Saturday, August 23, 2008

Collins tries to explain a vote

Original Link:

by: Gerald

Collins Watch flags this item from PolitickerME:

Allen's campaign routinely criticized Collins for voting in favor of the 2005 energy bill. They say it was backed by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and spurned the spikes in oil prices.

A spokesman for Collins' campaign, however, said that Collins acknowledged the bill was imperfect at the time. Also, he said, it passed with the approval of 74 senators.

And this tells us what?

Collins voted for the bill. Acknowledging that it "was imperfect" doesn't explain anything. And pointing to how others voted is a distraction, not a defense.

So we aren't any closer to an answer to the question, Why did Sen. Collins vote for the Cheney energy bill?

(To be fair, Obama voted for it too.)

What is of interest to me is that just a few months ago, Collins voted AGAINST the Farm Bill:

Collins was one of only 15 members of the 100-member Senate to oppose the bill, which the Bush Administration lobbied strongly against and threatened to veto as well.

The legislation will close the so-called "Enron loophole," increasing oversight on the oil and gas companies; invest in renewable fuel technologies, particularly cellulosic ethanol; and implement Rep. Michaud's Northern Border Regional Commission, which would invest $30 million a year in economic and job creation projects in the most economically depressed counties in the Northeast.

The BDN had this report about it before the vote:

"The farm bill that is in conference would not only provide an increase in benefits, it would tie them to the inflation rate in the future," said 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat. "But right now that is tied up because of the president's opposition to other parts of the bill."
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she also supported an increase in the level of benefits in the farm bill, but said poor families cannot wait for that to be worked out and funded later this year.

"I'm pleased that the budget resolution contains a reserve fund for an additional $35 billion stimulus package, which could include housing relief, extended unemployment insurance benefits, food stamps, and help with utility bills," Snowe said. "As the price of basic groceries, such as milk, bread and eggs, continues to escalate, too many Mainers rely on this vital program for us to delay action any longer."

And today's PPH reports this this morning:

In Maine, 181,814 people are using food stamp benefits in August, an increase of 7.2 percent from last year, according to data from the state Office of Integrated Access and Support. The benefits for August are worth $17 million.

The numbers show that more people are finding it difficult to get by at a time when wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, said Christopher St. John, executive director of the Maine Center For Economic Policy.

"This is particularly the case for low-wage workers. Those wages at the bottom are growing much more slowly than wages in the middle or at the top," he said. "The food stamp data is just another way of telling that story."

Food stamp use is up nationwide.

In May, more than 28.44 million people were using the program - an increase of more than 7.7 percent from the same time last year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Food Research and Action Center.

The center said the May 2008 figure almost set a record high, surpassed only by 29.85 million in November 2005, which included emergency assistance after hurricane season.

Susan Collins will vote with Bush/Cheney when she is told to do so, whether the legislation in question is "perfect" or not.

And she will gladly vote against hungry Mainers that need food aid. Now that's moderation for ya!

No comments: