The New York Times editorial board has a scathing piece today, on Mitt Romney, “Energy Etch A Sketch.” In particular, they point out that after erasing all of his sensible energy and climate policies as governor of Massachusetts, today, “the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet.”
Here’s an annotated version of the piece:
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney endorsed an aggressive program to reduce the state?s greenhouse gas emissions, pushed to close old coal-fired power plants and embraced wind and solar power. Then came his bids for the Republican presidential nomination, first in 2008 and now in 2012. On climate change as on other issues, he has transformed himself, bit by reactionary bit.
Today he is a proclaimed skeptic on global warming, a champion of oil and other fossil fuels, a critic of federal efforts to develop cleaner energy sources and a sworn enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency.
He’s so extreme now that he has actually pledged to kill existing fuel economy standards.
Mr. Romney has plainly decided that satisfying his party?s antiregulatory base is essential to his political future. But the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet. If there are doubts on that point, the most recent findings from the International Energy Agency should dispel them: The agency reports an alarming one-year increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of increasing coal use around the world.
The agency also said that keeping global temperatures below a dangerous threshold is ?still within reach? if nations aggressively reduce fossil-fuel consumption while nurturing low-carbon alternatives. And where is Mr. Romney on that? Nowhere.
For details on the new IEA report, see “IEA Report: Natural Gas Is Not The Answer To Climate Problem, Existing Cleantech Is ? And It Could Save $100 Trillion By 2050.”
The man who once worried about climate-driven sea-level rise in poor countries like Bangladesh now says things like ?My view is that we don?t know what?s causing climate change on this planet,? as if mainstream science were wrong and humans had nothing to do with it.
On coal, the governor who once stood in front of a Massachusetts coal-fired power plant and said, ?that plant kills people,? recently whirled through Craig, Colo., talking up coal and accusing President Obama of making it ?harder to get coal out of the ground.?
Here’s the video of Romney denouncing coal jobs:
The NY Times continues:
On oil and gas, Mr. Romney is wholly in the drill now, drill everywhere mode championed by House Republicans. If his spokesmen are to be believed, he would open up vulnerable and legally protected public lands to drilling. Despite his proclaimed belief in a competitive free-enterprise system ? and his concerns about the deficit ? Mr. Romney is determined to maintain the oil?s industry?s preposterous $4 billion-a-year tax breaks.
When Mr. Romney talks about energy, he means what he calls ?real energy? ? he-man energy like coal, oil and natural gas, not what he contemptuously dismisses as Mr. Obama?s ?imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.? Or as he once said, ?You can?t drive a car with a windmill on it.?
As Stephen Colbert said, ?That?s right! You can?t drive a car with a windmill on it! Because if you put a windmill on top of your car, then where does the dog go? Stupid.?
Meanwhile, the self-described risk-taker who once touted clean energy as ?an economic engine very much like biotech? now regularly denounces Mr. Obama for taking risks. His campaign organized a press trip on May 31 to the shuttered factory of a solar panel maker, Solyndra, which went bankrupt and took $535 million in federal loan guarantees with it. Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Obama for ?crony capitalism? and, by implication, indicted the entire federal effort to jump-start nascent technologies.
Never mind that Solyndra is the only big failure so far in a broad $37.6 billion program that began under George W. Bush. Or that there is not a single important energy source in this country ? especially oil ? that has not received support from government subsidies. Never mind that there is no way this country is going to wean itself from foreign oil or address climate change without alternative fuels.
Mr. Romney has been especially eager to demonize the E.P.A. and environmental regulations Last fall he declared that ?the E.P.A. has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy whether it?s oil, gas, coal or nuclear.?
What Mr. Romney has either forgotten or chosen to ignore is that the clean water and clean air laws the E.P.A. is enforcing were passed by bipartisan majorities four decades ago when Republicans were still interested in protecting Americans? health and the environment.
The idea that a politician, especially Mr. Romney, would change his positions for political gain won?t surprise anyone. But the costs of not getting energy policy right ? America?s security, its global competitiveness, public health and the health of the planet ? are much too high for such cynical business as usual.
