Friday Faxline: Issue 506
Wilberforce resolution passes in the House
On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a resolution I authored (H. Res. 158) honoring the life and accomplishments of William Wilberforce. I offered the resolution as part of the 200th anniversary celebration of Wilberforce's hard-fought effort to end the British slave trade, an act that ultimately led to the end of slavery in America as well. By drawing attention to Wilberforce's tremendous story of perseverance in the fight against injustice, my hope is that people will be inspired to follow his example and fight modern day injustice. Every day, countless people around the world are denied basic human rights. If we are willing to stand up for these people, we really can make a difference. That is the lesson of Wilberforce's life, and I hope it will continue to call people to action today.
Democrats block effort to strip wasteful spending from science bill
On Wednesday the House voted to reauthorize and expand funding for the National Science Foundation. The bill that passed provides $21 billion through 2010 for the agency to provide grant money for scientific research. While many of the projects funded by the NSF are widely deemed worthwhile, this bill also includes millions of dollars for questionable projects. Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) offered an amendment to strip some of this wasteful spending, including money for studies on "bison hunting on the late prehistoric Great Plain," "accuracy in the cross-cultural understanding of others' emotions," and "social relationships and reproductive strategies of Phayre's Leaf Monkeys." Democrats ultimately voted this amendment down on the House floor. In an environment of unlimited demands, and limited resources, it's the role of Congress to set national priorities. Unfortunately, this bill failed to do that.
Democrats sign onto Cheney impeachment resolution
Last week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced articles of impeachment for Vice President Dick Cheney. Kucinich, a Democratic candidate for President, claims Cheney's involvement in the run-up to the Iraq war amounts to "high crimes and misdemeanors" that warrant impeachment. This week, two of his fellow House Democrats, Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), signed on to Kucinich's resolution. The Democratic leadership is not supporting the resolution. Nonetheless, it's yet another example of how some on the far left are more interested in playing politics than finding ways to achieve success in Iraq.
Administration seeks to expand access to domestic energy resources
In 2003, Congress lifted the ban on energy exploration in Bristol Bay, off the coast of Alaska. This week, the Bush administration took steps to allow environmentally-responsible access to the huge oil reserves known to exist there. It is also exploring ways to access the oil and natural gas resources contained in the outer-continental shelf off the coast of Virginia, after the Virginia state legislature passed legislation requesting that the federal government allow exploration 50 miles or further from its coastline. The plan is expected to go forward unless Congress objects within a 60-day timeframe. With rising energy prices, I believe it is important that we take full advantage of our domestic resources. This plan would help us do just that, and I hope that Congress will not block it.
Quote of the Week
"Yesterday was a day that highlighted differences. Today is a day where we can work together to find common ground."
- President George W. Bush, speaking the day after he vetoed a Democrat war-funding bill that set arbitrary timelines for withdrawal from Iraq.