Other Voices
Jim Firth

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December 27, 2013
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Look at the votes to decide for yourself

OTHER VOICES; Jim Firth

I must have struck a nerve among the Tea Party types around here. Jim Driver wrote Dec. 21 how “Mr. Firth writes in a breezy ‘down-to-earth’ style” about a trip he made to Boston. I thought my November opinion piece was cleverly written. If The Union is any kind of indicator, lots of people read the November opinion piece, but no one else liked it. I guess very few people I know read The Union.

Mr. Driver makes some assertions of his own regarding the Tea Party: “… the very things that Jim Firth accuses the Tea Party of supporting are the very things the Tea Party opposes!”

The sentence that I wrote stated, “These real Americans (Tea Partiers) are the ones who support government subsidies to big American oil companies, support subsidies to big agri-business, support huge profits (and huge administrative costs) of big health insurance companies, support the military-industrial complex and support the Constitution, so long as it doesn’t vary too much from what our ‘founding fathers’ intended.”

Read on. From a story by Tom Cohen and Alan Silverleib that appeared March 29, 2012, on CNN, which was titled “Senate Republicans reject Obama call to end ‘big oil’ tax breaks”:

“Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a Democratic measure championed by President Barack Obama to end tax breaks for the major oil companies. The procedural vote of 51-47, which failed to reach the needed threshold of 60 in favor, killed the measure, which was given little chance of eventually winning approval in the Republican-controlled House. Four Democrats opposed the bill while one Republican supported it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, opened debate on the oil subsidy measure Monday by noting that big oil companies are ‘making money hand over fist.’

‘If Republicans continue to stand up for oil companies making record profits, one thing will be obvious: Republicans care less about bringing down gas prices than about helping big oil companies that don’t need the help,’ Reid said.”

I’ve checked on the voting records of several so-called Tea Party elected officials on a sampling of issues. Here’s how these people voted:

HR 1900 — vote to adopt an amendment that requires an application for a natural gas pipeline project to include information that demonstrates the project’s use of available designs, systems and practices to limit methane emissions to the “extent practicable.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., voted nay (amendment vote) on this amendment.

HR 4310 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 — vote to adopt a conference report that appropriates funds for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for defense activities of the Department of Energy and for other purposes.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, voted yea (conference report vote) on this legislation.

HR 4872 — Health Care Reconciliation Act — vote to concur with Senate amendments and pass a bill that issues various amendments to HR 3590, including, but not limited to, the following highlights. Repeals the $500 reduction in the coverage gap under Medicare Part D that separates the limit on initial coverage and the coverage for catastrophic care (“donut hole”) in 2010, establishes a $250 rebate for individuals affected by the gap beginning in 2010 and phases out the gap by 2020 (Sec. 1101).

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, voted nay (concurrence vote) on this legislation.

HR 6495 — Mine Safety Act — requires the secretary of Health and Human Services, in the case of a mine accident, to (Sec. 101): determine why the accident occurred; determine whether any laws were violated, and if so, refer the evidence to the attorney general; and make recommendations to avoid any recurrence of the accident.

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., voted Nay (passage) on this legislation.

HR 2775 — Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 — vote to concur with Senate amendments and pass a bill that extends fiscal year 2013 appropriations for the federal government, suspends the public debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014, and requires American Health Benefit Exchanges to verify the eligibility of individuals who apply for premium tax credits. Requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to guarantee that American Health Benefit Exchanges will verify the eligibility of individuals applying to receive tax credits or cost-sharing reductions under the Affordable Care Act (Sec. 1001).

Doug LaMalfa, R-Calf., voted nay (concurrence vote) on this legislation.

Come on, Mr. Driver, we know better!

Jim Firth is chairman of the Nevada County Democrats. Voting records provided by One Common Ground and Project Vote Smart.


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The Union Updated Dec 28, 2013 12:39PM Published Dec 31, 2013 09:11AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.