Click here to view this media
Sadly, Jonah Goldberg has another book to promote, which means he'll surely be popping up for more interviews like the ones that Blue Texan already wrote about here and here. For anyone who would like a reminder of the dishonesty in the last book he wrote, check out Dave Neiwert's post from back when Glenn Beck was still on the air and promoting Goldberg's fraudulent Liberal Fascism: Historians stand up to 'Liberal Fascism' and its abuse of history, while Beck blithely promotes it.
This Friday, Goldberg appeared at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference and although he claimed that he was not there to plug his new book, that's clearly what he was doing during the end of his speech there. I'm assuming a lot of what he said is straight out of his new book, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, but someone else who has actually read it will have to let me know, since I'm not in the mood to beat myself upside the head with a hammer attempting to read it or to send him any money. Hearing him talk about it in the interviews or speeches I've seen is bad enough.
I'm no expert on so-called "liberal philosophers" like the ones Goldberg was quoting here, but to this non-expert, his arguments seem completely ridiculous. Feel free to correct me in the comments section because what he said here is so convoluted, I'm having trouble making sense of it, but his basic premise seems to be, here are some things some liberal philosophers said. I'm going to interpret what they said to mean they want man to take the place of God. Man shouldn't have anything to do with government getting involved with policies that protect the least among us, because that's God's place. The lowest person in a society is an unborn fetus, so you can't care about those who are actually born unless you put that unborn fetus first. And President Obama has repeated some things these liberal philosophers have said, therefore he must be a Socialist. And his Life of Julia campaign is very creepy.
For a more honest assessment of President Obama's Life of Julia, here's Steve Benen's take from last month: 'The Life of Julia':
I thought about this joke about a week ago, when the Obama campaign unveiled an interesting online feature called "The Life of Julia," featuring a woman at 12 different stages of her life -- ages 3 to 67 -- and "how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime -- and how Mitt Romney would change her story."
The point of the project is fairly obvious: throughout a woman's life, Obama has an agenda that provides protections and benefits that offer opportunities, while Romney has an agenda that does largely the opposite. Head Start programs help "Julia" at age 3; college aid benefits her at 17; the Affordable Care Act covers her at age 22; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act protects her at 23, Medicare covers her at 65, etc.
The right is not at all fond of "Julia's" story. As Joan McCarter noted yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the online feature "creepy" and an extension of a "government-centered society." Ross Douthat is thinking along similar lines.
Jon Chait makes the case that conservatives seem to be missing the point. [...]
Reading through the "Life of Julia" slideshow, it's hard to imagine the American mainstream finding anything "creepy." It doesn't show a model in which the government controls anyone's life; it shows public institutions that offer everyone opportunities to succeed.
The next question should be to press Ryan and Douthat on what, exactly, they find "creepy" about the specific measures within the feature. Is Head Start scary government intervention? How about student loans? Is health care coverage for young adults (backed by 85% of the country) considered excessive? How about Medicare? Is access to affordable contraception and equal-pay laws offensive? How about small-business loans?
Goldberg also basically admitted that the "tea party" was there to try to get the George W. Bush stink off of the brand that is the Republican Party and for them to pretend that they didn't cheer for him and his policies for the entire time he was in office.
Here's a rough transcript of some of Goldberg's remarks:
GOLDBERG: One of the things I love about the tea party is that they were sort of a stem cell therapy for the Republican Party; not embryonic stem cells, sir. But they helped the Republican Party regrow its mind and we now have a Republican Party that is actually recognizing the fact that they lost their way too a little bit under George Bush. George Bush was an honorable and decent man. He had wars to fight. He had the war on terror to deal with and it knocked him off of his game, but at the same time the U .S. government spent an enormous amount of money. [?]
America was told during the progressive era that everything has changed, that all the old assumptions were gone. That the old ideologies that under-girded American society were no longer relevant and we had to embrace a new era, a new time of standard role for government. The progressives actually made the argument that government could take the place of God; that government in fact eventually, was god.
They committed the Christian heresy of stateology, this idea of what the philosopher Hegel called ?the god state,? that the state would do if God actually existed and it empowered the left to play god.
If you read liberal, or leftist philosophy, it is always about putting man in the place of god. It is about creating, whether it's the Bolsheviks or the progressives, it's about creating a heaven on earth, what the philosopher Eric Voegelin called immanentizing the eschaton; trying to make the here and now like the hereafter. And the problem is that you cannot do that. You cannot create a heaven on earth. The perfect society is reserved for the next life, not for this one.
