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DeFazio makes a point.



Byline: The Register-Guard

Most bills are introduced in Congress with at least a glimmer of a hope that they'll become law. Others are intended simply to make a statement.

Congressman Peter DeFazio's "American Parity Act" is a fiendishly fiend·ish  
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of a fiend; diabolical.

2. Extremely wicked or cruel.

3. Extremely bad, disagreeable, or difficult:
 ingenious example of the latter. Co-sponsored by the Oregon Democrat and Rahm Emanuel Rahm Emanuel (born November 29 1959) is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing Illinois's At-large congressional district (map), which covers much of the North Side of Chicago and parts of , D-Ill., the bill would require the federal government to match every dollar spent on Iraqi infrastructure with a dollar for improvements in health care, education and infrastructure here in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .

The bill has a slim chance Noun 1. slim chance - little or no chance of success
fat chance

probability, chance - a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible; "the probability that an
 of passage in the Republican-controlled House, although it has picked up the support of a dozen members in the past week, including Republican Congressman John Duncan John Duncan may refer to:
  • John Duncan (Canadian politician) (born 1948), MP from British Columbia
  • John Duncan (footballer), Scottish football player & manager
  • John Duncan (Scottish footballer), Scottish footballer of the 1920s
  • John Duncan, Sr.
 Jr., of Tennessee. The bill may not even receive a dignified burial in committee. No matter. DeFazio's legislation and barbed quotes are likely to get nationwide attention at a time state and local governments across the nation are enduring staggering budget cuts.

When the level of need is so great at home, it's hard for even diehard Bush loyalists to reconcile the president's new request for an additional $87 billion for reconstruction of Iraq Reconstruction of Iraq describes attempts by the international community, and particularly the United States, to improve and repair the infrastructure of Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion. . The money would help pay for health care for millions of Iraqis, rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy.  of Iraqi schools, construction of new housing, repairs to thousands of miles of roads and bridges, and dredging dredging, process of excavating materials underwater. It is used to deepen waterways, harbors, and docks and for mining alluvial mineral deposits, including tin, gold, and diamonds.  of Iraqi ports.

Such spending is especially hard to accept for Oregonians, who have been harder hit by the nationwide economic slump than residents of most other states. Oregon consistently has the highest unemployment and hunger rates in the nation. Its highways and bridges are deteriorating, and fixing them will cost nearly $5 billion. Many small coastal communities lack sufficient federal funding for the dredging necessary to keep their ports open and their economies alive. School funding remains far short of what state officials have determined necessary to provide a high-quality education and to meet federal mandates. Here in Lane County, federal budget cuts are delaying emergency repairs to the Fern Ridge Dam.

DeFazio says Bush suffers from an "unbelievable disconnect" in his spending priorities abroad vs. at home. He's right. The White House has so steadfastly resisted any efforts to provide substantive new federal assistance to deficit-ridden states that it's hard to believe the president was formerly the governor of one of those states. Meanwhile, Bush's misplaced mis·place  
tr.v. mis·placed, mis·plac·ing, mis·plac·es
1.
a. To put into a wrong place: misplace punctuation in a sentence.

b.
 spending priorities are compounded by his insistence on new tax cuts at a time the federal deficit is at a record high and continuing to skyrocket.

Of course, DeFazio's "dollar-for-dollar" approach is hardly a model for how responsible federal budget decisions should be made. It glosses over the complexities involved in balancing domestic spending vs. spending for ongoing military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, efforts that cannot in good conscience be scaled back or abandoned. DeFazio's pledge that he won't "vote for a penny for Iraq" unless the parity-spending bill is adopted is a bit over the top and teeters on the brink of legislative irresponsibility.

But the habitually feisty congressman has a way of making points - and his bill shines a glaring spotlight on the misplaced spending priorities of the Bush administration.
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Title Annotation:His bill would require parity in spending; Editorials
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 12, 2003
Words:523
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