This is a new local blog for Florida's sixth Congressional district and watching the actions of Cliff Stearns, the Republican representative who misserves us in Washington. If you are interested in posting at The Case Against Cliff, drop me a line at with some idea of your Democratic and/or progressive credentials and I'll add you as a blogger.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Friend of Cliff

I was checking out the website Friends of Cliff Stearns ( and found the following photo:The caption at the website informs us that Cliff is posing with Retired Iraqi Major General Georges Sada. The picture was taken on October 19, 2006 at the annual Black Tie and Barbecue thrown by the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee. Sada is the author of Saddam's Secrets, in which he makes the claim that prior to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Saddam secretly shipped all of his weapons of mass destruction to Syria.

When the book first came out in January of 2006, Sada was of course immediately spirited to Fox News where he was able to spout his claims with Sean Hannity. A YouTube of that interview can be seen here. A breathless article repeating Sada's claims also was published in the New York Sun.

In the Sun article, Sada makes these claims:

Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.

"I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots," Mr. Sada said of the two pilots. He declined to disclose their names, saying they are concerned for their safety. But he said they are now employed by other airlines outside Iraq.

The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.

The flights - 56 in total, Mr. Sada said - attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.

There are major problems with Sada's claims. First of all, the Iraq Survey Group, a United States effort headed by Charles Duelfer, produced a 1000 page study in October, 2004 that found that Iraq did not possess WMD's prior to the invasion. As reported by BBC:

Iraq Survey Group head Charles Duelfer said Iraq's nuclear capability had decayed not grown since the 1991 war.

But in a 1,000-page report his group said Saddam Hussein intended to resume production of banned weapons when UN sanctions were lifted.

So, first of all, Saddam had all of his WMD's destroyed after the first Gulf War. However, there's even a further hole in Sada's claims. It turns out that the UN was in charge of the humanitarian relief efforts for the dam collapse in Syria in June, 2002 and a report on those efforts is still available.

From the Executive Summary of the report:
The large Zeyzoun earth dam, located in the agricultural Al-Ghab region some 300 km north of Damascus, collapsed on 4 June 2002. The impact of the released water caused serious damage in nearby populated areas with resultant casualties .

To date some 20 people are known to have been killed, and this figure is not likely to change. It is estimated that over 10,000 people were directly affected by this incident to varying degrees, with at least 2,000 rendered completely homeless.

Six days after the disaster, it is considered that the humanitarian situation resulting from this accident is largely under control as a result of a swift and targeted response by the Provincial and Central Syrian authorities. A rapid reaction by the international community, which sent large quantities of emergency supplies, also contributed to quickly stabilize the situation.
Drilling down for further detail, here is how Iraq is credited for its role in the relief efforts:
Iraq has sent 12 airplanes with food, medicines and blankets, and also dispatched a 12-member medical team.
The scale of the relief effort for the dam collapse is just too small for Iraq to have hidden an additional 56 flights beyond those documented by the UN, since the other flights noted were two from Algeria, one from Italy, four from Morocco, one from Saudi Arabia and one from the United Arab Emirates. For Iraq to have hidden an extra 56 flights in the effort, one would think the overall relief effort should have been several hundreds of flights. Further, since Sada says only two Iraqi planes were involved in the weapons transfer, it's hard to see how two planes can move 56 flights of dangerous cargo in a six day window.

Sada's story just doesn't hold up under even the slightest scrutiny, yet Cliff is happy to pose with him as a friend to stay in the good graces of the radical right wing of the Republican party that idolizes war and Sean Hannity.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cliff's Endorsement from Esquire

I received a mailer today in which Cliff touts his recent endorsement from Esquire Magazine. He just might want to re-think calling attention to this one. For starters, here is the cover of the endorsement issue from Esquire:

I don't think that's going to go over well with the family values set.