And this is something that all conservatives of whatever faith fundamentally understand; that we are built from a crooked timber of humanity and that a state cannot straighten it out. If you read liberal philosophy, people like John Rawls, he says the way to imagine a decent society is to imagine you were creating it from scratch and you didn't know where you were going to be born into that society. He calls it the veil of ignorance. And he says you would create a just society if you thought you might be born the lowest person in that society, you would want to sort of hedge your bets. And that's how you should design a society.
There are a couple of problems with this. First of all, it very explicitly puts man in the place of god because it is not man's place to design a society from scratch. And second of all, the whole philosophy goes out the window because the one group that he doesn't acknowledge are the unborn. He says that he's completely for abortion rights and it seems to me that if you were going to design a society from scratch, not knowing where you were going to come into it, the one hitch that you would want in there is to make sure you were allowed to be born into it in the first place.
So when we hear President Obama speak these days - you know I have this book about the tyranny of cliches, I'm not going to get into the whole book plugging palooza thing - but when we hear President Obama speak these days, he's constantly invoking these same sort of age old liberal cliches, these left-wing formulations about how to design society.
When he speaks about social justice, he is talking about how to design society, how to run society from the state as if the state were god. I don't know if you guys have seen this Life of Julia web site that the Obama campaign came out with, but it is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. First of all, the guy is president for life according to this thing. He's president until like 2070 and poor Julia, this young woman who benefits enormously from having President Obama in office, her whole life is basically about her relationship to the state and at the end of working hard her entire life, she gets to work in a community garden. She doesn't even get her own garden.
And the stupidity goes on from there. Jonah Goldberg wants to push the conservative line that we should fear that evil government that wants to somehow control our lives and tell us how to live them, ignoring of course what Jill wrote about here earlier this week, which is the fact that that government "is us."
Some non-political personal observations...as a first-timer to one of these events.[...]
Read The Full Article:
“…the status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother. …” – Rep. Lisa Brown, Michigan Democrat silenced for saying “vagina.”
WHAT A WEEK it was.
Some legislators ? mostly male ? will go to great lengths not to hear women’s voices when it comes to legislating our health and catering to extreme special interests. They don’t want to hear us, and when we speak out anyway, they try to shut us down. I’m not about to let them stop me. I wonder if they hear us now? – Rep. Lisa Brown
Pres. Obama began the week with an economic gaffe hangover that ended in a dog of a speech, which was trumped by a historic decision to give DREAMers a path to be part of the American fabric.
Today, the White House wakes up to a composite review of David Marinass’s book by Ben Smith that highlights what the author has researched and uncovered about the myth that is Barack Obama, something I wrote about non-stop during the 2007-2008 cycle. Marinass has the clout and the contacts to go much further today. From Ben Smith:
Maraniss opens with a warning: Among the falsehoods in Dreams is the caveat in the preface that ?for the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I?ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology.?
?The character creations and rearrangements of the book are not merely a matter of style, devices of compression, but are also substantive,? Maraniss responds in his own introduction. The book belongs in the category of ?literature and memoir, not history and autobiography,? he writes, and ?the themes of the book control character and chronology.?
Conservatives, meanwhile, gathered in Sin City to hail Gov. Scott Walker as their hero.
Following the failure of Democrats and labor unions to oust him two weeks ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is being hailed as a conquering hero by conservatives nationwide. The 750 activists who descended on Sheldon Adelson?s Venetian hotel for the right?s answer to Netroots Nation see Walker?s bold and unapologetic brand of conservatism as the way to win in 2012.
Today’s Democrats never seem to quite understand what symbolic wins mean and how deep that meaning goes. They’ve vastly underestimated what letting Scott Walker off the mat means. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, because Pres. Obama let George W. Bush off the mat, but today is trying to resurrect the fight against him as his main line of attack against Mitt Romney.
While conservatives take fresh wins as their new oxygen, Democrats are mining old tales of Bush making them look as if they don’t have a future battle plan.
Legal eagles argue over Pres. Obama’s executive order on DREAMers, with Lawrence Tribe coming up with a very interesting answer.
