Friday, November 11, 2005

Budget/Deficit bill: Vote 'no'; no wait, vote 'yes'!

Family Research Council, Tony Perkins' Washington Update
Tuesday, November 8, 2005

"This week the House of Representatives will vote on a Budget Reconciliation bill that takes a significant step toward cutting wasteful government spending.

"However, the measure is laded with some very troubling features.

"First, it includes more favorable tax treatment for casinos, race tracks, massage parlors, and liquor stores. That's bad enough. These outfits have never before been treated on a par with regular businesses. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) deserves praise for valiantly fighting against tax preferences for these questionable companies.

"Second, the bill does not presently contain the very important Boehner-Jindal provision on parental choice in education. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) is Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee; Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is a freshman from the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast. Boehner-Jindal needs to be put in the bill.

"Third, the Kennedy-Enzi language from the Senate version of this bill needs to be taken out. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) would allow private schools to receive funds for giving aid to students evacuated from affected areas. However, schools that take the bait also invite the heavy hand of federal regulators. It's a dangerous bargain. The Kennedy-Enzi proposal denies funding to schools that "indoctrinate" their students. Is saying the Pledge of Allegiance indoctrination? Is the Lord's Prayer?

"We need a much better Budget Reconciliation Bill."


[Two days later...]


Family Research Council, Tony Perkins Take Action Alert
Thursday, November 10, 2005

"My message today is simple. The House of Representatives may vote as soon as today on the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. This legislation is long overdue. It will cut some $50 billion in projected federal spending. Congress may be, at long last, rediscovering the fiscal discipline that families take for granted.

"But we must encourage a 'yes' vote now if we are to move closer to this goal.

"While deficit reduction is the primary goal of the Deficit Reduction Act, this bill has other positive aspects as well.

"Among other things, it reauthorizes the landmark welfare reform legislation passed nearly a decade ago. It will also end abusive interest rates charged under certain student loan programs on which families rely, and it will permit Medicaid recipients in a limited number of states to have Health Opportunity Accounts to gain more control over their health spending.

"Time is short, so please send a swift message of support to your representative for the Deficit Reduction Act."


OK. Let it be recognized that Bill "A" from the November 8 Washington Update, and Bill "B" from the November 10 Action Alert... are the same bill!

One has to wonder what transpired in the intervening two days to cause such a dramatic change of heart. Sure, the bill probably still contains all the items mentioned in both emails, but why the change in FRC's position?

Whether the change in position was brought on by pressure from party leadership, a certain large caucus (somewhat principle-deficient lately), or a simple change of heart, the bill didn't make it to the House Floor Thursday as planned.

The conflict behind closed doors this week may, however, spill out into the open next week.

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