Idaho has two Republicans in the U.S. House. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador have totally different views on the passage of H.R. 2029, better known as the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, or Omnibus Bill, which passed both chambers by sizable majorities and was signed into law by the president Friday.
If our two House members were from different political parties or planets, that might reflect the sharp contrast in their reactions to the votes A Yes for Simpson: “Big Wins for Idaho.” A No for Labrador: “Bad For Idaho And The West.”
The House vote was 316 to 113.
This was an appropriations bill, folks, on which everybody compromised to avoid a potential government shutdown — perhaps until September 2016, unless, you know, something else comes along to tempt the shutdown crowd before then.
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The Senate vote in favor of the measure, 65-33, included votes against from Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., never showed up to vote.
But it was the Simpson-Labrador votes in the House — and their explanations — that prompted me to take a closer look at the reasoning and assemble a table.
On this vote, like previous others, our two representatives were at odds. But their diametrically opposed reactions — Great! No, evil! — show how far House Republicans have drifted from one another and how different are the agendas at work.
Both men genuinely believe they are at work for their constituencies. Both believe they are in Washington to do their state’s bidding.
But I think voters need to ask whether Idahoans are as different as the contrasts and the reasoning behind these positions. Who is getting it right, and why?
This looks like the spot where the call of conservatism veers right and avoids the pragmatism exit, where ideology gets the gas pedal when compromise beckons at the fork in the road. It might lead to more situations in which Idaho’s two representatives simply cancel each other out.
Though you might not agree with the positions our two senators take or the votes they make, you do not see the black-and-white contrast that you do with Simpson and Labrador. Now, some might say that’s a good thing. That’s politics. That’s where we are.
But my question: Is that where we want to be?
H.R. 2029 Omnibus Spending Bill
Big Wins For Idaho
Bad For Idaho and The West
comprehensive, responsible package
an abject failure
makes vital investments in our national economy
low-hanging fruit strategy
provisions that support conservative priorities
ignores the needs of my constituents and the conservative values of Idaho
cuts EPA funding by $452 million
fails to . . . block the ‘Clean Power Plan’ that raises electricity costs
avoids the inefficient and negligent practice of funding the government through continuing resolutions
not the way to legislate
continues to support accelerating nuclear innovation programs and addresses much needed infrastructure enhancements at the Idaho National Laboratory
no majority party policy changes I advocated: tougher screening for refugees from Syria; defunding Planned Parenthood...includes Cybersecurity Act of 2015, which strips privacy protections against excessive government intrusion and surveillance
adhering to budget caps that are $56 billion below the (Paul) Ryan budget for FY16 and $70 billion below the Ryan budget for FY17
bad for America, raising spending by $51 billion above the limits that Congress and the President agreed to in the Budget Act of 2011