Next, the mailing quotes the Esquire endorsement:
When, someday in the future, you are protected from online skulduggery by an Internet Bill of Rights, you'll have Cliff Stearns to thank. He's the leader in Congress--frankly in the entire federal government--on privacy protection in the digital age.
Yeah, Cliff's really on top of that privacy thing. Let's think back to earlier this year. On March 14, the House voted on HR 3773, an amendment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that provided the updates that the Bush Administration had been requesting. This bill, however, did not confer retroactive immunity to the telecommunications industry. Like the good Republican he is, Cliff voted against this bill, along with every Republican who voted that day in the House. Later, on June 20, the House voted on HR 6304, a very similar bill that now did confer retroactive immunity to the telecommunications industry. Again, Cliff joined the herd of Republicans who voted in favor of conferring legal immunity on the telecommunications firms that illegally spied on the communications of every citizen of the United States. [One lone Republican, Timothy Johnson of Illinois, had the courage to vote against this bill.]

When it comes to "online skulduggery", Cliff has already demonstrated by his votes that he comes down squarely on the side of the skulduggery, especially when the skulduggery comes from an industry that has given him $35,000 since the last election.

If Cliff is so in favor of an Internet Bill of Rights, why hasn't he introduced such a bill?

Why hasn't he introduced any legislation he can point to that justifies his continued presence in the House?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fla. Dems Good on Environment, Reps Not So Much

The League of Conservation Voters released their scorecards for Congress. Can you guess what the pattern is? Of Florida Republicans, only Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does as good as any Democrat and that's only one person. Beyond that, all Democrats do way better than all Republicans. No shocker there.

Alcee Hastings (D), 92%
Ron Klein (D), 92%
Timothy Mahoney (D), 92%
Kendrick Meek (D), 92%
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), 92%
Bill Nelson (D), 91%
F. Allen Boyd (D), 85%
Corrine Brown (D), 85%
Kathy Castor (D), 85%
Robert Wexler (D), 69%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), 69%
Vern Buchanan (R), 62%
Gus Bilirakis (R), 38%
Ginny Brown-Waite (R), 38%
Mario Diaz-Balart (R), 38%
C.W. Bill Young (R), 38%
Mel Martinez (R), 36%
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), 31%
Ander Crenshaw (R), 15%
Ric Keller (R), 15%
Connie Mack (R), 8%
John Mica (R), 8%
Adam Putnam (R), 8%
Dave Weldon (R), 8%
Tom Feeney (R), 0%
Jeff Miller (R), 0%
Cliff Stearns (R), 0%

Monday, October 13, 2008

From the Blogs

Tim Cunha: Save America - The truth about deregulation and the current economic crisis

Achieving Our Country: Cliff Stearns, Born Again Regulator

Hypocrisy in Action

Courtesy of the Gainesville Sun, here is Congressman Cliff Stearns speaking at the dedication of a new ethanol plant at the University of Florida. The plant relies on technology developed by Professor Lonnie Ingram of the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science:

On a day when he declined to appear at a candidate forum just a few miles away at The Village to allow voters to hear him debate the issues in this election with challenger Tim Cunha, it is puzzling why Congressman Stearns would choose to appear at this dedication. His appearance is puzzling because Stearns has been a staunch foe of renewable energy in his twenty years of radical right-wing Republican voting in the House of Representatives.

At it website, Scientists and Engineers for America examines the voting records of politicians on issues of importance to the scientific community. Their analysis of Stearns' record on energy issues is devastating. In 2007 alone, they document four major votes in which Stearns voted against renewable energy.

In January, 2007, Stearns voted against HR 6, the Clean Energy Act of 2007. According to SEA, this bill would have reduced income tax deductions for oil and gas companies and the revenues generated "would be used for the development of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources".

Furthermore, after the Senate amended HR 6 to include raising gas mileage standards to a measly 35 mpg by 2020, Stearns voted against the bill two more times, including a no vote on its final passage.

In August of 2007, the House considered the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. As SEA describes it, this bill "would provide tax incentives to promote the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency, including guaranteeing up to $1 billion in loans for the development of biorefineries and biofuel production facilities." Stearns voted no.

So, on August 4, 2007, Stearns voted against a bill to fund biofuel production facilities. Then, on October 10, 2008, he grabbed the spotlight away from the scientists and business people who have brought a valuable, cutting edge technology to our area to take false credit in dedicating a plant he essentially voted against. How's that for leadership?

Finally, in the debate on the Renewable Energy bill discussed above, Stearns also voted against the Udall amendment that called for "retail electric suppliers to provide 15% of their electricity through a rewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) by 2020".

