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Stuck on stupid XXIV: Landrieu postures rather than helps

Once again, as is often the case led by Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana is making itself known to the rest of the country as a bunch of whining ingrates who recoil at the slightest hint that the state ought to be financially responsible for its own affairs – all to serve Landrieu’s political agenda.

This latest unsavory reminder comes from Landrieu’s posturing concerning S. 965, the bill dealing with supplemental war funding which among other things would waive the state’s 10 percent (down from the usual 25 percent) match on a portion of disaster relief funds that federal law requires. This amount is estimated at around $800 million and the amount on which it is based is but a small fraction of the entire federal aid sent free to Louisiana to deal with the hurricane disasters of 2005. Republican Pres. George W. Bush threatens to veto the bill if this provision is included, among others of course (such as any deadline to remove troops fighting in Iraq, something that runs counter to American interests and goals also supported by Landrieu).

This space already has recounted the extraordinarily favorable treatment the state has received over this money, mostly echoed recently by federal recovery coordinator Donald Powell:

  • Funds with absolutely no strings at all given by the federal government more than compensate any matching requirement and could be used by such if the state desired – and doing so would not beggar the state in any way since the federal government has pledged, and so far adhered to it, that all the money genuinely needed for recovery by the state beyond its means will be provided
  • The state’s record budget surplus in the form of higher tax collections almost solely is due to the tens of billions of dollars given free by the American people through federal spending, a total amount of aid far exceeding any disaster assistance for any other single episode, or even adding the next several-highest together.
  • Contrary to statements Landrieu and others have been making that this instance was almost the only one where the full cost of the disaster was being borne by the federal government, another official also pointed out that in only two other instances had the federal government completely waived all costs, so there’s no lack of favoritism here.

    Powell also pointed out how the state could solve for technical objections to the law such as paperwork requirements. Instead, it seems like Landrieu would rather screech and play politics rather than facilitate the obvious solution.

    One thing Powell didn’t point out was Landrieu’s own culpability behind her most sensational (and somewhat illogical) charge that Bush made a “factually false” claim that Louisiana had received enough no-strings-attached money (Community Development Black Grants). Her lack of clarity and rationality makes understanding what she tries to mean difficult, but apparently she is arguing that the state, relative to others, did not get “enough” of these kinds of funds, so therefore it should not be expected to use them to pay its share of the match.

    But what Landrieu doesn’t want people to realize is that Louisiana’s share of this money is determined by federal law over which the president has no influence. Only Landrieu and her colleagues can change that, and that’s part of this obnoxious bill that, for Democrats, serves a dual purpose: to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory to score political points, or to get Bush to veto the bill to score political points. Again, this shows that Landrieu is using the issue to score her own political points at the expense of real solutions.

    Of course, she must cover up this fact that the bill cannot succeed to provide anything by opining that if Bush vetoes the bill, there would be enough votes to override. While this part of the legislation was made broad enough to encompass all the Gulf Coast states in order to try to buy their senators’ votes, the rest of the country’s senators aren’t going to want to give any more handouts to Louisiana – and Republicans aren’t going to want to endorse waving the white flag of surrender that Democrats advocate, so no override attempt would come close to be successful. Even the state’s Republican senator David Vitter wisely voted against the measure, which barely passed.

    But if she were serious about this, she would be working on getting enacted something like H.R. 1144 which is largely a standalone version. Even if misguided, it represents an attempt to get the bill passed on its own merits rather than attaching it to a bill designed for political purposes.

    We must recognize all of this represents an effort by Landrieu to boost her sagging reelection chances which must deflect the Louisiana public’s attention away from her record. Thus Landrieu, as is typical, remains stuck on stupid.
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