Hal Rogers

Hal Rogers is on the ‘Down-low’

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April 3, 2012
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Politico reports — “Republicans retreat on gay marriage” — the GOP is putting homophobia on the backburner as social morays change and the economy is the priority on top. They even spoke with Kentucky’s own Hal Rogers:

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a 32-year veteran of Congress, never a man of many words, simply said, “I don’t hear it discussed much.”

Even die-hard social conservatives like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert aren’t digging in.

“That’s not something we’re focused on now,” Gohmert said.

The idea that the GOP is reducing their anti-gay vitriol to a mere whisper campaign is ridiculous, but perhaps right now Hal and the Republicans are more interested in cross-dressing and shifting their focus to the war on women.

Yarmuth Fits Ryan/Rogers Budget on a Napkin; Poor kids, old people won’t need napkins if Ryan Budget passes

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March 22, 2012
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via Joe, here’s Congressman Awesome blasting the Republicans’ 2012 Paul Ryan / Hal Rogers Budget:

For all the detail they provide in this budget of where they’ll get their revenue, they might as well have written their budget on a cocktail napkin.

But I saved them the trouble. I did it for them. [holds up napkin] Here’s their budget plan.

  • Tax Cuts for the Rich
  • Slash Spending
  • Shift Health Care Costs to Seniors
  • And Pray for Incredible Growth.

Mr. Chairman I would ask that this be inserted in the record but it provide too much detail for the document.

It’s a funny performance, and the shot of Ryan looking on unamused is poignant.

Also poignant, Ryan’s plan to strip the food stamp program of funding, leaving the poor children and the elderly to starve:

  • The overwhelming majority of SNAP households are families with children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Almost three-quarters of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households that include senior citizens or people with disabilities.
  • SNAP households have very low incomes. Eighty-five percent of SNAP households have incomes below the poverty line (about $23,050 for a family of four in 2012).  Such households receive 93 percent of SNAP benefits.  Two of every five SNAP households have incomes below half of the poverty line.  Such individuals and families have little flexibility in their monthly budgets to cope with deep reductions in food assistance.

Let them eat imaginary cake!

Mitch McConnell Makes Bleeding Heart Argument Against Ryan/Rogers GOP Budget

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March 22, 2012
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Mitch McConnell went on the floor of the Senate and made a little speech about Obama’s health care plan, but all he really did was make an argument against the House GOP’s Budget Plan:

Let’s assume for a moment that McConnell’s telling the truth in all what he says — this requires a suspension of disbelief because anyone willing to believe Mitch McConnell, willing to take him at his word, is necessarily self-deceiving, even if he may occasionally speak truth to his own power.

He says 387,000 more people will be “forced” into Medicaid in Kentucky, resulting in 29% of the population.

Mitch McConnell says:

“It hurts the most vulnerable the most.”

And yet…

McConnell’s 5th District Congressman, Hal Rogers, the head of the House Appropriations Committee, just endorsed Paul Ryan’s GOP budget.

The House GOP’s Ryan/Rogers budget attacks Medicaid with a machete.

The Congressional Budget Office, at Ryan’s own request, examined this Republican budget and found draconian cuts to the Medicaid program which currently covers over 400,000 children in Kentucky:

CBO finds that the Ryan plan would cut programs to help low- and middle-income people afford health insurance — Medicaid, CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to help near-poor and moderate-income families afford insurance — by more than 75 percent by 2050, with the bulk of the cuts coming from Medicaid.  Spending on these programs would be slashed from between 4¼ and 4½ percent of GDP in 2050 under current policies to just 1 percent of GDP.

Regardless of Obamacare’s impact on Medicaid, Mitch McConnell has just made a stark argument against his own party’s budget plan.

Mitch McConnell stands firmly opposed to the Paul Ryan and Hal Rogers plan to “hurt the most vulnerable.”

Hal Rogers endorses Paul Ryan’s Austerity Budget Plan

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March 21, 2012
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Paul Ryan, the reckless Republican budgeteer from Wisconsin, put out an austerity budget and Hal Rogers thinks it’s just dandy:

The Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday endorsed the spending level in the House GOP budget even though he said he wanted it to be higher.