Despite Stearns' "no" votes, all of the bills discussed here eventually passed. That's hypocrisy in action: consistently vote against renewable energy and then steal the credit when a renewable energy production facility is dedicated.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Republicans Don't Support Troops As Well As Dems

Check out the latest scorecards from Disabled American Veterans and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...


Bill Nelson, 100
Allen Boyd, 100
Corrine Brown, 100
Kendrick Meek, 100
Robert Wexler, 100
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 100
Alcee Hastings, 100

Mel Martinez, 60
Jeff Miller, 66
Ander Crenshaw, 66
Ginny Brown-Waite, 66
Cliff Stearns, 66
John Mica, 66
Ric Keller, 50
C.W. Bill Young, 66
Adam Putnam, 66
Connie Mack, 66
David Weldon, 66
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 66
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 66
Tom Feeney, 66
Mario Diaz-Balart, 66

Notice a pattern here? All of the Dems have 100%, while none of the Republicans has anything better than a mid-range "D." So much for supporting disabled troops.


Bill Nelson, A+
Allen Boyd, A
Corrine Brown, A
Kathy Castor, A
Timothy Mahoney, A
Kendrick Meek, B
Robert Wexler, A
D. Wasserman Schultz, A+
Ron Klein, A+
Alcee Hastings, A

Mel Martinez, B
Jeff Miller, B
Ander Crenshaw, B
G. Brown-Waite, B
Cliff Stearns, B
John Mica, B
Ric Keller, A
Gus Bilirakis, A
C.W. Bill Young, B
Adam Putnam, C
Vern Buchanan, B
Connie Mack, B
Dave Weldon, C
I. Ros-Lehtinen, A
L. Diaz-Balart, B
Tom Feeney, B
M. Diaz-Balart, B

Republicans do a little better on this one, with Keller, Bilirakis and Ros-Lehtinen all getting an "A." Dems still do better, Meek has the lowest grade on our side of the aisle, and he still has a "B." The only "A+" grades amongst Florida's delegation are Dems and the only grades below "B" are all Republicans. Again, which party actually supports the troops?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meet Cliff's Opponent

Tim Cunha:

Cliff Stearns, Born Again Regulator

Imagine my surprise last night when I decided to watch Rachel Maddow's new show on MSNBC for the first time. Early in the show, she interviewed one of my heroes, Senator Chris Dodd, about his efforts to bring some sanity to the Wall Street bailout proposal originally put forward by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The interview with Dodd was immediately followed by this interview:
As a resident of Cliff Stearns' district, this was quite a surprise to me. It follows on the even more surprising appearance of Cliff Stearns on the House floor on Tuesday morning, where Stearns appears, with his hair flying and his diction failing, to decry the Paulson proposal (Stearns' comments begin at 5:47 into the clip):

Note especially Stearns' comments at around 8:35 of the clip, where he rails against the fact that in 2003, he was holding hearings on the application of FASB accounting standards to Freddie Mac, but oversight of Freddie Mac was suddenly taken away from his committee.

Why wait five years before protesting this change? It does appear that the hearings he references had the potential to have an impact on operations of Freddie Mac. Here is a statement from Congressman John Dingell commending Stearns for holding the hearings, but cautioning that perhaps better witnesses could be called and warning about the massive lobbying firepower being amassed against any efforts at reform.

Later in 2003, the New York Times would write in a prescient opinion piece:

Even without signs of an imminent calamity, it is hard to argue that these financial enterprises -- essentially two huge hedge funds -- should continue to evade the type of rigorous oversight that banks face on issues like capital requirements and new lines of business. Yet it looks as if Freddie and Fannie, along with the home builders' lobby, may succeed in blocking legislation to transfer regulatory oversight to the Treasury.

The two mortgage enterprises have helped to add liquidity to the housing market and put more working families in new homes. That mission need not be threatened by stronger oversight of their finances. Indeed, it will be protected.

