Friday, February 10, 2006

A Culture of Corruption

The Republican Leadership has gone too far.

Senator Frist, the Majority Leader and a likely Republican candidate for President, has done some pretty shady stuff over the past few years. He's currently under investigation for insider trading, but that pales in comparison to something like this.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert engineered a backroom legislative maneuver to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits, say witnesses to the pre-Christmas power play.

The language was tucked into a Defense Department appropriations bill at the last minute without the approval of members of a House-Senate conference committee, say several witnesses, including a top Republican staff member.

For those of you who don't know what a conference committee is, it's a committee comprised of both Senators and Representatives who work towards taking two slightly different bills and turning it into a cohesive bill that both houses can vote on to pass law. It is almost unheard of that someone would step in, late at night, and change the conference committee's unified bill without anyone else's knowledge. The only other time this happened, as far as I can remember, is with the Patriot Act.

Furthermore, the very fact that this bill is now tied into military spending is outrageous. What do vaccines have to do with the military? Very little. Sometimes the military gives out vaccines, but this amendment affects far more vaccines than merely those given out by the military. It effects everyone. And now that it is tied into the military budget, it becomes too hard for many to vote "no." Politicians in the U.S. don't like to vote no on military spending, even when these shady amendments are added, because of the negative publicity.

The real reason Frist did this is because he knew he didn't have the votes for it to otherwise pass, so he hoped no one would know about the changes and few would have the courage to vote against a military spending bill. He's a first rate scum bag who looks out for his friends: the health care industry.

In other news, read what happened to Tom Delay. No, he wasn't thrown in jail (yet). No, he didn't resign from Congress. No, he didn't back out of his reelection campaign (where he may lose if he stays in). So what happened? Why, he got rewarded with one of the most important and prestigious positions in the House of Representatives: he's now a member of the Appropriations Committee - the Committee that controls spending. While not quite as powerful as his old position, he's still in position to raise more money than Scrooge McDuck buying a lotto ticket with his lucky penny. Naturally, he'll need to keep as many lobbyist allies as possible, so he's also on a Judiciary Subcommittee that's in charge of his friend Jack Abramoff's case.

Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House, scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee.

DeLay, R-Texas, also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers. The subcommittee also has responsibility over NASA — a top priority for DeLay, since the Johnson Space Center is located in his Houston-area district.

Here's what one top Democratic strategist had to say:

Allowing Tom DeLay to sit on a committee in charge of giving out money is like putting Michael Brown back in charge of FEMA — Republicans in Congress just can't seem to resist standing by their man.

The good news is with this massive corruption Americans will soon come around to realizing they can't trust these Republican leaders and need a complete shift in political power in both the House and Senate.


joe schlieff said...

I saw Bill Frist speak this weekend when I went to DC, and trust me, he's either not running or won't make it past sqaure 1 in the primaries. As a majority leader, he's incompetent. What I wouldn't give for Trent Lott.....

Ryan Adams, if I were you, I would keep my eyes on Newt Gingrich. Very Closely.

Ryan Adams said...

I agree, Frist is a lame duck, but he's still seriously considering it and will have serious funds and backers.

I know Newt Gingrich wants to run, but I don't consider him a serious contender at this point. I'm beginning to think that Republican Leadership is going to realize that McCain has to win the nomination, despite his reputation, or the Republicans won't win.

I hope you had fun in D.C. I had the opportunity to go to a big conference there over the summer and got to hear Bill Clinton speak, which was a lot of fun, not to mention meet up with hundreds of my fellow progressive students.

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