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Nutter said many new Members of Congress who campaigned last year on a platform of fiscal restraint may not be aware that they have walked streets that have been repaired with CDBG funds.
He has little patience with the rhetoric from candidates made in the heat of the campaign.
“The campaign is over,” he said. “Now is the time to govern.”
Despite the setback in the House, Nutter said, he was reassured in his meeting with Inouye that the powerful Senator is supportive of the CDBG program. And even though the session might have amounted to preaching to the choir, Nutter said, “Even the choir likes a good sermon as reaffirmation.”
The mayor said he also had conversations with home-state Sen. Bob Casey (D), who supports the grants. Nutter is planning to talk to Pennsylvania’s junior Senator, Pat Toomey, a Republican who ran last year on a fiscally conservative platform.
Nutter said lawmakers need to look elsewhere for savings, such as duplications in federal programs and the defense budget. He was also highly critical of lawmakers for lurching from one short-term budget patch to the next.
“No business enterprise would do what these folks have done,” he said.
How Low Can You Go?
When the advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation announced late last week that it was launching a legislative scorecard to grade lawmakers’ votes, liberal Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) immediately tried to figure out how he could get the lowest score of all.
So his office inquired: Could Jackson attain a negative score? You know, minus 30 or something, like the winters in Chicago.
“When it comes to the Heritage Foundation, zero isn’t good enough for us,” explained Andrew Wilson, the Congressman’s director of communications. “In Congressman Jackson’s district, a low rating from the Heritage Foundation is a badge of honor. ... We figure that if they want to really rank who is the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ on their priorities then we should get extra credit for going above and beyond the call of duty.”
It turns out that Heritage Action for America just might be willing to accommodate the Member’s unusual request.
“We certainly hadn’t contemplated negative scores, but I won’t rule out adding a special category so folks can get a negative score,” spokesman Dan Holler said.
Heritage announced its first “key vote” is on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, which would provide vouchers to low-income students in D.C. The measure passed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week and is heading to a full House vote. Voting with Heritage means voting for the bill. Not surprisingly, Jackson isn’t likely to vote with Heritage.
“School vouchers take the resources of the many for the benefit of a few. I anticipate that the Congressman will vote ‘no’ if it comes up for a vote before the House, making us one for one with Heritage,” Wilson said.
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