients have already been found:

● NuVant Systems, Inc. – Direct Methanol Fuel Cell $951,500
● PPG, Inc. – Solar Energy Windows and Smart IR Switchable Building Technologies $1,189,375
● Alpha Micron, Inc. – Adaptive Liquid Crystal Windows $951,500
● Quallion Anti-idling Lithium Ion Battery Program –$951,500
● Parametric Technology Corp. Advanced Engineering Environment for Sandia National Lab $1,427,250
● Parametric Technology Corp. – Multi-Disciplined Integrated Collaborative Environment (MDICE) $951,500
● Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. Hydrogen Optical Fiber Sensors $951,500
● Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. CATALYST: Explorations in Aerospace and Innovation Education Program $400,000

Flake takes on earmarks, contributions [Politico]