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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

NPR Story

Did anyone else hear David Dreier (R-CA 26) on NPR this morning? He is chairman of the committee on rules and was saying something to the effect that assigning chairmen is about being a team player. This is the House of Representatives afterall, which is being led by the icon of ethical behavior, Tom DeLay. Mr. Dreier was asked about Steve Buyer (R-IN 04) being chosen over then current veteran affairs chairmen Craig Smith (R-NJ 04), he replied something to the effect that this Mr. Buyer had given a very good presentation - its all about the presenation I guess... But according to this press release, its all about loyalty in Bush (and Hastert) world.
In the 108th Congress, Smith was not known for consistently bucking House leaders.
He voted with them on budget issues and the Medicare drug bill but voted against them on drug reimportation legislation...

...Veterans groups have showered Smith and Bilirakis with praise but are wary of Buyer. They fear that under his leadership veterans funding could be cut substantially in 2005, noting that the White House wants to scale back federal spending sharply this year.

While Smith has been outspoken against proposed cuts to veterans programs, sources with these organizations speculate that Buyer would do whatever leadership wants.

One source said Buyer “would toe the party line” and “is ideologically loyal” to leadership.

Leading veterans groups are standing firmly behind Smith. In a Jan. 3 letter to Hastert, 10 organizations, including the VFW, the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America, urged the GOP leader to make sure Smith remains at the helm.

Veterans yesterday hand-delivered letters of the support for Smith on Capitol Hill.
One read: “In our view, it would be a tragedy of Chris Smith left the chairmanship. … The unnecessary loss of his leadership, knowledge, skill, honesty, passion, and work ethic would be a deeply disturbing development not just to us, but to millions of veterans across the country whose lives he had touched.”

The organizations said they do not always agree with Smith but know he will “always give us a fair hearing and an honest assessment.” They called Smith “the foremost congressional expert and advocate on veterans’ issues” and praised the lawmaker for putting “principle over politics.”

So in other words, the agenda is to stretch the military out as far as humanly possible, putting our soldiers in harms way, and then remove their Congressional allies for loyalty to party leaders. So where does that leave the vets?

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