Calling Senator Coleman
Earlier this week, the unthinkable happened. A sitting Senator (Senator Tom Coburn from Okalhoma) had the audacity to propose an amendment to a spending bill that called for certain "earmarked" dollars to be redirected from their assigned projects and sent to Louisiana and Alabama to help pay for the promised relief from Hurricane Katrina. Projects such as the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska and a sculpture garden in Washington state would loose their funding (this year anyway) in order to rebuild the Twin Spans in New Orleans and rebuilt infrastructure in Mississippi. Very sound, logical thinking to me, however, it did not appear that way to 82 of the Gentleman from Oklahoma's colleagues, including our soon to be senior Senator - Norm Coleman! Now I understand that Senator Coleman at one time was a Democrat, but he ran for his seat as a fiscal and social conservative and in this post 9/11 world, with multiple natural disasters and a war to pay for, what was he thinking voting against this?
I'll tell you what he was thinking - he (along with the 81 others who voted against the Coburn Amendment) was more concerned about "congressional courtesy" - the act of supporting another Senator's pet "pork" project so that some day in the future, (s)he supports yours in turn! While this kind of "thought" is great for sitting Senators and Congressmen (who can go home and brag about how much federal money they brought home) it is lousy for the American people that they are supposed to be looking out for!
Instead of being commended for making the "tough" proposals, Senator Coburn was vilified by his colleagues.
"I come to warn the Senate, if you want a wounded bull on the floor of the Senate, pass this amendment," a red-faced Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) snorted. "I stood here and watched Senator Allen teach the Senate lesson after lesson after something was done to Alabama that he didn't like. I don't threaten people; I promise people." That's right - a supposed "conservative" is threatening his fellow senators if they dare to vote against his pet pork project!
"If the Senator from Oklahoma wants to look for a culprit for the fiscal situation in this country, he should look into the billions and billions of dollars in tax cuts that have been granted to multimillionaires in this country, and he should look at additional tax cuts his party wants to implement in future years if he wants to find incredible savings," Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) lectured. That's right dear reader - rather than temporarily suspend pork spending, Senator Murray would rather rescind YOUR TAX CUTS!!!!! Then she threw out this threat..."What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And I tell my colleagues, if we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next."
Meanwhile, Senator Coburn is concerned about projects, such as one in Rhode Island where $220,000 is going to toward a $2.2 million animal shelter when "...we are spending $200,000 for the construction of an animal shelter when we cannot even shelter the people properly in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi."
We need more Senators like Senator Coburn. It is time for ALL savage Republicans to stand up for fiscal sanity and restraint. Contact Senator Coburn and let him know that you appreciate his looking out for your hard earned dollars. Then put your sitting Senators on notice. Contact them and let them know that they need to do what is right for the country first. If it means putting a pet project back home on hold, so be it...
Senator Coleman - pay attention to what your base is saying! You will need our help in two very short years when you are up for re-election. Ignoring the disgruntled base will not get you sent back to DC in 2008......