Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boehner And The GOP Breach The Wall Separating Church And State


Though Cantor & Boehner have been threatening Republican caucus members with committee demotions if they dared to vote for unions in the onslaught of anti-worker legislation Boehner is delivering for the Kochs and other nefarious characters who bankrolled his ascension to the Speakers chair, yesterday 9 Republicans broke with the GOP's latest anti-worker bill (and Boehner only managed to hold onto one-- the weakest and most craven-- conservative Democrat, Dan Lipinski (IL). As part of the Republican drive to destroy public education and the teachers unions, they passed some crap voucher program that is unlikely to go anywhere. The Republicans sticking with the teachers unions and with public education and giving Boehner and Cantor the finger, were:
Judy Biggert (IL), desperate to make people forget about her anti-jobs outburst Tuesday
Robert Dold (IL)
Sam Graves (MO)
Morgan Griffith (VA)
Tim Johnson (IL)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Ron Paul (TX)
Dave Reichert (WA)
Mike Simpson (ID)

The bill itself will cost $300 million-- which, breaking House rules, is not off-set by any cuts elsewhere-- and help exactly 879 students enroll in Catholic schools.
The Founding Fathers must be frowning on House Speaker John Boehner; you can almost envision the furrow on Thomas Jefferson's brow.

How could this fine conservative lawmaker from Ohio, who often cloaks himself in the Constitution, go on a crusade to give federal funds to D.C.'s Catholic schools? What happened to the separation of church and state?

It was Jefferson who first articulated the notion that the new country he helped found should create some distance between organized religion and the its government. In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, he wrote that he contemplates "with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

People For the American Way termed the legislative boondoggle costly, ineffective and constitutionally troubling. PFAW's President, Michael Keegan saw right through Boehner's strategy:
“While Republicans in Congress try to cut millions of dollars from public education programs in the name of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ they are positively eager to pour $100 million into an ineffective voucher program that raises troubling constitutional issues and that DC doesn’t even want. Study after study has shown that the voucher program has done nothing to help DC’s kids learn-- the main beneficiaries are the religious institutions that receive funding that would be better spent on public schools, and Republican members of Congress who receive a talking point for their base. House Republicans need to stop using DC’s kids as pawns in their culture war, and start working to fix the budget crisis that they claim to be so concerned about.”

And don't forget Lipinski. He has a primary opponent next year, John Atkinson.

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