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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kennedy in a tough spot?

--posted by Tony Garcia on 11/19/2005

Rep. Mark Kennedy cast one of the deciding votes in a budget battle this week.
Rep. Mark Kennedy, who faces a tough race for a U.S. Senate seat next year, took center stage in a budget battle Friday, casting a deciding vote for a package that would cut projected spending by $50 billion.

Democrats immediately attacked the Minnesota Republican, who broke a 215-215 tie in the early morning hours with one of the mainstays of the GOP's domestic agenda on the line. The five-year budget package ultimately passed 217-215.

Democrats and some moderate Republicans opposed the measure, which would curb the growth in spending for Medicaid, food stamps and student loans.
Congrats for having the courage to withstand the attacks from the Left for voting against unnecessary spending.

On my new scorecard this action get a +1. It would have been higher except for 3 things that bother me. First, why is it a dilemma for a fiscal conservative to vote for cuts? Especially at the federal level. And especially when Pawlenty is getting heat from the fiscal conservatives for abandoning the fiscal-base. Second, why did it take so long to come up with a position on this issue? If he is a fiscal conservative he should be "yes on budget cuts". The third reason...

The scorecard is something I hope to keep going through the elections next year. If the candidate has a positive score when I vote then he will get my vote/endorsement. If not...then I vote for someone else.
Kennedy's vote came after a 25-minute-long roll call -- 10 minutes longer than normal -- after a day in which Republican leaders sought to round up more than two dozen reluctant members to get the budget through. By that time, 14 Republicans had joined a unified Democratic front in voting against the bill. Among them was Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn.

"We should cut the massive pork barrel spending instead of cutting health care for the poorest of the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities," Ramstad said.
Ramstad gets a -2 for this vote. And the ANWR vote on this bill is my thrid reason for not scoring Kennedy higher. Unless I'm mistaken this is the budget bill from which the ANWR provision was ripped away.
He also said student loan cuts would cost University of Minnesota students $6.3 million next year.
So what? Why in the world should the average blue collar worker be paying for ANYONE'S college beyond their own children? They should not be. The "poor" kids can go get scholarships and loans from banks. By the way...notice that tuition rates increase in proportion to the amount of federal and state aid. The aid is the LEADING indicator on tution rates not the other way around.
Democrats accused Kennedy of marching in "lockstep" with Republican leaders, countering efforts by Kennedy in recent months to portray himself as a centrist willing to vote against White House positions.
Lockstep, huh. How many Democrats vote for the cuts? ZERO. THAT is lockstep. Can someone please send me the bill number that is the Democrats version of deficit reduction?


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