So, although Stearns was holding hearings, he ultimately had oversight of Freddie Mac stripped from his subcommittee. This should have been a situation for him to rise up in righteous indignation and insist that his subcommittee get the jurisdiction back. After all, his party was in charge of both the White House and the both branches of Congress. Instead, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae continued on their path to destruction with powerful lobbyists paving the way for them to avoid meaningful oversight. Is it possible that Stearns' agitation this week results from a realization that he was in the perfect position to prevent this catastrophe five years ago and failed miserably?

What makes Stearns' behavior this week especially odd (besides his agitation to the point of stumbling over his words a lot) is that this behavior is entirely at odds with his historical voting record. Progressive Punch notes that in the category of "Government Checks on Corporate Power" Stearns receives a score of only 7.57% and ranks him 267th out of 422 members. When the analysis is confined to votes on banks and credit card companies, his score drops to 6.45% and his rank to 283rd of 422. Further, the Washington Post reports that Stearns votes with the Republican position 90.9% of the time, making him, as Maddow noted shaking her head after the interview, "very conservative" and a "strange bedfellow" for this position.

A further point is that if any one bill passed by Congress can be said to be at the root of the current financial crisis, it would have to be Phil Gramm's legislative nullification of Glass-Stegall in 1999. As expected, Stearns voted in favor of this massive roll-back of regulation of the financial industry.

But rest assured, Stearns' rediscovery of regulation is not uniform. In his most recent abuse of the Congressional franking privilege (see the post immediately below this one), Stearns warns against the re-imposition of the Fariness Doctrine:
Since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio has emerged as a dynamic forum for public debate and an asset to the nation.


Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would amount to government control over political views expressed on the public airwaves. It is dangerous to suggest the government should be in the business of rationing free speech.
Now that's the Cliff Stearns I know. Yeah, we can't have the government require that someone should have air time to refute Rush Limbaugh's daily dose of hate.

Cross-posted on Achieving Our Country.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Say One Thing, Do Another

Every registered voter in the Sixth District of Florida received a copy of Cliff Stearns' "Washington Report", dated August, 2008. This "newsletter" was sent out under the Congressional free franking privilege, and, as such, is marked "This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense."

The entire front page of this large, expensive mailing is devoted to a sizable portrait of Cliff and a letter from him addressed "Dear Friends". In the letter, Cliff is congratulating himself because he has "consistently received the highest ratings for voting to reduce government spending" after first telling us that he has "tried my entire career to ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely".

Okay, then. That's why he spends all that money to print and mail a newsletter that could be posted on his website and even emailed to constituents virtually for free. How does Cliff rank on the use of this archaic practice? Here's a peek at the numbers for 2006, the last full year in which Cliff was a candidate:

So there we have it. Out of 435 members of the House of Representatives, Mr. "ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely", outspends 428 of them on the franking privilege and exceeds 432 of them in terms of the number of pieces of mass mail sent out.

Cliff says he is all about spending money wisely by the government, at least until it is time to dip at the public trough to send out fluff mail pieces to get his name in front of the voters on the last day before the election on which it is legal. Is this a wise use of our tax dollars?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cliff Tries to Put Lipstick on the Oil Trading Pig

In a press release dated June 26, 2008 on his website, Congressman Stearns proudly announces that he voted in favor of
H.R. 6377, the Energy Markets Emergency Act. The measure directs the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to immediately curb the role of excessive speculation in any contract market within its jurisdiction and control, or through which energy futures or swaps are traded. H.R. 6377 also directs the CFTC to eliminate excessive speculation, price distortion, sudden or unreasonable fluctuation, as well as any other unlawful activity that causes market disturbances that prevent the market from accurately reflecting the forces of supply and demand for energy commodities.
Cliff should have highlighted the "any contract market within its jurisdiction and control" phrase, because it is the infamous Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that got us into this mess in the first place. This bill, widely credited to be the brainchild of Phil Gramm (likely nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury under a President McCain), created what is called the "Enron loophole". This loophole enabled the movement of electronic speculation in energy commodities to overseas markets, beyond the regulation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, then headed by Gramm's wife Wendy. This proved such a boon to Enron that Wendy Gramm joined the Enron Board of Directors after leaving her regulatory post.

