Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Review: We've Already Lost A Seat

The news that New Jersey is likely to lose a House seat after the 2010 Census has already sent some in the political class talking about what will happen and who will go. From a political standpoint it's rather interesting because, as noted by Wally Edge, it represents the first time since 1972 two incumbent Congressmen could be facing off in either a primary or a general election.

However, as noted by the title, we as a state only really have 12 Congressmen anyway. All one has to do is look at the votes where the entire delegation, Republican and Democratic, voted as a block in 2007 to notice the 12 to Representative Scott Garrett nature of the representation we here in the Fifth are stuck with. These are posts about 21 votes where Garrett was the lone Representative from NJ to vote the way he did:
  1. The Energy Bill - Increasing MPG and investment in alternative forms of energy.
  2. $250,000 for Greenwood Lake - This was the vote Garrett flipped at the behest of The Club for Growth, upholding the President's veto, after voting for the bill twice.
  3. Pledge to President Bush - This isn't really a vote, but Garrett was the only Republican from New Jersey to sign our vote over to the President on vetoed bills. I also wrote about it here.
  4. Train Safety - Garrett was one of 38 to vote against making freight train crossings safer.
  5. Jews & Muslims: Garrett was the only Rep from NJ to vote against funding a Jewish Museum and "stay off" the vote commending Ramadan. The latter was initially said to be a mater of principle, which was shown to be a lie when he voted for the Christmas resolution.
  6. Dog Fighting - This actually happened in December '06, but Garrett was one of 39 Representatives who felt the punishment given to the likes of Michael Vick was strong enough. The bill also outlawed cockfighting blades, used to make those fights more gruesome.
  7. Improving Head Start - Garrett was one of 35 to vote against this.
  8. Popcorn Lung Prevention Act - Odd sounding, but the chemical flavor in microwave popcorn has been linked to an irreversible fatal lung disease.
  9. Rural Housing - These were two votes to assist families living in rural areas to move off Section 8 housing, and expand opportunities of home ownership. Garrett was one of 49 to oppose this.
  10. First time homeowners in the Fifth - This bill reformed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and allowed conforming loans to be made in our District by raising the ceiling on loan limits.
  11. Small Business Owners - These were two votes where Garrett stood alone against those living the American Dream: Ten years of tax cuts for owners and better loan programs from the SBA.
  12. Scholarships and Grants - These bills increased the funding for math and science scholarships and grants for scientists. The combined margin of passage was 786-44.
  13. Hurricane Katrina Victims - Funds to help people rebuild their homes.
  14. Water Quality Investment Act - A bill to prevent flooding like that which slammed New Milford earlier this year.
  15. College Student Loan Relief - A bill lowering the interest rate paid on college student loans by eliminating the corporate profit guarantee for those servicing the loans.
  16. Community Policing - Garrett was one of 39 to vote against restoring funding he had voted to strip over the previous years.
  17. Improved Citizen Access to Information - This was a mega post about accountability and mentioned were Garrett's votes against Presidential accountability and improving the Freedom of Information Act.

This is not an exhaustive list, as many amendments Garrett votes for are not supported by more than a handful of Representatives in the House. That was kind of covered in this piece. Heading into next year, it should be interesting to see what other 12 to Garrett votes we're presented with.

Barring some irresistible news to write about, this is likely the last post on Blog the Fifth for 2007. I want to thank all the readers, folks who link here, and those who e-mail me privately for providing the motivation to keep this thing going.

Those in government must be held accountable for their actions in order for us to have a healthy Republic. I'm glad to do my very small part, and look forward to continuing (perhaps in a larger role) in 2008.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year, be safe, and may those resolutions last at least a month ;-)

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