?Say a Republican were to follow this strategy after regaining the White House in January of 2013 and the Supreme Court upholds the health care bill, and Romney can?t repeal it because the Democrats in the Senate filibuster it, he could basically repeal it through non-enforcement,? said Eastman.
They theoretically could but won?t, said former Obama legal adviser Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School constitutional professor and prominent liberal scholar.
?It?s always possible to conjure hypotheticals that test the outer boundaries of the broad principle that the president is generally obligated to enforce laws duly enacted by Congress but has a paramount duty to obey the Constitution,? Tribe wrote POLITICO in an email. ?Obviously, the rule of law and the importance of orderly and stable governance in a system that relies principally on the judicial branch to ?say what the law is? precludes promiscuous presidential exercise of the prerogative of non-compliance. Yet it is also surely true that presidents cannot blindly follow congressional directives unless and until a court tells them to stop. What if a Congress were to tell the president to shoot all self-proclaimed Mormons on sight, the way the governor of Missouri once did in the 19th century? Surely no president with a constitutional conscience could comply with such a directive.?
On a completely different note, as someone who used to enjoy riding, I’m pretty sure I’m one of the few around here who finds this story about Ann Romney and the Olympics very cool.
And since this weekend is the 40th anniversary of Watergate, a seminal event that changed the course of American history, which I watched riveted, and also informed everything Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld would do under George W. Bush’s watch, I give you Bill O’Reilly, who’s old enough to know better. He claimed this past week that Pres. Obama’s reaction to national security leaks has “shades of Richard Nixon, who tried to get away with Watergate by having his cronies like John Mitchell investigate it.”
Laughable. Shout out loud, grab your sides, laughable.
In order for a president to exude “shades of Richard Nixon” he would first have to conceive a large scale plan to target and systematically attack his enemies by whatever means necessary, including planning firebombings to get the goods on people he wanted to destroy. An entire underground effort would have to be in place with the intent of sabotaging Americans, including the press, to keep truths from surfacing, paid for by a slush fund meant to allow the president to silence all enemies. All of this done outside the law and systematically put into action in order to buttress a presidency through illegal means never before witnessed in the history of our democratic republic.
There will only be one Richard Milhous Nixon, whose disgrace and ultimate pardon scarred our politics for decades and placed the presidency above the law, something the framers never intended to happen, because their idea of the presidency wasn’t to make him king.
Postscript: On a personal note, here’s to my big brother on Father’s Day. I wrote this last year, but it will always apply.
I was delighted to find the eminent Tom Tomorrow at Netroots Nation last week, and he agreed to sit down for a chat. For the two or three of you who may not know, Tom Tomorrow is the nationally syndicated political cartoonist and author of This Modern World. He's the guy who does this great stuff (click to see the whole strip):He also curates the Comics section at Daily Kos. Feel...
Let me start by saying that I'm a horse-chick. I spent my teenage years astride a buckskin named Buttercup. I could whistle for her, she would come to the fence, I would climb on and ride her bareback without even a bridle to the gate and sometimes not bother with the tack at all. I paid for her hay and pasture rent by working cattle with her in the summer when the male calves were cut from the herd, rounded up and castrated (steers are where the beef on your dinner plate comes from). Farm girls who didn't have horses and who wanted extra money either walked beans or detassled corn.
I totally get the horse thing. The fact that I would have a horse right now is the one and only regret I have about not moving back to the country a year and a half ago.
What I don't get is the rarified world of dressage and overbred, worthless horses.
And I really don't get a country that has a tax code that lets a worthless woman write off tens of thousands of dollars more on her taxes for her worthless horse than the median household income.
It's an expensive hobby but in order to shield themselves from losses (poor babies), the 1%ers have convinced congress to allow for a tax deduction such that they can write them off. Oh to be able to write off losses associated with owning a lowly dog or cat or parakeet, huh?
The Romney campaign hasn't spelled out what kind of tax deductions it wants to close in order to pay for lower headline income tax rates, but perhaps something related to horses could do the trick:
As millions tune into the Olympics in prime time this summer, just before Mr. Romney will be reintroducing himself to the nation at the Republican convention, viewers are likely to see "up close and personal" segments on NBC about the Romneys and dressage, a sport of six-figure horses and $1,000 saddles. The Romneys declared a loss of $77,000 on their 2010 tax returns for the share in the care and feeding of Rafalca, which Mrs. Romney owns with Mr. Ebeling's wife, Amy, and a family friend, Beth Meyers.