It is quite humorous that Cliff now takes a bold stand to prevent unlawful activity in markets within the reach of the CFTC when he played a role in moving the major speculation offshore, out of the reach of the commission. The initial bill in the House was HR5660 in 2000. No votes were held on this bill and it was folded into a larger appropriations bill, HR 4577. In the first vote, HR 4577 was passed primarily along party lines in the then Republican-controlled House by a vote of 217 to 214. Cliff joined 212 of his Republican cronies in passing this abysmal piece of public policy. The bill then moved to the Senate for another narrow, partisan victory for the Repulicans, passing by a vote of 52 to 43. However, there was a minor amendment in the Senate version, so a conference bill was needed. The conference bill passed the House by a much larger margin, 292 to 60. Now that passage was assured, Cliff changed his vote on the conference bill to a "No", but the damage already was done by his first "Yes" vote. It seems that Congressman Stearns started trying to put lipstick on this pig in 2000, but now, eight years later, his role in the narrow passage of one of the worst pieces of legislative debauchery in our history cannot be denied.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cliff Hates America and Its Values

It's clear that Americans generally favor more progressive values most of the time. Not Cliff. With a lifetime Progressive Punch voting score of 5.59%, it's clear he hates Americans and their values.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cliff Takes a Tour

On May 8, Congressman Stearns visited Guantanmo Bay Naval Base. In describing the trip in a press release on his website prior to departure, he said "I look forward to touring the facilities, evaluating the procedures, and getting a better picture of the role of Guantanamo in the War on Terror." After returning, he gleefully posted pictures of his trip, including this one, with a "thumbs up" worthy of Lynndie England herself:

The problem is that the Bush Administration's use of Guantanamo Bay has been a blatant violation of international law from the start. Coupling the violations of the Geneva Convention with the fact that 55% of the detainees at Guantanamo have committed no "hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies" and only 8% of detainees are actual fighters for al Qaeda, it is a true mystery why the Congressman would visit this facility with such enthusiasm.

In the documents released by the military to the New York Times in its story on the use of retired military officers as military analysts for the press, we find this passage about treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, taken from the transcript of a briefing of the officers (see 06-F-01532 doc 07 from the April 13, 2007 entry, page 6):
In GTMO, that ego down translated down to telling the detainee that his mother and sister were whores, he was forced to wear women's lingerie, multiple allegations of his homosexuality, he was forced to dance with a male interrogator, he was strip searched for control measures, and he was forced to perform dog tricks on a leash.

Now, the basic line there - you say that sounds, you know, like I did - that sounds like degrading. Well, we said yes, it could be. The basic line though in the charter for those interrogations was humane treatment. And humane treatment is spelled out by the President. It's a safe, secure environment that provides medical care, food, water, and the basics of that person's security. Not this. Was this person injured, harmed?

So, when Congressman Stearns says, in his press release, that treatment of detainees complies with international law, there are those who would disagree with him. According to the National Lawyers Guild, both those who mistreated prisoners and those involved at all levels of approving of this abuse have violated international law:

The prohibition of torture is a jus cogens norm (these are principles of international law so fundamental that no nation may ignore them or attempt to contract out of them through treaties). The United States has consistently prohibited the use of torture through its Constitution, laws, executive statements and judicial decisions and by ratifying international treaties that prohibit it. The prohibition against torture applies to all persons in U.S. custody in times of peace, armed conflict, or state of emergency. In other words, the prohibition is absolute. However, the legal memoranda drafted by government lawyers purposely or recklessly misconstrued and/or ignored jus cogens, customary international law, and various U.S. treaty obligations in order to justify the unjustifiable, claiming that clearly unlawful interrogation “techniques” were lawful.

Further, the NLG also states, in the same white paper, that "all those who approved the use of torture and committed it—whether ordering it, approving it or giving purported legal advice to justify it—are subject to prosecution under international and U.S. domestic law."

The white paper from the NLG tells us that because torture of prisoners is under a jus cogens norm, it is not made legal by the flawed memos of John Yoo, or by the pronouncement of President Bush, or by a vote of Congress in the Military Commissions Act. That is why Stearns has it exactly backwards when he ends his report on the Guantanamo Bay trip with a reference to a released detainee who became a suicide bomber. Taking innocent people off the street, placing them beyond the reach of international law and then subjecting them to needless physical and psychological torture for years is a guaranteed recipe for creating enemies. It was Guantanamo Bay and the methods employed there that are directly responsible for the unleashing of that particular bomber.

