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.

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?

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