“It’s a workable number. We’ll make it work,” the chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.), told The Hill.

The GOP unveiled a budget resolution on Tuesday that calls for a discretionary spending level of $1.028 trillion in fiscal 2013. That is $19 billion less than the $1.047 trillion spending cap that Republicans and Democrats agreed to as part of the debt-ceiling law known as the Budget Control Act last year.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, at Ryan’s own request, ran his budget through their fancy computers and found the Ryan budget, which Hal Rogers is advocating, would defund most of the federal government by 2050:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget plan specifies a long-term spending path under which, by 2050, most of the federal government aside from Social Security, health care, and defense would cease to exist, according to figures in a Congressional Budget Office analysis released today.

The CBO report, prepared at Chairman Ryan’s request, shows that Ryan’s budget path would shrink federal expenditures for everything other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and interest payments to just 3¾ percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050.

But don’t read that as good news for the health care programs. The Ryan/Rogers budget would raise Medicare’s enrollment age to 67, leaving 65 and 66 year old Americans without health coverage. And what’s more:

Equally stunning are CBO’s findings about the impacts of the Ryan plan on programs to enable Americans to secure health-care coverage.  CBO finds that the Ryan plan would cut programs to help low- and middle-income people afford health insurance — Medicaid, CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to help near-poor and moderate-income families afford insurance — by more than 75 percent by 2050, with the bulk of the cuts coming from Medicaid.  Spending on these programs would be slashed from between 4¼ and 4½ percent of GDP in 2050 under current policies to just 1 percent of GDP.

Over 700,000 Kentuckians are currently on Medicaid.

Most of them, 422,100, are children. Which is good for Hal Rogers, because children can’t vote.

Yet.

Republicans Push Energy War whilest also pushing compromised Presidential Candidate

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March 6, 2012
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The Republican Party (with the help of some Blue Dogs) are trying to turn coal into an election-season issue, according to the Rush Limbaugh of print media, The Washington Times. Speaker Boner wrote a tear-blotched letter to the President citing exaggerated statistics from the Coal Industry as a evidence that Obama is destroying America.

“These rules, the most expensive in EPA history, stand to cost 180,000 American jobs per year and would force the premature retirement of 12 percent of America’s coal-fired energy generation,” he said.

Mr. Boehner’s comments were based on a report sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and released in September.

In late February, a bipartisan group of 219 members of Congress led by Reps. Ed Whitfield, Kentucky Republican, and John Barrow, Georgia Democrat, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for a stop to the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule-making.

“Affordable, reliable electricity is critical to keeping and growing jobs in the United States, and such a standard will likely drive up energy prices and threaten domestic jobs,” they wrote.

As you see there, Ed Whitfield is again leading the charge. Bought and paid for by the energy industry, Whitfield continues to be one of the most vocal leaders in Washington pushing the industry friendly agenda at cost to actual living breathing people and in benefit to non-breathing corporation-people.

Hal Rogers isn’t one to get left behind, so he too is playing this game, though his latest salvo was an incorrect observation about snails and the XL Pipeline which provides no jobs for Kentucky and is justified on drastically overblown industry statistics (you don’t say!) on “job creation” while putting the heartland’s water system at great risk.

“Talk about snail’s pace,” Rogers said at a hearing on the State Department’s 2013 budget, musing that a snail could have crawled the route of the proposed pipeline, from the Canadian border to the Gulf Coast, within the 40-month review period.

“That’s one speedy snail, Mr. Chairman,” responded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s right. It would take the average garden snail about 67 months to crawl in a straight line from the Canadian border to Houston.

