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Cross posted at Texas Kaos.

Texas Republicans sucker punched the good folks in Sealy.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a piece about BAE Systems in Sealy and its recently lost federal contract.  I had reported on an article that had been written in the Houston Chronicle about this issue.

The Pentagon's decision to shift the production of Army trucks from Texas to Wisconsin after 17 years caught Texas' elected officials by surprise, raising questions about overconfidence, a loss of political clout and the impact of economic incentives provided to the winning company by Wisconsin's Democratic governor.

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry and the 34-member Senate-House delegation are rallying to salvage a deal for BAE Systems that could be worth $2.6 billion and sustain 10,000 direct and indirect jobs around the sprawling truck manufacturing plant in Sealy.

Houston's Channel 13 News recently reported on the grim outcome for Sealy as well.

PDiddie over at Brains and Eggs had also written about the Sealy situation on November 27.

McCaul failed to enlist Democrats in Texas' congressional delegation such as Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, to help protect the contract in a Democratic administration, says Matt Angle, a longtime Democratic operative who heads the political action committee known as the Lone Star Project.

On Tuesday, Phillip Martin over at The Burnt Orange Report wrote that Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10) had fumbled away over 3,000 jobs in his district.  The Lone Star Project revealed that indeed, McCaul had failed to advocate on behalf of BAE Systems and the folks in Sealy.  

An official letter from the Department of Defense obtained by the Lone Star Project states that no record exists of Michael McCaul contacting the Department of Defense during the contract review process to advocate for BAE systems or to request fair consideration that the contract be renewed. (Source: DOD Freedom of Information Act Request, 10/14/2009 ) Additional research shows that McCaul also failed to take other basic steps Members of Congress normally take when trying to win support from their colleagues to protect District jobs.

McCaul, of course, will take no responsibility for his failure to act on behalf of BAE Systems.

The Chronicle had also disclosed that Governor Rick Perry, U.S. House Rep. Michael McCaul and top aides for Senators Cornyn and Hutchison said they felt sucker punched and blind sided by Sealy's lost federal contract.

One congressional aide said Texas lawmakers should have been more alert to the possibility of losing a contract that Oshkosh had tried to win in 2001. "It just wasn't on anybody's radar," the aide said.

Sucker punched and blind sided?!

Wait a minute.  These lawmakers who had completely forgotten about the serious and potential job loss in their state felt sucker punched and blind sided?  Please.

If anyone has been sucker punched and blind sided it is the employees of BAE System and the folks in Sealy who will know a new world of hurt if the plant closes.  

As an administrator for a scientific laboratory at an academic institution that is awarded a great number of federal grants, I can tell you that if BAE System's executives, Rick Perry, Michael McCaul, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison forgot about the potential for a 10,000 job loss in Texas, all are grossly and hopelessly negligent.

It is up to the recipient of the funding award to know when the funding will run dry.  Grants are awarded for specific periods of time whether it is for five or twenty five years. At academic institutions is up to administrators and the principle investigators (the professors) to do due diligence and prepare renewal requests for ongoing funding when a grant dries up.  The renewals are always competitive.  Everyone who receives federal funding of any sort should know this.  There is always going to be another PI or another company that wants the same money that has been awarded to you.  And they will fight like hell to get it.  The PIs and companies have to fight like hell to win the award again.

When a grant is about to dry up few funding agencies will send notifications.  They don't have to.  Admins. and PIs know when the money will run out because when it does we have to find new sources of money to pay research scientists and staff salaries, fund grad student stipends and education, undergrad summer research internships and buy lab equipment. In academe we frequently refer to this process as the grant grind.

A federal funding agency will sometimes send an email notification when they are soliciting new proposals but not always.  It us up to the administrators and PIs to find out when proposals are being solicited and to stay on top of when the funding will come to an end.  During the term of the funding we have to submit annual reports to the funding agency that discloses financial expenditures and research outcomes and achievements.  The funding agency has to report to the Congress how it is spending the people's money.

Where federal grants are concerned it is up to the PI to contact his/her U.S. Representative to inform him/her about a proposal submission and the outcome it promises (i.e. more jobs in Houston, more students in the fields science and engineering, the potential for job creation outside the academic institution).  It should be the job of the U.S. Rep. to do due diligence and lobby for the companies and academic institutions within his/her district. Like the PIs and company executives Representatives should fight like hell in Washington to bring the bacon home to their district.

And this is where Michael McCaul and Senators Hutchison and Cornyn failed miserably.  Not only did all fail to fight for the bacon and its 10,000 jobs, all completely forgot about it.  

Rick Perry, instead of grandstanding all summer with teabaggers and secessionists, should have spent his time hammering McCaul 24/7 to do something about BAE.  

In 2007 BAE told McCaul that the contract was up for renewal (bids) but apparently he and Rick Perry were too busy palling around with the likes of Rush Limbaugh to care.

This is the root of the serious problem the Texas Republican lawmakers have today.  Not only are they disengaged and out of touch about the needs of their districts, all are so busy pandering to the far right and their sugar daddy donors that they are virtually neglecting large numbers of their constituents.  

Of course the spineless cowards will never step up and take responsiblity for their appalling irresponsible and criminal negligence.  Predictably and routinely all are blaming the Obama Administration and partisan politics for the lost Sealy contract.  But of course all would play this blame game because the truth of the matter is during the W. Administration era of no bid contracts (Halliburton, KBR, Black Water, anyone?) partisan politics did indeed factor in big. While they point one finger at the Obama Administration our esteemed Texas Republican politicians are also pointing three fingers at themselves.

Today, as far as the Pentagon and the DOD are concerned, given the W. inflicted dire economic straits we are in, both want to attract the smartest brain power it can get while getting the biggest bang for its bucks.

The good people of Texas must know that without federal funding awards, i.e. grants and contracts, Texas would not be the great state that it is. Federal funding is absolutely crucial for the economic and educational well-being, if not survival, of our state.

Federal funding enables jobs, jobs, jobs, brilliant and innovative ideas, cutting edge science and cures for previously incurable diseases.  

Texas Republicans need to put a stop to their clown acts that rail against big government and paying taxes.  Where do they think all of the federal grant and contract money comes from?  The moon?

Texas Republican lawmakers should also know that elections have outcomes.  Fortunately, for the economic well-being and survival of our country, Republicans no longer hold the power. Once we wrest the power from them in Texas things will get a hell of a lot better for the people of Texas. Wouldn't it be nice to have a lawmaker who actually cared more about his or her district than he/she does about him/herself?

Imagine that.

Phillip Martin over at The Burnt Orange Report wrote another piece on McCaul's criminal negligence and incompetence a few moments ago.   McCaul is up for reelection in 2010.  Texas progressive democrats and bloggers intend to take him down.

Originally posted to Libby Shaw on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:37 AM PST.

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