Tagged: Steve Scalise

Congressman Scalise Calls Out Obama, “the Grinch”

I originally posted this at The Southern Libertarian, where I am now contributing articles as well. Check out the site, it’s great!

In case you didn’t hear, the USDA announced on Tuesday, November 8 that a promotional program will be created to promote the live Christmas tree industry. Funding will come from a $0.15/tree tax on producers and importers of live trees. After much uproar in the national media, the USDA said they would delay the program.

Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise (R) joined the outrage and sounded off, calling the president “the grinch who taxed Christmas.” I ask Scalise to take the matter even further. Why stop at just the Christmas tree program? Let’s repeal the entire law that authorizes these programs, the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. A quick glance shows existing programs for the promotion of softwood lumber, mangoes, sorghum, and Haas avocados, to name a few.

Where in the universe of common sense should the federal government be in the business of directly and blatantly promoting one business or industry over another? I know that plenty more examples of this ridiculousness exist, but Christmas trees? Really?! If tree growers feel that it is a worthy expense to charge themselves $0.15 for every tree they sell to try and convince me to buy a real tree instead of pulling out the 20 yr old plastic one every year, then by all means go ahead and hire yourselves a COMPANY who’s business is to advertise and build promotional campaigns. And what about those artificial tree makers? I’m going to go ahead and predict a similar program for them in 5 years to help make up for lost market share as a result of this. After that we’ll obviously need a program for menorah makers and so on and so on.

NOLATARIAN GOES TO WASHINGTON 10/31/11-11/4/11

This will be the first of a weekly column that follows the actions of US Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter as well as Congressmen Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond. I intend to summarize notable votes, actions, and hearings they take part in each week.

Senate

Not a particularly noteworthy week for David Vitter. He helped reject the Obama jobs bill, S. 1769, but also joined Sens DeMint and Sessions in introducing a bill to prevent the Dept of Justice from suing states over enforcement of immigration laws. The core of this issue is states, most recently Alabama, passing outrageously harmful laws against “illegal” immigrants. Not only do these laws actually harm the economies of the states that pass them, but they arguably overstep state ability to enforce immigration, which is really a federal issue.

Mary Landrieu spent the week getting mad at Bobby Jindal for the cancellation of a broadband grant from the US Dept of Commerce to bring broadband internet to rural areas of LA using federal tax dollars instead of private companies. Also, she and Vitter introduced an interesting bill, the American Mariners Job Protection Act (Jeff Landry is cosponsoring a companion bill in the House). The bill seeks to make it more difficult for the US Maritime Administration to grant waivers to the Jones Act. The Jones Act, enacted some 90 years ago, requires that US vessels be given priority over foreign vessels in moving cargo, unless US vessels are unavailable during a national security crisis. The bill is a protectionist bill that instead of focusing on finding the vessels offering the best deal and subsequent lower prices all the way down to the consumer, prefers to allow US vessels to not have to worry about foreign competition. Yay for higher prices, less competition and Protectionism all in the name of Jobs! I’m all for Louisiana mariners getting contracts and jobs, but if their foreign competition will do it cheaper they should focus on lowering their price and cost instead of running to the government for protection.

House of Representatives

Steve Scalise had only one real action of note last week. In the Energy & Commerce Committee he voted in favor of subpoenaing the White House for documents related to the Solyndra loan guarantee. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of that.

Cedric Richmond issued a press release on Wednesday announcing the Orleans Parish School Board received $7.2 million in FEMA loan forgiveness that he and Senator Landrieu have petitioned for. Also, Richmond has signed on as a co-sponsor to 2 bills, H. Res 452 which will “Recognize the importance labor unions play in ensuring a strong middle class by advocating for more equitable wages, humane work conditions, improved benefits, and increased civic engagement by everyday workers” and HR 3300 which will “establish the Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Poverty which will create and carry out a national plan to cut poverty in American in half in ten years.” Both have been sent to their appropriate committees and hopefully will never make it out.

Fortunately, both Richmond and Scalise voted for “the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act (H.R. 2940) and the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (H.R. 2930), which would help open up additional avenues for small firms to raise capital, start businesses and grow..” -Sam Graves, Chairman of House Committee on Small Business.