For all you Republicans (or your Republican friends) who think Rogers, Whitfield and Boehner are right-on and that corporations conducting studies on behalf of themselves would never lie to them, the GOP Presidential race continues to prove that Mitt Romney is a compromised candidate not to be trusted. As The Politico reports, green-friendly billionaire Republican forces have given millions to Romney’s campaign and Super PACs, betting that could Romney win the Primary and then the Election his recent gravitation to a hard-right, pro-coal, anti-environment stance (which is directly at odds with his actual record and yet further evidence no conservative should trust him let alone vote for him), then Mitt Romney would flip-flop his position and sell out the very energy industry he’s currently so passionately defending:

Other green-minded financial backers may not be giving as much as Robertson, but they still share the view that climate-change science and a solid environmental agenda wouldn’t be a lost cause if Romney won the White House.

“My feeling is that on these issues that people learn,” said former Gov. Thomas Kean (R-N.J.), who maxed out last fall to Romney with a $2,500 check. “And my hope is, as time goes on, he will understand that not everybody agrees on how you deal with these issues, but I hope he will agree with 99 percent of the scientists who believe this is an issue that we have to deal with.”

….Rob Sisson, president of the Republicans for Environmental Protection, said he’s scraping together personal funds to write a check to the Romney campaign after getting a chance to meet him for the first time last month during a town hall campaign stop in Kalamazoo, Mich.“I think his record as governor was pretty good as far as Republicans go,” said Sisson, who also gave $1,000 last June to Jon Huntsman’s campaign. “I really get the sense from him and the folks around him with whom I’ve spoken that as president he’d really look at each situation, gather the data and really make a decision that’s best for the country.”

“If that goes against the grain of how he’s campaigning now, so be it.”

Read the rest, it’s good fun.

Republican Party pushes Garland Barr IV to wave white flag

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February 13, 2012
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A quick roundup of Congressional redistricting finds Andy Barr giving up in the 6th after his fellow Republicans strengthened themselves and left the Tea Panderer out in the cold.

The bill was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Beshear. After the House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on their own maps, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers got together and crafted a map of their own.

That map strengthens all incumbents, including Ben Chandler. This angered 6th District area Republicans, like state Sen. Damon Thayer. A week after trying to expunge the area’s own Senator, Thayer was forced to pivot, flip-flopping his position so that now he finds himself incensed and offended by the redistricting process. Our hearts go out to him, and the others. From the CJ:

Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, called HB 302 the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act.”

Thayer called the bill an “insult” to the people of Central Kentucky and described it as “horrific.”

….Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, complained that “we have turned our allegiance more to the congressional delegation than to the taxpayers.” He said the people in his district oppose the plan.

Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, said his constituents don’t want to move from the 6th District to the 2nd, as the plan requires.

He said the people in his district are “not a bit happy.”

Now unlike Thayer’s plan to disappear Kathy Stein, the Hal Rogers compromise map doesn’t do anything too crazy… it just shifts a few lines and Brett Guthrie should be a) concerned, and b) offended that so many Republicans are unhappy about now having his conservative credentials as their new Congressman.

What do Fayette-area Republicans have against Brett Guthrie?

Garland Barr IV was similarly offended by Hal Rogers’ plan. He said:

It’s weird that Barr and his Republican allies have taken this opportunity not to welcome their new voters or accept any challenge, but rather to throw up their hands, waving the white flag.

If you want to call it the “Ben Chandler Lifetime Employment Act” and you want to spend your time appealing to voters who can no longer vote for you because they are now represented by Brett Guthrie, that’s your choice, but it’s not particularly smart to declare your race lost while simultaneously alienating and denigrating your new voters.

[Check the HL for maps.]

The only explanation for why Barr and his allies would crap all over Hal Rogers and the Republican power nexus that crafted these maps is that the Barr campaign is continuing its strategy of pandering to the Tea Party.

Cynically believing the Tea Partiers and rank and file conservative activists to be total idiots, Andy Barr is trying to make them believe this was all Ben Chandler’s doing. Which is simply not true. Barr and 6th District republicans were pawned by Rogers and the Republican controlled delegation to make the other districts more conservative.

Each of the four Republican members, Reps. Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers and retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, are drawn into conservative-oriented seats.

There is a catch for Republicans, however: In keeping their House members safe, they also bolstered Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler by shifting more Democratic voters into his district. Chandler is a top GOP target who survived the 2010 election in one of the closest races of the year. Under the plan, Chandler’s Lexington-based 6th District seat will become slightly more Democratic-friendly.

