Friday, October 07, 2005

Congressional Delegation Update

Let's check in again on our representatives in Washington:

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)

Dodd recently sponsored an amendment to a Defense Appropriations bill intended to help those soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who have had to buy their own body armor and other essentials. The amendment orders the Pentagon to reimburse those soldiers. Apparently, although the Department of Defense was ordered by Congress to do something about this back in February, nothing has happened.

Last week, when Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., announced he would offer new legislative language to force the refunds, defense officials announced they were finalizing the details for the refund program. (Shane)

What's remarkable is that Dodd has to force this at all.

"Dodd puts pressure on Defense Dept." Connecticut Post 7 October, 2005.
Shane, Leo. "DOD reimbursing troops for protective gear." Stars and Stripes 7 October, 2005.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT)

Lieberman, with other members of the congressional delegation, has been agitating against proposed cuts in Connecticut's Homeland Security funds, and cuts intended to fund first responders nationwide.

The State Homeland Security Grants Program, which provides money for equipment and training for first responders in all states, has been cut in half, from $1.1 billion to $550 million. "Our communities depend upon them. The response problems recently exposed by Hurricane Katrina make this decision appear very questionable. We should be beefing up our support for all of our response partners, rather than leaving them in a position of having to do more with less," Lieberman said. (Urban)

Lieberman also pushed for FEMA to re-issue contracts it awarded with little or no competition following Hurricane Katrina.

"I have heard that contractors are receiving payments in excess of market rates and that FEMA doesn't appear to have sufficient contract officers to prevent overcharging," said committee ranking member Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.

"It sure looks, with hindsight, that FEMA would have been in a much better position if it had a lot of contracts in place that had been provide exactly the kind of services that FEMA rushed in to provide on a no-bid basis, and which we fear taxpayers may have ended up paying more money for than they should have," Lieberman added. (Strohm)

FEMA is now re-issuing those contracts.

Strohm, Chris. " FEMA to re-bid contracts issued in aftermath of hurricanes." 6 October, 2005.
Urban, Peter. "Legislators decry proposed cuts to 'first responder' grants." Connecticut Post 6 October, 2005.

Rep. John Larson (D-1)

Larson has been in the news following a USAToday report about nursing home fires. Larson introduced a bill last year that would require sprinklers in nursing homes, but the bill has languished since.

Larson also recently tried to amend the Manufacturing Technology Competitiveness Act to create an Undersecretary for Manufacturing and Technology, but his amendment was defeated.

Eisler, Peter. "Many nursing homes run risk of catastrophic fires." USAToday 6 October, 2005.

Rep. Rob Simmons (R-2)

Simmons has been repeatedly urged by opponents to return funds linked to indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, but so far he has refused.

Simmons has been cautious about the DeLay indictment so far, and hasn't said much:

When DeLay was indicted Wednesday, Simmons reacted cautiously, saying he was "concerned about the allegations."

"Indictments of any kind are serious," Simmons, R-2nd District, said in a statement. "That being said, let's not forget that an indictment is not a conviction. We still have due process in this country." (Scott)

Simmons is also considering legislation to block so-called "ROBO" calls, which are paid political advertisements left on answering machines. I personally have received dozens of these calls from both Rep. Simmons's backers and his opponents, and I wouldn't mind seeing them disappear.

Simmons also celebrated the saving of the Groton Sub Base, in which he played a major part.

Scott, Katherine Hutt. "Simmons reacts warily to DeLay indictment." Norwixch Bulletin 29 September, 2005.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3)

DeLauro endorsed fellow New Haven resident John DeStefano for governor this month. She also was vocal in protesting cuts to Connecticut's Homeland Security funds.

DeLauro also questioned the administration's selection of FDA chief: specifically, she was concerned that he was doing two jobs that might conflict with one another:

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, who is wearing two hats as the new FDA chief and the head of the National Cancer Institute, could face conflicts if the FDA must make a decision on a cancer treatment he helped to develop.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FDA budget, called for the Bush administration to lay out a timeline for selecting a permanent commissioner.

"Now is clearly not the time for a part-time director at FDA with another prolonged period of temporary leadership," she said in a statement. "Irrespective of Dr. Von Eschenbach's qualifications, such an arrangement would undoubtedly compromise the distinct missions of both the FDA and the NCI. We cannot afford to weaken these two agencies." (Lumpkin)

Lumpkin, John J. "Experts, members of Congress question whether new FDA chief can do two jobs at once." Boston Globe 27 September, 2005.

Rep. Chris Shays (R-4)

Shays has been in the news for his criticisms of both former FEMA director Michael Brown ("I'm happy you left," Shays told him) and of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Shays has been fighting off Democratic attempts to link him to DeLay:

Michael Sohn, Shays' campaign manager, said Farrell has taken "completely out of context" a statement by Shays last year in which the Republican incumbent called DeLay "a great majority leader."

"Chris has been outspoken in his criticism of Tom DeLay," Sohn said. "I don't know how Chris can separate himself from Tom DeLay any more than he has already." (Henry)

Attempts to link Shays and DeLay won't work, considering that there is no love lost between the two.

Henry, Tom. " Shays called 'outspoken' in criticizing DeLay." Westport Minuteman 6 October 2005.

Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-5)

Johnson has been active in her district, appearing on stage with President Bill Clinton at an event in Danbury and holding Social Security forums. She has also been trying to secure new postal facilities for two towns in her district.

Johnson has also been under pressure to return campaign contributions linked to DeLay, but so far hasn't done so.

Johnson, along with Rep. Rob Simmons, has backed the idea of delaying a pay raise for Congress in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Lightman, David. "Pay Raise Dispute Flares." Hartford Courant 3 October, 2005.


Anonymous said...

This isn't about Congress but about the Gubernatorial race...

Both Malloy & DeStefano must have had disappointing quarters. In the past, DeStefano has been in a rush to broadcast his successes but nothing doing. Malloy released his numbers early last quarter too.

Both are silent so I think this quarter has to be a win for Rell.

MikeCT said...

It looks like DeStefano's news releases were coming out on the 6th or 7th of the month in previous quarters. I don't know if we can make anything of a couple days one way or the other.

Rell has neither announced nor formed a campaign committee, so her total is $0.