The governor's February 3rd press release went on: "The trip was not an effort to endorse or lobby for the current stimulus package now before Congress." On the 2nd, Palin, and Alaska legislative leaders, House Speaker Mike Chennault and Senate President Gary Stevens, had sent a letter detailing suggestions on funding allocations for Alaska.
Palin was all over the place on dealing with the jobs and infrastructure package from the last week in January through passage late last week. She even tried to get in touch with the president somehow, urging him to veto the bill. Weird, huh....?
During conferences leading up to the final passage of the bill in congress, both Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski made sure, behind the scenes, that items were added to the stimulus package in their interest. Publicly, though, they both said the exact opposite.
Back in September, 2008, when the TARP legislation came before congress, Rep. Young voted against the bill, and explained why on the campaign stump. Sen. Murkowski voted for the TARP funds. At the time, she issued a press release, explaining her vote. In part, it stated:
In general, I do not believe taxpayers should be called upon to rescue financial institutions that made risky business decisions that resulted in financial loss. The financial crisis that we face today, however, is unprecedented and has profound implications for the broader economy.
Congress recognizes the substantial need to instill confidence in the market place and to do so quickly. But quick action cannot preclude thoughtful legislative consideration. Congress has a fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer – we must rebuild the credibility of our financial institutions through strong oversight and accountability.
Murkowski, along with the majority of both houses of Congress, acted with unprecedented speed, lack of curiosity, and - in most cases, including that of Sen. Murkowski - little further public scrutiny of TARP.
Saturday, Sen. Murkowski, in her new, more visible opposition leadership role, was given the responsibility of delivering the GOP response to passage of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She was far more critical of this plan than she had been of TARP. Here is part of what she had to say:
"Will this plan work? In this regard, the President's own top economist, Larry Summers, has said that in order for a stimulus plan to work, it must be timely, targeted, and temporary. And, in many ways, the plan that Democrats in Congress approved this week is none of the above.
"It's not timely because less than half the discretionary spending in this bill will reach its intended target within the next two years.
"It's not targeted because much of the money isn't even directed where it's needed most. Much of the spending is wasteful, including hundreds of millions for new government cars and golf carts. And some of it places new burdens on already-strapped local and state governments. One Alaska school superintendent said that the increased funding means new services in his district, but that once the stimulus funding runs out he won't be able to pay for them. And canceling some of these programs once they've been created, he said, would expose his district to lawsuits.
"Finally, the bill isn't temporary because it calls for a permanent expansion of government that could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal budget every year."
If every American had $50 for every time the GOP US Senators and Congressmen failed to judge George W. Bush with similar scrutiny over the past eight years, there would be no financial crisis. Sen. Murkowski was in Washington DC for six of Bush's eight years, and you won't find any similar criticism of his actions over those six years as already seen from her about President Obama in five weeks.
Thee are any number of articles coming out nationally and regionally, about GOP DC hypocrites who quietly had items added to the jobs package, and then publicly, indignantly even, voted against it. Now they've gone back to their home states. The press is full of BS CYA statements by these people. In essence, they are positioning themselves through hyperbolic phrases and detail, to blame Obama if the economy is slow in its recovery, and to take credit themselves if it recovers more quickly, and for the local projects coming to their states or districts.
AK Muckraker at the Mudflats transcribed Sen. Mark Begich's remarks in Anchorage Monday, about the process of preparing and voting for the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
There’s two bills here. One in the finance committee and in the appropriations committee. Everybody makes it sound like no Republicans participated. False.
As a matter of fact, $110 billion of this was by two amendments by Republicans who then voted against the bill. Here’s what goes on back there. They get in the committee and they make so many of your amendments, (to the crowd) and your amendments, “I like your amendment,” ”I like your amendment.” Republicans AND Democrats - they get it in the bill, and then when it gets to the floor, which is really what you watch, and what the news watches, then you hear these guys spout off, “That’s the most expensive bill I’ve ever seen! It’s outrageous!”
Well, they put amendments in! It’s the most amazing thing to me. And that’s what goes on. There’s three segments to the bill. I looked at it, I read it. It’s not complicated. You know, some of those guys back there, they get on the floor and they say, “I wasn’t included in the meetings!” It’s not hard to find the meetings. You just show up. I did. I’m a freshman; I found the meetings. I went in there, and I participated in a group that whacked $130 billion out of that bill - as a freshman.
Sen. Begich is catching on. Fast.
Some of what Sen. Murkowski has to say is quite valid. The bigger the bill, the more waste there will be. George W. Bush certainly proved that. Time. After. Time. After. Time...
Meanwhile, I'm hearing from Juneau sources - some different, some the same as the Colberg deal info last week - that there's one thing you can get both Democratic Party and Republican Party legislators to agree upon right now: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is not only out of her depth to an unprecedented degree, she is showing increasing signs of unstable conduct, almost on a daily basis.