Update (June 10): The photo is no longer on Cliff's website. Nervous much, Cliff?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paid Shill for Telecoms?

An ad campaign being unleashed next week against Blue Dog Democrat Chris Carney of Pennsylvania easily could apply to Bush rubber-stamper Cliff Stearns. The ad campaign takes on Carney for his support of the Bush Administration position on retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies in FISA revision legislation, and points out the large contributions from telecommunications companies that Carney has received.

A look at the database reveals that Cliff's top two contributors in the current campaign cycle, at $10,000 each, are AT&T and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, while telephone utilities have contributed $27,000 in total. Cliff clearly is a darling to the telecommunications industry, as seen in this press release from his website:
WASHINGTON, APRIL 7, 2008 - The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is presenting its "Spirit of Innovation" Award to Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) at the group's Ninth Annual Spring Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Stearns is the Republican Leader on the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee. In addition to receiving the award, Stearns will provide the keynote address to the TIA membership at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, April 8th in the Atrium Hall of the Ronald Reagan Building. The TIA membership represents the information, communications, and entertainment industry.

Of course, the "innovation" that Cliff is trying to bring in this case is nothing more than retroactive immunity for illegal spying on American citizens. Watch the ad against Carney and realize that it applies to Cliff just as well:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cliff's Priorities

Last December, Congressman Stearns released a statement to the press in which he said:
I am pleased to join the House in extending SCHIP through March 31, 2009, without opening the program to higher income families and to more adults.
It is truly sad that he is pleased that the program was not extended to higher income families, even though those families still are so poor that they cannot afford health insurance for their children. However, that pleasure at not expanding the program is a result, in part, of his activley preventing the expansion of SCHIP. On September 25, 2007, Congressman Stearns voted against a conference bill ironing out final differences between the House and Senate on an expansion of SCHIP that would have expanded coverage from the current 6.6 million low income children to 10 million low income children. Further, when President Bush vetoed the bill, Congressman Stearns showed his dedication to the failed policies of the President by voting against an override of the the veto.

Congressman Stearns' vote to sustain the veto was in direct opposition to public opinion. CNN reported at the time that 61% of the public favored an override of the veto, while only 35% favored sustaining the veto. Congressman Stearns is clearly with only 35% of the American public when it comes to the health of our children. CNN cited Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Bush's support from lockstep Republicans like Congressman Stearns:
Earlier, Pelosi said Bush "is alone," in his stance on the bill, "and he's dragging some of his House members with him down this path."
The cost of the SCHIP expansion would have increased SCHIP expenditures by $35 billion over five years. It appears that Congressman Stearns feels it is more important to spend $12 billion a month for the war in Iraq than to spend $7 billion a year to cover health insurance for 4 million low income children. Are those your priorities?


Update: Cliff was for mothers before he was against them. This is just absolutely stunning, from Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard. Worse, Republicans are now confronted with a John Kerry-esque predicament: They actually voted for motherhood before they voted against it.

But why would 178 Republicans in the House vote against the goals and ideals of Mother's Day? Milbank explains:
As House Democrats tried to pass legislation to ease the mortgage crisis on Wednesday, Republicans served up hours of procedural delays, demanding a score of roll call votes: 10 motions to adjourn, half a dozen motions to reconsider, various and sundry amendments, a motion to approve the daily journal, a motion to instruct and a "motion to rise."
Voting against mothers was just another trick in the arsenal of House Republicans to prevent the Democratic majority doing the peoples' business.

How did Cliff vote? He voted against mothers after he voted for them. Obstructing Congress is more important to Cliff than recognizing mothers. Are those your priorities?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cliff Hates the Environment

The League of Conservation Voters recently released scorecards for Congress. How did Cliff do? Poorly:

Cliff Stearns (REP), 15%

Not only did all of the Democrats do better than all of the Republicans, With one exception, all of the Democrats did more than twice as good as all the Republicans. And most of the Democrats voted in favor of the environment more than four times as frequently as most of the Republicans.

I wonder how many of these Republicans own property that will be beachfront property when most of Florida is under water because of global warming? I'm just saying...