(Non-)Response From Washington Senator Patty Murray Re: Porkbusters

It's about time that Senator Patty Murray replied to my Porkbusters prompting. This seems a bit like a form letter, just like Maria Cantwell's response.

Dear Mr. Poulson:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your budget priorities in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I appreciate you taking the time to write me.

Of course, I had similar budget priorities before Katrina, but Katrina made it even more important in the wake of Congress wanting to spend another $220B of taxpayer money.

We have all seen devastating images from Gulf Coast communities as families struggle to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been touched by this disaster. Although the damage has not been completely surveyed, it is widely agreed that Hurricane Katrina alone has caused more economic damage than any recent catastrophe in the United States.

I'm compassionate, see?

When emergencies occur, state and local jurisdictions are generally the first to respond. But when a hurricane or other catastrophe overwhelms the state and local governments, the governor can request that the President declare the area a "disaster" or a "major disaster." The President's declaration then puts into motion long-term recovery programs. These programs are put into place to help individuals, businesses, and public entities that are victims of the disaster.

Last I checked, I had not signed up for a Civics lesson. I wonder why she didn't point out how the Governors of states adjacent to Lousiana acted swifted during Katrina and Rita and had some decent coordinate response to the natural disaster. Odd, that.

We all agree that we must help those displaced by these hurricanes. To date, Congress has enacted two separate emergency supplemental bills providing $62.3 billion in funding for emergency response and recovery needs. Both measures match the funding requested by the Administration and were enacted within one day of the Administration's request. I am concerned, however, that the urgency to pass these, and future, bills has provided a platform for politicizing budget priorities.

I agree that the damage to the national infrastructure has to be swiftly repaired, and that people's whose lives are dislodged should be afforded the fastest opportunity to recover what they can of their property and livelihood. I wouldn't be so bold as to state the presumption as “we all agree.”

The current Congressional Budget Office deficit estimate is also very troubling. At the end of fiscal year 2000, the government's books were balanced, with a unified budget surplus of $121 billion. As a member of the Senate Committee on the Budget and Committee on Appropriations, I was proud of the progress we had made. Sadly, since the current Administration came to office, federal spending has grown by a third, from $1.86 trillion to $2.47 trillion. Couple these numbers with the President’s massive tax cuts and you can understand how our record surplus turned into a $317 billion deficit—representing the third worst deficit in our nation’s history. When you add up the Social Security and other trust fund surpluses, the debt in 2005 will actually increase by $575 billion.

And yet, Senator Murray responds to the Coburn Amendment trying to end the “Bridge to Nowhere” with threats that, when taken in a non-political context, would justify a RICO pretext to seize her assets.

The cost of recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is estimated to reach as much as $200 billion. As a result, we can expect the deficit to be even worse than expected in 2006 and beyond. The current Republican budget plan takes us further down a road of debt and deficits. It calls for spending cuts to Food Stamps, farm supports, student aid and the first cut to Medicaid in nearly a decade. Meanwhile it will extend tax cuts for our countries most fortunate—further adding to our deficit.

Looks like we're heading to the part where she indicates that asparagus research benefits Katrina victims.

I do not believe that we should be cutting the very services that will most help the families who were affected by these hurricanes. Congress must ensure that people across the nation are able to secure their families basic needs: employment or assistance when employment is not available, health care, education, food, energy aid, child care and housing. Some in this Administration , and some members of Congress, have suggested that the Federal government pay for hurricane recovery by cutting the same services that will help Katrina effected low-income people and communities the most. At the same time they request extending the tax cuts passed from 2001-2003 which have cost us $225 billion this year alone. Tax cuts which have primarily served to deepen the pockets of our nations most wealthy. A stable economy and sound budget will not come from passing tax cuts for the wealthy while hundreds of thousands of people loose their homes, jobs and communities.

I need to go find my boots, because it's getting kinda deep here. What I identified as pork in the Federal budget seemed pretty reasonably pork, as did the infamous bridge and other projects. Nothing in there seemed essential.

No one denies that it was the most poverty stricken communities who bared the brunt of this disaster. In order to truly learn from these events we must reach out to those who have asked for help and offer them a hand. We must house those who are homeless and feed those who are hungry. How can we as a nation be proud of ourselves if we deny a student the education they ask for; an education which may be their ticket out from economic disadvantage. Congress has a historical opportunity to address some underlying inequities of this region; in order to do that we must offer families the tools and the opportunities to help themselves.

50 people don't need that confounded bridge, and Senators that suggest removing it don't deserve threats, Senator Murray.

Clearly, we need to change the current priorities of this Administration. I will continue to fight for the rights of those affected by these Hurricanes while promoting sound fiscal policy. We do not need to leave a legacy of debt for our grandchildren in order to help the children of today. We simply need good leadership.

Actually, we need to change your priorities, Senator. Because you are fighting for asparagus subsidies, not Katrina victims.

Please know that I am very concerned about the Congresses current budget priorities and that I will continue to work with Senate colleagues to preserve important programs and promote fiscal responsibility. If you have any further questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Here's an idea: Quit spending money on boondoggles and focus on real benefits.

Patty Murray
United States Senator

I'm going to enjoy voting against you, Senator.

Update: I'm adding this one to the Beltway Traffic Jam at Outside the Beltway.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Oct 25 2005 03:52 PM

Adjacent entries


« Plame Game Revisited
Minimum Wage vs. Staff Jobs »





To track back to this entry, ping this URL: http://pun.org/MT/mt-tb.cgi/678

There is one trackback on this entry.

Sens, Murray and Cantwell Won't Say No to Pork!

I noticed that in Josh's Weblog, Vancouver, WA resident Josh Poulson, wrote to both Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell with the idea of cutting some pork and using that money to rebuild the infrastructure of Katrina hard hit areas. You ca... [Read more]

Mover Mike

Linked Friday, Nov 4 2005 10:00 AM

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)



Affiliate advertising

Basecamp project management and collaboration

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate