Tuesday, August 07, 2007

GOP partisan reaction to Minneapolis bridge tragedy

The national GOP’s “first response” in Congress to the Minneapolis bridge tragedy was horrible.

I looked at the roll call votes in Congress on Friday, August 3rd. I write for a local Minnesota blog; Dump Michele Bachmann. Bachmann's a conservative GOP congresswoman; we were tracking her votes on the bridge emergency. Two Minnesota GOP Congressmen—John Kline and Michele Bachmann—voted to adjourn Congress on Friday before emergency funds could be voted to their state. But Bachmann’s vote aside, I was disgusted by what I found out. It turns out that this isn’t just a local partisan problem, it’s a national partisan problem.

A bridge collapses on a busy highway in Minnesota; people are dead and missing, divers are feeling their way through the murky waters of the Mississippi looking for bodies and vehicles—and almost *all* Republicans voted to adjourn without voting on emergency funds; funds that the President had already promised.

One hundred and seventy-nine Republicans voted to adjourn. Fifteen Republicans voted not to adjourn. Eight Republicans did not vote.

Two hundred and twenty two Democrats had voted not to adjourn. One Democrat did vote to adjourn. Seven Democrats did not vote.

Here is a link to that vote, if you want to see it: http://tinyurl.com/3cos7s

The Democrats won, and the motion to adjourn at that time failed. Congress stayed in session the rest of the day and MN Rep. Oberstar (a Democrat) saw his proposal to fund the bridge recovery was finally voted on and approved.

Local Minnesota GOP bloggers were outraged—not because not because the GOP led a partisan effort to adjourn without a vote on the funds, not because local GOP congressional representatives Michele Bachmann and John Kline joined in the motion to adjourn—but because the St. Cloud Times *reported* those facts in their story on the emergency funds. (To his credit, GOP congressman Jim Ramstad did not join in his party’s vote to adjourn.)

It’s not that the GOP and our local Republicans voted against the emergency funds. They all supported the emergency funds.

The problem was that the GOP did their partisan vote to adjourn on Friday without a vote on the bridge emergency funding. The message the GOP congressmen sent to Minnesota with that vote is: “We don’t care that it’s an emergency, we don’t care that they’re still searching the river for bodies—it’s Friday, and we really hate the fact that Nancy Pelosi is making us work five days a week instead of three now, and we always have this partisan vote to adjourn. That’s what we Republicans do, American tragedy or no American tragedy. We simply must play our brainless partisan games; we don’t want to be here, emergency or no.”

And this during a week when other state politicians in both parties were doing their damnedest not to be partisan. We even had conservative “no new taxes” Governor Tim Pawlenty cooperating to Mayor Ryback. And we even see conservative “no new taxes” Governor Pawlenty supporting a Dem proposal for tax hike on gas to repair state infrastructure.

And the response of one hundred and seventy-nine Republicans in Congress are doing this pointless partisan roll call vote, mindlessly voting to adjourn without emergency funding--while the recovery and rescue effort is still under way?



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