Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 on Feb. 6, 2011 and for some unknown reason, Congress feels the need to get involved with a proclamation or something to kick off the celebration. The Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act passed the House on March 9 and it’s moved on to the Senate where Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) feels the need to block the legislation.
I never really did understand why Congress gets involved with these efforts. Maybe they feel like they don’t have enough to do so they call up a dozen or so bureaucrats and politicians to serve on an official committee providing advice to groups who intend to celebrate in some fashion.
Maybe they get to pick the color of the balloons or something.
Of course, the bill says that absolutely no federal funds can be used in this effort, and commission members shall not receive compensation, but the members can be reimbursed for expenses.
Great way to meet with some colleagues and write off dinner and drinks.
So, if no federal funds can be used, who’s paying the expenses? Want to bet expenses will eventually run in the hundreds of thousands? I’m a Reagan fan, but can’t the Reagan Library take care of this?
Back to Feingold holding up the legislation. He’s not against passing it, he just wants to tack on another piece of legislation. From The Hill (subscription required)…
Feingold’s decision to block passage of a bipartisan commission to celebrate the former president’s 100th birthday has nothing to do with antagonism toward the conservative icon. But he does want to use the momentum behind the bill to drive legislation of his own.
“Sen. Feingold has no interest in blocking this bill,” said a Feingold spokesman, referring to the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act. “He wants to offer an amendment to it, but that request was blocked by a Republican Senator.”
Feingold’s amendment would establish two commissions to study the internment and restrictions of German and Italian Americans and Jewish refugees during World War II, and it is unrelated to the Reagan bill. The Reagan measure would establish a commission to plan federal and state celebrations around Reagan’s centennial birthday in February 2011.
Feingold’s spokesman said that the noncontroversial bill would be a good vehicle for the internment amendment, which he said is also noncontroversial.
It turns out that Feingold’s legislation is not as cut and dry as it seems. Some Democrats are not too enthused with the suggested two commissions and they don’t want them.
“It should have no problem passing through the Judiciary Committee where Democrats have a 12-seat majority,” [Ryan] Patmintra said. “Sen. Feingold has decided to hold this bill hostage using his own” amendment.
On May 11, [Sen. Jon] Kyl [R-Ariz.] rejected a request by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on behalf of Feingold to attach the Wartime Treatment Study Act to the Reagan commission bill.
A GOP aide said some Senate Democrats were not comfortable with Feingold’s amendment.
“That’s why he wants to attach it. [The Reagan bill] is a commission that everybody supports,” the aide said.
School yard crybabies – every single one of them.