Meanwhile, the median household income in the United States in 2010 was $45,800.
But that's the Rmoney world, folks, and we ain't invited to the steeplechase.
Doesn't it just give you a warm fuzzy feeling all over?
enlargeIn our latest episode of "Let's Militarize The Police And Treat Civilians As The Enemy," we now want the same scattershot drone technology to be used right here in the good old U.S. of A.! What could possibly go wrong? I know: We'll pass a law saying that anyone shot by drones was a "militant" and that will fix everything! Oy:
American police officers may soon be able to use unmanned aircraft not only for surveillance, but also for offensive action. The drones may be equipped to fire rubber rounds and tear gas.
?Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out, and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),? Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff?s Office in Texas told The Daily news app as he outlined the possible development.
The US military and CIA have used drones armed with lethal weapons to target militants overseas for years. The prospect of having ?lite? versions of those remotely controlled killer-machines circling over America gave some second thoughts to rights groups.
?It?s simply not appropriate to use any force, lethal or non-lethal, on a drone,? Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told CBSDC.
She explained that an officer operating an armed drone from afar would simply not have the same understanding of a situation that an officer on location would have. So judgment on the use of force would be limited by this narrowness of observation.
?An officer at a remote location far away does not have the same level of access,? she explained.
ACLU is also worried about the general atmosphere of pervasive surveillance that may engulf America as the use of drone technology becomes wider.
?We don?t need a situation where Americans feel there is an invisible eye in the sky,? said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at ACLU.
?The prospect of people out in public being Tased or targeted by force by flying drones where no officer is physically present on the scene,? Crump added, ?raises the prospect of unconstitutional force being used on individuals.?...
Yeah, it's bad enough when they are on the scene.
Real 'Muricans in Montana and their funny Kenyan Usurper Bathroom Humor.[...]
Read The Full Article:
One of Blue America's earliest forays into electoral campaigning besides raising money for progressives came in 2006 when we got together with Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher from the Squirrel Nut Zippers along with the legendary singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, storied music producer Andy Paley and talented videographer Mike McIntee to come up with an iconic song we were able to use in over a dozen congressional campaigns, "Have You Had Enough?"
This week, the folks behind DefeatMcKeon.com approached us about working together on a new version of the song. Considering that there isn't a worse Republican up for reelection who's likely to be defeated, we were only too glad to join in. The result is the video you can watch-- and hopefully spread-- up top. And if you'd like to help us get this 30 second clip up on local cable TV, please consider contributing to our I.E. PAC here.
I thought this might be a good time to take another look at why Rickie Lee and the guys from the Squirrel Nut Zippers decided to record the song in the first place. Let's start with the note Rickie Lee sent me, late summer, 2006:
At this point, it might be easy for someone like me to say 'why bother? He got his two terms (albeit illegally), the damage is done, our economy is wrecked, our ecology is three steps backwards, our domestic policy is "every man for himself," and our foreign policy reads something like "how do say that in English, buster?" Our standing as a military power is forever tainted, and our flag, as a beckon for freedom if only to ourselves, is tattered and sad.'
So why kick them out now? Because, they can still do a lot of damage. Because, they deserve to be expelled. Because, they have committed crimes far more grievous than the last guy, with his 80% approval rating, whom they scalded, bewildered and ultimately defeated with a relentless media campaign. I mean, looking back, it wasn't Clinton who was defeated. It was us, the Americans who elected him, who stood up to the bullies. So they impeached him because we, the people, just wouldn't go along with it. Where is the media now, when there are REAL criminals in office?
You can hear the voices of the people on the Internet. Where is one echo in the media? Imagine, if a sweet little song rallied the folks to storm their local newspaper or TV station and say "HEY, how about putting our point of view on now? Except that there would be no one there, since Clear Channel bought up most of the radio stations and has a clear right wing agenda. How about the newspaper? No, Rupert Murdock, an Australian, seems to own most of the American news organizations. No, whatever fear you have of his regime, it cannot stop you from letting Bush know you that are furious with him and his criminal entourage.
