WASHINGTON --Having the Senate declare that millionaires should share more of the pain involved in putting America's financial house in order is "rather pathetic," Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) declared Tuesday. Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, made that pronouncement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, "It is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort."
The measure describes how well the wealthy have done lately, citing statistics that say the median income of S&P 500 companies chief financial officers jumped $2.9 million last year alone, even though the "median family income has declined by more than $2,500" in the last 10 years. The resolution also notes that 20 percent all income goes to the top 1 percent, and 80 percent of the nation's income growth over the last quarter century has also gone to the top 1 percent.
Sessions and his Republican colleagues found expression of such ideas of little use, and said it only delays getting around to major cuts, including cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Meanwhile, double-talking Republican Congressmen pled for more funding for their pork-laden pet projects while DEMANDING Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Here are some examples:
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) - Port of Cates
On March 8, 2011 Fincher spoke directly with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the funds. The next day, he wrote a follow-up letter seeking assistance in "obligating" the $13 million grant for the port. Two days after writing LaHood, Fincher voted for the a Republican House budget that cut billions of dollars, including from many other transportation priorities. His office put out a press release scolding "out of control" and "reckless" federal spending.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). On March 8, the freshman Republican co-signed a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration requesting that the Department of Transportation fund a project to improve a runway at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. The cost of the improvement: $4.365 million.
Less than a month later, on the floor of the House, he declared that "our nation is broke. The federal government has maxed out its credit card."
On March 1, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging him to support a grant application submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Biomass Crop Assistance Program division by MFA Oil Biomass LLC. The company was spearheading a project to "provide farmers an alternative energy crop source, as well as new crop processing technology." An infusion of federal funding, Crawford added, would "create a significant number of new jobs for Arkansas."
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), for instance, wrote the Department of Agriculture on February 14, asking for $7,498,015 in cash and commodities contributions for the American Nicaraguan Foundation and Fabretto Children's Foundation -- groups that run education, health and nutrition programs in Nicaragua. Neither the congressman's office nor the Fabretto Children's Foundation returned requests for comment as to whether the funding went through. At a time when foreign aid is considered low-hanging fruit in the search for spending reductions, Walsh may have wanted to avoid drawing attention to that expense.
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), was criticized for putting out a press release on March 17 that praised the issuance of a $21 million federal grant to the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport for the construction of a second commercial runway. And Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) was praised locally, but raised some eyebrows nationally, when he sought federal grants and other aid for Staten Island’s two hospital systems.
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), one of those freshmen, secured $10 million to purchase land for training facilities as well as $19.9 million for ship preliminary design and feasibility studies. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.), another freshman, secured $2.5 million for weapons and munitions advanced technology -- money that could end up in the Quad City Manufacturing Lab at the Rock Island Arsenal, located in his district.
Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) to co-sign an April 6 letter to the Department of Agriculture requesting that unused funds be spent helping the Rocky Mountain Region combat a bark beetle epidemic. It also seemed to be the thought process behind another letter Noem wrote to the Agriculture Department, demanding that South Dakota get its fair share of federal funds for wildfire damage control. Noem's office did not return a request for comment.