Sunday, January 21, 2007

Expect the Usual Mediocrity in IL-19

Members of the 110th Congress has set an ambition agenda for itself during this First Session. Already there are some successes and some failures:

  • National Security (H. R. 1 passed)
  • An increase in the minimum wage (H. R. 2 passed)
  • Stem cell research (H. R. 3 passed)
  • Ability to negotiate lower Medicare prescription prices (H. R. 4 passed)
  • Lower interest rates for college loans (H. R. 5 passed)
  • Energy alternatives (H. R. 6 passed)
  • New ethics rules for the House of Representatives (mostly as they relate their association with lobbyists) (Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary)
  • Higher Pell Grants
  • Real fiscal responsibility
  • Oversight of government programs and the executive branch
The most recent House vote revised the Page Board (H. R. 475). It passed with a unanimous vote, which is really no surprise. Once again, Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) chooses to remain silent about his partisan lack of responsibility and integrity. Larry Magasak of the Associated Press reported on the House votes and the reactions of the legislators:

The vote was 416-0 to equalize the political membership of the House Page Board, whose Republican chairman, John Shimkus (R-Ill.), never told two board colleagues that he believed -- for a year -- that Rep. Mark Foley was a ticking time bomb.

The expanded board also will include a former page and the parent of a current or former page, to add new pairs of eyes to spot any future examples of misconduct.

[. . .] Members of the page board, part of a network serving as surrogate parents, would meet regularly under the legislation.

[. . .] In remarks before the vote, lawmakers expressed anger that Shimkus failed to convene the board when he learned in the fall of 2005 that Foley had sent questionable e-mails to a former Louisiana page.

Frozen out were Reps. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the new board chairman, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who will remain on the board. Both said they learned of Foley's conduct when he resigned and his conduct became public.

The House ethics committee, in a December report on the scandal, said that after Foley resigned, Shimkus told Capito that he believed he had done the right thing in 2005 based on the information he had, but added words to the effect of Dale's [Rep. Kildee] a nice guy, but he's a Democrat, and I was afraid it would be blown out of proportion.

[. . .] Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on House Administration, alluded to Shimkus' actions in remarks to the House prior to the vote, although his name was not mentioned.

The board must not only be free of partisanship, but must function so all of the members have access to allegations of misconduct, she said.

Shimkus did not make any remarks on the floor, but voted for the changes. His office said the lawmaker did not want to comment. (Chicago Sun Times, 01/20/2007)
There is a lot of legislation that Congress needs to address this session. So far the schedule has been a demanding one – a doubled work week. The members of the Republican Minority seem to have adjusted rather well. That includes Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19). He shows up. He votes. In typical John Shimkus fashion, his voting remains as partisan as ever and true to his corporate constituents. He even voted against H. R. 6 to end subsidies for the big oil companies.

He also voted against H. R. 4 to lower prescription costs for Medicare recipients. His argument is the usual free-market hyperbole. Free market is an oxymoron, and drug companies have more control over prescriptions than the doctors these days. These comments are no surprise from someone that blames seniors for the deficit.

There can only be one word to describe another 2 years of John Shimkus in Congress – Yuck!!

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