The goal, obviously, is for this song to get a lot of attention and air play. We want to use the machine to further our political goal of minimizing, if not annihilating, the comprehensive assault on our institutions of government. Although I can admit to a certain parochial thrill at the attention, it?s far more reassuring to be part of a much larger gestalt. Certainly, by working with such powerhouses as Rickie Lee and Howie Klein, I have stayed true to my operating principle of being the weakest link in the musical chain!
And so this song is dedicated to you: the politicians whom we support, who have decided it can and must be done better, the bloggers, who helped me articulate my inchoate rage and frustration and thus informed these lyrics, the selfless volunteers "in the trenches," who do the most important but decidedly unglamorous GOTV work, and the all of those "who hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake," who may have resigned themselves to valid, but ultimately illusory, feelings of despair and powerlessness.
Our name is legion, and we have had enough.
I honestly thought back in November of 1988, when I worked for MoPIRG and did volunteer work for the now-defeated Michael Dukakis and the Democratic Party, that things couldn't be worse for our country.
Then in 1997, when the Squirrel Nut Zippers played one of the Clinton Inaugural Balls, I thought that things couldn't be better.
Now in 2006, we have truly reached a bottom for this country and our international relations. We need leaders to turn this nation around, and to get there, we need all citizens to come out of the woodwork, activate and demand that we change the direction of the country.
Have YOU had enough?
by Jesse Prentice-Dunn, via The Sierra Club
If some House Republican negotiators get their way, safe biking and walking could be increasingly hard to find. More and more, Americans are biking and walking to work, on errands, and for fun. Just last year, cyclists saved $4.6 billion by biking instead of driving. Nationwide, biking and walking account for almost 12% of all trips, yet biking and walking infrastructure receives less than 2% of all federal transportation funding.
What we aren’t paying for in safe biking and walking infrastructure, we are paying for in lives. According to a recent study by Transportation for America, from 2000-2009, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed and another 688,000 were injured. However, seeing how biking and walking can make communities more vibrant and strengthen local economies, cities and towns are increasingly investing in sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths.
But as Senate and House negotiators enter the final three weeks of negotiations over a transportation bill, House Republicans are demanding that the Senate drop provisions that will make biking and walking safer across the country.
For some context, with a broad bipartisan majority, the Senate passed a bill that would fund our nation?s roads, bridges and transit systems at current levels through 2013. This comprehensive bill would preserve 1.9 million jobs throughout the country and create another one million jobs through innovative financing.
Unable to pass a comprehensive transportation bill, the House of Representatives instead passed a three-month extension of current law and then tacked on three anti-environmental poison pills – automatically permitting the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, preempting EPA from requiring the safe disposal of toxic coal ash, and gutting our nation’s environmental review process which ensures the public has a say in large transportation projects. Notably, the House of Representatives passed absolutely nothing relating to biking and walking. Now negotiators for the House and Senate are exchanging proposals in order to pass a bill before current law expires on June 30.
One particularly egregious demand from House Republican negotiators is that the Senate eliminate the Safe Routes to School program. Established by the 2005 transportation bill, this program provides grants to programs that help children around the country safely walk to school. Talk about a case of throwing our nation’s school kids under the bus .
Another program under fire, formerly known as the Transportation Enhancements program, has historically provided states and cities with the majority of their funding for safe biking and walking infrastructure. In the Senate bill, this program was combined with the Recreational Trails and Safe Routes to School program into a new “Additional Activities” program. Concerned that local governments would have a hard time competing for these funds, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), brokered a bipartisan compromise which would allow states to opt out of the program, but sets aside a portion of funds that cities, towns and rural areas could compete for.
House Republicans initially demanded that funding the “Additional Activities” program be eliminated entirely, but were rebuffed by the Senate. After all, a new survey shows that 83% of Americans support maintaining or increasing funding for biking and walking, including 80% of Republicans. Now, House Republican negotiators are demanding that states be able to opt out of the Additional Activities program, essentially denying cities and towns the ability to compete for funds that could improve safe biking and walking in their communities.
As pressure mounts for Congress to pass a transportation bill before the current law expires on June 30, it is critical that you call and email your Representative and tell them that you support funding for safe biking and walking.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Washington Representative for the Sierra Club Green Transportation Campaign. This piece was originally published at The Sierra Club and was reprinted with permission.