On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Truth Behind Reichert's Voting Record - Part 2

On Sunday I wrote the first of what will be many postings looking at the truth behind Dave Reichert's voting record.

In Part 1 I explained how Reichert has been manipulating his votes to shore up his "moderate" image, and how he has been quite successful in that regard given how unquestioned his claim as a moderate has been by the mainstream media.

A recent Seattle Times article provides us with yet another example of how the media parrots the claim despite the evidence to the contrary:
Reichert, the former King County sheriff, is in his fourth year in Congress and has worked to secure a reputation in line with the moderate voters of the Eastside's 8th Congressional District.
Reichert "has worked to secure a reputation in line with the moderate voters". The lack of any other comments about that suggests that the reputation is secure, and unquestioned.

The problem is the facts don't back up the claim.

Twenty-five times in the past 17 months Reichert has taken safe throwaway votes in favor of Democratic measures after voting against the same measures at every step of the way prior to the final passage vote. Seventeen of those times he seemingly "broke" from his party to do so. Except he wasn't breaking from his party at all, he had been given the green light "to vote a certain way" by Republican leadership.

I've gathered those votes in a detailed table that clearly shows the pattern, and in this ongoing series of postings I plan to focus on each set of bills Reichert has voted this way on.

Today I look at the third such case, H.R.6, the "Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act", passed on Thursday, January 18, 2007 (roll calls 34 through 39).

There were seven votes that related to the passage of the bill - and they pitted all the Democrats against all the Republicans:
- Republicans, including Reichert, first attempted to block the day's proceedings by making a motion to adjourn. Perhaps they also felt like it was already the end of the work week after having worked their previously typical two days that week. The motion was defeated 184-233.
- Democrats then voted on bringing House Resolution 66 to a vote by ordering the previous question. That passed, 231-194, with unanimous Republican opposition.
- The resolution was then voted on, and again it passed, 230-194, again with unanimous Republican opposition.
- A motion to then consider the bill passed, 228-193, yet again with unanimous Republican opposition.
- Republicans then tried to kill it with a motion to recommit it with instructions. That failed, 194-232, despite near unanimous Republican backing. Only Nebraska representative Lee Terry defected from the Republican side.
- Republicans then tried one last time to block the measure:
1/18/2007 5:40pm:
Point of order raised by Mr. Blunt on the content of the measure. Point of order overruled by the Chair.
1/18/2007 5:42pm:
Mr. Blunt appealed the ruling of the chair. The question was then put on sustaining the ruling of the chair.
1/18/2007 5:42pm:
Mr. McDermott moved to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair.
- The motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair passed 230-195, again with unanimous Republican opposition.
- Finally, the bill came up for a final passage vote and passed 264-163, with 36 Republicans voting for the bill, including Dave Reichert.
So how was it reported by the Seattle Times? In their regular "How your U.S. lawmaker voted" feature they wrote:
Oil-company taxation: By a vote of 264-163, the House on Thursday agreed to repeal tax breaks designed to spur extraction of fossil fuels and use the savings of $14 billion over 10 years to open a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve for developing renewable fuels and energy efficiencies.

Voting yes: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott, Reichert, Smith.

Voting no: Hastings, McMorris Rodgers.
Yup, Dave Reichert went down as having supported this bill, even though he voted to obstruct it every step of the way there.

Even more ridiculous was that they ignored the added fact that the day before Americans for Tax Reform put out a press release against the bill. They wrote:
The newly formed, Democrat-controlled House will force a vote TOMORROW, within its first 15 days, to raise taxes on domestic energy production, increasing America's dependence on foreign oil and subsequently lowering the value of millions of Americans' retirement funds.
Supposedly the bill violated the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, signed by 197 House members and 43 Senators, who had pledged to their constituents to "oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." The pledge was only signed by the minority party Republicans, because they opposed the movement of tax dollars away from propping up Big Oil and their already record profits, and instead toward alternative energy production.

Oh, and the signatories included Dave Reichert, who once again wanted to be on both sides of an issue, by pledging he was against a bill that he ended up voting for. How does he explain that?

These votes on H.R.6 were classic Reichert, and yet the mainstream media was duped, or they were simply too lazy to look closely at the votes. Reichert has gone on to take 22 similar flip-flop votes since then, but none of them has been reported in the press.

However, since my first post a couple of prominent Web sites have made reference to them with regards to the question of Reichert's "moderate" credentials. First yesterday at firedoglake, and then today at Politico. So perhaps people are finally paying attention to the data I've been presenting. At the very least it's a start.

In Part 3 of this series I will take a look at the January 31, 2007 votes on H.J.RES 20 ("Further Continuing Appropriations for FY 2007"), which almost exactly matched the pattern on H.R.6. Look for that in the week ahead.

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