Archive for March 31st, 2005

House Committees

A Kennedy announced that he would not run for Senate against one of the few remaining liberal Republicans in the Senate. He said he could better serve his constituents as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

He may be right.

A liberal Republican or a John McCain does more good for the liberal cause than any outright liberal Democrat.

But the point of this blog entry is to make clear how important a seat on the House Appropriations Committee is.

In the House of Representatives, a new member must make a critical choice. He can serve on two committees or he can serve on the Appropriations Committee and no other. If he takes a seat on the Appropriations Committee, he must choose one subcommittee he will serve on.


It takes decades for the congressman to become a senior member of that particular subcommittee.

He is on no other committee.

Does this give you some idea of how critical that one seat on one appropriations subcommittee is?

When the chairman of an appropriations subcommittee recommends something, he normally gets his way. When the subcommittee chairman and the ranking minority member agree on something, they ALWAYS get their way.

Except once.

There is a House Appropriations Subcommittee called HUD-Independent Agencies. The “Independent Agencies” includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The chairman and ranking member of the HUD-Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee dedicated ALL of their seniority to that one subcommittee.

In 1978 the chairman and ranking Republican were both liberals whose only interest was getting money for HUD – Housing and Urban Development. They did NOT want money spent on space. The Republican wanted HUD money from HUD for his urban district in Pennsylvania.

So the chairman and the ranking member agreed to stop the Hubble Telescope and all of the Jupiter by-flights. They tried to hurry it up so the pro-space community couldn’t rally its supporters.

I stopped them. We beat them on the House floor by a vote of 318-83 after I got a weekend delay so that 400,000 telegrams could be sent by the pro-space grassrooters.

If you know about the House you will never know that that kind of kick in the teeth to the Appropriations subcommittee chairman AND the ranking minority member NEVER happens.

I made it happen.

And I am just a little proud of it.


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The Little Girl Got Buried

It is not important, but the little nine-year-old girl who got raped and murdered by the repeat child molester got buried, and the funeral was very briefly reported on the Fox News Network.

Terri Schiavo dominates the news. Another few hundred children will be raped and some murdered this week.

Who cares?