Saturday, March 31, 2007

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Republicans are often quick to highlight waste, fraud, and abuse when it involves authorizing money for a program designed to help ordinary Americans though relatively uninterested in corporate greed. As this YouTube taken from C-SPAN shows, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS), who represents southern Mississippi, gave a beaut of an example when he fought a Republican amendment to weaken a bill designed to aid Katrina victims.

The fierce debate led to one of those wonderful floor fights which leave Congress in contempt. After Rep. Taylor's words were "struck down" for slightly overstepping the ornate rules governing House decorum and he lost his right to participate in floor debates for the remainder of the day, the House promptly voted 265-160 to restore Taylor's right to speak in response to a motion from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).

Continuing the political suicide that has marked their course for some time, Republicans proceeded to whine about the lack of civility in the House despite Speaker Pelosi's promises. Somehow I doubt Rep. Taylor will lose any support at home for vociferously fighting for funds to rebuild homes in his district. It is hard to imagine that many Americans felt that this was a great place for budget cuts. Our failure to adequately address the crisis on the Gulf Coast remains a national disgrace.

Minority Leader John Boehner finally showed the good sense to move his caucus along and request that the House yield to Rep. Taylor to allow him to speak. If anyone wonders why Rep. Taylor, who is probably the most conservative Democrat in the House by a mile, stays with his party, I think this shows why.

(Hat tip to DailyKos and First Draft for the information).