Like many House Republicans, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho supports "drastically reducing discretionary spending" and warns that further growth in national debt could be "disastrous for the economy." But as chairman of a powerful appropriations subcommittee in the House, Simpson takes a different tack, especially when it comes to programs that impact his home district.You'll not be at all surprised to find out that Mike Simpson was a no vote on Sandy relief. Some disasters (the ones close to home) are just more important than others.
"Simpson Secures Wildfire Funding in House Budget Bill," his office announced last week in a press release, trumpeting Simpson's "instrumental" role in adding $570 million in additional funds for wildfire suppression in a bill that passed the House Wednesday. [...] "Idaho and the West faced an intense fire season in 2013," Simpson said in the release, "requiring more funding than initially budgeted to protect communities and manage resources."
But that's nothing compared to Speaker John Boehner.
"Spending is the problem here in Washington," he likes to say. But behind the scenes he joined a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressman to insert $181 million in funding the Army does not want for an upgrade program at the Abrams Tank manufacturing plant in Lima, Ohio, just a few dozen miles from Boehner's own Ohio Congressional district. The Army has already announced that it plans to phase out the cold-war era tank, and had sought to wind down production in Lima. Last May, the Obama Administration, citing a "fiscally constrained environment," formally objected to the new funding.And the tank goes on. Meanwhile, Boehner is happy to let the sequester go on and on. Because in the end, he knows that he can take care of the folks back home.