Sonka/LEO’s Fat Lip has more on both the internal GOP squabbling that led to this compromise, as well as some sharp words from Ms. Kathy Stein for Thayer and Kerr and a quick numbers game looking at how the new 6th might alter vote turnouts for Barr and Chandler.

GOP internal squabbling leads to congressional redistricting deal

Though it looked like congressional redistricting would go to the courts, since the legislature couldn’t reach a compromise, that will no longer be the case. A wild morning full of emotions and accusations lead to the passage of House Bill 302, which will now go in the books and finalize the boundaries for congressional districts in Kentucky.

Though an agreement appeared to be reached a week ago, it was nixed at the last minute by central Kentuckian Republicans, particularly Sen. Damon Thayer and 6th District congressional candidate Andy Barr, who got Tea Partiers from their area to flood Republican senators with calls telling them not to agree to it. While the deal reached eased the concerns of Republicans in other districts, it does give Chandler a slightly more favorable district than what he previously had. In nixing the deal, several Republicans were quite liberal in expressing their anger at Barr for sabotaging it (particularly Tom Jensen).

Click it and go.

KY Congressional Redistricting Stalemate

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February 8, 2012
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Not only did Kentucky House and Senate leaders screw up the state legislature redistricting, they appear to have hit a dead end on the mandated 10-year re-draw of Congressional districts.

The House favored a bill which would have strengthened Ben Chandler in the 6th (after he eked out a 600 vote victory, one vote per precinct, in 2010) and bettered Dem chances in the 1st and 5th while making the already Awesome 3rd even more Awesome.

The Senate Republicans, on the other hand, sought to maintain the Republican strength in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th, and attack Chandler in the 6th.

House leader Greg Stumbo and 5th District porker Hal Rogers came up with something of a compromise, House Republican leader Jeff Hoover was kinda on board, but the Senate Republicans weren’t having it, especially Damon Thayer who, having already tried to disenfranchise the voters of Fayette County, mitched and boehned about a perceived “damage” to Fayette by allowing the 6th to get Bluer.

The filing deadline for Congressional seats, already extended a week, was today.

Mr. Gerth @ the CJ:

The House and Senate failed to reach a compromise Tuesday on a new congressional redistricting plan as the filing deadline passed — and House Speaker Greg Stumbo said legislators likely won’t try to change the current district lines this session.

He conceded, however, that such an approach would likely be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.

A decade after the current lines were drawn, the districts vary considerably in population — in violation of court standards — and Stumbo said he didn’t believe they would withstand scrutiny.

Should a candidate (Barr, etc) or a national party (GOP, etc) challenge the lack of new districting, Stumbo thinks the courts will just do the drawing.

Meanwhile…

Four of Kentucky’s five incumbent congressmen will have no opposition in the state’s May 22 primary.

And Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, is facing only a perennial candidate, Burrel Charles Farnsley, as a primary opponent and a relatively unknown Republican, Brooks Wicker, for the general election, according to filings in the Kentucky secretary of state’s office. The filing deadline was Tuesday.

The 1st (Whitfield) has two Dems in the Primary, the 2nd (Guthrie) is probably already over, the 5th (Rogers) possibly bought and paid for, and the 6th a grudge match between Garland Barr and Ben Chandler.

In the 4th, where Geofferson Davis is giving up his seat to “spend more time with his family,” there are two Dems and five Republicans.

William Adkins, the chairman of the Grant County Democratic Party, filed Tuesday to run in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District seat occupied by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Hebron.

….Adkins will face Greg Frank, of Corinth, in the Democratic primary.

 

Let’s Build Something Together: Hal Rogers fundamentally misunderstands Lowe’s slogan

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February 7, 2012
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From the Washington Post:

Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation.

Under the ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.

It’s a great article, looking at how recent moves against Congressional insider trading have so far not crossed over to persoanlized earmarking. You can look at a map of the Big 33, and here’s what they dug up in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood:

In Kentucky, Rep. Harold Rogers (R) has been called the “Prince of Pork” for his success in guiding federal money to his Appalachian home district. The longtime member and current chairman of the House Appropriations Committee helped secure about $250 million in earmarks from 2008 through 2010 — but when the House imposed the moratorium, Rogers embraced it. The country, he said, needed to “turn back from the edge of fiscal ruin.”

