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House Republicans have their cake, eat it too

Sean Duffy

Ron Nixon of the New York Times looks at several U.S. House Republicans who were elected on a platform of spending cuts but who are also pushing for spending projects of questionable merit in their districts. This is a timely report as House Republicans have taken a “No, more cuts!” position during deficit-reduction negotiations. These Republicans are hypocritical, effective, or both.

For example, Wisconsin first-year lawmaker Sean Duffy and Minnesota representative — and presidential candidate — Michelle Bachmann, want federal cash to build a bridge over the St. Croix River. Duffy and Bachmann have not yet predicted how much the bridge would cost, but the National Park Service already opposes the project claiming “it [would] violate the Wild and Scenic River Act by harming the river’s scenic and recreational qualities.”

Nonetheless, Duffy and Bachmann supported a bill passed by the House to require the federal government, trillions of dollars in debt, to balance its budget each year. They opposed spending cuts proposed by Barack Obama in deficit reduction negotiations because they do not go far enough. Also, Duffy and Bachmann are part of a House Republican class that announced a ban on earmarks, which, essentially, are hometown projects exactly like this proposed bridge.

A case could be made that Duffy and Bachmann are doing their jobs. They are pushing the national GOP platform of cuts, but are also looking out for their constituents’ specific needs. But this set-up is terrible for federal agencies like the National Park Service which must balance their overall budget priorities with the whims of individual lawmakers. Ideally, Duffy’s ideas to benefit northwest Wisconsinites would loosely align with national proposals for enhancing public parks. But almost any spending proposal, even ones a lot better than the St. Croix bridge, are at cross-purposes with a national GOP platform of near uniform domestic cuts.

3 Responses to “House Republicans have their cake, eat it too”

  1. donkeyhunter:

    This is rediculous. The proposed bridge is supported by lawmakers in both WI and MN, including Ron Kind (D) and MN Governor Mark Dayton (D). There is no crossing of the river for 100 miles to the north, so it is desperately needed to accomodate the growing population of the area. Perhaps the NY Times could do some research before jumping to tabloid based conclusions.

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