Friday, May 30, 2008

Fundraiser for Scott Harper (IL-13)

Scott Harper is the Democratic candidate running against Republican Judy Biggert in the 13th Congressional District. Geoffrey L Alberti, one of his campaign representatives, says that there will be a fundraiser for Scott on Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Also, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias will speak at this event in support of Scott. Here are all the details:

Join Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias

When: Tuesday, June 10th, 2008; 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Meson Sabika, 1025 Aurora Ave, Naperville, IL, 60540
Why: Help raise funds for Scott Harper, Candidate for Congress (IL-13)
Cost: Host $1000*, Sponsor $500, Guest $250, Supporter $50
RSVP: Geoff Alberti by phone (630) 848-2111
or email

Purchase tickets online: ActBlue website

NOTE: *Host level includes a special pre-event VIP Reception

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

IL GOP Anti-Vet Voting

Scott Harper is the Democrat running against Representative Judy Biggert in the 13th Congressional District. On May 22, 2008, Scott held a press conference along with veterans of the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm to condemn Rep. Biggert's recent vote against the GI Bill. In response to her vote, Scott's campaign started an online petition urging her to begin assisting veterans.

Reps. Kirk (R-10), Johnson (R-15), and LaHood (R-18) all voted for the GI Bill. Rep. Biggert chose to withhold her support. It is sad to say that her Nay vote was not the only one from Illinois Republicans: Reps. Roskam (IL-06) and Shimkus (IL-19) also voted against the bill. Signing this petition would be a great way to speak out against their decision as well.

This Memorial Day weekend, it is important to let Illinois voters know that one of our representatives in Congress consistently votes against our veterans. Please take the time to sign the petition yourself and encourage your readers and other members of the online grassroots community to do the same. The petition can be found on Scott's website .

How can a West Point graduate vote against this bill? EVERY voter in IL-19 should ask John Shimkus that question!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

H. R. 2642 Backstory

Once upon a time, Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) stood before a classroom of eighth-graders at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Collinsville. He talked to them about his feelings regarding the vote of present on floor of the House.

He described it as wimpy and not something that he does. Actually, his record says he does on more than one occasion. He just chooses to not admit it.

His present vote on May 15, 2008, showed his typically complete lack of dishonorable non-support for the U. S. military. H. R. 2642 authorized funding for the Iraq War. There was nothing honorable in this man's intentions. He voted present in a coordinated effort to deny the military the funding they need in Iraq. He was also one of the instigators:

House Republicans spent much of last week battered by events: the Vito Fossella scandal, the special election loss in Mississippi and the questions that swirled around House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) in the aftermath.

But for a brief moment Thursday afternoon, the party’s rank-and-file members took matters into their own hands and pulled off an impromptu protest vote that derailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s carefully calibrated plans for the Iraq war supplemental.

[ . . . ] A few hours before the House was to vote on $162.5 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (R) approached California Rep. Jerry Lewis (R) on the House floor to tell him that he was interested in bringing down the bill.

Pence is an outspoken conservative who has railed against earmarks; Lewis is the top Republican on the panel that doles them out. But the two men found common ground on the supplemental. Pence thought Republicans would be providing Pelosi a free ride by lending their votes to a war funding bill that many Democratic members wouldn’t support. Lewis was angry that Pelosi had circumvented the regular committee process, including a hearing before his own Appropriations panel.

Lewis, who had been meeting privately with Boehner, told Pence that he’d already asked leadership to help him defeat the bill.

[ . . . ] Boehner’s top floor aide, Jo-Marie St. Martin, reviewed the roll calls for previous House votes on clean funding for the war, and she showed both men that 140 Democrats typically voted against them, meaning the Republicans could defeat the funding bill by simply voting present.

[ . . . ] Boehner then gave Pence the task of securing support from three of the most influential Republican voices on military matters: California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee; Texas Rep. Sam Johnson, who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam; and Florida Rep. Bill Young, the top GOP lawmaker on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense spending. In Boehner’s eyes, Young, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense spending, was the key to securing support among fellow appropriators.

By this time, other members were getting involved. Lewis was recruiting other appropriators to help build support for the plan, while Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk was reaching out to fellow moderate Republicans. Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who heads the Republican Study Committee, was polling conservatives. Even Johnson told Pence during the early-afternoon vote that he would support the move if others followed suit.

[ . . . ] Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers, one of the most senior members of the Appropriations Committee, worked his colleagues on the floor, as did Illinois Rep. John M. Shimkus, a West Point grad who served in the Army Reserve for more than 20 years. Now the leaders were working hard to tell members to vote present.

During the vote, Boehner stood in the second row, where members often vote, telling any lawmaker who asked that he supported the plan. Boehner stayed calm as the uproar within his party mounted all week, and that afternoon he simply watched the confusion unfold around him on the floor.

At one point, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) — apparently assuming that Republicans would switch their votes when the time came — approached Blunt in the well of the House to tell him that any members changing their votes should do so on the computer voting machines in the back of each chair, and not by lining up to do it on one of the little green cards at the rostrum. Republicans had lined up in the past to hold a vote open in protest, and Hoyer did not want to keep members on the floor any later than necessary, because most were rushing to the airport for flights home.

[ . . . ] The final result: The amendment authorizing money to fund both wars died on the House floor. The vote was 141-149, with 132 Republicans voting present and most Democrats voting against it.

The Senate is expected to add the money back to the package this week, but the defeat has created a few additional hurdles for majority leaders. Most of the Republicans who voted present last week have no plans to do so when the broader package comes back to the House.

After the vote, Hoyer approached Pence in the center aisle of the House floor and told the Indiana Republican that the move was really dumb.

Pence responded that he was only trying to prove that an overwhelming majority of Democrats don’t support money for the troops — a point he thought would be lost in headlines about the House approving more money for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hoyer was dismissive, so Pence told the majority leader that he was only trying to follow the example of Democrats during their final year in the minority.

And what was that? Hoyer asked.

Never stop fighting, Pence replied.
This was nothing more than petulant children throwing a temper tantrum at the expense of the U. S. military -- and John Shimkus was at the center of it all.

John Shimkus
  • Wimp
  • Liar
  • Disgracing the uniform he pretends to wear
  • Embarrassing the state of Illinois
A veteran's perspective.

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