Prior to the moratorium, Rogers earmarked funds for the revitalization of downtown Somerset, his home town. That project continues today: More than $7 million in Rogers’s earmarks have gone toward it.

Read on to find out how Hal Rogers used your money to beautify his very own street — burying power lines, redoing sidewalks, re-doing driveways and adding decorative lamps.

“Congressman Rogers sees no conflict of interest in helping local community leaders achieve their goals for growth — at large or in this case in particular,” said Michael R. Higdon, chief of staff for Rogers.

And thanks to those decorative lamps sitting right outside his house, if there was a conflict of interest Hal Rogers would probably be able to see it.

HBEER! Federal funds support Kentucky’s Houseboat Industry

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January 30, 2012
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Federal regulators are forcing Kentucky industry and employers into pursuit of “energy effecient” housing in their continuing war on coal. And Hal Rogers carrying the pork and trying to destroy King Coal. Read all about it:

Kentucky’s houseboat manufacturers once thrived by churning out luxurious floating residences, but the industry was nearly capsized by the economic downturn. Now it’s dabbling in a new venture as it looks for a different course — the construction of moderately priced, energy efficient landlocked homes.

Houseboat maker Stardust Cruisers has built two relatively low-cost modular homes in a test that area residents hope will help revive the industry and bring back jobs to this struggling town on the edge of Appalachia.

….During the heyday in the mid-2000s, area workers skilled as carpenters and electricians produced several hundred houseboats each year, Stardust’s chief executive estimated. The companies shipped finished boats to Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

Now, production has shriveled to about 20 to 25 per year. The number of area manufacturers has dropped from a dozen to about four, and where once 1,000 people built houseboats, now that number is fewer than 200, said Stardust President and CEO Terry G. Aff.

That’s deepened the impact of the recession in a place that proclaims itself the “houseboat manufacturing capital of the world” on a sign at the entrance of the town, population 6,000.

Here’s Hal:

The project has been backed by federal grants, and its proponents are hoping the venture expands to include construction of multifamily units and classrooms. The venture could be a boon to suppliers as well. Kentucky products accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of the two prototype homes built by Stardust.

Stardust has boosted its full-time work force in the past couple of years, and a few have focused on building the modular homes. Aff said that the process for building the boats and the landlocked homes is similar, so adding the new product didn’t require many equipment changes. There has been some worker retraining.

“This project meets a multitude of needs in our region by putting families back to work, providing energy-efficient housing, increasing demand for Kentucky-made projects,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers, among the state and federal officials boosting the initiative.

Putting jokes about Solyndra and the Prince of Pork aside, this does look like a pretty cool project with some promising rewards. It actually started at the UK College of Design. Read more about it or watch:

And far and away the coolest piece of information out of this whole story is that Monticello’s claim to fame as the “Houseboat Capital of the World” will now be spread throughout the land:

USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

 

Not-So-Super Grover beats the Supercommittee

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November 22, 2011
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Superfail on the Committee. The 13th member, Grover Norquist, today rejoices.

In all, 270 members of Congress — from Mitch McConnell at the top all the way down to the lowliest members, like Ben Chandler — have signed his “No Tax Raises Ever” pledge, which meant that building any sort of a compromise in the Supercommittee was all but impossible, even though it is obviously good economics to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts for the Super Wealthy (and also popular with the electorate).

Here’s some Grover highlights, if you’re not familiar, in which he likens any Republican who might betray him and his pledge as “a rat head in a Coke bottle”:

And while Grover Norquist has taken to FOX News to insist that he is not to blame, another arm of NewsCorp, the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal, is thanking him for the failure.

And in that spirit, we’d like to thank all our Kentucky legislators who signed Grover Norquist’s ridiculous pledge — McConnell and Chandler, Rogers and Guthrie and Davis. Thank you!

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