Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Message from Our Alaska Congressional Delegaton - Updated

Dear low-income Alaskan,

We know times are tough. We know many of you saw your savings and home values hurt by Wall Street recklessness. We also know that, with official unemployment above 9 percent, it is tough to find a job, and many have been forced to choose part-time employment that lacks benefits. But as a result of extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the budget deficit has grown.

So, despite your problems, you are going to be “asked” to sacrifice. Your president is planning to cut $2.6 billion from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps people afford keeping their homes warm during our long, cold winter in Alaska, despite the fact that due to the economic downturn the number of poor people needing help has increased significantly.*

As a result of your going without heat next winter, we will be able to afford almost one whole week of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost about $468 million a day. Although when you add in the many hidden costs like increased long-term veteran’s health care due to the conflicts, your sacrifice is probably only really going to cover maybe half a week.

We hope you understand that when we had to choose between providing basic necessities to our Alaska constituents or fighting about five more days in Iraq and Afghanistan because of whatever we here in D.C. make up to justify it, and the Alaska media prints as we send it to them without changing a word, we clearly just had to choose the wars over you.


Your Alaska Congressional Delegation

* Update: Julie Hasquet from Sen. Begich's office has asked that I specifically mention that Mark does not support cutting LIHEAP funds. How effective Sen. Begich will be in this matter remains to be seen.

As for cutting funding for our grossly expensive, wasteful, illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which might pay for more amenities in the USA, she and the good Senator have nothing whatsoever to say.

Yesterday, Sen. Begich voted against renewing provisions of the Patriot Act, siding with Rep. Don Young. Sen. Murkowski, typically, voted to continue erosions of your freedoms, as she always does.

[s/ - hat tip to Jon Walker]


AKjah said...

When do we get to cut their pay in half and take away their medical coverage? These three are so clueless i bet they don't even stand for NPR in AK.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult attempting to curb the hate I feel for any
legislators who abandon their constituents to a cold, dark existence while wasting lives and money on an
unproductive and likely, unlawful war. And to smile
as if all is right with the world.

Anonymous said...

Here's some stuff that will likely impact Alaska infrastructure:
$950 million drop in funding for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds.
$80 million clean diesel grant program eliminated.
$160 million in water infrastructure earmarks eliminated. Can you say Denali Commission and Alaska village water/sewer systems?

But let's stop for a minute. Didn't we get what we wanted? Didn't we all vote? Aren't they the people's choice? Did Lisa Murkowski not say straight out that she'd caucus with the Republican Party? What does the average person think that means?
We have no right to complain - none, whatsoever. That's what voting is for.

Is there anyone who would care to rethink that business about the wisdom of taking a chance on Scott McAdams? Remember, that went like this - he'd be a rookie senator and have "no power" to "do" anything.
What did anyone think Lisa would "do"?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, phil has misrepresented this story so badly as to generate comments that have little semblance of reflecting any reality.

LIHEAP, a national program, not just an Alaska specific program, has been underfunded in all 20 years of it's existence.

In each of the 20 years, Congress has stepped in and added to the funding. Just as they're likely to do this year. Essentially, there is no real basis for the sensationalist hand-wringing.

Also, since it's only a preliminary budget proposal coming out of the White House, and there's already news that Obama may reconsider before Congress votes on the proposed budget, it's a little early to conclude much of anything yet. And especially since any proposed budget that might end up being sent to Congress, that hasn't happened yet, and Congress hasn't even yet weighed in, so phil's targeting the whole Alaska Congressional delegation is farcical nonsense at this point. Democrats in Congress are already signaling that they're unlikely to allow this cut to go unchallenged. Targeting our delegation before they've even had a chance to speak on the subject or vote for or against support for any certain level of LIHEAP funding is disingenuous at best.

Yes, Obama 'proposed' a cut in LIHEAP. If you want to get exercised about budget proposals, take a look at what the Republicans propose so you have a perspective based on real world realities. Obama did propose a small cut, did you imagine that the Republicans would propose to take better care of Alaska's needs? You think the Republicans were offering to take better care of the working poor.

Get real. Wake the hell up. You might not like hearing Obama proposed a cut in the budget, but you'd better learn to wait until Obama decides whether he's going to continue to ask for the cut, before getting out the tar and feathers. And you ought to learn what it really might mean even if the cut were to be voted on in Congress, and even then, keep in mind that the reality of LIHEAP shows that when push comes to shove, LIHEAP is given additional funding as the need arises.

Stow those unwitting comments generated by the poorly presented faux outrage de jour. Gain some reason and perspective on reality and quit acting like Pavlov's dogs slavering over any poorly presented tidbit of half-truths and lies. Learn to respond with reason and rationality to facts and not go off half cocked when you next hear some half-baked sensationalist tabloid style flapping.

Anonymous said...

To the above poster: I was poster number 2 on this subject and I thank you for your wise words. Too often
some of us vent our frustrations without thinking. Many
ideas and bills are proposed and after discussion are
dropped or modified. I for one appreciate your post
clarifying how the legislative process works; should have known better. Phil does do much good work however. Maybe the workload has been just a bit too much lately?

Anonymous said...

To help some of you gain some perspective, you might want to look at some actual realities were you in need of heating assistance. In addition to the federal LIHEAP funds there is also a much more generous Alaska state program called AKHAP. If you need assistance or just need to learn about the reality of such assistance, here's a link with the necessary links to give you the information you need so you might be better able to comment or respond to discussions of heating assistance.



Anonymous said...

In speaking to phil's over-wrought reporting, perhaps he'd review some simple journalistic codes of behavior, maybe do some fact checking and a bit of actual research before going off half-cocked. The manner in which this concern is offered here reflects little in the way of a progressive perspective and it sure can't be said to be a productive route to creating a realistic dialogue on the subject. I'm used to tea-baggers reacting to whatever mischaracterization they're offered, I'd hope actual reasoned adults might show a little better judgement in how they react to whatever they are exposed to.

Anonymous said...

As for LIHEAP funding, my memory put LIHEAP at 20 years old, I was wrong, it's closer to 30 years. And in the link below, you'll also see that no matter what the initial funding level was initially set by Congress, additional supplemental funding was always provided in any year demand rose because of such driving factors like home heating oil price rises, shortages or severe weather events.



Anonymous said...

We'll have to see if phil deigns to revise his offering to better represent the reality.

Anonymous said...

I'm poster #3. I'll stand by what I posted. Please do assume that I must have read the federal budget proposal.
Thanks for the civic lesson.

Anonymous said...

I hope everyone participated in Begich's tele-Townhall Forum this evening.
I didn't hear any of these questions posed. That was the opportunity to ask questions and be heard.

Philip Munger said...

I'll be working until 10:00 pm